Conformation

Conformation practices are held every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Cost is $3.00
Proof of Vaccination required. To view our policy click on the “Forms” button.

In Conformation the dog is evaluated and compared to a written standard for the breed. Every breed has a standard (blueprint) that breeders strive to breed toward, in an effort to produce the ideal representative of their breed. The standards are developed by respected, long time breeders, who have studied the history of the breed. This is then approved by the membership of the breed club and by the American Kennel Club.
The study of the standard and of structure and movement is important before entering your dog in Conformation competition.
When you enter a show you try to win points toward a championship award under different judges. Each judge, licensed to judge a specific breed, must pass an exam given by the American Kennel Club to make certain that he / she understand the breed standard. The judge will select the one that is the closest to the ideal, without any disqualifying faults.
To attain a championship your dog must accumulate 15 championship points. These are awarded only to the male who wins the purple “Winners” ribbon and to the female who wins the purple “Winners” ribbon. The number of points awarded at each competition are based on the number of males that are entered for the male points and the number of females entered for the female points. Part of the points earned must be “Major” points. You must win a total of two “major” point competitions with each major win awarded by different judges included in your 15 point total. A major point win is a three point, four point, or five point show, again based on the number of dogs, male or female entered. The dog that is the winner should be an excellent representative of his breed.

Tips for handling the Conformation dog:

If you don’t really enjoy this sport, it will show in your performance.
Practice moving in a straight line without weaving. When in the ring focus on something straight ahead, like a post on the ring gate, or the judge on the way back towards them. Practice moving in a circle. The dog will always go in a circle around the ring. Know where your dog is at all times and stay out of it’s way. A sense of rhythm is important in handling. Moving in the ring with a sense of grace and style is like dancing with your dog. When one watches a dog and handler working together as if they are in a “dance,” it is truly a wonderful sight. How to reach that point is not simple.
Posture is important. Stand up, don’t overshadow the dog by hovering over the top line. If on the ground, be behind the dog when the judge is looking. Remember the dog is the center of attention. Keep the proper pace. This may include walking briskly or running. The pace and the stride of your movement should match the dog.
Don’t over use cues. Too much squeaky toys, talking, baiting, etc., can not only be distracting to the judge and other exhibitors. Nothing is more annoying to a judge than trying to look at a mouth when the dog is busy chewing bait. Get out of the way of the judge, when they are at the front, you be at the back.
Free stacking a dog is a goal to attain. This is when the dog stands on its own without the handler holding the head or the tail or any part of the body. One can teach this by using cues such as toys, food, praise, commands to get attention and move away, a step at a time, until you are in front of the dog and can make it move into a stance. It takes time and patience but most dogs can learn it.
Choose colors that compliment the dogs color. Don’t wear black with a black dog. Remember you are the back drop to the portrait. Wear comfortable shoes, you may have long hours of standing at a show, often on hard floors indoors.
There can be no mats in the coat, and your dog should be as clean as possible.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Go to handling class, pick a mentor who is willing to teach you and give you assistance to attain your goal.
Last but not least, be a good sport. If you don’t win be gracious and congratulate the winners. You don’t want to later regret your actions. You don’t want a reputation as a poor sport. Remember to enjoy the time you spend with your dog.