Dog Show Scenarios

Dog Show Scenarios


When an exhibitor enters a dog show, they hope to be the winner. If a person thought they did not have a chance to win, they would not enter.

Sometimes, one is lucky to finish a championship with a puppy that is outstanding in the classes. Sometimes, these puppy winners are moved up to compete as a special! However, one should stop and think, “Is my puppy ready to compete as a 6-8-month-old puppy in the specials class with seasoned specials that have competed for several months?” Perhaps this outstanding puppy should be allowed to mature and become ready a few months later… or even the next year.

The risk of starting a puppy so soon could emotionally make him or her dislike showing. Sometimes, being older or mature will help the puppy to be ready.

You may have a special that wins at a show where there is an entry of three male specials and two bitch specials. So, your special really stands out and is Best of Breed for three of the four shows. You are happy and excited, and plan to continue. At the next show entered, there are five male specials and three bitch specials. Again, you are happy when your special is awarded BOB every day on that circuit. And so, you enter other shows.

At the next show entered, there are 10 male specials and seven bitch specials. At this circuit, your dog walks from the ring with no award. You are not pleased and wonder why.

This loss does not make your dog less worthy of winning. It just so happens that the quality at this show is outstanding. The judge may prefer a smaller or larger dog that is still within the breed standard. The judge may prefer a dog with more of an almond eye or round eye, whichever the standard requires, or better overall balance.

There are many factors considered when awarding BOB, BOS, Select Dog or Select Bitch. The standard should always be the deciding factor—and breed type. There is no perfect dog, so one judge may prefer movement over size. Another judge might prefer overall balance over movement. As long as the dog meets the standard, the entire dog must be considered and awarded accordingly.

A judge could award your dog one weekend, and a month later, judge your special and not award it. Dogs are judged “on the day” and are compared to the standard and with other exhibits.

If the same dog should win all the time, there would be few exhibits to evaluate.

And if a judge awards a black dog, please do not think that the judge just loves black. It might just be the exhibit that meets the standard the most on that particular day.

Remember, take your wins and losses with good sportsman-like behavior.

  • Sharon Masnick and Benson Ray have owned Pomeranians since they were teenagers. They are breeder-judges for Pekingese, Japanese Chin, Toy Fox Terriers, and Shiba Inu. They currently judge the Toy Group, BIS, some breeds in the Non-Sporting Group, Junior Showmanship, and Shetland Sheepdogs. For seventeen years, they worked for Doll McGinnis Publications, handling the advertising and editorial for The Pom Reader, The Orient Express, and Top Notch Toys until they decided to become AKC judges in 2011. Occasionally, they worked on SHOWSIGHT as well. They currently live on a small hobby farm in South Carolina near Myrtle Beach, where they still breed Poms and Toy Fox Terriers on a limited basis.

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