Archive for Dog Shows

We have all heard of the coveted “Best In Show” title at the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show every year, and chances are that you love to see who wins it each year. The breed, the color, the style, the size – no matter what draws you to see who wins the best in show title each year, every dog owner can see a bit of their best furry friend in that show dog. Most dog owners aren’t familiar with all of the work that goes into getting a dog ready for a dog show. Even more owners have no idea what it takes to win the best in show title over the hundreds of other dogs that are at the show. So what does it take for a specific dog to win “Best In Show”? And what does the “Best In Show” title even mean for those who win it at the Westminster Dog Show?

Let’s start with the title itself and what it means at the Westminster Dog Show every year. The “Best In Show” title is given to the overall winner of the show itself. The judges view hundreds of dogs each year at the annual contest and the overall winner of the show is given the “Best In Show” title. The Westminster Dog Show is an all breed show, meaning that every dog there is judged overall together for the best title as well as several other different awards throughout the show. So, this means that Great Danes will go up against Chihuahuas, Rottweilers will go up against Silk Terriers, and so on, no matter what breed you enter into the show, it will be judged against all of the others. To win that coveted “Best In Show” title, means simply that specific dog is the very best one in the whole show according to the judges.

Now, let’s get into what makes up a “Best In Show” dog and how they are chosen. Every dog in the Westminster Dog Show are judged by the overall standards of their breed. For example, each different breed, such as the English Bulldog, have specific standards according to the Westminster Kennel Club and each English Bulldog in the show will be judged by those standards. These will be different for every breed and every dog entered. Once a “Best Of Breed” winner is crowned for each different breed of dog at the show that year, they then go into a competition with all of the other “Best Of Breed” winners for the “Best In Show” title.

The judges will get all of the “Best Of Breed” winners together and they will take their time going over every one and how high they rank on that breed’s standards. From there, they have to decide which of the “Best Of Breed” winners takes the title of “Best In Show”. Once a winner is crowned, they then start their responsibility of becoming “America’s Dog” and traveling all over the US to different events, shows, and fairs. The winner of the “Best In Show” also gains almost immediately popularity, meaning that any offspring of that particular dog will be highly sought after for many years.

Last weekend was the first time I had ever attended a dog show. This one was held at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus. Oh, sure I had seen the Westminster Dog Show on television but, until you actually sit in on one there is so much you don’t see.

First of all, I was of the mindset that everyone had just one dog. That notion was blown out of the water when I saw one woman with 10 dogs of all the same breed. I also wrongly presumed that these dogs are just dogs; in this environment, far from it. These animals represent hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars invested into breeding, grooming and showing these dogs.

There are no ‘mutts’, Heinz 57 variety, mixed breed or any dog of questionable lineage attending these shows. This is all pure breed stuff, paper work and all. One of the participants told me that these shows accept no ‘riff raff.’
Once a dog has been judged to be worthy of a title, their picture is taken and the discussions begin. ‘What are your stud fees?’ ‘When will you allow her to breed?’ ‘How much do you charge for a pick of the litter?’ These questions don’t just lead to agreements and arrangements they pilot the dog’s owner into profit and prestige.
None of the dogs have been spayed or neutered. Each animal has the potential to be part of the next bloodline of a champion; basically big bucks. I felt badly for the male dogs in the show each one had their profit producing equipment checked as part of the competition. Not at all the standard ‘turn your head and cough.’

If you attend one of these shows you need to be prepared for several things. First, all anyone talks about are dogs. No politics, no discussions of the economy and sadly, no one even talks about the weather just dogs.

Secondly, expect many of the dogs to live better than you do. Thirdly, most of these K9s smell better than you do.
Regardless of the bashing these shows tend to take from the dog ignorant public they are a lot of fun to go to. There is an entire culture dedicated to man’s best friend that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

For more information on dog shows in your area go to

The National Dog Show

The National Dog Show has become one of the most important and best-loved dog shows in the U.S. in recent years. The show is actually held by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia dog clubs that came before have been holding dog shows since 1879. The present-day Kennel Club of Philadelphia presented its first dog show in 1912 and became a member of the AKC in 1913.


Unlike most shows today, the National Dog Show is a “benched” show. This means that the participating dogs stay in crates behind the scenes when they aren’t being shown, with their exhibitors next to them, so they can meet the public. This allows the public to learn about the dogs and talk to the exhibitors about them. In the early days of dog shows in the 19th century, all shows were benched but these shows are rare today. Only six shows in the country today are benched. Most shows are “show and go” now, with exhibitors and their dogs leaving the facility as soon as they have finished showing.


The show became known as the “National Dog Show” in 2001-02 when it was first televised on NBC. The National Dog Show has the coveted slot immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (at noon in all time zones) on NBC and in some markets is shown multiple times during the day. Since a dog show actually takes many hours to complete, the show is filmed the weekend prior to the Thursday airing on NBC. This gives the network time to edit the show and get it ready for TV.


Hosts for the program are John O’Hurley and David Frei. Actor John O’Hurley was well-known as Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld, prior to assuming the role of host for the National Dog Show. David Frei is the public spokesperson for the Westminster Kennel Club and also hosts the television broadcast of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network in February. The National Dog Show annually has around 20 million viewers. Presenting sponsor for the show is Nestlé Purina PetCare, maker of numerous brands of dog food such as Alpo, Beggin’ Strips, Beneful, Dog Chow, and Purina ONE.


The Best In Show winner in 2012 was the Wire Fox Terrier – GCH Afterall Painting the Sky, a.k.a. “Sky.” More than 2000 of the country’s top dogs will be entered this year, representing over 150 breeds and varieties.


If you plan to be in Philadelphia November 16-17, you can attend the dog show in person.


Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks
100 Station Ave, Oaks, PA 19456

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

Adults (ages 13+): $14
Children (ages 4-12): $7
Children 3 and under are admitted free


As usual, the shows will help raise money for a variety of canine-related causes. Previous beneficiaries of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia include the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. There will be conformation judging each day as well as top agility dogs in the ring at each show. Saturday’s show will be filmed for nationwide broadcast on Thanksgiving Day. Sunday’s show offers enhanced athletic dog exhibitions plus family-friendly activities and hands-on fun. The weekend will feature a flyball tournament, freestyle flying disc, and therapy dogs from the Ronald McDonald House. Check out the program for the shows here:


Whether you’re at the show in person or sitting in front of your television, the National Dog Show always showcases terrific dogs and people who love them.

Top Breeds For Winning Dog Shows

The AKC currently recognizes 178 breeds and varieties. Theoretically, every one of these breeds and varieties has an equal chance of winning Best In Show at a dog show. In practice, however, that’s not quite how things usually work out. Some breeds do tend to win BIS more often than other breeds.

Which Breeds Win The Most?

Top-winning dogs vary from year to year but some of the top winning breeds that consistently win Best In Show include Poodles (all three size varieties), German Shepherds, and some of the wire-coated Terrier breeds. Many of the Toy breeds, such as the Pekingese, are also favorites in the Best In Show ring. It’s probably no coincidence that these are all breeds that frequently attract top professional handlers, too. Owner-handled dogs can win Best In Show but the owners have to be very good handlers and the dogs have to be very good.

Top Breeds

According to Dog News magazine, the top dogs in the United States competing in conformation dog shows this year, through the end of August are:


GCH CH Afterall Painting The Sky (F)
Fox Terrier (Wire)
V Malzoni/T Steele/S Olund/M Olund/D Rya

GCH CH Claircreek Impression
De Matisse (M)
Portuguese Water Dog
M Lint/P Helming/D Gottdenker

GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare (F)
Miniature Pinscher
A Angelbello/L Monte

GCH CH Kenro’s Witching Hour (F)
Giant Schnauzer
R Greenslade/L Norton/D Hill

GCH CH Kiarry’s Pandora’s Box (F)
American Foxhound
E Charles/L Miller

GCH CH Clussexx Collaboration
With Traddles (M)
Spaniel (Clumber)
W Holbrook/B Dowd/
A Jaramillo/M Capone/J

GCH CH Mt. View’s
Ripsnortersilvercharm (M)
Pointer (German Wirehaired)
V Malzoni

GCH CH Goldsand’s Columbus (M)
Russell Terrier
M Ulrich/C Areskough

GCH CH Whistlestop’s Riley On Fire (F)
Spaniel (Irish Water)
T Urban/B Urban/G Siner

GCH CH Longo Miller N
Lore’s Diamond Lil (F)
Great Dane
T Longo/J Miller/
L Matherly/C Crawford

Rankings are based on how many dogs a dog has defeated at shows. When a dog wins Best In Show, he or she is credited with defeating all of the dogs that were entered at the show that day.

The Wire Fox Terrier, as a breed, is a frequent winner at dog shows from year to year but most of the other breeds on this list represent some of the less popular breeds. A good dog can really come from any breed. However, you could have the best dog in the country and if you don’t have the means to get him to dog shows on a regular basis, or if he isn’t shown or groomed well, it won’t matter. Most top-winning dogs attend dog shows nearly every weekend and they travel all over the country. There’s a lot of competition to be a top dog.


You can see many of the top-winning dogs over the years on the Westminster Kennel Club web site. The dogs and people listed there read like a who’s who in the sport of dog shows. Click on the Gallery for photos.

Showing your dog at dog shows can be lots of fun for you and your dog. Contrary to what many people assume, you don’t have to be wealthy to show your dog. There are thousands of local dog shows all across the U.S. and Canada each year and they attract hundreds of thousands of dog lovers. Showing dogs is often a family activity with husbands, wives, and kids involved. Many people are involved in shows for decades because they love dogs and they make good friends with other exhibitors.


Getting Started

If you think you might like to get involved in showing your dog, the best thing to do is to attend a dog show – without your dog. Go to a show and just watch what goes on. If you’re not familiar with how dogs are judged or how a show operates, check out the AKC’s page A Beginner’s Guide To Dog Shows Basically, judging starts with the breed ring, where each breed is judged, based on different classes (age groups, male/female, etc.). Once the Best of Breed for each breed is chosen, the judging moves on in the afternoon to the groups. Breeds are divided into groups based on their original functions (Sporting, Herding, Toy, Working, Hounds, Terriers, and Non-Sporting). Each group is judged separately. Finally, once the winners of the groups are selected, the winners meet for Best In Show judging.


One thing that many people don’t realize about dog shows is that they aren’t beauty contests. The prettiest dog doesn’t necessarily win. Dog shows were developed from the beginning to evaluate potential breeding stock for each breed. Each breed has a breed standard that gives details about how a breed should look so it can perform its original job. Throughout the judging from the breed ring to Best In Show, each dog is evaluated according to the breed standard for its breed. That’s how a Chihuahua can be judged in the same ring with a Great Dane. The judge is judging each dog against its breed standard to see how close it comes to the ideal for that breed.


Showing A Dog

After visiting a dog show, if you think you would like to get involved in showing, you should think about the breed and dog you would like to show. Some breeds are easier for a novice handler to show with success than others. In some breeds people are more likely to employ professional handlers to show their dogs. You can start doing some research by visiting the web sites for the breeds that interest you. Every breed registered by the American Kennel Club has a parent breed club and that club should have a web site with information about the breed. They should also list a contact person so you can get more information and ask some questions.


For example, here is the parent breed club web site for the American Shih Tzu Club: This is just a sample but you can see that it has information about breeder referral as well as other information about the breed.


If you are interested in showing, you should talk to a breeder about getting a show quality puppy or dog to show. Even if you already have a dog you love, it’s important to show a dog that is considered to be “show quality.” This means that, in the opinion of the breeder and other dog show people, such as judges, the dog comes close to fitting the breed standard that is used for judging. It doesn’t mean that your dog at home is not as good. It just means that a show quality dog can compete in the show ring. If you show a dog that is not show quality, you will probably spend a lot of time and money and end up disappointed.


Preparing to Show

Once you have a show quality dog or puppy, you will need to do some things to get ready to show. Talk to your breeder about learning to groom your dog for shows. If you have a shorthaired breed, this is usually easy. But if you have a longhaired breed or a breed that requires some special grooming such as a Poodle or some of the Terrier breeds, you will need someone to help you with the grooming or teach you how to do it. It can take a lot of practice to learn to groom some breeds for the show ring.


If you’re going to show your dog yourself, you should also try to attend some handling classes. Many local kennel clubs offer handling classes a couple of months before their local shows. You can contact them to see if they’re offering classes. Some handlers or retired handlers also offer seminars and classes on handling and these are usually well worth attending.


Before the Show

You can find information about upcoming shows on sites such as and make entries there. As the day of the show approaches, you should practice moving with your dog and setting him up or “stacking” him in his position for the judge to go over him. This is especially important with a wiggly puppy. Make sure your dog is also used to having someone examine his “bite” or teeth. If you have a male dog, he should be comfortable with someone feeling his testicles.


You’ll want to make sure your dog is clean and groomed so he is looking his best. Make sure his nails are nice and short and his teeth are clean. Even the smallest things can make a difference in the show ring.


You should get your exhibitor information in the mail a few days before the show. It will tell you the time you show and your ring number. You can usually set up in the grooming area at the show the day before the show if you have a grooming table, dryer, or other equipment.


Be sure to get to the show early so you can be well-prepared. This will also give you some extra time in case you have any emergencies before the show. Make sure to walk your dog before going in the ring. Many exhibitors like to tuck a comb in their pocket, along with some bait for their dog, and a spray bottle of water in case their dog gets thirsty. You might also want to take a towel for your dog to lie on outside the ring.


Pick up your armband number a few minutes before your time to show and fix it in place on your arm. Then wait your turn to go in the ring. And, you’re ready to show!