With The Royal Melbourne Championship Dog Show upon us, many of us are excited and looking forward to seeing who “Best in Show” will be this year. And then there are some of us who are attending The Royal Melbourne Championship Dog Show for the very first time. Here is a beginner’s guide to dog shows, to get you started and on top of the lingo.
Championship Shows, like the name suggests, is for Australian National Kennel Club registered dogs, qualified judges preside over the event and “a best of breed and challenge certificate evidences the number of points awarded at the fixture towards the title of Australian champion” (Dogs Victoria). An Open Show or a Parade however, does not have challenge points, and training judges preside. Open Shows are a great place for judges, owners and dogs to train and socialise for larger events. Competitions can be separated into sanctioned and members’ competitions. Trails can be broken into types, like Herding, Agility and Obedience. Different shows will also have different judges, some of which – like The Royal – have overseas judges.
Dog Shows are divided into classes, which separate dogs by age, sex and level. At an Australian Dog Show you are likely to find the following classes (there are many more classes):
- Class 1 Baby Puppy – Dogs 3-6 months old
- Class 2 Minor Puppy – Dogs 6- 9 months old
- Class 3 Puppy – Dogs 6-12 months old
- Class 4 Junior – Dogs 9-18 months old
- Class 5 Intermediate – Dogs 18-36 months old
- Class 10 Australian Bred – Dogs over 6 months old whelped in Australia
- Class 11 Open – Dogs over 6 months old
- Class 21 Champion – for all champions entering an open show
At a dog show you will hear dog’s referred to in Groups. The groups are based on what the dog was original bred for. For instance many Labradors make wonderful family pets, but because they were originally bred to retrieve – they are grouped with the Gundogs. The Australian National Kennel Council LTD groups dogs in the following groups:
- Group 1: Toys: Where– for example- you will find the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Maltese & Yorkshire Terrier.
- Group 2: Terriers: Where– for example- you will find the Scottish Terrier & Jack Russell Terrier.
- Group 3: Gundogs: Where– for example- you will find the Weimaraner, Golden Retriever & Labrador Retriever.
- Group 4: Hounds: Where– for example- you will find the Beagle, Whippet & Dachshund.
- Group 5: Working Dogs: Where– for example- you will find the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Kelpie, German Shepherd & Border Collie.
- Group 6: Utility: Where– for example- you will find the Boxer, Alaskan Malamute & Dobermann.
- Group 7: Non Sporting: Where– for example- you will find the Boston Terrier, Great Dane & The Poodles.
Where to find information beforehand:
Before a show you will most probably be able to download a show schedule, or you can purchase one when you get there. The schedule generally publishes the names of judges, the entry fee and information, sequence of events and logistical information. If you are interested in entering a dog, the closing dates for competitions will be listed on the official websites. Then when you arrive at show you can usually purchase a show catalogue easily.
Win or lose – you still leave with the best dog… yours…
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