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Showing dogs is a fun sport where the thrill of competition is combined with the joy of seeing beautiful dogs, and perhaps even enjoying the dog show successes of your own dog.

These events, which draw nearly two million competitors annually, include dog shows as well as tests of instinct and trainability. You'll find such activities as obedience trials, Canine Good Citizen tests, field trials, agility trials, lure coursing events, rally, matches, hunting field trials, herding dog trials, tracking performance tests, coonhound and earthdog events. Dog shows - also known as conformation events - are intended to evaluate whether or not a do should be used as breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with as many as 2,000 dogs entered, to smaller localized specialty events, put on by local kennel clubs. Specialty events feature a specific breed only, rather than an all breed event. In either case, a dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure), an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged. The Westminster Kennel Club says it like this:

    "The basic purpose of dog shows is to facilitate the evaluation of breeding stock for use in producing the next generations. Judging And Standards. Each breed's parent club creates a STANDARD, a written description of the ideal specimen of that breed."

In the world of dog showing, there are a plethora of events and a hierarchy of competition. The conformation ring, otherwise known as the ‘breed’ ring, has several different levels of competition.

For dogs that are not Champions of record but are working toward their Champion title, there is the ‘class’ level. And such dogs are appropriately named, "class dogs". These dogs have a variety of classifications and may enter the American Bred, Novice, Open class, Bred by Exhibitor, or Puppy class. At this level, of competition the males and females are evaluated separately.

In each class, four placements are awarded, however it is only those dogs placed first from any individual class that get to move on to what is known as the ‘Winners’ class. In the Winners class, males and females continue to compete individually for the title of Winners Dog (male) and Winners Bitch (female). Out of these two come the title "Best of Winners".

A Reserve Winners Dog and Bitch are also selected, but it is only the Winners Dog and Bitch who receive points toward a Championship. After this class is completed, each winner - male and female - proceed to the next class, called "Best of Breed", where each of the two dogs now compete against other champions. This class not only selects the best of the best for that breed, but also out of these this competition come the title "Best of Winners" from the 2 dogs that one in the previous "class " competition.

So now that you’ve got a handle on dog shows, do you think your own dog could be a contender? Well, in order for your dog to compete in an AKC show, there are several qualifications that he or she must first meet. Each dog must be

1) six months of age or older;

2) registered with the AKC;

3) of a breed recognized by the AKC;

4) intact (females cannot be spayed and males must have both testicles of normal size and fully descended into the scrotum); and (5) free of any disqualifying features as noted in the standard of its breed.

(5) be well prepared for competiton through sufficient training...

In any event, dog shows represent an important aspect of continuation of the bloodline for any specific breed. It id from these events that spawn the best, healthiest, cleanest lineage. In fact, it the safest bet for those considering puppies to only purchase from those that are showing their dogs due to the rigorous standards that the breeders of these dogs must meet.

Date Posted:Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 3 Yaers Ago
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