Fox Terrier Club

of Maryland

Conformation Dog Shows

Dog shows can be complicated and confusing to the non showing crowd.  Some rings have dogs that are all the same breed and later there are dogs in the same ring that are definitely not the same breed.  How does a judge tell the difference between so many dogs that look alike?

Dog shows are for breeders to highlight and advertise their breeding stock and kennel to show off what they have produced. Each breed has a standard as to what the ideal dog should look like.  The standards for the Fox Terriers are on this site.  The standards cover, size, coat, color, head, temperment, head, legs and much more. Dogs that do not fit the standard or have any disqualifying characteristics are not fit to show. The majority of the dogs in the ring closely match the standard and it is the judges responsibility to determine which dog most closely matches the standard on that day.

There are 2 classes of dogs being shown with 2 different goals:

First there are the regular class dogs.  These dogs have not earned their championship status yet.  These dogs are competing for points.

Second there is the Champion dogs who are competing for Best of Breed, Best of Group, and Best In Show.

There are many different classes in a dog show and it starts out separating the bitches (females) and the dogs (males).  None of the regular class dogs are champions.

The main classes are: Puppy 6-9 months,Puppy 9-12 months, Puppy 6-18 months,Novice,Bred by Exhibitor, American Bred and Open

There will be a winner from each one of these main classes in both bitch and dog.  However, none of these winners will get points towards their championship. The winner from from each class will go back into the ring and the best of that group will get Best of Winners and will receive points based on the breed, the area of the show and the number of dogs beaten. The Best of winners group will also have the Best of Opposite Sex which is the best of the group that is opposite in sex of the Best in Winners.

Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex will re-enter the ring with the champion dogs for the competition, Best in Breed.

Later after all Best in breeds have been decided all the Best in Breed winners in a group such as Terriers, working, etc will compete to determine the best in group.

Later after all groups are completed the group winners, the best in group winners compete in the Best in show competition.

Ultimately all dogs are judged against the standard.

It is which dog is the best example of the standard that determines the winner. This is how a judge will compare completely different dogs in drastically different breeds. Hopefully this has clarified what goes on at dog shows for you. Dog shows seem insane, but it is an organized chaos. Next time you visit a show, see if you can figure out what is going on in each ring. And don't forget that catalog! It will let you know when what is going on!