Showing dogs is one of the most rewarding parts of being involved with the breed.
Every show is a chance to compare puppies, theories, and techniques, to discuss current and past champions, to cajole the best performances from the merry beagles, and to laugh with fellow breeders as the day wears on.
We love to see the dogs enjoy their part, and are always up for a chance at the next show. It’s hard work, preparing the dog and packing to get on the road, but you can’t beat the company.
It’s more than a sport – it’s a lifestyle.
How young are puppies taught to show?
Pictured below is (an unusually small) four-week old Beagle who’s just learning how to “stack” (pose) for show. You’re never too small to start!
Pups don’t begin their show career until they’re 6 months old, so at this age they have a lot of growing and playing to do. As they mature, they’ll develop the self-confidence, balance, gait, and self-discipline that will make them shine in the show ring.
We do our part by ensuring they have ample room, a good variety of toys and playmates, and that they eat well-balanced diets.
One concern we keep close at heart is ensuring the puppy enjoys the rigors of showing.
Often an outgoing pup is delighted at the attention and challenged by the discipline, focus, and obedience required. But as much fun as it can be at first, it can all be exhausting, overwhelming – and even boring after a while.
We try to introduce showing at an early age, and then stop once the pup “learns the ropes” and before the excitement wears thin.
Later, when as a mature adult the dog is ready to settle into a show routine, they find the skills come back easily, and they’re more temperamentally suited to a long campaign. They love the attention, and their ability to focus is much more mature. Showing should be fun for all involved!
I’ve heard the term, “AKC-Registered” – what does it mean?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) was established in 1884 to promote the study, breeding, exhibiting and advancement of purebred dogs. It is the largest not-for-profit purebred dog registry in the nation.
AKC registration means a dog, its parents, and its ancestors have ALL been registered members of the same breed. It does not indicate health or quality of the dogs but only registered dogs can have their offspring registered and can compete in AKC events.
Where can I find more information about conformation shows?
Like the Westminster Dog Club show at New York’s Madison Square Garden and the AKC Eukanuba Invitational?
The AKC describes conformation shows and offers free publications such as Rules Applying to Dog Shows. To order the rule book free of charge, contact Customer Service at 919-233-9767 or via email at OrderDesk@akc.org.
How Can I Start Showing My Dog?
The best place to start is by joining a local kennel club, whether an all-breed kennel club or a breed-specific specialty club. A listing of clubs by state can be found on the AKC Club Search page or through their customer service department by calling (919) 233-9767.