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The Short Course: Dog Shows

Many people think of a dog show as a kind of "beauty contest" for dogs. While many of the dogs are quite beautiful, the actual purpose of a dog show is to determine which dogs most closely conform to the "breed standard" established by the national breed club (dogs shows are also called conformation shows.) The breed standard offers guidelines for structure, function, temperament and movement, and was designed to keep purebred dogs somewhat consistent across the breed. Dog shows began as a means of evaluating potential breeding stock based on conformation to the standard. The dogs enter the rings by classes, are gaited by the exhibitor and are examined by the judge, including the teeth, body, coat, and the movement.

Dog Show Classes for Conformation:

Dog Show Classes are the same for both Dogs (males) & Bitches (females)

  Puppy Class 6 months of age but not over 9 months
  Puppy Class9 months of age but not over 12 months

Novice (meant for new exhibitors you may only enter until you have 3 first places on the dog)

  Amateur-Owner-Handler (for non professional handler who own the dog they are showing)
  Bred-By-Exhibitor (for the breeder and the owner)
  American Bred (Dog must be bred in & registered in USA)
  Open (available to all dogs)
  Best of Breed (for dogs that have completed thier championship)

Most shows will have all the above classes available. There may be no entries in one or more of the classes. The dogs enter the ring in the order above. In each class there are four placements awarded (assuming there are at least four entries in the class). The first place from each class receives a blue ribbon then goes on to what is called the 'Winners' Class. The winners of each of these classes go back into the ring together and from there the overall winner from this group will be considered "the class winner" and will be awarded points toward their championship provided there are at least two of the same sex competing. A Reserve Winner is also selected. No points are awarded to the Reserve Winner, (except at the National Specialty show). This award is given in case the class winner is found to be ineligible for the award, in which case the award will then go to the Reserve Winner. It does happen, but rarely.

After the Winners Dog is awarded, the females (bitches enter the ring again (in the order listed above), then a Winners Bitch is chosen from the first place female winners according to the same process for determining the class winner described above. The two class winners-- Winners Dog and Winners Bitch--are the only dogs to earn points toward a Championship. These two dogs are now eligible to compete with the Best of Breed Dogs. One of the two class winners will be awarded Best of Winners when there are both a male & a female class winner. The dog who goes Best of Winners then gets the same points as the class winner it defeats if the number of those points are greater than its own class winners points.

Best of Breed is for AKC champions, there may be one, none or several entered. When there are NO Best of Breed entries, the Best of Winners dog will be considered for Best of Breed and will go on to compete in the Sporting group. When there are one or more entered in Best of Breed the judge will Choose Best of breed from Winners Dog, Winners Bitch & the Best of Breed entry. The judge may choose a Best of Breed Winner, a Best of Opposite Sex winner, Best of Winners (from the class winners) a Select Dog and a Select Bitch. Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex is awarded to what the judge considers the Best overall Brittany & Best overall Brittany of the other sex., which can be chosen from the Best of Breed entry or the class Winners. They can additionally award a Select Male & Select Female for potential points toward the Grand Champion title.

AKC determines the point schedule based on location of the show. These numbers are released every May, click here for current schedule. The number of points earned by the Winners is dependent on how many of the same gender were entered in all of the classes for that sex. There may be many dogs entered and the points awarded might be 5, which is the maximum number of points that can be earned at one show. There may only be a few and worth only 1 or 2 points, (or none at all if entries are extremely low.). A win worth 3, 4 or 5 points is termed a 'major' win. You need two majors as part of the 15 points required to to earn an AKC championship.

Specialty Shows are a bit different in that they are shows that only include one breed, i.e. Brittanys. Specialty shows offer the same classes as a dog show but can additionally can offer Non-Regular classes. Non-Regular classes do not offer championship points but many non-regular winners are eligible to compete in Best of Breed.

Non Regular Classes can include:
  Field Trial Class (which will have field requirements to enter)
  Veteran Class (these will be offered to dogs over a specified age)
  Hunting Dog Class (which will have hunt test requirements)

Stud Dog & Brood Bitch (which will have requirements for additional entries that will include the dogs progeny.)

Sweepstake Classes can Include:
  Puppy Class 6 months of age but not over 9 months
  Puppy Class9 months of age but not over 12 months
  Puppy Class 12 months of age but not over 18months
  Dual Champions

Sweepstake classes are non-regular classes that often offer prizes, including prize money and may be judged by someone in good standing with AKC (not necessarily an licensed judge).

How to fill out a dog (show entry) form

Dog Shows (The juding Schedule/Program)

Junior Showmanship open to children from 9 to 18 years old.