How to Start Showing your Dog

dog grooming, dog shows -

How to Start Showing your Dog

Next month sees the return of Crufts, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious dog shows. Whether you’re heading down to the NEC in Birmingham to watch it in person or following along on the telly at home, have you ever been tempted to join in? Getting your dog up to show standard can be quite daunting and you will need to have a very well-bred pedigree dog to begin with – but everyone has to start somewhere. And if your dog isn’t a pedigree there are plenty of other classes that might be suitable, such as Flyball, Agility or Heelwork to Music.

Why do people love dog shows so much? Ultimately there is something quite thrilling about having your dog judged the best, whether this is on their good looks or merit and skill. If a pedigree dog wins best in show it also adds great value to the dog and their offspring. Whichever breed wins Crufts, they tend to experience a surge in popularity with the general public and general sales of the breed will also increase in that particular year.

Show dog in the ring: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on UnsplashShow dog in the ring: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash

What you need to know, to show

Whilst showing at the highest level can be a very serious matter, it can also be a great deal of fun. Showing your dog takes a lot of commitment and you will need a well-bred dog that conforms to the ‘breed standard’ (desired conformation, colouring etc) before you begin. You will also need to verify that your dog is registered with the Kennel Club and listed on their breed register and that your dog is at least 6 months of age on the first day of the show. Only pedigree dogs are eligible to compete at serious dog shows (Except for ‘novelty’ or ‘companion’ dog shows or other competitive activities such as Canicross, where crossbreeds are allowed to compete).

A winning Schnauser: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on UnsplashA winning Schnauser: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash

Tips for getting started

  • Walk the walk: Find a local ringcraft class to lean the basics of how to show your dog in the ring. The Kennel Club has a useful find a dog club tool on their website which may help you find one in your area. If you can’t find anything locally then there are a quite a few resources online, including ringcraft training videos on YouTube or books on how to show your dog.
  • Watch and learn: Get yourself along to an open show or championship show to watch how your particular breed is shown. Check to see if you can take your dog with you to watch. Dogs are not allowed to attend Crufts as spectators but some smaller shows or county shows may allow you to bring your dog along. This will enable them to soak up the atmosphere and get used to some of the sights and sounds of the rings without being thrown in at the deep-end. All breeds are shown differently so it is important for both of you to see how it is done before you enter the ring for the first time.
  • Talk the talk: Speak to other exhibitors at the ringside. If you share an interest in the same breed you will find it easier to talk to strangers who will generally be very willing to tell you how they got started and what to expect. Just be mindful of what they are doing and try not to disturb or distract anyone that is just about to enter the ring. 
  • Follow the rules: There are a lot of rules and guidelines for showing different breeds of dog. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the Kennel Club show regulations which can be found on the Kennel Club website. You should also be able to find groups and forums relating to your specific breed online who can offer you advice and support when you are getting started.

A companion dog show: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on UnsplashA companion dog show: Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash

Finding the best type of show for your dog

There are several different classifications of dog show. To get into a prestigious show like Crufts you will need to win a premier or championship show first, in order to qualify. The Kennel Club currently recognises 211 different dog breeds, which means there are a lot of qualifying shows happening all over the country. Single Breed shows are for single types of breed, Group Shows will group the breeds together into categories – such as Pastoral or Hounds. General Shows take place over several days with many different classes for all of the different dog groups.

If your dog isn’t a pedigree there are plenty of other options available to you. Companions shows or competitive activities such as agility or working trials will allow you to show off your dog’s looks or talents whatever their breeding.

The Kennel Club has created a really useful guide for anyone who wants to get started with dog showing, which is available to download here as a printable pdf.

Photo by Laula & Co on UnsplashReady to show? Photo by Laula & Co on Unsplash

Getting your dog show ready

Of course the part of showing that we are most interested in is the grooming! Many of our customers already compete at the highest level and use our grooming equipment to get their dog in tip-top show condition.

We have got everything you need to get your dog show ready, with a range of dog grooming baths to suit your budget, grooming arms and grooming tables to hold your dog in place whilst you groom and of course, our best-selling range of dog hairdryers.

Take a look at our online shop for everything you need for the best start in the show ring and if you do decide to start showing, let us know how you get on! 

List of Shows

If this article has persuaded you to take the plunge – or perhaps go along and see what showing is all about here are some shows coming up soon – with entry closing dates – some of the postal entries for these shows have now closed but you can still make online entries. You will need to create an account on Dog Show Central (free) for full access to the entry information listed here. Find more shows online at Dog Show Central

Show types: 

CG - Championship General/Group
CB - Championship Single Breed
OP - Open Premier
OG - Open General/Group
OB - Open Single Breed
LT - Limited Show
OC - Obedience Championship
OO - Obedience Open
OL - Obedience Limited
FC - Fun/Companion
BS - Breed Seminar
GS - General Seminar

Shows:

Bridgend & DKA (OP) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 17/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12070

The Scottish Boxer Club (OB) on 22/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 10/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12198

The Pug Dog Club (OB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 10/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12179

Coventry & District Gundog Society (OG) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12173

The Basset Hound Club (OB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12172

Gateshead Metropolitan Borough C.S. (OG) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 15/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12222

Irish Red & White Setter Club of GB (OB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 10/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12168

Mid-Western Gundog Society (OP) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 10/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12167

Birmingham Kennel Association (LT) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12165

Ashton-in-Makerfield Canine Society (OG) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 10/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12164

Three Counties Pekingese & Cavalier Society (OG) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12157

The Brittany Club of Great Britain (OB) on 23/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 03/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12151

York Canine Association (LT) on 22/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 04/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12140

Folkestone, Hythe & District Canine Society (OG) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 05/02/2020
Online entries close on 09/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12171

The Northern Great Dane Club (CB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 14/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12201

Shetland Sheepdog Club of Wales (CB) on 15/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 14/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12228

The English St Bernard Club (CB) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 14/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12200

British Manchester Terrier Club (OB) on 29/02/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 14/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12199

Home Counties American Cocker Club (CB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 12/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12170

Home Counties American Cocker Club (OB) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 07/02/2020
Online entries close on 12/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12169

Northern Counties Chihuahua Club (OG) on 01/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 08/02/2020
Online entries close on 16/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12176

The Greyhound Club (OB) on 15/03/2020 
Postal entries close on 08/02/2020
Online entries close on 22/02/2020
Further details & schedule available from 
http://www.dogshowcentral.co.uk/viewShow.php?s=12229

Good Luck! 

Main Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

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