Entering a dog show

Once you have decided which show you would like to take part in you will need to contact the secretary of the show and obtain a copy of the schedule (these are free of charge). It is worth finding out whether you can make your entry online as many of the shows offer this facility.

Once you have found your way to the right part of the schedule you will need to select which class, or classes, you would like to enter - the schedule will always offer detailed definitions of each class. It is worth mentioning that you are not limited to just one class, and you can enter as many classes as your dog is eligible for and that you wish to compete in.

Once you have deliberated over the schedule and chosen which class or classes you would like to compete in you must complete the entry form accurately and legibly. Signing the entry form is important as it forms the contract between you and the Show Society. If the dog is jointly owned, both parties should sign the entry form unless one of the parties has the express written permission of the other to sign on their behalf. By signing, you are declaring that your dog is fit and healthy to take part in the show, and that you will abide by Kennel Club Rules and Regulations. This is essential to the management of the show and for the sport in general. You will need to send your entry and payment well in advance of the closing date of entry to the show.

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.


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