It is 8am and the National Anthem begins to play; a hush falls over the crowd and for two minutes this is the only silence all day at a dog show.
I began showing dogs in conformation about twenty years ago. I don’t show a great deal and usually just locally but I do enjoy doing it and Riva does too.
Contrary to what a lot of people think Conformation Dog Shows are not a beauty pageant for dogs.
The history of dog shows dates back to the mid 1800’s. The Westminster show began on May 8, 1877 and is held in New York at Madison Square Garden’s, it marked its 135th year this past February and is the largest all breed show, it is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States behind only the Kentucky Derby.
When presenting your dog to the judge there are several things to do in preparation:
First if your dog requires grooming you must complete this prior to entering the ring, my breed requires very little grooming so I usually use a little grooming spray and work through with my fingers, clip nails and we are ready to go.
Second you must select the show collar and lead that suits your need, I use a serpentine choke with a short show lead that matches as closely to the color of my dog as possible. Why? You want the whole focus on your dog so you don’t want to have anything that would be distracting to the judge, this also incudes your wardrobe.
Now you are ready to present your dog to the judge.
When it is your turn you will walk in the ring and stack your dog, always keeping your dog on your left between you and the judge. Stacking is setting your dogs legs and body in a particular position. The judge then will instruct you on where he wants you to move your dog and you must be able to move the dog so the judge is able to see a good gait.
The Role of the Judge:
Judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the “perfect” dog as described in the breed’s official standard.
These standards describe the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred and include qualifications for structure, coat, temperament and movement.
These official written standards are maintained by each breed’s national club and published in AKC’s The Complete Dog Book.
They examine or “go over” each dog with their hands to see if the teeth are correct, muscles, bones and coat texture match the standard.
They examine each dog in profile, for general balance, and watch each dog gait, or move to see how all of those features fit together in action.
So if you have an opportunity in the future to watch a dog show on television or attend in person just for fun see if you can guess the dog the judge will choose. You can find complete details on conformation shows here.
Wishing Albert and Michelle Good Luck at the Eukanuba Show on Saturday December 17. Albert is the sire to my litter and we are very proud of him.