Understanding the Dog Show World
There is no such thing as a "perfect dog." Every dog has some faults. The best way to appraise your dog's degree of perfection is to compare him with the Standard for the breed, or before a judge in a show ring.
One thing you can start doing with the dogs you plan to show, is to start walking them on your left side consistently. Always on the left. Bulldogs are shown at a slight "trot" to show ease of movement. They shouldn't pull out ahead of you, just shuffle along at your left side. A walk is too sluggish. Walk them about 25 ft, then turn and go back to where you were. Or walk in approximately a 25 ft. "triangle", making turns to the left and returning to your starting point. These are things a judge will instruct you to do. (judges will give you the approximate distance they want you to go, so don't worry too much about an exact 25' range).
Shows are held all over the nation, in a variety of settings. You may be showing your dog outside on grass, on the matted floor of a convention center, or on packed dirt in a rodeo arena. You can possibly find ways beforehand to help prepare your dog for such conditions.
To "stack" your Bulldog . . he should stand square. You start by facing his right side. Because the chest is wider than the hips, the front legs will be positioned wider than the rear. Legs should be under the dog, not extended like a Doberman. Get the dog use to remaining in this position as you move to his front. You are squatting or kneeling next to the dog while the dog is stacked. When the judge moves around to view the dog's right side, you move out of the way and to the dog's front. Once the judge is done with the right side, you move back to that side. The dog's head is level, your right hand supporting his jaw (be sure not to force the head upward to an unnatural position). And you will be trying to keep your hand and fingers from interfering with the judge's view of the dog's head.
Judges have the discretion to use a "ramp" to assist them. This is a platform-like structure that the dogs are examined on so that judges don't have to strain their backs stooping over each dog. The use of a ramp is to be indicated in the premium list, so exhibitors know prior to entering that particular show.
There are a variety of show chokers and leads in leather, nylon, metal, and a combination of these materials. Chokers and leads are usually selected in a color that enhances the dog's appearance. Fine-link chokers are popular as they have the nice polish of elegant jewelry, and can be used on a dog of any color. You want the judge's eye to remain on your dog, not the choker and lead, so select something with this objective in mind. Avoid heavy materials and bright colors. Select a lead length that will not be cumbersome to gather up as you and your dog move to the judge's instructions. Bulldogs are never shown in harness.
These are pretty basic, but very important exercises, to prepare for the show-ring. Your dog will usually be shown with other dogs. He will probably have other Bulldogs in front of him and behind him. Be sure he is use to strange dogs so near, so that he doesn't "wig out". Aggressive behavior will cause you and your dog to be dismissed from the ring. He HAS to permit the judge to examine him, running his hands over his body, and checking the teeth ("bite"). Your dog needs to be cooperative during this process. You can have your friends simulate what a judge might do, touching the dog, lifting his lips to view the teeth. This is good practice.
Home MATCH SHOWS: For the beginner there are "mock" shows, called match shows, where you and your dog go through many of the procedures of a regular dog show, but do not gain points. These shows are usually held by kennel clubs, and much ring poise and experience can be gained. The age limit is usually 2 months at match shows to give puppies four months of training before they compete at the regular show. Classes range from 2-4 months, 4-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months. Puppies compete with others of their own age for comparative purposes. For those seriously interested in showing their dogs to full championship, these match shows provide important experience for both the dog and the owner. There is a nominal entry fee and of course ribbons. Unlike the point shows, entries can be made on the day of the show. They are usually informal and a congenial atmosphere for the amateur.
Understanding Dog Show terms for the beginner:
For a person who is a spectator or one who is interested in showing dogs, the terms used at dog shows can often be confusing. The following is an attempt to remove the confusion so many novices feel about dog shows:
1.Dog- Everyone has a dog right? Well where dog shows are concerned, only those owners or handler of MALE dogs have a dog.
2.Bitch- Far from the derogatory term that comes to mind, bitch simply means a canine of the female persuasion.
3.AKC - American Kennel Club. This is the best-known registry for purebred dogs in the United States. It is a "club of clubs" that breed clubs, breeders, and dog shows turn to for rules and regulations, as well as dog and litter registration.
4.AKC- Sanctioned Show - A show that is listed with the AKC that follows their guidelines. It requires sanctioned shows to receive any AKC title.
5.Registration- Official shows have registration completed by a deadline before the actual date of the show. A specialized form must be filled out with the dog's name, number, owner and class entered.
6.Conformation- The judging of a dog on looks, structural build, gait, expression, and breed standard. Conformation classes are broken up into groups, breeds, sex and ages.
7.Group- There are seven acknowledged groups at an AKC show. These are Sporting, Non-Sporting, Hounds, Working, Herding, Terriers, and Toys.
THE POINT SHOW: It is not possible to show a puppy at an American Kennel Club sanctioned point show before the age of six months. When your dog reaches the eligible age, your local kennel club can provide you with the names and addresses of the show giving superintendent. The forms are mailed in a pamphlet called a premium list. This includes the names of the judges for each breed, a list of the prizes and trophies, and where the show will be held. As well as rules and regulations set by the AKC, which must be abided by if you enter. Unlike the match shows where your dog will be judged on ring behavior, at the point shows he will be judged on conformation to the breed Standard. In addition to the age limit he must be purebred for a point show. The is means he and both of his parents are registered with the AKC. Females cannot have been spayed and males must have both testicles in evidence. No dyes or powders may be used to enhance the appearance, and any lameness or major deviation from the Standard for the breed constitutes a disqualification. With all these things in mind, groom your dog to the best of your ability and exercise your dog before taking him into the ring. The presiding judge on that day will allow each and every dog a certain amount of time and consideration before making his decisions. An exhibitor never speaks unless spoken to, and then only to answer such questions as the judge may ask. Before you reach the point where you are actually in the ring awaiting the final decisions of the judge, you will have to decide in which of the five classes, divided by sex, your dog should compete.
POINT SHOW CLASSES
The regular classes of the AKC are: PUPPY, NOVICE, BRED-BY-EXHIBITOR, AMERICAN BRED, OPEN;
PUPPY CLASSES: Shall be for dogs which are six months of age and over, but under twelve months and are not champions. Classes are divided 6-9mos. 9-and under 12 mos.
NOVICE CLASS: shall be dogs six months of age or over,which have not won three first prizes in the Novice Class, a first prize in Bred-by-Exhibitor, American-bred or Open Class nor one or more points toward a championship title.
BRED-BY-EXHIBITOR CLASS: shall be for dogs which are six months of age and over, which are not champions and which are owned wholly or in part by the person who was the breeder of record.
AMERICAN-BRED CLASS: is for all dogs, except champions, six months of age or over.
OPEN CLASS: is for any dog six months of age or over.
WINNERS DOG and WINNERS BITCH: After the above males classes have been judged, the first-place winners are then required to compete in the ring. Winners Dog and Winners Bitch are each awarded points according to an AKC point schedule.
RESERVE WINNERS: are selected immediately after the Winners Dog. In case of a disqualification of a win by the AKC, the Reserve Dog moves up to "Winners" and receives the points. After all male classes are judged, the bitch classes are called.
BEST OF BREED: is limited to Champions of Record or dogs with newly acquired points, and Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, all compete for Best of Breed. It consists of both male and female champions and the two Winners (Dog and Bitch)
BEST OF WINNERS: If the winners dog or winners bitch earns BOB it automatically becomes BOW.