My friend Jodi over at jodistone-life with Sampson and Delilah…the 411 asked me a question regarding what is stacking your dog. I tried to explain this to her in words, which I don’t know how helpful that was, so I looked around the internet for some video’s and found this site

I thought for those who have never attended a dog show or trained a dog for the ring would get a lot of insight from these video’s on the work and training that goes into getting a dog ready to enter the show ring.

I have read posts from others with some very negative comments regarding dog shows and I think that may come from lack of knowledge about them. So here’s a little dog show 101; 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 136th 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.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that a dog show is a beauty pageant; nothing could be farther from the truth. 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. The standards describe the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred and include qualifications for structure, temperament and movement. These official written standards are maintained by each breed’s national club and published in AKC’s “The Complete Dog Book”.

When you enter the ring the Judge  will examine or “go over” each dog with their hands to see if the teeth, muscles, bones and coat texture match the standard. Then the Judge will 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.

Here is the link to the Westminster website and a video of well you guessed it, the Chessie’s from 2012, it gives you a good picture of a dog show in action.

So you see it has nothing to do with beauty at all! Because what it comes down to folks is to show the Judge your cream of the crop so to speak, dogs you would use in your breeding program to enhance your breed. You only have two minutes to show the judge your dog and let me tell you it goes by quickly so you have to be paying attention and do your best to present what you hope will be the dog the Judge awards the points to.

I hope this was helpful in explaining what a dog show is all about!


24 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Show Dog!

  1. Good explanation and the videos definitely helped. Although I did not think the person in the e how video did a very good job of explaining stacking. She made it seem like you just put the feet where ever and it is the standing that is important. Uh no you want to place the feet in the correct position for the dog. Well her stacking looked a bit off to me anyway. What did you think?


    1. It was a little hard to tell on such a hairy dog 😉 I had told Jodi to look at the brown dog on the ACC color chart because he is in a very nice stack. Maybe that will be another post, pics of hard stacked and free stacked dogs. The Westminster video showed them stacked real nice though.


  2. Bravo! great post! Dog showing is so misunderstood these days, I wish more people would go and attend a show to see what it is really about!


  3. Hey Misty,

    Thanks for posting the videos and for the shout-out! I see what you mean now about stacking, although I’m still not sure I understand the purpose.

    In my opinion dog shows (much like nany other dog sports) are more for the people than the dogs. The dog doesn’t care if he’s best in show. LOL

    They sure are a beautiful breed though, or maybe that’s just the lab in me shining through (I think Chessie’s look a lot like labs in my uneducated eye.) 🙂


    1. You are welcome!!

      Well the purpose of stacking is to show the angles of your dog in the rear and the front, it also shows the shoulder and the whole outline of the dog.

      Ah yes you are right it is for the people but the purpose in essence is to present what would be good breeding stock and dogs that are able to do what they were bred to do to the judge that fits the breed standard. I guess in a way you could kind of say it’s like a compliment for producing good sound dogs.

      The reason we breed is to improve from one generation to the next. Take my breed for example, if I bred an inferior dog not only would it not be a good representation of the breed it would not be able to perform in the field or water. It really goes back to the whole genetics thing but when I bred Riva I had a clear understanding of what I wanted to improve on so I set out to find the perfect male to compliment her and add what needed adding and so far I could not be happier with what was produced.

      Oh yes they are mistaken for labs quite frequently but you can be sure I correct that when it happens, LOL


  4. Hi Y’all,

    Liked your post on stacking. Really enjoyed seeing the Chessies at Westminster.

    Just wanted to stop to see how your week was. Hope your weekend is a great one!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


  5. I agree Westminster is a great one to show stacking and most other parts of a dog show. My only difference would have been to show the link to the 2004 show when the winner was…..Josh, the Newfoundland 🙂


  6. Love your blog! I just found this post from a random search and got to snoop around at some of your other ones…since I should be going to bed right now I’ll have to put off reading more posts until later. Look forward to it though!


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