There is a lot to an All-Breed Dog Show, and learning all the details can be confusing! It is important to remember that it is OK to be confused, and overwhelmed your first time attending, and there is always someone who is willing to help explain things. Just ask! FOr now, we are going to try and give you a quick explanation of things and how you will see them work. Here we go...
Let's start with the beginning, which are called 'The Classes'...
The classes are for dogs who are trying to obtain their championship. To begin with all dogs in the classes are divided by age categories, and by sex with male dogs always being judged first. The classes move like this until we get to Best of Breed!
There are five general classes, remember, we do these for each sex:
- Junior Puppy: For puppy dogs that are between 6 months and 9 months of age.
- Senior Puppy: For puppy dogs that are between 9 months and 12 months of age.
- Canadian Bred: For dogs that were bred in Canada.
- Bred-By-Exhibitor: For breeders to show off dog they have produced, the dogs MUST be shown in this class by the person that bred them.
- Open: For a dog of any age that has not yet achieved its Champion title. A lot of people will enter dogs in this class if they have an entry that is older or particularly mature for its age.
Dogs are called into the ring in order, one class at a time. They are then examined and moved for evaluation by the judge, and then the first four dogs are placed in order of conformance to the Breed Standard, with First place being the best conforming dog, Second being the next best, etc... Each dog placed is given a ribbon signifying its placement, Blue for First, Red for Second, Yellow for Third, and White for Fourth.
If your dog wins its class, it does not get points. It must go back in the ring for the Winners Competition and compete with the winners of all the other classes for Winner's Dog or Winner's Bitch, depending on it's sex.
If your dog wins its class, it must then go back in to the ring and compete with the other class winners for the Winner's Dog Competition, where points are awarded. First all the male class winners go in together for the Winner's Dog competition, then all the female class winners go in together for Winner's Bitch competition.
WAIT! If you won the Winners competition with your dog or bitch, you are not done yet! You now need to go back in for the Best in Breed Competition...
BEST IN BREED (BOB)
This is also called the 'Specials Class', and is a class that consists mainly of of dogs that are already breed Champions. These dogs are often competing for Grand Champion titles, and all breed points. Since the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch are chosen as the most conforming dogs of their sex in the non-champion classes, they are also entitled to compete for Best in Breed.
In this class the Ring Steward will call in the Male Specials first, followed by the Female Specials, and they are followed by the Winners Dog and last (but certainly not least) the Winners Bitch. In this class the judge awards Best in Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Best of Winners.
When the judge selects his Best in Breed, he must also select a dog of the opposite sex for the Best of Opposite Sex award, unless there are no dog of the opposite sex entered. Then he must select wither Winner's Dog or Winner's Bitch for Best of Winners. The dog awarded Best of Winners then gets to include the dogs of the opposite sex in their count for points, so this cam make the win ever more exciting! If the judge picks one if his Winners dogs for Best in Breed, then that dog automatically gets Best of Winners.
If none of these awards was won by a puppy, the Ring Steward will have to call a Best Puppy in Breed class, and the judge will then select the Best Puppy in Breed. If BOB is awarded to a puppy, then the puppy is automatically awarded Best Puppy in Breed. Sometimes there just is not any puppy competition, in which case there is no award.
If a dog wins BOB or BPIB, they still have to stick around for Best in Group Competition!
BEST IN GROUP
Competitions are divided into seven (7) Groups of dog breeds: Sporting, Hounds, Working, Terriers, Toys, Non-Sporting, and Herding.
Best in Group Competition is judges after all of the breeds of the group have been judged. The Best of Breed winners then all go in together for the judge to select the Best in Group. Similar to the Class competition, the judge awards four placements for best in group and gives bigger ribbons (called rosettes) to the placing dogs, in the same color order as in the classes. The dogs that are awarded placements in the group are also given all-breed points depending on how many dogs were entered at the breed level.
The dog that wins the Group competition must then stay for Best in Show competition!
After Group competition, there is Puppy Group Competition. Unlike in the Group, there is only one winner in the Puppy Group, and that winner goes on to Best Puppy in Show!
BEST IN SHOW
This is the dog shows BIG finally! A lot of the time the show club will add to the excitement by making the ring bigger for this competition, thus giving the dogs lots of room to move!
All seven dogs that were awarded the Best of their group enter the ring for Best in Show. Usually the Ring Steward calls the dogs in to the ring in Group order, starting with the Sporting Group and ending with the Herding Group. The judge then looks at these dogs, once again, just like they have for every dog on that day... with a physical exam and by moving the dog. Dogs are moved as individuals and in a group. Most times, the judge likes to put in a bit of a Show while doing this, making sure each dog gets plenty of time to strut it's stuff and to build the excitement! The judge will bring out the BIG ribbon when it comes time to point to that special dog!
Sometimes, there is also an award called Reserve Best In Show that will be given before the Best in Show award to the dog that is next best to the BIS dog.
And finally, there is a the Best Puppy in Show competition! The same thing happens here where seven puppies, one from each group, are called in to the big ring for the big award!
sometimes there are classes that are 'Unofficial' in nature held. They are used for fun and to recognize dogs that are unable to compete in the 'Official' classes listed above. These classes are:
Veterans Class: for all dogs over 7 years of age.
Baby Puppy Class: For puppies that are between 3 and 6 months of age.
We are not going to discuss these classes here for the sake of simplicity.