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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.