Upcoming shows and dog-related events can be found here: canuckdogs.com
Quick start for beginners:
• There are handling classes held by the Fraser Valley Dog Fanciers. They are held at the Abbotsford Agriplex. For a current list of handling class dates, please go to fraservalleydogfanciers.com
• There are handling classes held by the Lower Mainland Dog Fanciers. They are held at the Show Barn (Grooming Building) on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds at 176th St at 62nd Ave. For a current list of handling class dates, please go to lowermainlanddogfanciersofbc.com
• Be aware there are cut-off dates for each conformation show and register early.
Conformation showing for beginners
the shape or structure of something, esp. an animal.
“the judges run their hands over the dog’s body and legs, checking its conformation”
Dog shows are held so that people can share their love of a breed and maintain a set of characteristics found within a specified breed description. The ultimate objective is to improve the quality of breeding dogs by having them compete, one against the other. This is a place where breeders can have their breeding stock evaluated by others who are qualified to do so. There are more than 190 breeds of purebred dogs recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. Depending on what the dogs were originally bred to do, they are divided into 7 groups of dogs.
Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers are part of Group 4 – Terriers. These are breeds that traditionally helped control vermin. The soft-coated wheaten was bred to be more of a generalist when compared to other terriers. Among the recognized skill set of the scwt is a herding instinct, and Wheatens are now included in CKC herding trials.
Step 1: Beginners should visit the Canadian Kennel Club website and familiarize themselves with the goals, objectives and rules of conformation dog shows. The CKC is the governing body that sets out the rules and guidelines for conformation shows within Canada.
To participate dogs need to be registered with the CKC and have a five generation pedigree. Shows are mainly for dogs capable of breeding (unaltered – not spayed or neutered) but there are opportunities for altered dogs to compete.
In every breed, in the dogs competing for Championship points, males are judged first, then females. A dog must be a minimum of 6 months of age before it can compete in regular shows. For each sex, at a regular show, there are 5 classes and the judge evaluates each dog; awarding first, second, third and fourth placing depending on the number of entries in the class.
All breed shows are just that, shows that showcase multiple breeds. BC Dog fanciers is an example of an all breed club that will host a number of shows over the year.
Boosters, or ‘supported entry shows,’ fall somewhere between specialties and all-breed shows. Boosters are held as part of a regular all-breed show, but prizes are given for BOB (Best of Breed), BOS (Best of Show), BOW (Best of Winners) and BPIB (Best Puppy in Breed) at least. Often there are prizes for every class winner, as well as for the Winners Male and Female and on up. Boosters also often include some form of recognition for the breed member who places highest at an associated obedience trial. The prizes given will be determined by the folks who actually put the booster on.
Specialty shows are breed specific. The Canadian National SCWT specialty show is held in a different location every year. The US specialty is in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and is often referred to simply as Montgomery. At Specialty shows, less common classes may be offered – like Best Stud, Best Brood BItch amongst others.
BABY PUPPY for dogs between 3 months and under 6 months of age;
JUNIOR PUPPY for dogs between 6 months and under 9 months of age;
SENIOR PUPPY for dogs between 9 months and under 12 months of age;
12-18 MONTH CLASS for dogs 12 months of age and under 18 months of age on the day of the show.
At specialty shows this class may be divided into 2 classes: 12 – 15 months and 15 – 18 months.
CANADIAN BRED for dogs born in Canada. Champions of any country are excluded;
BRED BY EXHIBITOR for dogs which are owned and handled in the ring by the breeder. The handler must be the owner/co-owner and breeder/co-breeder of the dog. The owner/breeder must handle the dog in this class, but need not handle the dog for further awards;
OPEN for all dogs. Usually the older and more experienced show dogs are to be seen in this class;
VETERANS CLASS (at Specialty shows only) for dogs 7 years of age and over on the day of the show. Dogs entered in this class may be spayed or neutred; and
SPECIALS ONLY Dogs which have a recorded CKC registration, Event Registration Number (ERN) or Miscellaneous Certification Number (MCN) and have attained the required number of points for Championship status. Dogs entered in this class will compete for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and Best Puppy if eligible.
EXHIBITION ONLY for all dogs who will be at the show, but will not be going in the show ring and will not be competing.
Step 2. Attend shows. See if you like the atmosphere. Watch the judging in action. Talk to fellow enthusiasts and your local club members.
Step 3. Like any sport or group activity there is a specialized vocabulary you will need to become familiar with. Some examples are conformation specific like stack ( a stance that shows of your dogs outline/shape) or Topline ( the outline of your dog from the top of the head to the tail). Some words are used to describe your dog in action like “gait” or “pacing” while others are about dog handling techniques like ” baiting” ( holding a treat in front of your dog to get a specific behaviour.
Step 4. Take show handling classes. Learn the best way to present your dog to the judges and prepare the dog for the atmosphere of a real show.
Step 5. enter a show. go for it!