Saturday, June 30, 2012

Newbie Q&A: Entering the Classes

Q: Which class is the best one to enter?

A: It depends. Remember that Winners Dog (or Winners Bitch, if you have a girlie) is the place where you want to be. That's where the points are awarded. To get there, you have to get first place in your class.

When you enter a show, your objective is to find the class that gets your dog to Winners.

That might sound simple, but there are lots of factors to consider. First, you have to make sure you're entering a class for which your dog is actually eligible. Next, you have to consider classes where other dogs are also contending for the coveted first place. In addition, you need to think about which class might be the one from which the judge will pick Winners Dog/Bitch.

If your dog is younger, there's a lot to be said for entering in the age-appropriate classes (for example, 6-9 Month Puppy). Your dog would be competing against other dogs his own age, instead of against more mature dogs who have already gone through their awkward puppy growth stages. Most judges will cut some slack for the younger puppies who might have less ring experience, too — and above all, you want your dog's ring experiences to be positive ones.

All class dogs may enter the Open class — which is both good and bad news. You'll probably have to defeat more dogs in the Open class to finish first, but many judges like to pick Winners from the Open class. Remember, getting to Winners is key, but what you really want is to be picked as Winners Dog (or Winners Bitch). The Open class might have the most competition, but it's also the class you might want to enter if you want to get Winners Dog/Bitch.

On the other hand, many other judges like to pick Winners from the Bred By Exhibitor class, but if you're not one of your dog's breeders, you can't enter that class.

You might try some of the less popular classes, such as American Bred (assuming your dog was born in the USA). Even if you're the only person in that class, a first place there is still your ticket to competing for Winners.

How about Amateur Owner-Handler? If you're not a professional, you may enter this class with any eligible dog, from puppy to adult. Some people feel that the AOH class is a good place for non-professionals to compete against other non-professionals, and that it's good experience. If no one else enters that class, you finish first and — guess what? — you get to compete in Winners. Other folks feel that simply entering this class is equivalent to hanging a huge sign around your neck that says I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING. Remember that the comfort of being in AOH is short-lived; after your 2 minutes are up, you'll have to face experienced owner-handlers and professionals in Winners anyway.

Entering a dog show is a big guessing game. You will not know for certain who else has entered the show until entries close and the numbers are added up. In addition, you won't know who the competition is — or how many points will be awarded to the Winners Dog/Bitch — unless everyone counted in the entry breakdown shows up on the day of the show.

What can you do? Just take all the information available, think about it, and do your best. That's all you can do, and you can't be faulted for trying.


Cherie K. Miller said...

I started out showing dogs in obedience and moved up to confirmation. While there I showed in Junior Handling, which is where I learned a lot about the dog show thing. Then I graduated to working for a professional handler...There's always more to learn. Thank you for sharing your lessons.

I'm dropping by on the blog hop today and featuring a parrot rescue story - that will definitely have you in tears....
drop by

K-Koira said...

Great advice about it. Conformation showing has always just been so confusing that I have never really considered it- along with not currently having a purebred dog! However, now that I am looking at puppies for sometime in the future, conformation has been on the radar.

SassyThePup said...

Very good post! Following you now. Pls come check out my blog and return the follow. Thanks!

Collie222 said...


We've been showing collies for 9 years now. If you have any questions, or just want to talk dog shows, I'd be happy to help!

Kat N collies!

James said...

Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Dog Showing Community? Our members will love it.
Members include: Dog Owners, Breeders and Lovers
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website… it’s a win win. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like. It’s free and easy.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
The Dog Showing Community:
James Kaufman, Editor

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all!

Just hoppin' by to say "hi".

Thanks for stoppin' for a visit.

Glad you enjoyed your time as a steward in the Chessie ring. I don't get to show any more 'cause of my allergies...the vets thought a "snip" might help. Still do some agility and rally but don't compete 'cause my Human Papa's declining health keeps us pretty home bound.

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Alex Louise said...

Hi, just wanted to say your dog is beautiful. I have a bearded collie x called Bruno and as he is not pedegree we are not able to enter propper dog shows but have been taking part in fun dog shows for about 7 years. He has come 2nd in the grand final of Scruffts at discover dogs in Earls Court and won over a hundred ribbons. I have a lifestyle blog but regularly post about dog shows we have entered etc so would be great if you could check it out and follow thank you x

Mighty Mite Dog Gear said...

Love your blog and would like to invite you to enter our blog writing contest! Winner will receive a multi-cart dog show crate dolly! You can find the entry rules on our Facebook page here:

Julie Myers said...

Dog shows have always been one of my favorite things to watch. I have two dogs myself, and I've been thinking about getting into shows myself. Your post helps to know what class to enter the dogs in. One of them is just a puppy still, so your part about entering into the 6-9 Month Puppy section is very helpful. I will be looking to start doing this myself now!