SO - You've found the breed for you & you want to give Dog showing a 'go' but don't know where to start?
Here you will find some information on where to find show schedules & info on how to complete them & enter your dog for a dog show in the UK.
There are different types of Dog Shows:
Championship Shows - Challenge Certificates are on offer for most breeds. They are normally large shows, lasting a few days. Your dog does not, however, have to have done any previous winning to attend these shows. Some Championship shows do not have Challenge Certificates for all breeds that are being shown & infact there are some breeds that have not been granted 'CC' status yet by the Kennel Club.
Open Shows – a smaller type of show, open to all. Champions can be entered but not many are. Quite often dogs and bitches of one breed are judged together.
Limited Shows – these are limited to 75 classes and any dog that has won either a CC or any win that counts towards the status of Champion is ineligible for entry.
Breed Club Shows - these are limited to a specific breed i.e St Bernard, Bullmastiff etc & are run by the breed clubs themselves. They often schedule Championship shows yearly along with Limit & Open shows & are only open to dogs of that breed for competition.
Match meetings – locally run training classes for the show ring. CC winners cannot enter.
Most of this information applies to Championship Shows unless stated otherwise.
Show Schedule – a printed booklet which includes a classification for each breed and also shows details of venue etc. The schedule will also contain an entry form. There are 7 Groups & your dog will come under one of these. Working, Pastoral, Hound, Terrier, Gundog, Utility & Toy. It is published approximately 3 months in advance of the show date. These are automatically sent to potential exhibitors by post or if you exhibited your dogs the previous year; or, they can be picked up at other shows; or, by contacting the appropriate Show Secretary; or, on-line at www.highampress.co.uk, www.fossedata.net, www.cidweb.co.uk or http://www.penneypine.co.uk. Also the Dog newspapers such as Our Dogs & Dog World list both Open, Championship, Limit & Club shows.
Making an entry – filling in an entry form with details of the dog to be entered, date of birth, owners/breeders, and classes entered. The fee must accompany the entry form and it is sent to the Secretary. Dogs have to be a minimum of 6 months of age on the first day of the show; there are certain classes which depend upon the age of the dog (e.g. Minor Puppy – 6 to 9 months, Puppy – 6 to 12 months & Junior 6 to 18 months of age) Dogs normally compete within their own age group but once they are older than 18 months then the class they are entered in depends upon their previous wins. Entries are normally made by post and the closing date has to be adhered to and is normally referred to by the date of postmark, not the date the entry reaches the Secretary. Entries can also be made for some shows on line. e.g www.dog.biz www.fossedata.net or www.cidweb.co.uk
Please note than only dogs entered for competition can be admitted within the precincts of the show and this includes the car park. Dogs should not, in any circumstances, be left in cars. If they are it can have fatal results for the dog and may result in some form of disciplinary action.
Dogs can, however, be entered “Not For Competition” or “NFC”. This means that you include them on the entry form, paying a reduced fee but they are not eligible for competition at the show. You can then take the dog into the show.
Exhibitors Pass – This is sent to your home address usually 2 weeks prior to the show. Printed upon it are all the details relating to you; your dogs; and relevant show documentation. You must show the Exhibitors Pass to gain entry into the Showground. If it is mislaid you need to contact the Secretary at the Showground. The exhibitors pass will also show the following details:
Bench number – at Championship shows all dogs are benched. This means that a steel/wooden type structure is provided by the show. Your dog should be put in this (apart from when he/she is being exercised). Most small breeds will be put in a cage or travelling box before being placed in the bench. All dogs of the same breed are normally benched in the same area. Large dogs do not have boxes or cages; they are secured in the bench by means of a benching chain. At an Open or Limit show there are NO benching areas for dogs.
Show Catalogue – this is available only on the day of the show and provides a complete listing of Exhibitors, dogs and classes. A map of the showground; start times etc. and all relevant information for the show is included in the catalogue. It is quite normal for catalogues to be ordered (and paid for) in advance at the time the entry is made. Your exhibitor’s pass will include a slip which enables you to collect your catalogue on arrival at the show. You should always check that your details are shown correctly in the catalogue and if they are not you should speak to someone in the Show Secretary’s office.
Day of the Show – you should always make sure you know which day of the show your breed is being judged. Different groups of dogs, e.g. Terriers or Hounds can be judged on different days.
Take a water bowl and food (the latter for both dog and human!)
Start time – you should always allow plenty of time for your journey, there are very often queues of traffic going into the show. You do not register when you get there but the first thing you should do is to find your bench and settle your dog. Judging usually begins at 10 am but for larger breeds it can start at 9 am. See your schedule for more information.
Order of Judging – this is printed in the catalogue and sometimes enclosed on a leaflet with your ‘Exhibitors Pass’. This will show when and where your breed is to be judged. Judging takes place in a...
Ring – this is an area of ground cordoned off which contains a table on which the judge will examine each dog. At outdoor shows there will always be a separate ring under cover where judging can take place if the weather is unkind. You should make sure you know where to find this. This ring is often called the “wet weather accommodation”. Before you go to the ring you should make sure that you have your…….
Ring Number – you will find this at the top of your bench. It will be the same as your bench number. This is to be displayed on your person so that spectators can identify your dog and look it up in the catalogue. (The judge does not have access to the catalogue until after the show!!) At Open, Limit or Club Shows your number will be given to you as you enter the ring to show your dog.
Judge – a person who is qualified to judge your breed and, for Championship Shows, is approved by the Kennel Club to judge at that level.
Ring Stewards – are present in every show ring and will instruct you where to stand. They will also make sure that you are displaying the correct ring number.
Showing your dog – the normal procedure is for all dogs to enter the ring, not in any particular order, but they all stand in a line. Dogs are normally shown on a slip lead, this is a nylon lead used specifically for showing and can be bought at the shows, or some use a metal chain collar & seperate lead. Some use a Chain collar & lead. Use what you feel most comfortable with. The judge will sometimes ask the first exhibitor to lead all the exhibitors around the ring, once or sometimes twice.
By doing this, the judge makes his or her first assessment of the dogs in the class. Always make sure that you walk with the dog nearest the judge, i.e. do not position yourself between the dog and the judge (or the judge will not be able to see your dog properly). The judge will then examine each dog on the table. You will hold the dog in position to make it easier for the judge. The judge will then ask you to move your dog, usually by walking it in a triangle shape so that he/she can get a view of the dog’s back, front and side movement (gait). You will then return to the line of exhibitors.
When the last dog has been walked you should have your dog ready to look its best before the final decision is made. Sometimes a tit bit will help your dog look more alert. Some breeds are shown on a loose lead, some are “stacked” (held by the exhibitor with the dogs head and tail placed to show off the dog’s outline). In classes where there are a lot of entries the judge may select several dogs from the class for a closer look. This is known as “being pulled out” or “making the cut”.
The judge will then place normally 5 dogs, 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. When the judge is satisfied with the placings, he or she will tell the steward who will hand out the prize cards. If you are not placed you may leave the ring, but you should wait until you are satisfied that the judging is finished.
If you win 1st, 2nd (sometimes 3rd) place the judge will ask you to stand and continue to show your dog for a little while whilst the critique is done. He or she will make brief notes and will enlarge upon this after the show. These critiques are sent to Dog World and Our Dogs for publication.
When all the classes of one sex have been judged the unbeaten winning dogs will be called back into the ring to challenge for the……….
**Challenge Certificate (C.C. or sometimes known as the ‘ticket’). This is a certificate which the judge signs stating that in his or her opinion the dog is worthy of becoming a Champion. These certificates are awarded by The Kennel Club (the dog world’s governing body who licence all shows) and a special certificate is posted to the exhibitor by The Kennel Club at a later date. Your dog will need three of these awards, given by different judges before he/she becomes a Champion. This status is also awarded by The Kennel Club. The judge has the right to withhold the CC (and RCC) if he does not think any dog entered in any class is worthy of being a Champion.
**The Reserve Challenge Certificate - All unbeaten winning dogs then challenge for this award. This certificate states that the dog given this award is worthy of being awarded the CC should the certificate winner be disqualified. This doesn’t happen very often! It is at the judge’s discretion to call into the ring the dog place second to the CC winner.
Best of Breed – the Dog CC winner and the Bitch CC winner (or Best of sexes if no CC’s are on offer for your breed at the General Championship show you have attended) then compete for Best of Breed. If your breed is one of the breeds the Breed Watch by the Kennel Club, (Category 3 breed) the dog that is declared BEST OF BREED must undergo a Veterinary Health Check by the veterinary surgeon at the show. Once the dog has passed this check, the exhibit then enters the group for his breed i.e Working, Pastoral, Hound, Terrier, Gundog, Utility &Toy. This is judged towards the end of the show and is very often judged by a different judge to the breed classes. Normally it is an experienced judge who judges more than one breed at Championship show level.
The winner of the group then challenges the other winners of the other groups and eventually the Best in Show award is made.
Best Puppy - The unbeaten Bitch Puppy & Unbeaten Dog Puppy 'challenge' each other after Best of Breed has been awarded. The winning puppy is then awarded 'Best Puppy in Breed' & will go onto compete in the 'Group' against all other unbeaten puppies. Not all shows schedule a Puppy Group & you must check this before leaving the showground.
** CC's are not always allocated to a breed at many championship shows & certainly are not awarded at Open or Limit shows. In these cases a BEST DOG & RESERVE BEST DOG are awarded**
Secretary (office) – the Show Secretary has an office on the showground to deal with any queries.
Show Manager – deals with the organisation of the showground.
Veterinary Surgeon – is present on every showground at Championship shows. It us usual at Open or Limit shows that a Veterinary Surgeon is 'On Call' & not generally present at the show itself. If they are required to attend to any needs, the show manager will call them if necessary.
Crufts Qualifications – you have to qualify your dog at General Championship shows before you can show at Crufts Dog Show. For a list of qualification criteria click here Crufts & How to Qualify
Not for competition (NFC) – dogs may be entered ‘not for competition’. This means a bench will be provided for your dog but it cannot compete in the show. At shome Championship shows there are 'Unentered dog' areas. This is where ANY dog not entered NFC or for competition must stay whilst you attend the show.
Other Awards – There are two other significant awards that can be added as a suffix after the dog name:
JW – for Junior Warrant & Sh.CM – Show Certificate of Merit
- Junior Warrant points cannot be claimed from classes or for awards with less than three dogs of the breed present. In assessing the number of dogs present in each class, exhibitors may count a dog as having been present in a class provided it was entered in that class and was present in its first class for the breed at the Show.
- A Junior Warrant will be issued on receipt of an application from the registered owner at the time of qualification, in respect of a dog that has obtained 25 points between the ages of 6 and 18 months. A minimum of three points must be won at Championship Shows where Challenge Certificates for the breed are on offer and a minimum of 3 points won at Open Shows or Championship Shows where Challenge Certificates are not offered for the breed. The scale of points is as follows:
- 1 Three points for each First Prize awarded in a Breed Class at a Championship Show where Challenge Certificates were on offer for the breed.
- 2 One point for each First Prize awarded in a Breed Class at a Championship Show where Challenge Certificates were not offered for the breed, or at an Open Show.
- 3 Three points for the award of Best of Breed at a Championship show where Challenge Certificates were on offer for the breed if no Junior Warrant points were gained by that dog by winning a Breed Class or Classes at that show.
- 4 One Point for the award of Best of Breed at an Open Show or at a Championship show where Challenge Certificates were not on offer. Only to be claimed if no Junior Warrant points were gained by that dog by winning a Breed Class or Classes.
- 5 Three points for the award of Best Puppy in Breed at a Championship Show where Challenge Certificates were on offer for the breed (effective from 1st January 2014). Only to be claimed if no qualifying Junior Warrant points were gained by that dog by winning a Breed Class or Classes at that show and only to be claimed if the dog awarded Best Opposite Sex Puppy has also gained one or more points having won a Breed Class or Classes at that show.
- 6 One point for the award of Best Puppy in Breed at an Open show or a Championship Show where Challenge Certificates were not on offer (effective from 1st January 2014). Only to be claimed if no qualifying Junior Warrant points were gained by the dog by winning a Breed Class or Classes at that show and only to be claimed if the dog awarded Best Opposite Sex Puppy has also gained one or more points having won a Breed Class or Classes at that show.
- 7 Only one claim can be made where a dog has been declared both Best Puppy in Breed and Best of Breed. 8 Junior Warrant holders will be awarded a Stud Book Number. 9 The title “JW” may be used after the name of the dog on Show entries and in catalogues.
Show Certificate of Merit
A Kennel Club Show Certificate of Merit (ShCM) will be issued on receipt of an application from the registered owner at the time of qualification, in respect of a dog that has obtained 25 points at General and Group Open Shows.
A minimum of five points must be won in Group Competition. The scale of points is as follows:
- 1 Five points for Best in Show
- 2 Nine points for Best in Show at a General Open Show or Group Open Show not judged on the Group System effective date 1st January 2011 (five points for Best in Show at a General Open Show or Group Open Show not judged on the Group System if gained prior to 1st January 2011)
- 3 Four points for Single Group Best in Show
- 4. Seven points for Reserve Best in Show at a General Open Show or Group Open Show not judged on the Group System effective date 1st January 2011 (three points for Reserve Best in Show at a General Open Show or Group Open Show not judged on the Group System if gained prior to 1st January 2011)
- 5 Three points for Reserve Best in Show at a General or Group Open Show judged on the Group System. (Effective from 1st January 2014)
- 6. Group placings will obtain the following points (Multi Group Shows only): 1st - four points, 2nd - three points, 3rd - two points and 4th - one point (Puppy Group placings do not gain points)
- 7 One point for Best Any Variety Not Separately Classified (AVNSC Hound, Gundog etc. winner of overall Best AVNSC)
- 8 One point for Best of Breed
- 9 Only points won on after the 1st January 2003 may be counted towards this award The title "ShCM" may be used after the name of the dog on show entries and in catalogues.