All About Dog Shows

Entering the Show:

First you must apply for a Schedule of the Show from the Show Secretary or they can usually be picked up at shows.  Fill out the entry form with the Kennel Club details of your dog [all dogs must be KC registered].  You will probably want the help of somebody who has exhibited before as it can be a bit muddling at first.  Then send off your entry form with the appropriate fee.  At the show you may collect your Catalogue which lists all the dogs entered in a particular class.  At open shows, the steward will give you your ring number which you must wear whilst exhibiting your dog. At Championship Shows the ring numbers are usually fixed at the top of the benches.  All dogs must be benched at a general Championship Show.  All dogs must be kept on a lead whilst in the show-ring and in the area of the showground.  You must always carry your poop-scoop bag and clear up any mess made by your dog [it is a Kennel Club rule].

Dogs under 6 months of age may not be exhibited at shows in the UK.

There are about several classes your dog may be eligible for; some classes are restricted by age and some by the amount of winning a dog has achieved.

Age-restricted classes are-  Minor Puppy [for dogs of not less than 6 months and not more than 9 months old]; Puppy [for dogs of 6 months and not more than 12 months]; Junior [for dogs of 6 months and not more than 18 months]; Veteran [for dogs not less than 7 years of age]. Open class is for all dogs.  Classes restricted by wins of a dog for example- Beginners [for dog or handler not to have won a first prize at a show], Post-Graduate [for dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or 5 or more first prizes].

Only at Championship Shows do the Kennel Club award Challenge Certificates [sometimes known as "tickets"] and by winning three of these “tickets” under three different judges means that your dog will be entitled to the accolade of CHAMPION.

At All-Breed Championship Shows all dogs have to be placed onto benches  [wooden boards divided into cubicles] and chained to the back of the bench for safety.  Dogs are not usually benched at single breed Championship Shows.

Types of Show:

There are several types of show-

  • Companion Show – this is the only type of show where any dog can enter whether KC registered or not.  There are Pedigree classes [where only KC registered dogs can enter] and for non-KC registered dogs there are “fun” classes such as ‘Dog with Waggiest Tail’ or ‘Prettiest Bitch’.  These shows are usually held during the summer months, have a great atmosphere and are a good place to socialise young puppies
  • Open Show – these shows have specific breed classes and any variety classes.  There are usually 3 or 4 classes per breed – Puppy / Junior / Novice / Open – or a combination of other classes. Most classes are for both dog and bitch.  There is no benching at an all-breed Open show.  These shows are a good training ground for novice handlers and judges
  • Limited Show – entry is limited to members of the Show Society or to exhibitors resident within specified areas
  • Open Breed Show – these are specifically for one breed [i.e. Rottweilers].  There are separate dog and bitch classes, usually about 9/10 classes for each sex.  Judges are almost always confined to breed-specialists.  There is usually no benching
  • Breed Championship Show – as implied, these shows are for only one breed held on one day.  Classes may range from Minor Puppy through to Open, Veteran and sometimes Progeny and Stakes.  There are separate dog and bitch rings with a judge in each ring; judges may be breed-specialists, all-rounders [who undertake the judging of many breeds]  breed-specialists from abroad or a combination.   There may be anything from15 classes
  • All-Breed Championship Show - these are massive shows held mostly outside and during the summer months where the dogs are benched under large marquees.  There are usually loads of stalls where you can purchase almost anything related to dogs.  They are held over a three or four day period and separated into the different Groups [Hound, Gundog, Terrier, Working, Pastoral, Utility, Toy].  Judges can either be breed-specialists or all-rounders
Before embarking on a show career with your puppy it is best to enrol in Ringcraft classes where you can learn how to present your dog to the best possible advantage.  Handling plays a large part in the presentation of your dog and there are many people available who can help you succeed.
[Never too young to learn]