Dog Shows

What are dog shows all about?
Author: Holly Nelson


When did it all start and why:
In the 1800s, as the beauty of dogs developed into a fad and the canine’s function began to diminish, people started using dog shows as a way to regulate particular looks for different breeds. People who owned certain breeds of dogs began to form clubs to work on developing the look and temperament of their particular breed. Then in 1884, thirteen different breed clubs founded the American Kennel Club, the people in these clubs pledged to do everything they could to advance the breeding, exhibiting, studying and maintenance of pure thoroughbred canines.

Showing dogs a way to exhibit and judge the best:
The American Kennel Club uses exhibiting dogs through show rings as a way to keep up the standards in the breeds. A judge is hired to decide which dog in the breed category is within the best conformation standards for that particular breed. To become a judge a person must have certain requirements and is hired through the AKC.

What is the standard all about?
When breeding live stock or any species of animals it is important to maintain the natural look and also keep the standards in proportion. If not careful, the look of a breed can be altered through poor breeding. Let’s look at a popular breed, for instance, the black Labrador retriever, when this breed was first developed the dogs had stout bodies, their legs were short, and they had thick tails.  Many Black Labrador Retrievers bred in the last 8 to 10 years have been slowly evolving into a different standard.  The most resent dogs of this breed have long bodies, lanky legs and  long thin tails. Looking at the pictures below will give you a visual idea of this difference between the original Labrador and the recently altered one.


Original                                                          Altered

 Even though there are many Labradors around with the newer look, the only Labradors that are exhibited in the show ring are the dogs within the original standards. If we do not have a way to make sure that dog breeds are kept within their original proportions and standards eventually the original look of each breed will not exist. 

Is there really money in dog shows

The purpose of showing ones dog isn’t to receive prize money, even though in some of the big shows there is usually a nice cash prize that goes along with the trophy cup. However, Dog breeders use the dog shows to up the value of their genetic pool.

There is money in the sport, but it isn’t just by winning the show. When a dog wins a show it means that, that particular dog, in that particular breed is the best.  Once a dog is determined to be the best or as we say in dog world ” champion”  many people then want to buy a puppy from the champion dog. Some people want to buy a puppy from a champion just to have a pet from the best dog, others want to buy a puppy from the best line to breed, once a breeder  has bred a dog with a champion then they could most likely end up with a dog that is developed into the best of the best. If you have a dog that has won the top class at a show, or what we refer to as, “Best of Show,” then you can put a very large price tags on the puppies of the winner. That is where the money is. I have seen puppies of some  big winners that cost up to 10,000 dollars or more. That is the extreme case, most Best of Show winner puppies can be sold for $5,000 and if you have 5 to 9 puppies in a litter that can add up to $25,000 to $45,000 just from one litter of puppies.

Showing dogs is expensive:
However, just like anything else there are many expenses along the way. For instance dog breeders can and do spend anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more a year in just showing their dogs, and that doesn’t even include grooming, food, veterinarian bills, leashes, collars, crates, beds, toys, etc…

Though showing dogs is expensive and a lot of work, It certainly gives one a great feeling of accomplishment when the dog is in the ring and is picked to be the winner, especially when you have been working for years to get the correct standards for your breed.

So if you get a chance to go to a dog show, look at each dog knowing that someone has taken a lot of time, money, work and effort in trying to reach a perfect champion of their breed, they are in the show ring with hopes that their dog will measure up to the breed’s standard being best of the best.

Dog show in Humboldt County:
If you are in the Humboldt county area there is a dog show at the Ferndale fairgrounds this weekend, June 27th, 28th, and 29th  and if  you get a chance to go, I can guarantee you will see many different breeds of dogs, and there is always the great anticipation to find out at the end of the show day, which breed and particular dog out of all the dogs at the show will be considered the best that there can be!

*Coming soon*

*What does obedience trails have to do with dog shows? *

Confirmation showing isn’t the only way to show a dog.

Dog shows are also designed to distinguish temperament of dogs.

This is done through many different facets of obedience trails.


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