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Here are some basic concepts for those interested in conformation dog showing that you need to know before you get that CH. title in front of your dog’s name.

First, you should study your breed’s standard, so you can get a better understanding of the dog’s conformation. Then you should attend a local dog show, without a dog, tagging along beside you. You have much too see and do, so less distractions for you, is best. Besides, a dog not entered, is not allowed on show grounds. Purchase a show catalog when you arrive, visit with as many breeds as you can at “Ring side”, and try to follow along with the different classes held in your catalog. Each breed starts with males, then females, and finishes with Best of Breed that includes both genders and finished champions (specials). As you watch, study each dog within the breeds, to get a better understanding of their different conformation and type.

While your there, talk with and observe the multitude of groomers, handlers, breeders, and exhibitors. Walk around the show site collecting information at the superintendent’s desk, vendors, booths, viewing how the set-ups are (behind the scenes) to gather how other’s act, prepare, and participate, asking many questions along your way. Do plan to stay for the whole day to watch groups and Best in Show!

After you’ve purchased a show prospect from a reputable breeder with the same views and qualities you have in mind to achieve with your dog, you’ve put the process in motion. After all, if you don’t have a good foundation with a solid background to start with, then this will limit your abilities to go farther with your goals. To achieve such a dog, it’s a good idea to read the following articles:

What to do before I buy that puppy

Next is tedious and a very important part that you cannot skip or over-look, to prepare your ultimate show dog. You must train your dog and yourself to be competitive and develop that certain edge over other entries. In doing so, you and your dog will be more relaxed and enjoy this time together. If not, you and your companion might dread just going for a normal car ride, thinking that youÂ’re taking him/her to a dog show that already lead to a horrible experience.

Some basic important behaviors your dog must accomplish in the ring are:

Attention – knowing what this means, on cue, expression and attitude
Listen and know basic commands – watch, stand, stay, let’s go, open mouth, tail, leave-it, move - back, forward, sideways, one paw, etc.
Bond and work as a team with the handler – including the owner & trainer
Ignoring other dogs in and out of the ring – minding the handler at all times
Crate trained – knowing how to well behave while in crate at any venue
Not be stressed – being able to handle travel, strangers, new places, etc.
Grooming – all dogs must look their best & be presentable at all times
Gait – learning proper movement and direction given, leash training
Examine – stand/stay & be touched all over by complete strangers
Socialize – to all surroundings and situations, inside and outside
Free stack – standing on own, not touched, while being baited
Stacked – placed by hand into a stand/stay without resistance
Exercise – physically fit, muscled, and proper body weight
Basic obedience – if your dog doesnÂ’t behave well, it’s not going to win

There are many others to list, but they can all be learned when attending good quality conformation classes and sanctioned fun matches on a regular basis. Be sure to read books, articles, and magazines on the subject of showing dogs and also attend handling seminars.

Enter fun matches before entering pointed shows. These shows are always geared with learning and training in mind. When you’ve polished all this and more, you might be ready to now enter a pointed show. Start out slowly, entering a show here and there, and have fun! Go to smaller more relaxed shows, so you and the dog can get a feel for what’s ahead.

When entering pointed shows you must have a properly aged purebred registered dog with the kennel club that you are attending. There are several clubs that have conformation dog shows and/or working trials inside and/or outside. There are different superintendents that you enter under, depending on which dog show you attend, so you need to play close attention when entering! Furthermore, some of these clubs/shows are known to be more relaxed and casual then others, depending if they’re benched or unbenched shows, so learn the differences when attending a show to properly prepare you and your dog. You must also plan ahead because most dog shows have early closing dates for entries several weeks before the show. Only selective kennel clubs have day of show entries, but you still must arrive at the correct time, to get your entries in!

Show entries, are taken by superintendents, in several different ways:

Superintendent’s desk at a show or hand delivery to main office
Show photographers – depending on the kennel club registry

A basic list of the main clubs for American/Canadian Rottweiler competitors:

American Kennel Club– well recognized and formal
Canadian Kennel Club– well recognized and semi-formal to formal
United Kennel Club– somewhat recognized and relaxed to semi-formal
United States Rottweiler Club– well recognized and get ready to run!
American Rottweiler Verein– somewhat recognized and relaxed

There are also breed specialties, sweepstakes, and futurity shows that are not pointed, but highly recognized and respected among fellow breeders and exhibitors. Besides, these are just plain fun! Generally, the clubs above have hosted clubs, such as the American Rottweiler Club, that officiate these types of shows. Some are independent shows, which are Rottweilers only, and then others are all-breed or multi-breed shows, with regular classes that offer points.

All-breed basically means that all the breeds recognized by the registered kennel club can enter the show, with some exceptions. For instance, a specific breed may not be judged at that show due to not finding a judge for that day. Otherwise, they all participate. Multi-breed shows are only select breeds that can enter. For instance, some UKC shows or special group shows, like only the working group will be judged for that day.

Classes, points, critiques, ratings, titles, scores, and awards earned can range differently from each club you participate in. These ranges can differ in venue, show giving kennel clubs, and the amount of dogs entered, depending on which shows you entered. The kennel clubs will maintain points, but it’s ultimately the owners responsibility to manage, verify, and understand the differences of each club and show. If you care to know how each club manages your dog’s earnings/wins in the judgeÂ’s book, which classes to properly enter your dog, and how/where to enter a dog show, you can easily visit their web sites, purchase or view an online detailed rules/guidelines handbook to conformation dog shows.

A basic list of helpful sites for conformation dog shows:

American Kennel Club – point schedule
American Kennel Club – counting points/title explained
American Kennel Club – getting started
American Rottweiler Club – calendar of events
Kennel Club – shows and trials FAQ
United Kennel Club – conformation titles explained
InfoDog – dog show calendar for AKC events, including fun matches
InfoDog – enter an AKC dog show online
Rottweiler Club of Canada – coming events
The Entry Line – online entries for the most popular CKC dog shows

Hopefully, this will help you get in the right direction to start entering in conformation dog shows. Remember to keep your head held high in this sport because every dog entered cannot go home with a win, even though they may be worthy of such an award. Every dog show is a new day! Meaning, anything can and will happen at a dog show, even at a long show circuit. Best of luck and have fun!
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