What are Dog Shows?
Competitive dog shows date back to at least the mid-19th century, and they provide dedicated canine enthusiasts with a forum to show off their finest-bred, best-groomed pets. In the United States, events sanctioned by the American Kennel Club are considered the most prestigious. These events include Jack Onofrio dog shows and Jim Rau dog shows, both of which are licensed by the AKC, and the world-famous Westminster dog show.
Types of Dog Shows
AKC dog shows take various forms, with each type evaluating different aspects of the dog's appearance or behavior. Some examples of dog shows include:
- Conformation shows. These are the most common dog shows, in which dogs of various breeds are judged based on how closely their appearance matches up with official AKC breed standards.
- Obedience trials. At these dog shows, canines show off their obedience training skills by responding to intensive sets of complex commands given by their handlers. These competitions are usually points-based, with dogs earning points for completing a set of tasks and losing points for penalties and failures.
- Agility trials. At these shows, competitors are presented with a series of tasks designed to test physical agility. Normally, the dogs must run an obstacle course without the promise of treats or toys as rewards.
- Field trials. Retrievers, hunting dogs, pointing dogs and flushing dogs take part in field trial dog shows, competing against one another, performing retrieving, scent tracking and hunting-related tasks over a large area.
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Dog Show Entry Requirements
If you're interested in entering your animal in a dog show, you should be aware that your pet will face a high level of competition; generally, only animals of certified parentage perform well in conformation shows, since they're usually genetically superior to dogs of unknown parentage. Local dog breeders can offer you tips and information on breeding techniques that will yield a more comely and closely conformed pet.
Listings of dog shows in your area are available online, through breeders' associations or your local chapter of the AKC. Entry requirements vary from competition to competition; generally, you'll have to pay a fee and provide complete information about your dog, including its breed, variety, full name, AKC registration number, date of birth, place of birth and the names of its parents. Good luck!