Basics of the Show Ring

Have you ever watched the Westminster Dog show or the National Dog show on Thanksgiving and thought I wonder how they pick these dogs? These shows are judging the conformation of the dogs and how well each dog meets its breed standard. Each standard is set by breed clubs in each specific registry. The most common registry is the American Kennel Club (AKC). Some other reputable registries are the United Kennel Club (UKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA). The judge picks the dogs they think best fits their breed standard. Each registry has their own set of rules to acquire a championship, for simplicity we are going to use AKC to talk more in depth about.


For Class Animals to get into the Winners ring they need to first win their class. Class Animals are trying to complete their point requirements to be considered a Champion. Once all classes are awarded all the first place Winners go into the ring for “Winners,” this is how they accumulate points. They start with males (Dog) and then transition to females (Bitch). Once they pick Winners Dog/Bitch they bring in the second place dog and pick Reserve Winners Dog/Bitch. Reserve Winners Dog/Bitch is selected in event the Winners has points removed.


Points are determined by how many dogs are entered, each breed has a point schedule for their region and breed. For AKC you need a total of 15 points overall to earn a Championship title and of those 15 points you need 2 majors. To earn a major there needs to be a certain number of dogs in your breed group and it depends on the region where the show is. For example, Aussies at a show may only need 9 other dogs but Golden Retrievers may need 12 other dogs. Majors can be 3, 4, and 5 points but you can only earn a major once from each judge, if you earn a major from the same judge it is counted as single points instead of a major.


The awards that are selected during Best of Breed are Best of Breed (BOB), Best of Opposite Sex (BOS), Best of Winners (BOW). Best of breed and Best of Opposite Sex can be awarded to any dog in the best of breed ring; they just have the opposite sex of each other. Best of Winners has to be Winners Dog or Winners Bitch. If there are more points with Dogs and Winners Bitch takes BOW she will get a great number of points; same if a Dog wins and there are more points with Bitches. They can also earn more points if they win BOB or BOS if there are other Specials entered. Specials are Dogs and Britches who have already achieved their championships at previous shows. If the dog wins BOB it will earn breed ranking points, and if it has already earned its championship it will earn points towards its grand championship. All of the Best of Breeds go on to compete in groups which is typically what is televised.


There are 7 groups in AKC, each group contains different breeds of dogs that do similar things.  For example, all the dogs in the herding group are bred to herd, they are then evaluated by the judge who picks 4 dogs, which are ranked group 1-4, and only the group 1 dog moves on to Best in Show. These last 7 dogs compete for Reserve Best in Show and Best in Show. Whoever is Best in Show is deemed the best dog at the show that day!

Featured products

Calming Pupsicle Pops
Sale priceFrom $14.99
Calming Pupsicle PopsWoof Pet