The Show Ring
One of the most common activities that breeders participate in is conformation showing. Each ANKC recognised breed has a breed standard which describes how the ideal dog of that breed should look. At a conformation show, dogs are examined to see how well they conform to that ideal, with the dog who, in the judge's opinion, is the most correct, taking out the Best of Breed award.
Dogs are judged on the move, on the stack (for most breeds, this is a 4 square standing position) and by feel. Judges will run their hands over the dog while they stand to check key structural points. Dogs are able to be shown at almost any age, the only exception being puppies under the age of three months. They must however, be purebred and registered with the ANKC on the main register if they are entire, or the neuter register if they are desexed. The ANKC allows neutered dogs to compete in the show ring, however, they do not compete against entire dogs and have their own points system and titles. Baby puppies (those under the age of 6 months) are not eligible for title points so are judged separately from the older dogs.
What equipment do I need?
The only equipment truely needed to enter the show ring is a collar/lead, a number holder and a pair of closed in shoes, however, as with many dog activities, there are options at either end of the budget scale.
For a basic set up to show your dog, you will need:
How much training is needed?
Conformation showing is the only dog sport you can compete in from 3 months of age so it doesn't take much training to have a dog who you COULD put in the show ring, but training a dog to be polished in the show ring takes quite a lot of work.
Much of the training for the show ring requires training the handler - a knowledgeable handler can often take a new dog into the ring without training and still make them presentable, so show training lessons are as much about polishing the handler as they are about polishing the dog.
Dogs need to be trained to move around the ring in the correct gait and to "stack" (stand) with their feet in the right place or be "hand stacked" where the handler is able to move the feet of their dog into the correct position so they stand "four square" (front and back feet aligned with one another). They also need to be familiarised with a judge leaning over them to do things like check their teeth, and in the case of dogs, to have their testicles checked (as a dog having 2 testicles is a requirement for dogs) which can be quite confronting for young dogs in particular. Small breeds and very young dogs are often judged up on a grooming table so judges can properly examine the dog. They may need to be exposed to the table several times prior to going into the ring so they can be confident enough to happily stand on the table.
NSW Breeder Identification Number: B000685661 | Victoria Source Number: EE102260
Dogs NSW Member Number: 2100088743
© Pawformance 2023