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What is Conformation?



To become a champion, a dog must win a total of ten points under at least three judges, be registered in the records of the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and defeat at least one dog in its own breed or been placed in it's group. The owner of the dog at the time of completing its championship will be issued a "championship certificate" by the CKC. 

During CKC conformation showing the judge will compare each dog to it's standard of excellence. The order of dogs in each classed will be chosen by the judge as first thru forth. Remember, no dog is perfect (and everyone goes home with the best dog!) the judge will weigh each dogs pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses and place according to their vision of the perfect standard (and every judge makes different judgments!)

The very first thing you must understand about conformation is, is your dog eligable to compete?

Show Qualifications:

To be eligible for a Championship competition in a show approved by the CKC, a dog must meet the following requirements

a) It must be a purebred and of one of the breeds recognized by the Candaian Kennel Club

b) It must be registered or eligible for registration with the "Canadian Kennel Club"

c) It must be at least 6months old

If your dog meets the qualifications then it's time to enter a show. Show entries can be done online, by fax or by snail mail. You will need to get your application for the event from your show secretary.

Once you have entered the show ....

The first thing we need to go over is classes. Each dog will be judged according to their class. On your entry you will have chosen the class in which your dog is to compete in from the following categories.

Junior Puppy: For dogs at least 6months of age on the first day of the show, and under nine months of age.

Senior Puppy: For dogs at least 9months and under 12months of age

12-18months: For puppies at least 12months of age and under 18months of age

Canadian bred: For dogs born in Canada, champions in other countries excluded

Bred By Exhibitor: For dogs owned and handled in the ring by the breeder

Open: for all dogs

Veteran Class (a specialty option only) for all dogs over 7years of age and over on the day of specialty. The winners of the veterans male and female class do NOT compete for championship points but go directly to BOB competition. NOTE: Spayed or Neutered dogs Are eligible for competition in this class

Specials Only for any dog which has recorded CKC registration number or Even Registration Number and has attained the requested points for Championship status.

Exhibition Only all dogs entered in this class shall be listed in the cataloge with the same paticulars as dogs entered in regular competition. Dogs entered in this class may not compete in any Regular class but may enter and compete in Non-Regular classes and/or parades.

 Regular Classes:

All dogs competing for points at a show are entered to one (or more) of the six offical classes for their breed and sex. The classes are as follows:

Junior Puppy: For dogs at least 6months of age on the first day of the show, and under nine months of age.

Senior Puppy: For dogs at least 9months and under 12months of age

12-18months: For puppies at least 12months of age and under 18months of age

Canadian bred: For dogs born in Canada, champions in other countries excluded

Bred By Exhibitor: For dogs owned and handled in the ring by the breeder

Open: for all dogs

It is possible for one dog to be entered in several classes. In each class the judge awards coloured ribbons, blue for first, red for second, yellow for third and white for fourth.

These classes will be judged in the above order. The catalogue will help you follow the classes so it is recommended you purchase a catalogue to follow the show.

Each class will be requested to come into the ring and stand to be compared. The judge then will have the class go around the ring as a group to compare the dogs. Following the group comparison each dog will be examined individually (checking teeth, coat textures, testicles, bone structure etc.) The dogs will also move individually following the examination.

 During each class the dogs will also be compared to each other. The judge will have the class run (gait) around the ring to compare movement.

 After his/her comparison the judge will point to his first, second, third and forth pick for the class.

At this time the dog and handlers will go to the appropriate numbers where they will be handed the ribbons that a appropriate for their win. First prize: blue, Second prize: red, Third prize: yellow, Forth prize: white.

Usually while the ribbons are being handed out by the judge the ring steward will call in the next class to be lined up and compared as a group. This process will continue until all the classes have been judged and awarded.

Following the final class the judges' next task will be to compare all first prize winners to each other for the prize of "Winners"....


Winners Classes

The order in which the winners will be called in to the ring to be compared will be reversed.. Open, Bred By, Canadian Bred, 12-18months, Senior puppy, Junior puppy.

Winners Male: After all the five official classes for males have been judged, the males undefeated in the official classes compete for Winners Male. Winners Male receives a purple ribbon. The winner of this class will also be awarded championship points according to the number of dogs' defeated as outlined below.

Reserve Winners Male: All dogs which have been defeated only by the awarded Winners (including the dog who earned second in the winners dogs class) are then judged for the award of Reserve Winners Male, which receives a mauve ribbon.


Remember! if a entry is cancelled or invalidated in anyway then the points won by Winners dog will be taken away and awarded to Reserve Winners Dog!

After the Reserve Winners Male is chosen, all six official classes for females are judged and the same procedure is followed to choose Winners Female and Reserve Winners Female


Specials Only

Dogs, usually champions, entered for specials only, are brought into the ring with the dogs awarded Winners Male and Winners Female for Best Of Breed judging.


Best Of Breed

Judging for best of breed is confined to the dogs awarded Winners Male and Winners Female and any dog entered for specials only in the breed. The winner of this competition has now defeated all the other competitors in this particular breed and receieves a red, white and blue ribbon.


Best Of Winners

The Winners Male and Winners Female are judged at the same time as the judging of best of breed. One will receive the award of Best Of Winners. The Winner of this competition receives a purple and gold ribbon. The best of winners of course may also be the best of breed as well.


*Final line up* what you will see as you watch is three dogs and handlers line up - the first is Best Of Breed, the second is Best Opposite Sex, and the last one is Best of Winners.

Assuming that none of those prizes was won by a puppy, the steward will call in the Best Puppy In Breed class.


Best Puppy In Breed

The final breed award is made to the best puppy in breed. All puppies which have not been defeated by another puppy during class judging compete. The winner receives a pale blue ribbon.


Best of Group (Group 1st)

The recognized breeds are divided into seven groups: Sporting , Hound, Working , Terriers , Toys and Non-Sporting dogs. The dogs awarded best of breed in each group are brought before the judge of the group who makes awards of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in group, where dogs receive blue, red, yellow and white rosettes respectively.


Best Puppy in Group

The judge will also select best puppy in group or best canadaian breed puppy in group. The winner receives a pale blue rosette in the case of the puppy, a pink and blue rosette if the competition is for canadian bred only.


Best In Show

The seven best of group winners are judged for the top award, Best In Show. A rosette of red, white and blue is presented to the winner. If the best in show winner is a puppy or canadian bred puppy, as the case may be, it automatically receives Best Puppy or Canadian Bred Puppy In Show. If the Best In Show winner is not a puppy or canadian bred puppy, the seven dogs awarded with best  puppy or canadian bred puppy in group in each group will compete for the award of best puppy in show. Here again the winner recieves either a pale blue rosette or a pink and blue rosette according to the classification.



1) The club reserves the right to remove any person from the show. The show superintendent shall have full control of these shows and trials, which will be covered by ckc rules

2) Any dog excused by the show superintendent or veterinarian for any reason shall not compete in any class for any awards for the balance of the show.

3) The show committee will use due care and diligence for the welfare of dogs and exhibitors, but will not be responsible for, or assume any liability in the event of accident or misfortune to either dogs, exhibitors, spectators or vendors.

4) Dogs must be on grounds 1hour prior to the judging of their breed

5) The owner of a dog entered in these shows is entirely responsible for any error in entering his/her dog regardless of how or by whom the entry was made

6) Exhibitors and handlers will be responsible for their dogs and equipment left at the show grounds

7) Dogs are to be excercised in designated areas only, not in vicinity of the show rings

8) All recreational units will have buckets underneath for their sinks drains. Anyone found discharging water on the grounds will be removed by order of the health department, and may be subject to a fine

9) If, because of civil disturbance or other acts beyond the control of the club, it is impossible to open or complete the show, there is no refund of entry

10) Dogs must be on leash at all times on the show grounds or within the show building with the exception of the obedience rings.

All exhibitors, handlers and patrons are expected to know and abide by the ckc dog show rules


Champions and Championship Points

section #1 A dog awarded Winners at a Championship show held under these dog show rules shall be credited with a number of championship points (ranging from 0-5) and the determination of the number of championship points to be credited to a dog awarded winners shall be a provided hereunder

section #2 The schedule to be employed in the determination of the number of points to be allocated a dog awarded winners shall be as follows

Dogs Competing  1      2     3 to 5    6 to 9    10 to 12     13 +

Points Awarded   0       1          2          3            4            5

 *includes dog awarded winners

To determine the number of points earned by a dog awarded winners, total all dogs in competition which were defeated directly or indirectly for the highest of the following offical breed awards, winners, best of winners, best of breed, or best opposite sex and then consult the schedule set forth above. The point system provides for additional points if a class dog awarded best of breed also places in the group as listed below.

 Breeds Competing   Group1   Group2   Group3   Group4

 13 or more                  5              4            3           2

 10 to 12                      4               3           2           1

 6 to 9                          3               2           1           1

 5                                 2               1           1           1

 4                                 2               1           1           0

 3                                 2               1           0           0  

 2                                 1               0           0           0

 1                                 0               0           0           0


A class dog awarded Best In Show at an all breed Championship show will be credited with 5points inclusive of any points earned at the breed or group level. In counting the number of eligible dogs in competition a dog that is disqualified or that is dismissed, excused or ordered from the ring by the judge shall be included in the calculation for championship points. (Absentees are not to be included) In order for a dog to be recognized as a Canadian Champion it must 1) earn at least 10 Championship points under at least 3 different judges, and 2) be individually registered in the records of the ckc or have a ckc event registration number.


Specialty Shows

Specialty shows often hold a number of additional classes, called "un-offical classes".

Stud Dog and Get  The stud dog and two offspring compete. The two or more offspring are compared and the dog the judge feels best is replicating himself is awarded Best Stud Dog

Brood Bitch The brood bitch and two offspring compete. The two or more offspring are compared to the brood bitch. The bitch the judge feels best is replicating himself is awarded Best Brood Bitch

Vetreran Dog / Bitch this class maybe split into age groups. Spayed/Neutered dogs may compete his this class. The first of each age group will compete for Best Veteran.

Altered Class spayed/neutered dogs of any age may compete in this class. The class is divided by sex. The best of each sex will compete for Best Altered

Brace two dogs are placed on one lead and compared to one and other. The pair the judge feels best move together and best represent each other will be awarded best brace

Team four dogs are placed on one lead and compared to one and other. The team the judge feels is best represented will be awarded Best Team


There are many other classes that maybe part of a specialty. Some specialties will divide into classes of best gait, best head etc.. check your specialty premium list and enjoy!

National breed clubs will get prestigious judges and offer terrific prizes and opportunities for breed lovers to socialize.


Boosters and Supported Entries

these fall somewhere between specialties and all breed shows. Boosters are held as part of a regular all breed show, but prizes are given for BOB, BOS, BOW and BPIB. Often there are prizes for every class winner, as well as for Winners Male and Female. Boosters often include a trophy for the breed member who places highest at a associated obedience trial. The prizes will be determined by the folks who put the booster on.



CH - Championship

BIS - Best In Show

BPIS - Best Puppy In Show


 The 'Worlds' Largest Dog Shows include but are not limited to....

Eukanuba - Held in December in Long Beach CA

Westminster - Held in February in Manhattan NY

Crufts - Held in Birmingham UK

World Dog Show - held in a new location anually (typically in Europe)




By: Simone Sortwell