What is the purpose of dog shows?

Showing dogs is a great sport where the thrill of competition is combined with the joy of seeing beautiful dogs
Dog shows (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with over 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed.
There are three types of conformation dog shows:
All-breed shows offer competitions for over 175 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC. All-breed shows are the type often shown on television.
Specialty shows are restricted to dogs of a specific breed or to varieties of one breed. 
Group shows are limited to dogs belonging to one of the seven groups.

For each breed the AKC registers, there is a breed standard which is a word description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the function for which they were originated.
The standard describes the dog's looks, movement and temperament.The standard describes the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred. These standards include specifications for structure, temperament and movement.

Breeders involved with each breed are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed standard. AKC approved judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the "perfect" dog as described in the breed's official standard.
Judges examine the dogs, then give awards according to how closely each dog compares to the judge’s mental image of the “perfect” dog described in the breed’s official standard

With the exception of the Westminster Kennel Club show in February most shows are unbenched*, which means that exhibitors and their dogs may leave the show following breed judging if they are not selected for further judging in the Group. Most AKC dog shows begin at 8 AM sharp, so if you hope to see your breed in the ring and have a chance to meet the dogs afterwards, you must plan to arrive early! For tips on how to make the most of your visit to a dog show, please see the AKC's web publication,  A Beginner's Guide to Dog Shows

 Please note the links that appear just to the right of each dog show or show site address. These links indicate each particular show's superintendent. Breed ring numbers and judging times may be found on the individual show superintendents' web sites a week prior to the day of a given scheduled event. If you have already been in contact with an ATCA breeder, he or she can provide more detailed information and will arrange to meet with you ringside once judging has been completed. 


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