So you think that maybe you’d like to try showing your dog but you are not sure how? I’ll do my best to tell you the basics and I will try to keep it simple.
These are the most informal dog shows. Any dog regardless of registration or breed…even a cross breed may be exhibited. They are usually run in aid of charity and to enter you just turn up on the day and pay your entry fee…usually about £1 per class. They have classes for pedigrees and also fun classes such as ‘prettiest bitch’ and ‘best 6 legs’.
Pretty much the same as an open show (see below) but you must be a member of the organising society in order to attend. The membership fees are minimal and limited shows are excellent for introducing young and inexperienced dogs to the world of showing.
These are shows that have to be entered by post 2-3 weeks in advance and only Kennel Club registered dogs are eligible. Open shows are usually held over 1 or 2 days and frequently attract an entry of about 300-400 dogs. Classes are held for each individual breed, there are also mixed classes for breeds which do not have their own separate classes (these are usually the rarer/less numerically strong breeds).
These are the biggest shows. They attract and entry of between 10-12,000 dogs and must be entered 5-7 weeks in advance. They are normally held over 3 or 4 days and include classes for most KC recognised breeds.
Details of when and where a show will be held are published in the national dog papers Our Dogs and Dog World; they can also be found on the internet.
Entering your dog for Championship and Open shows
A dog must be a minimum of 6 months of age in order to enter a KC show. Any dog that has been spayed or neutered may be shown subject to permission from the Kennel Club, they are then entered as per normal and compete alongside all other dogs. Owners of dogs which have had any type of surgery must apply to the Kennel club for permission to show...the KC will then make a decision as to whether the dog may be shown or not depending on the surgery performed.
In order to enter a show you must first obtain a show schedule,these are little booklets which explain and list all available classes at the show in question, they can be obtained through the show secretary.
Once you have obtained a schedule look through it and find which classes your dog is eligible for. Each breed will have a set of classes and all the classes are explained in the schedule, for example 'puppy' is for dogs between the ages of 6 and 12 months and Junior is for dogs up to the age of 18 months. Other classes are defined by the number of wins a dog has previously achieved while attending other shows. Having decided in which classes you wish to enter your dog fill in the form and send it along with your payment to the address as instructed.
Training your dog for the showring
In order for you and your dog to learn show techniques you may find it helpful to attend a local ring craft class. Here you will be shown how to stand and move your dog and what else is expected of you.
Preparation for a show varies greatly from breed to breed. Some dogs require clipping or trimming, most require bathing, others require specialist shampoos or equipment. A good thing to do when thinking of showing your dog is to ask you dog’s breeder for some advice. Alternatively, contact your breed club and ask about show preparation, they will be able to point you in the right direction.
At the show
Passes are sent out to all entrants before the show,these are the ‘tickets’ which will allow you entry to the showground. At championship shows dogs are ‘benched’ while not in the show ring. This means that each dog is allocated a special raised ‘bed’ on which to rest while not being shown. On arriving at a show first obtain a catalogue, each dog attending a show is allocated a number and the number will be entered in the catalogue. At a championship show your number is placed above your bench so look in the catalogue to help locate your bench . If it’s an unbenched Open show you will just need to find out which ring you are due to show in, the numbers at these shows are handed to the exhibitors on entering the ring. All numbers must be worn whilst in the ring.
Once your breed is due to be shown the ring steward (the judge’s aid) will call the classes, he informs exhibitors which class is next due in the ring. The usual procedure to showing in a class is as follows;
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