Glitz, Glamour and Hard work of Dog Shows around the Globe

Kritika Manchanda

Admit it—that at some point you were totally amazed to see the furry buddies in a dog show. The poise and grace our dogs display in the ‘conformation show’ are unmatchable. And the final result is as they say–beauty with brain. But a lot of hard work and training goes behind all of this. Let’s find it out.

 

For pet parents, their furry babies are just perfect and deserve all the accolades in the word, but a conformation show means a real business. Conformation shows are any other dog show where a judge evaluates purebred dogs on various criteria, the most important being how well do they conform to the mental image of the breed type. The show is not about comparing one dog to another. Rather it is about how close the participant reaches to the mental image that the judge has of that breed.

 

Judging process
But the debate on conformation show is about how each dog can match the mental image of the judge. There are chances that at times the judgment may be subjective. For example—the judge’s perspective of a healthy coat or obedience may vary from the trainer’s perspective. There are international bodies, which we shall talk about in the latter half of the article that overlook the entire shows and maintain fair standards. Judges are usually allowed to judge only one or several breeds. There are several all breed judges as well, and we can imagine how difficult their work would be. Heaps of experience and dedicated training go into the making of a judge, especially an all-breed judge.
In a conformation show, contesting dogs are divided into categories based on gender and at times age. Each dog earns points or certification based on certain predefined criteria to finally reach championship titles. They usually compete in hierarchical manner; the winners from the lower levels are narrowed down until the final round.

 

In Australia
Australian Kennel Council is the administrative body for pure breed canine affairs in Australia, which organises Australian National Kennel Council Dog Show. There are championships held throughout the year in which various clubs participate. And if you think it’s all fun and games, think again. For each championship, trials are held and only the best qualify to the mains. Some of the participating clubs include – Golden Retriever Club of SA Inc, Boxer Club of NSW, Labrador Retriever Club of SA, Afghan Hound Club of Victoria Inc, Cocker Spaniel Society of NSW and Bullmastiff Club of Queensland.

 

Dog shows in India
Kennel Club of India (KCI) is the official body in the country for registration of litters. The main objective of the club is to promote scientific and ethical breeding. Kennel clubs from all over the country are registered under KCI. They are divided into four zones – North Zone: Amritsar Kennel Club, Delhi Kennel Club, Gurgaon Kennel Club, etc; South Zone: Bangalore Canine Club, Golden Retriever Club of India, Coimbatore Kennel Club, etc; West Zone: Kennel Association of Goa, Gujarat Kennel Club, Bombay Presidency Kennel Club, etc; and East Zone – Guwahati Kennel Club, Calcutta Kennel Club, Silchar Kennel Club, etc.
Ongoing debate Although dog shows are popular all around, there is a section of the society that is strongly against it. The judgment is always a matter of debate because of its highly subjective nature. Experts have also raised questions on the breeding practices that are believed to compromise in one way or the other with the health needs of the purebred dogs.
Keeping posture, coat length and obedience aside, we salute the sheer brilliance that each and every canine displays in these shows to the best of their abilities. Intelligence, patience and poise, they have it all. Thus, it is righty said that never underestimate the superpower of a dog!

 

Ongoing debate
Although dog shows are popular all around, there is a section of the society that is strongly against it. The judgment is always a matter of debate because of its highly subjective nature. Experts have also raised questions on the breeding practices that are believed to compromise in one way or the other with the health needs of the purebred dogs.
Keeping posture, coat length and obedience aside, we salute the sheer brilliance that each and every canine displays in these shows to the best of their abilities. Intelligence, patience and poise, they have it all. Thus, it is righty said that never underestimate the superpower of a dog!

 

Globally popular

Conformation shows happen all round the year in one or the other part of the globe. While some of the shows are of local level others are of international level. Some of the international conformation shows are so prestigious and popular that they only allow dogs with championship titles to participate. The two most prestigious breed shows of the world are – Crufts (UK) and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (USA).

Crufts: This is a one-of-its-kind dog show that is held each year in Birmingham, England. Recognised as the largest show by the Guinness World Records, Crufts has seen a lot of changes since its formation in 1891. Usually held over four days in early March every year, Crufts is an annual championship conformation show that includes activities like agility, fly-ball, obedience and more. But competing in Crufts is no easy task. It is not an open championship. The participating dog must qualify by successfully competing at a Kennel Club licensed championship. Dogs compete against each other within the same breed depending upon age and gender. The participants who win in each class compete again for the all-important challenge certificate. At this stage, the best in the breed is chosen.
Further, the next step in the process is competing against others in their groups to find the best in the group. The contestants are divided into seven groups – Toys, Gundogs, Hounds, Utility, Working, Pastorals and Terriers. The best in class receives a trophy and a cash prize

 

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: This is one of the most popular dog shows in the US. It has progressed manifolds since 1877 when it was first held. Each year the show is organised with increased zeal and enthusiasm in New York City. It is a two-day affair organised every year in February, featuring all breeds. At the first proceeding in the show, dogs compete with each other at breed level. Each ‘Best of the Breed’ winner makes it to the next level, which is the group. The organisation has named seven groups—Terrier, Sporting, Non-Sporting, Working, Herding, Hound and Toy. The group winners advance to final round and finally the judge selects the ‘Best in the Show’.  Wire Fox Terriers have won this competition for the maximum number of times