CKC/AKC dog show works as a process of elimination, with many opportunities
for winning or losing along the way. There are around 150 recognized
breeds able to compete.
There are usually between 300 and 2000 dogs entered at a given show
here in Canada, depending on the location. Only ONE
dog at each show will be awarded the much sought after "Best
In Show" award. Many others will win their classes. Only
two of each breed will win points by going "winners," Others will go
on to win their breeds (BOB), and therefore win the opportunity to continue
on to compete and win in their respective groups on the way to (hopefully)
winning " Best in Show."
say you have a 10 month old Boxer bitch who you think is outstanding
(in your opinion). The first step is to enter a dog show. Approx one
- two months before the all-breed show, you should have received your
Premium List from the Superintendent and/or Show Secretary (Now days
you will most often have to pick premium lists up at the shows or view
and print them online. Check out the MJN Show Services website or Canuck Dogs for premium lists. Or for a more
complete listing of show supers in Canada and the US, check here
The Premium List, is where you find the show dates, location,
judges' names and their assignments, entry forms, entry fees, camping
fees etc. You should notice that the closing date for entries (date
at which entries can no longer be accepted) is just three weeks away, so
you begin to fill in your entry form. Next question...what class do
you enter her in? Good Question!
First you have to compete with other dogs of the same breed and sex
in the classes. The regular classes that are offered are:
you must decide which is the right class to enter your puppy bitch. She
is eligible for the senior puppy class (9 -12) remember, she is 10 months
old, but you have other choices and its important to make sure that you
enter her in the right class. Be absolutely sure she is the correct age
on the day of the show for the class she is entered in. You could choose
to enter in Novice, but the Novice class usually contains mostly dogs
that are either not trained sufficiently yet, or perhaps not seriously
competitive in terms of physical maturity. Since your dog was bred and
whelped in CANADA, the Canadian Bred class is a possibility, or if she
was bred and whelped in the US, then the AmBred Class at AKC shows would
be a choice ( but if owned in Canada, she must have an AKC registration
number). Again - this class is more popular with breeds that have a high
number of imported dogs, such as Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs, Shiba
Inu, etc or at Specialties. Since there aren't a lot of imports in your
breed, you know you'd probably be the only one in your CanBred class,
and you'd really like to get the practice and have the judge's opinion
of your bitch compared to other exhibits. The Open class is certainly
a possibility, but you've watched a few of these huge classes with those
fully mature, well muscled and conditioned bitches, and there's a fairly
good chance that those bitches will make your puppy bitch look very immature
instead of the lovely example of an puppy that she is (in your opinion).
You should probably go with the 9 -12 class, as in a months time when
its show time she will be 11 months old and still eligible for this class,
where there will be a good entry and she'll be compared against others
her own age.. You finish your entry form, write out the approx. $25 entry
fee cheque, get it mailed right away so it will be delivered well before
the closing date. You know how slow the Canadian mail can be! Of course, entries can also be done online at The Entryline (Canadian Shows). To enter online for AKC shows go to the show superintendents website to do so. A list of show supers can be found here.
weeks have passed quickly and you've been working, conditioning, grooming,
going to handling classes, practicing, and cooking bait until your kitchen
smells strongly of liver and garlic. You have received the Judging
Schedule, so you know what time you must be there to show your girl.
You're both READY. Friday morning before work, you pack your van with
your grooming table, tack box, dog food, water, camping chairs, first-aid
kit, show clothes, etc - everything you need to take to a show. After
work at 5:00 PM you race home, throw everything in the car and take
off down the highway. You drive 6 hours to the show city, arriving very
early and flop into bed for a quick few hours of sleep before the show.
dream of winning with your Boxer puppy.
alarm sounds at 5:00 am. As usual, there's a large entry of Boxers.
The judging schedule which the superintendent/secretary sent you shows
that Boxers are in ring 3 at 8:00 AM - which means you'll leave the
motel at 5:30 to get to the show site by 6:00 in order to get space
to set up and start grooming. Forget breakfast - you won't want to eat
till its all over.
paying your $5 parking fee and driving around the show building a gazillion
times looking for the unloading zone. You finally find a good space
and its not too far from the rings! After many trips back and forth
hauling your equipment and dog into the building, you park your van.
You return to get ready. About a half hour or so before your ring time,
you should go and pick up your lucky (you hope) armband from the Superintendent/Secretary. (Canada) or ringside (US).
You should spend 20 minutes or so watching and learning how the judge is running
her ring, and what kind of dogs she is putting up. You know that there
are four bitches in the class ahead of you, and you know that a judge
is only allowed approx. two minutes per dog, you should go get your
dog at this point and stand by ringside so you are in plenty of time
for your class.
IT'S NOW TIME FOR BOXER JUDGING!
judge finishes with all of the male class dogs and winners and begins
with the females. She places the 6-9 bitches in the order that she judges
them and their respective merits, and awards a 1st through 4th place
winner in the class. The first and second place winners should wait
outside near the ring. This is explained later. Now, just before you
enter the ring you should check your lead and collar take a deep breath.
Now, think about the next steps. Relax and do your best. Your dog needs
to feel your confidence.
the ring Steward calls in your 9 -12 class by saying " 9 -12 month Boxer
Bitches in the ring in catalogue order please" Since you have the second
lowest number, you gait in second as she calls out your number. Don't
just walk in and look around. Make sure you know what the judge is doing
by watching them for a bit prior to the judging of your breed. Make
sure that your girl looks super as your enter the ring at the proper
gait. Many judges first opinions are formed at this time. You make sure
that your arm band is visible to the Judge and Steward on your way into
the ring. They must check off who has shown up for this class and who
Once in the ring, at the proper place, you stack your dog where you
watched the previous class line up. You are very nervous, but you try
to remain calm, cool and collected - stacking your girl, quickly and
smoothly, as you learned at handling class. Your instructor has had
you do this many times before. The judge begins going down the line-up,
getting a first impression of the dogs. She goes over your dog, examining
its headpiece, expression, bite (dentition), and overall structure
from head to tail. She asks you to move your dog, She has had the previous
dogs, which you watched, do a triangle pattern. She explains the pattern.
You gait your bitch in a smooth, straight line. Straight out, across,
and back to the judge on the diagonal, so she can see how well your
dog moves going and coming. Make sure you stop at least 2 feet away
so you don't run into the judge. Now, this is the time to free-bait
your bitch to show animation and expression, and to give the judge the
best view possible of all your dog's qualities. Your puppy girl behaves
beautifully, and stops in an absolutely beautiful pose. She baits nicely
with ears up and tail wagging. The judge smiles as she ask you to take
your dog around to the end. Both you and your dog are working well together
today. You have your nerves under control, your puppy feels your confidence
and responds to it. You play with your dog to relax her and yourself
as the judge goes over the other dogs and puts them through their movement
exercises. All during the time she is examing the others and you are
playing with your girl, you continue to keep an eye on the judge, making
sure that your girl always looks good even during play time. some judges
will sneak a peek back at the one they have previously looked at while
looking over the others. Now, you notice that she is moving the dogs
order around, but all are still behind you as she asks you all to take
your dogs around together for a last comparison. Your heart leaps out
of your chest as she points to YOUR GIRL and says " First..." You're
sure she told the other's what their placements were, but you didn't
hear a THING after "First." You line up in front of the placement numbers
as the judge hands you your blue ribbon. You and the 2nd place 9 -12
winner should watch and wait ringside as the other classes are judged.
soon as the Open Bitch class is finished, you prepare to go back in
the ring with the other first place winners from the Boxer Bitch classes,
and compete for WINNERS BITCH.
first place winners from each of the bitch classes in that breed that
day, compete for Winners Bitch.
would be the 1st place Junior Puppy Bitch, the 1st place Senior Puppy
Bitch, the 1st place 12-18 Bitch (if class was available at this show),
the 1st place Novice Bitch, the 1st Place Bred-by Bitch, the 1st place
Can-Bred Bitch, and the 1st place Open Bitch. When returning to the
ring for the winners class, the ring steward will call all first place
class winners back in reverse order to what they were shown in. Open
bitch winner will be first in line etc. After the Winners Bitch is selected,
the bitch who took 2nd place to the bitch that went winners in the class
that the Winners bitch came from is asked to come in and compete with
the remaining bitches for "Reserve winners Bitch." There are no points
awarded for Reserve. Reserve is like a "runner-up" and is only awarded
points if, for some reason down the road, the Winners Bitch is disqualified
for some reason and her winners award is disallowed. Many of us call
Reserve winners 'best of the losers'.
the Winners Class you should gait into the ring in reverse class order,
with the Open Bitch in first and the Junior puppy bitch coming into
the ring last. The judge checks a few points on the bitches she is considering
for the WB win, moves them individually, then gaits them together. You hold your
breath. She points to YOUR girl and announces "Winners Bitch!" At this point
you will probably jump and holler with the sheer join of winning points on your
puppy, but do try to restrain yourself. You don't want the judge to think you
are surprised, you want to show confidence. Be happy but be confident.
Now go to the placement numbers and show the judge your armband number
again as she gives you the WB ribbon and records the number in her
judge's book. The other 1st place winners stay in the ring, and the bitch that
took 2nd place to you in your Senior Puppy (9 - 12) class comes and
takes your place in the line-up to compete for Reserve Winners Bitch.
comes the Specials Class. The finished Boxer Champions of both sexes
line up and are ready to enter the ring for the Best of Breed competition.
Usually the male "Specials" are put in the front of the line, the bitch
Specials behind them, then the Winners Dog followed by the Winners
Bitch coming in behind. Again, you gait in and line up, stacking your dog
as quickly, smoothly and professionally as possible. Each dog is examined
and moved. The judge can then select either a male or female from any
of this group to be "Best of Breed." She will then pick a dog of the
opposite sex to the one she chose as BOB to be awarded "Best of Opposite
Sex." In addition to these two awards, she will select from between
the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch for the "Best of Winners" award.
Around the ring you go, ending where you began to line up in a free
stack. The judge pulls you out and asks you to stack your dog "over
there." Dumbfounded, you do as you're told. She pulls out a beautiful
male special and stacks him behind you. "Around together!" the judge
commands and you take off barely touching the floor, with the special
in hot pursuit. Your bitch is reaching and driving effortlessly and
moves as well as the beautiful male special. You can hardley believe
it but you think, she is considering your girl for the breed. Then the
judge reverses you and the Males Special asking you to go around again.
She then points to points to the male special as Best Of Breed and then
points to your bitch and say "BEST of Opposite Sex !" It was so close,
you nearly had Best of Breed. Your breeder is standing ringside, she
jumps and hollers with joy. She points to the winners dog and says
Best of Winners. Having been considered for the Breed and then losing BOW to
the WD one would assume that the judge was looking for a mature Bxoer for the
wins. Fortunately the winners dog was not a puppy so you will still get to come
back into the ring and compete for Best Puppy in Breed.
try to compose yourself as you thank the judge, trying not to cry with
the joy of it all. You must now remain in the ring, as you have
to compete with the rest of the as yet undefeated puppies for Best Puppy
in Breed. This will be both male and female puppies. All puppies who
have not to this point been defeated by another puppy are eligible to
compete for best puppy in breed. This includes any puppy special who
may have been entered in the specials class. In this case, seeing as
your puppy bitch took BOS only male puppy specials would come back
to compete as theoretically your puppy girl has defeated all the bitch
specials by going BOS. This is usually done fairly quickly. The judge
points to you. Your girl has just won Best Puppy in Breed, and must
remain until the end of the group judging to compete in Best Puppy
In Group competition. If you miss the puppy group judging you will lose
any points awarded to your bitch that day.
check with the show superintendent/secretary or the judging schedule
to see when the group will be judged and find that your group; Working,
will go in first. You will need to be ready to compete as soon as the
Adult Working group has been done. While you are waiting for Group time,
you get your chair and take it to ringside and watch as the other breeds
complete their breed competition. You pay special attention to the judge
that is doing Dobes, as he is going to judge the Working Group. By sitting
and watching other breeds you are learning what this judge is looking
for. You notice that he is consistently placing dogs that move well
with free effortless ground covering movement. The dogs he is putting
up are very well balanced.
will want to watch the Male Boxer Special who won Best of Breed when
he goes in for Group judging. He is a Boxer so you will want to cheer
for him. All of the BOB winners from the breeds in the Working Group
enter the ring. The top winning Siberian Husky, a very strong Rottweiler,
then there's that great handler with his beautiful Doberman Pincher,
they are all here. The Working Group is usually very strong, and one
of the largest groups here in Canada. Today, the working group is a
very large and highly competitive group of dogs. Once again, each breed
is examined and moved as the judge compares each dog to its own written
standard of the ideal specimen of that breed. After some juggling
around, moving a couple of dogs together, the judge pulls the Boxer
out in first place. He then makes his other 3 placements. The adult
dogs leave the ring with their ribbons.
Now, since the Boxer has won the Group you don't think you have a chance
at Best Puppy In Group. None of the other Group placers are puppies
so all the puppies who have won Best puppy in their respective breeds
must come into the ring to compete. You gait into the ring proudly with
your bitch and try to get into a position at the beginning of the line
so that when everyone is asked to move around your girl with be able
to move out and show off her wonderful effortless movement. After examining
and moving each of the puppies in contention, the judge goes up and
down the line trying to decide on the Best Puppy in the Group. You have
your girl on her toes showing very well, but don't think he will choose
a Boxer because the Boxer has won the Adult group. He asks everyone
to move around one more time. The judge points and says....the Boxer.
are ecstatic. You have won Best Puppy in the Working Group. Your breeder
literally carries you back to your setup as you rest up for what comes
next. As the winner of Best Puppy in the Working Group, you will represent
all Working Dogs in the Best Puppy In Show ring at the end of the day,
following the Best in Show Competition. Now is a good time for you to
exercise your bitch. Then you can return to the Group rings to watch
the remaining dogs compete in their respective groups.
1.Sporting (dogs used for hunting waterfowl and upland gamebirds;
i.e. retrievers, pointers, setters, spaniels)
2.Hound (dogs who track by sight or scent)
3.Working (guard, pulling and/or rescue dogs)
4.Terrier (dogs who were bred to kill vermin)
5.Toy (dogs who were bred strictly as small companions to people)
6.Non-Sporting (dogs whose original job no longer exists, or who no
longer are used for their original function)
7.Herding (Dogs bred to gather and move livestock - formerly part of
the Working Group)
Watching other breeds is an excellent way to learn and develope what
the oldtimes call "an eye for a good dog"!!
IT'S TIME FOR BEST IN SHOW JUDGING!!!
the last group enters the ring, you exercise your bitch again and put
her on the grooming table to groom her once more. Not that she needs
it, but this is probably more for your benefit than hers. It will give
you something to do while you are waiting to compete. After all, how
dirty can a Boxer bitch get in such a short time?. This is THE BIG ONE,
and everything needs to be perfect. You check your tack, make sure that
YOU are as well groomed as your dog, do a quick breath check, stuff
your pockets with bait, run to the washroom just ONE more time, then
head over to the BIS ring to watch the Group Ist winners from all the
groups compete for BEST IN SHOW. They come into the ring gaiting at
their best speed in group order with the Sporting dog winner first,
Hound dog winner next, and then the Working group winner etc. The judge
goes over each of them again, and moves them individually, and together.
Back and forth he goes. At this stage of a dog show there are some excellent
quality dogs in the ring and the BIS ribbon could go to any one of them.
The judge pulls the Boxer out and moves him once again. He then pulls
out the gorgeous Irish Setter and moves him down and back and around.
Out comes the Bouvier and he moves again. The judge is obviously having
trouble making up his mind. Finally, after much walking up and down
the lineup, he goes over to the table and marks his book. He returns,
asks everyone to stand and moves everyone around the ring together.
Around they go.....they all look so gorgeous.
judge points and say.....THE BOXER IS BEST!!!!
heart sinks!!! You are happy for the Boxer, but just know that now you
have no chance at winning Best Puppy in Show because most judges won't
put the same breed up for both wins. You now take a very deep breath
and as the Ring steward calls your number, you enter the ring at exactly
the proper gaiting speed for your bitch. That German Shepherd Dog's
handler ahead of you is looking your girl over very carefully. He is
in for a surprise as your girl will have no trouble keeping up with
him the way she can move. You quickly get your bitch in the line-up
and stack her perfectly, showing her lovely outline and classic headpiece.
You look up to see where the judge is and notice that he is looking
at your girl. You take another deep breath. Your heart is beating a
thousand times a minute, you take time to play with your dog as you
wait for the others to be judged, but as the last dog is moved, you
begin to stack your bitch in preparation for the final judging. The
judge pulls out the German Shepherd Dog puppy and moves him. You heart
sinks. He sends him back to his place ahead of you. Then you hear him
say, "May I see the Boxer move again please?" You start to shake. Take
another deep breath and around you go to the applause of the crowd as
she flies by them. The judge signals you to return to your position.
He walks slowly back to the Steward's table and marks something in his
book. Time is standing absolutely still...you are sweating bullets and
looking towards your friends for additional strength as he and the steward
walk back to the center of the ring, with the huge pale blue rosette
ribbon and a trophy in their hands. He asks for everyone to go around
one more time, and the crowd goes wild as she points to YOUR DOG and
says the words you will NEVER forget; " THE BOXER IS BEST PUPPY IN SHOW!"
Of course we all realize that this is a dream case senario. Don't we
just wish that our first show could happen like this!! There will be
many heartbreaks along the way. The reporte that you build with your
dog makes it all worth it.