The show day in practice. As there is not that much difference in visiting shows wherever you are in the world. I still prefer to go more into detail of visiting shows here in Europe.
On various internet sites, like for example Dogshowcentral UK or IABCA USA you can check which shows are scheduled for which dates. Once you selected a dog show, you should do the following:
- The dog has to be entered for the relevant show, this can be done online, but also in writing. Always keep in mind the closing date for entering that particular show. Often you will get a discount when you enter at an early stage.
- On the registration form you will have to enter all kinds of data. For example, the name of the dog, but also the parents of the dog, pedigree number, and the name of the breeder must be entered.
- Then you will have to select the class in which you wish to participate with the dog. Below are the different classes described. For every country or organisation, it might be slightly different. But here we talk about the Dutch system which is normally controlled by the F.C.I. Please keep in mind that the deciding date for the age of the dog is the date on which the dog is participating on the show.
|Baby class||4 to 6 months|
|Puppy class||6 to 9 months|
|Junior class||9 to 18 months|
|Intermediate class||15 to 24 months|
|Open class||15 months to 8 years|
|Working dogs class||15 months and onwards|
|Champions class||15 months and onwards|
|Veteran class||8 years and onwards|
|Breeders class||9 months and onwards, bred by exhibitor|
Simultaneously with the submission of the registration, you must pay the fee for entering the show. Normally when everything is fine, you will receive proof and confirmation of this all. A few weeks before the show you will receive a participant card and a catalogue number for that particular show. Sometimes when you entered last minute, you might have to pick up all these details and items on the day of the show itself. You can then go to the secretariat or the information desk and they will be normally there to help you.
It’s very important to check whether the dog(s) has valid vaccinations at the time of the show.
Then its “D-Day”. The day that you will enter the show with your dog! Make sure you leave your home on time. There is nothing worse than stress yourself -and obviously your dogs- to get there on time. We normally leave at least 1 day in advance. This because we think it’s optimal for the dog when it has had a good night’s rest.
If a show starts at 10 o’clock, make sure you are there at least 1 or 2 hours before. It gives you time to prepare yourself, your dog, and if there is a possibility, get your dog used to the atmosphere at the show. Please keep in mind and obey the Exhibition rules. Personally, we like to go into the ring with our dogs before they start the judging, just to let them smell and familiarise themselves with it all, but often this is not allowed.
What do we take with us:
- Entry card of the dog
- Animal passport
- Collar and line, and obviously your show line!
- Safety pin for participant number, or upper arm holder where this number can be shoved in
- Brushes if needed
- Water + drinking bowl
- Food (for after the judging!)
- Rewards for the dog (like small snacks)
- Dogs favourite toy
- Plastic bags in case the dog has to poo
- And finally, a chair for yourself…
At the dogshow
We always look for a quiet spot. Preferably as close as possible to the particular ring where your breed will be judged. You can find this in the catalogue. This can be online or printed. If they have not send you the entry card by post, you will be able to pick up this entry card at the ring, and if not at the secretariats desk or information desk. In 9 out of 10 occasions you know before you go who is the judge, but if not, it’s often displayed outside the ring. As well as the exact time your breed has to enter the ring.
If there is any doubt, you can always ask questions to the people of the organisation who are in the ring. They are normally very helpful and will guide you when they see it’s your first time on a show. Please note, keep an eye on it all very closely, make sure you are on time at the ring. When it’s your turn, and you have not shown up, you will have to wait until the next show… Being on time is your own responsibility.
The judging itself
The catalogue shows the order of the classes. The ringmaster calls the numbers and then you are expected to enter the ring. In the ring, all dogs of that particular class will walk/run a few rounds, the lowest numbers first, and all dogs will be walking on the left of the handler. So that means that the dog will always be between yourself and the judge. After that, each dog from that particular class is individually judged. It is intended that during the individual inspection the dog is placed in such a way that the judge can see its profile and its front and back. We call it stacking a dog.
The judge looks at the overall picture of the dog, the teeth, angles, proportions, gait, etc. For the judge to see the movement of the dog he will ask you to walk with the dog. If the judge is finished with judging the dog he will kindly ask you to join the other participants again, and you take place at the end of the row.
It’s very important that during all this time your dog shows itself from it’s best side, mainly because even the judge is judging another dog, he is always comparing the dogs with eachother from the corner of his eye. Once all the dogs have been judged individually the judge will place the dogs in the order he would like to see them.
You can teach this all yourself all this by looking for examples at Youtube videos, or visiting shows before you go yourself. We strongly recommend to follow a handler’s course, or following a ring training course (as we call it in Holland). During this course, you will learn all the little tips and tricks related to dog shows.
“Best Male”, “Best Female”, “Best of Breed” and “Best in Show”
Next, we will see the judge choosing “Best Male”, “Best Female” and “Best of Breed”.
It is common practice that the males enter the ring and will be judged first, and after that the female dogs. This all goes according to the age of the dogs. They will start with the puppies and will finish with the veterans. At the end of all these classes from the males, the best male will be chosen. All number ones, from all classes will enter the ring again, (only if they have been qualified with Excellent!) and the judge will ask all the participants again to walk with the dogs, he will look again at them very briefly and will then place the dogs. The best Male, the number 1, will receive his CAC and in some cases his CACIB. This CAC and CACIB will be explained in another section on this site.
The number 2 from the class where the best male has come from, will enter the ring again. And this dog will now participate with all the other dogs for the second place. The dog that is placed second will receive now his reserve CAC (and in some cases the reserve CACIB). All the same will happen with the females.
“Best of Breed”
And finally the best of breed will be chosen (BOB). The best Male and the best Female will enter the ring, and the judge will choose the dog which is best in his eyes.
The Best of Breed dog will enter the “Ring of Honour” at the end of the day. In the ring of honour the best dogs of each breed will compete per group. In our case under FCI rules it will be group 3, terriers. Following onto that all best dogs from each group will compete against each other to obtain title of “Best dog of the show”. It all sounds complicated but when you see it, it is all quite straight forward.
The baby and puppy class don’t participate for best male or female of the breed. They receive their judging report, but they can only receive 3 gradings; “Not promising”, “Promising” or “Very promising”. Dogs that receive “very promising” will participate for best pup or baby from the show of that particular day.