Dog show decoded

Your pooch is a killer… handsome, agile and you have a wonderful dog-handler rapport. You want to be part of the dog show but do not know if your pooch qualifies for it. Here are FAQs on the dog shows.

What happens at a dog show?

Dog shows had an unassuming beginning as folks of pet parents got together and someone they all respected would determine who had the best dog. So, basically a dog show is a place where pet parents get together to determine which dog is the best dog. The criteria for best is the ‘breed standard’ of each breed. The dog show is not a test of skill or ability or how valuable the dog is to the pet parent.
Why do we need dog shows?
The cute Chihuahua or the robust Rottweiler, the elegant Borzoi or the energetic Terrier – if you like any breed, you should know that it took years of breeding and planning to make the breed like you see it today.
Dog shows give breeders a platform to show what they have been breeding, without which there would be no recognition for serious breeders who strive to improve their breeds.
At dog shows, the dog closest to his breed ‘type’ – wins. As all competitors strive to win, dog shows ensure that breeders keep their breeds ‘true’ to the standard. This in turn makes it easier for pet owners to own a well bred dog who is true to his type.
By encouraging a certain ‘type’ and discouraging the others, the judges create guidelines for breeders to make changes/modifications in their breeding programmes. By selecting a certain dog of a breed, the judges are telling “This is how we want this breed to be,” that dog becomes the standard for that region and also become a much in demand ‘stud dog’ for all breeders looking to improve their breed.
What are the types of dog shows?
There are three types of dog shows.

  • Specialty shows – these shows are limited to dogs of a specific breed.
  • All-breed shows – these are open to all breeds.
  • Obedience competitions – these are test of the training of the dog.

Who is eligible to participate in a dog show?

All dogs registered with the Kennel Club of India can participate in a dog show in India.
What is the judge’s role?
The judges observe the dogs and place them according to how close the dog compares with the mental image of the breed’s standard of perfection. These standards include descriptions for structure, temperament and movement. The judges are considered experts by virtue of their time and experience in the sport of dogs.
Why does the judge see each dog individually, running hand over each dog?
A lot of the confirmation of the dog can be gauged by knowing the skeletal structure of the dog. Running hand over the dog is the easiest way to judge that, while it also gives the judge an opportunity to feel the muscular tone, the condition of the coat as well as the temperament of the dog.
Who decides the breed standard?
Breed standards are owned and formulated by the Kennel Club of the respective country. In India, it is the Kennel Club of India, which is affiliated to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and the Kennels Club of England.
How are the winners chosen?
After the entries are made, the dogs are divided into groups. The seven groups are: Toys, Terriers, Working, Gun Dog, Utility, Pastoral and Hounds. Then the dogs are split according to breeds. Then they are put into classes according to age and origin. The judges judge these classes. The class winners then compete for a Challenge Certificate (CC). The CC winners then compete for the Best of Breed (BOB) and Reserve Best of Breed (RBOB) prizes.
BOB and RBOB winners of groups compete to win the group prizes i.e. Group Winner, Group Runner Up and Group Second Runner Up.
First three dogs from the working, gundog and hound groups and the first toy dogs from the Toy, Terriers, Utility and Pastoral groups then compete from Best in Show prizes.
(Philip A Butt is CEO of Commando Kennels, Hyderabad – India’s premier dog training kennel. He has pioneered many new dog sports and training techniques in India – Schutzhund, Flyball, Heel Walk to Music, Agility, French Ring Sports, to name a few. He is trained in “Arms explosive search dog training and Methods” at the United Kingdom Training Centre of Corporate Search Limited, Nottingham, UK. He also learnt techniques in positive reinforcement training at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, UK. As Joint Secretary of the Hyderabad Canine Club, he is an astute dog show organiser)