How Does a Dog Show Work?

Sharing buttons:


dog shows or conformation events

originated as a way for breeders to

evaluate their breeding stock while the

purpose remains dog shows are a great

opportunity to socialize with people in

your breed and develop friendships that

can span a lifetime all centered around

a common love for dogs dogs at

conformation events compete for points

toward their AKC championship it takes

fifteen points including two major wins

to become a champion of record the

number of championship points awarded

depends on the number of males or

females of the breed in competition with

a major win being when three four or

five points is awarded there are three

basic types of confirmation events

specialty shows are for a single breed

for example Bulldogs or the varieties of

one breed like poodles which include

three varieties toy miniature and

standard limited breed or group shows

are limited to breeds belonging to one

of the seven groups sporting pound

working Terrier toy non-sporting or

herding group all breed shows are open

to the more than 190 breeds and

varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC

at conformation events each dog is

judged by how closely they compare to

their specific breeds official standard

and not against the other dogs in the

ring a breed standard describes the

characteristics that enable the breed to

perform the job or function for which it

was bred including physical structure

its bones muscles teeth and coat

temperament and gait the progression to

best-in-show may look complicated but

dog shows are a simple process of

elimination similar to a tournament

bracket at the end one dog is left

undefeated and thus named Best in Show

every type of conformation event begins

with competition at the breed level each

breed is divided into sexes and the

sexes are further divided into

classes males dogs are judged first then

females owners or handlers enter

their dog in a regular class which can

include puppy class 12 to 18 month class

novice class a mature owner handler

class bread buy exhibitor class American

bread class and open class at the end of

every regular class

judges award placements and ribbons blue

ribbons are awarded for first place red

ribbons for second yellow for third

place and white for fourth after judging

all classes for males each of the

first-place recipients return to compete

in the winners class from that class the

judge selects the best example of that

breed which is awarded winners dog who

receives championship points and the

purple ribbon the number of points

received is determined by the number of

dogs in competition after winners dog is

selected the dog that went second in its

original class to the winners dog

returns to compete with the remaining

first-place class winners for reserve

winners dog and the purple and white

ribbon the regular class competition is

then repeated for females to

award the winners and reserve


winners dog and winners then moved

to the Best of Breed competition where

they are judged with dogs that have

already earned their championship and

any first-place winners of the non

regular classes such as veterans class

at the end of the best of breed

competition 5 awards are usually given

Best of Breed is awarded to the dog

judged as the best in its breed and

given a purple and gold ribbon best of

winners is the dog judged as the better

of the winners dog and winners and

given a blue and white ribbon best of

opposite acknowledged with a red and

white ribbon is the best dog that is the

opposite sex to the best of breed winner

select dog and select are awarded

to the champion dog and recognized

as the next best of their sex after Best

of Breed

and best of opposite and receive a light

blue and

Ribbon this concludes competition at a

specialty show at group and All Breed

shows the best of breed winners advance

to compete in the group competition

there are seven groups each group is

made up of breeds with similar

functionality the sporting group

includes dogs bred to hunt game birds

both on land and in the water including

the Labrador Retriever Irish setter

and pointer pound group breeds were bred

for hunting game by sight or scent these

breeds include beagles dachshunds and

greyhounds working group includes dogs

bred to pull carts guard property and

perform search and rescue services like

the boxer Doberman Pinscher and st.

Bernard the terrier group breeds were

bred to rid property of vermin such as

rats these breeds include the Airedale


and Scottish terriers the toy group is

comprised of dogs bred to the household

companions this group includes little

dogs like the Chihuahua Pomeranian and

pug the non-sporting group includes

breeds of various size and function many

that are considered companion dogs

including the Bulldog Dalmatian and

poodle herding group breeds were bred to

help Shepherds and ranchers herd their

livestock this group includes the collie

German Shepherd dog and Old English

Sheepdog a judge awards for placements

in each group competition first-place

group winners receive a blue ribbon or

rosette second is awarded a red third is

given yellow and fourth receives white

at all breed shows the first-place

winner from each group advanced to the

best-in-show competition from the seven

group winners the judge selects reserve

Best in Show and Best in Show the

highest award at a dog show the dog

named Best in Show traditionally

receives a red white and blue ribbon

however the host club can choose any

colors for this ribbon this dog is the

lone undefeated dog at the end of the


for more information on getting started

in confirmation visit a KC org slash