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There are several ways to compete at dog shows with your dogs. There is agility, rally, obedience and conformation. Conformation is what I compete in. It is sometimes referred to as a dog beauty pageant. Conformation shows are an exhibition of your breeding. The judge’s job is to pick out the dog that in his/her opinion is the best representative of the breed standard as the American Kennel Club (AKC) describes it.
AKC requires a dog to have 15 points to be titled as a champion. Of those 15 points, each champion must have 2 major wins, which means they must compete against the number of dogs in an individual show that AKC determines are required to qualify for a major. That number varies between breeds.
Each sex competes against other dogs of the same sex for Winners Dog or Winners Bitch. Males are called Dogs and females are called Bitches. If you go to a local dog show, it may seem very confusing, watching different groups of dogs go in and out of the ring. Here is how it works:
Each sex is shown by classes. The classes are divided by age and also by other categories such as: Breed by Exhibitor, or American Bred. The Dogs (males) show first—starting with the youngest puppies-the 6-9 mo old. Then they progress to the older Dogs. Each class has a 1st place, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Once all the male classes have been judged, all the first place winners of each class return to the ring to compete for Winners Dog. The Winners Dog is the only Dog to receive points towards his AKC championship. They will also give out a Reserve Winners Dog-which has not points unless for some reason the Winners Dog is disqualified. Sort of like 1st runner up.
This process is repeated with the Bitches (females). Once there is a Winners Bitch, both Winners Dog and Winners Bitch will compete against any already Championed Dogs or Bitches for Best of Breed. When they enter the ring, the Champions will be first, followed by Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. The Champions will all be examined by the judge and then the judge will determine Best of Breed, Best Opposite Sex (to Best of Breed), and Best of Winners. Winners Dog and Winners Bitch are eligible for any of those placements and if the judge places either of them over the Champions, it is possible that the number of points they get may be increased.