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Dog Shows


Dog shows (also called "Championship shows," "conformation shows" and "bench shows") are formalised canine beauty contests held for registered purebred dogs. Foremost of these are the shows held under the auspices and rules of the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, but other registries and organisations such as the United Kennel Club and the American Rare Breeds Association also hold dog shows under their own rules and licensing arrangements.

In theory, conceptually, dogs entered in dog shows are judged against the breed standard for the breed of which they are representatives, such that the winner should be that dog which best represents the ideal for his breed. This is the reason for the term "conformation shows," because the idea is supposed to be that the dogs are judged for their relative "conformation to the breed standard." The dogs are, in theory, not even said to be competing against each other, except indirectly; they are supposed to be judged only against the ideal of the breed standard.

In actual practice, grooming, flashiness, showmanship, presentation, past record of wins, and sheer "dog politics" (sometimes referred to as "judging the wrong end of the leash") carry a great deal more weight than does the breed standard, with which the "judges" of these shows are often very inadequately familiar. A great many are "all-breed judges" who are licensed to judge ALL of the AKC/CKC breeds, which means in theory that they must have over one hundred fifty distinct breed standards by heart. "Professional handlers," who make their living by "campaigning" show dogs owned by others, are inevitably well-known to the show judges and have an enormous advantage, much greater than their mere skill in presenting the dog would allow. Inevitably, too, the "top-winning dogs" of the day are well-known to the judges and always represent safe, unassailable choices.


Structure of Dog Shows


Effects of Dog Shows on Purebred Dog Breeds


External Links:



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Comments (2)

Anonymous said

at 3:32 am on Apr 24, 2007

This page is in the list of stubs - what's it need?

Anonymous said

at 11:37 pm on Nov 9, 2008

It needs what any wiki stub needs -- further expansion and detailed information.

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