New to Dog Showing?

Dog Showing image, copyright Ben Lee

If you think that you may wish to start showing your dog, the first thing that you will need to think about is training - for both you and your dog. There are many clubs which specialise in Ringcraft classes and can teach you how to prepare and present your dog so that it looks its best for the judge in the show ring.

It is important that you attend dog training classes before you start to exhibit your dog.  The Good Citizen Dog Scheme is the UK's largest dog training programme and there are thousands of organisations that can help you and your dog learn the basics. The programme includes training for different stages of development starting at the Puppy Foundation course and then through to Bronze, Silver and Gold. Contact the Kennel Club to find your nearest club on 0844 463 3980 or email the Good Citizen Team.

However, it may be beneficial to attend a local dog show before starting classes so that you can get a general idea of what happens at a show and also to talk to other exhibitors. You may also be able to learn a little more about how your breed is shown to 'its best advantage' by speaking to the dog's breeder.

You can find out about up and coming shows through the Events Diary (see "download" section). There are also two weekly newspapers called Dog World and Our Dogs, which carry adverts for shows and can be ordered through your local newsagent. These publications will give you a lot of useful information about the show scene and general information relating to dogs.

The Kennel Club produces publications such as the Year Book and pocket sized individual regulation booklets, which contain all the rules and regulations that govern dog shows and other canine activities (available to purchase through our Online Shop). Although you do not need to know all of them before you enter a competition, there are some things that everyone needs to know:

All dogs must be registered with the Kennel Club if they are to take part in a Kennel Club licensed event (except Companion Dog Shows).

Dogs registered on the Kennel Club's Breed Register are eligible to compete at Kennel Club licensed events. However some breeds on the Imported Breeds Register do not yet have a Breed Standard and are therefore not currently eligible to be exhibited. The Kennel Club also maintains an Activity Register for dogs which may wish to compete in other canine activities (for example: Agility) but are not eligible for breed registration. Go to the Activity Register for further information and for the next step, an application form can be downloaded. Alternatively you can call 0844 463 3980 for further information.

Dog Showing Do's and Don'ts

Here is a list of general do's and don'ts for you and your dog at an event:

  • Your dog needs to be of a minimum age to be eligible to compete in competitions. Refer to the regulation booklet as this varies depending on the discipline.
  • No bitches may be mated within the precincts of a show or competition.
  • You should not allow your dog to foul anywhere other than the allotted 'exercise areas' and always clean up after your dog.
  • Always leave showgrounds and venues clean and tidy.
  • It simply is not acceptable that a dog displays aggression in competition. If your dog growls, or otherwise shows aggression, the judge will immediately exclude the dog from the ring, and from further competition. It is of paramount importance that your dog has an entirely stable temperament when attending any canine event.
  • The Kennel Club expects all exhibitors/competitors taking part in its licensed events to conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner. You should never interfere with another dog in competition, or try to distract a dog, or otherwise impede it from giving its best.
  • You should never handle your dog harshly or use punitive correction at a competition.  The Kennel Club advocates positive training methods at all times.
  • Your dog should be kept on a lead and under control at all times within the showground. Again, safety is paramount, and all responsible dog owners want to enjoy a good day out without problems of loose or unruly dogs.
  • You should never question the decision of the judge. You have entered the show to get that judge's opinion and if he/she does not place your dog, remember that you may have better luck on another day.
  • If your dog has an operation which alters its natural conformation you must write to the Kennel Club to seek permission to continue to show your dog. In order to preserve the integrity of its register of pure-bred dogs it needs to know that the dogs being exhibited at shows are the best examples of the breed and have not been surgically altered to improve their chances of winning. If in doubt, ask the Kennel Club.

Related Topics

Dog ShowingDog Showing NewsDog Shows

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