Breed, or conformation, shows are the beauty shows of dogs. They are the kind of show you've seen on TV every February at the Westminster Kennel Club. These shows actually have the serious purpose of maintaining the appearance and healthy structure of purebred dogs so it is known which dogs are the ones most deserving of being bred. Judges aren't picking the prettiest dog. They are judging the dogs against the nationally accepted description of the breed, called a standard. Judges feel the dog's bone structure and watch the dogs trot to assess their ability to move. Dogs earn championships by earning points. These points are earned by defeating other dogs in competition. Once a dog earns 15 points, he is awarded a championship for a lifetime.
Dogs are shown in good physical condition with beautiful, skillfully groomed coats. While it may look easy, showing in the breed ring is quite an art. Some people hire professional handlers to groom and show their dogs.
Before you invest much time and money in showing a dog in breed, it is a good idea to find out if your dog is of good enough quality to be competitive. Just because your dog is AKC registered does not mean he is show quality. Very few are. Your chances are best if one or both of your dog's parents have their championships. Try to have your dog evaluated by someone you trust who is knowledgeable about your breed. This could be someone who has finished a few championships on dogs of your breed, or it could be someone who handles dogs in the showring professionally. A good place to learn more about your dog's quality is to purchase the AKC video about your particular breed from the AKC. There are handling classes to learn how to show your dog in breed, and matches are the place to get started.
Showing a Whippet in breed (or conformation) competition.
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