Matches are practice dog shows. Their purpose is to give a person or dog new to the sport of dog showing an opportunity to practice before entering licensed dog shows. Matches are smaller than regular dog shows, more informal, and less expensive, and can usually be entered the same day instead of several weeks ahead of time, as is required for regular shows.

Matches can offer breed, obedience, or both. Agility matches are also held. In breed matches, puppies can start as young as three months old. Matches may or may not be AKC sanctioned. Those not AKC sanctioned are often called fun matches or show and go's and allow mixed breeds.

Matches also provide a training ground for judges. Keep this in mind when you enter one. Your dog may be scored differently in obedience or placed differently in breed by a more experienced judge at a regular show.

Irish Setter enjoying agility competition.

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