Making sense of dog shows
Making sense of dog shows
It’s great to watch the big dog shows. A lot of them are on TV these days. The best part is seeing all the different breeds. If you are not a dog enthusiast, there are always new breeds of dogs that you have never seen before. As the race progresses, I always start rooting for a few favorite dogs. It is sometimes a mystery how the judges decide between all the magnificent dogs in each group. So which dog show am I watching? What are the Dog Olympics? It would be nice to know how they are organized, so it will be easier to follow our adorable animal friends during these races.
Dog shows are held all over the world and are known as conformation shows. There are also many other competitions such as agility, obedience, hunting, tracking, etc. In conformation shows, individual dogs are judged on how well they represent their breed and therefore their ability to carry on the quality of the breed to future generations. Each dog is judged against its breed standard, which is a detailed description of the perfect dog of each breed. If a dog deviates from the breed standard in any way, it will receive a violation or the judge will deduct points. Only purebred dogs are allowed in these races.
There are countless dog shows every year; some big and some small. Some shows are limited to one breed. At the larger shows, the different breeds are divided into 7 groups: sports, hounds, working, terriers, toys, non-sporting and herding. In the UK these groups are called gundog, hound, working, terrier, toy, utility and shepherd. For example, the golden retriever is a member of the sporting group in America or the gundog group in the UK. Typically, a Best in Group winner will be selected from each group. The final 7 dogs will then compete in the final show ring for Best in Show.
The biggest shows, often televised, are all-breed shows. These shows have representatives from every breed recognized by the National Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes over 150 breeds and varieties of dogs. The poodle, for example, has 3 varieties: miniature, toy and standard. In the UK, most shows are run by the Kennel Club (KC), while the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC) is the governing body for dog breeds in Australia. Different kennel clubs have different rules and may recognize different breeds. The differences between the AKC and KC breed standards are why American Golden Retrievers and British Golden Retrievers are slightly different.
What is the Super Bowl or World Cup of Dog Shows? In the US this event is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It is held every year in New York at Madison Square Garden. The first event was in 1877. Only champion dogs can compete at Westminster. To become a champion, a dog must earn at least 15 points in AKC competitions, including 2 major wins. Champion status is permanent and is “Ch.” is listed before the dog’s name. Another major event in the US is the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. The 2011 event will be held in Orlando, Florida on December 17th and 18th. Previous events have been in Long Beach, California and Tampa, Florida. Certain AKC/Eukanuba winners qualify for Crufts.
The largest dog show in the world is Crufts, held annually in Birmingham, England. It is a 4-day event held at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre). In 2008, over 22,000 dogs from all over the world participated. In 2011, Crufts will be held on March 10-13. Winners from major shows around the world qualify to compete at Crufts. For example, the winners of the 2010 FCI Asian International Championship Show in Tokyo qualified for this year’s event.
The World Dog Show is another major annual event. Instead of the AKC or KC, this event is run by the International Kennel Federation. The FCI was originally founded by France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria in 1911. Today, the FCI has over 80 member countries. The breeds are divided into 10 groups instead of 7. The World Dog Show 2011 will be held in Paris, France on July 7-10. This event can be held in any of the member countries worldwide.
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