The Wonderful World Of Dog Shows: A Beginner’s Guide

BevHills_iStock_000020580100_LargeFor the average pet owner, dog shows can be an interesting, albeit slightly confusing, performance. Each dog is stunning in his or her own way, gliding, strutting, or trotting about the arena attached to their handlers by a leash. But how many of us know exactly what is going on here? How are the dogs judged? How does a dog and its handler qualify, much less prepare, for a dog show?

According to the Westminster Kennel Club (the gold standard of dog shows, in case you didn’t know) “The basic purpose of dog shows is to facilitate the evaluation of breeding stock for use in producing the next generations”.

Dog Shows 101

The main consideration at most dog shows is the dog’s “conformation”, or overall appearance and structure. Dogs compete against one another based on their breed’s standards, which are outlined in detail in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) publication, The Complete Dog Book. The competition between the dogs essentially boils down to a process of elimination, with one dog being named “Best In Show” in the end. Continue…