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Dog Shows

Dog showing is fun and dog show people can be very helpful and friendly.

Dog Shows are known as Conformation Shows as dogs are assessed on their conformation to the Breed Standard. The Standard for each breed may be obtained from the ANKC website at


There are 74 Clubs which conduct Dog Shows either for specific breeds or for All Breeds. Most of the shows are held at David Roche Park, Cromwell Road, Kilburn where the facilities can cater for up to 1,200 dogs and exhibitors.

To participate in showing your dog, you must be a member of Dogs SA or Interstate Canine Control and own a pedigreed dog on the main register. All the relevant information for participating and entering dog shows is published in the magazine posted to you each month as a member of Dogs SA.

There are more than 198 dog breeds recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council which are eligible to be shown in Australia and these are divided into seven groups:

- Group 1 (Toy)
- Group 2 (Terriers)
- Group 3 (Gundogs)
- Group 4 (Hounds)
- Group 5 (Working Dogs)
- Group 6 (Utility)
- Group 7 (Non-Sporting)

These groups generally represent the purpose for which the breed was developed: Toys – Companions; Terriers – Vermin hunters; Gundogs – Working in the field with the hunter; Hounds – To find game by scent or sight; Working dogs – Used to work livestock; Utility – Guarding or carting; Non sporting – Multi purpose dogs for other activities.


The judging procedure may seem complicated but is basically a knock out contest with winners ascending to the next level of competition. By the end of the show there is one winner from the total show entry and that exhibit is the ‘Best In Show’

Along the way to this ultimate prize, there are other prestigious awards – Best in Group, Runner Up in Group, Best of Breed, Runner-up of Breed and Best in Class.

Each dog is physically examined by the judge and to assess movement is gaited either in a triangle, circle or out and back in a straight line. When all the dogs in the class have been examined, the placings are given.

In each breed, males are shown first, beginning with Baby Puppies and the judging moves up through the classes (age classifications) until all the males have been judged and the Dog challenge (Winner) and Reserve Dog Challenge (Runner Up) are awarded. The judging for the bitches follows with the same judging procedure.

The winning dog and winning bitch then compete for the ‘Best of Breed’.

Best of Breed and Challenge Certificates are awarded by the Judge to a maximum of 25 points per show. To obtain an Australian Champion title a dog must accumulate 100 points and the title of Grand Champion is awarded to dogs which accumulate 1,000 points. A Supreme Champion is awarded to dogs which have 1,000 points and awarded 3 All Breeds Best in Show awards or 10 Best in Group awards.

All Best of Breed exhibits are then judged to determine ‘Best in Group’ and ‘Runner Up in Group’. Class judging for the Group then continues, beginning with ‘Best Baby Puppy in Group’ and works upward through the classes.

The ‘Best in Group’ winners are then judged for ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Runner Up in Show’. Judging then takes place for ‘Best Baby Puppy In Show’;’Best Minor Puppy in Show’ and working up through the classes.

One thing to remember is that you have paid for the judge’s opinion and each judge may place a different emphasis on the hallmarks and conformation that is required of the Breed Standard. This is what showing is all about and it does not necessarily mean your dog is not a good specimen if it does not win all the time. 

For new exhibitors a Breed club show or parade/open show is a very good learning experience as it is a more relaxed atmosphere.

Have fun and enjoy a day with your dogs.

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