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Family Fun | Dog Show Primer | Dog IQ | Glossary | Choosing a Breed

What kind of dogs will you see at a dog show? All kinds! Giant dogs, tiny dogs, bald dogs, hairy dogs, dogs with long pointy noses and dogs with flat noses, dogs who can't bark (Basenjis), huge dogs taller than you (Irish Wolfhounds), big dogs with big sloppy mouths and even tiny dogs with cute hair ribbons and hairspray!

RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS... Did you know that kids can compete in dog shows all over the world? Here are some details on Junior Showmanship from the American Kennel Club:

In 1997 the AKC developed a National Junior Organization program to recognize and support the unique relationship between a child and a dog, to encourage responsible dog ownership and to secure a place for young people in the fancy of today as well as in the future.

Before you can compete in any AKC event as a junior, you must obtain a junior handler number. This number allows the AKC to track your results in every event you compete in as a junior. You can obtain a number by filling out an online form.

In Junior Showmanship, juniors between the ages of 10 and 18 are judged on their ability to present, or handle, their dogs in the show ring. An AKC-approved judge will evaluate how well the junior shows the dog. (In adult conformation classes, dogs are judged by how well they match up to the breed standard. In adult classes, the dogs are evaluated, not the handlers.)

Junior Showmanship classes are divided by achievements and by age. Any dog registered with the AKC, or one that has an Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) number, may compete in Junior Showmanship. However, you, a member of your family, or a member of your household, must own the dog you are showing.

Juniors of any age may also earn recognition in Companion and Performance Events such as obedience, agility, earthdog, lure coursing, and herding. In these types of events, juniors enter their dog in the appropriate class; there are not separate classes for juniors and all dogs competing in Performance Events are held to the same standards and criteria.

Before you enter the ring, let me offer you a few suggestions. Attend a local dog show, watch the Junior Showmanship classes and talk with the young participants and experienced adults. Local dog clubs are good sources for information and beginning handling classes. You can locate an AKC-affiliated club in your area by clicking here.

Once you are an active member of the National Junior Organization, you are eligible to apply for scholarships to continue your education past high school. Last year, the AKC awarded $60,000 to qualified juniors.

Have a great time showing and competing in events!

Hey kids! Click here to download and print out a fun AKC Safety Scramble game! Link:

Link to AKC's For Kids Only

Visit the AKC Web Site for a beginner's guide to
dog shows, dog facts and much more.

Click on a graphic below to see how a dog progresses through an multiple breed or a specialty show. The Bay Colony Dog Show features both types of events, and more.

Multiple Breed Show
Specialty Show

Here are some tips for the first-time spectator,
courtesy of the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org):
  • Since the Bay Colony Dog Show's grooming area is open to spectators, browse and talk with professional groomers to get tips on keeping your dog looking his best.

  • However tempting, NEVER pet a dog without asking for permission first. The dog may have just been groomed and is in preparation for being judged.

  • At each dog show, you will find vendors and information booths. Many club booths offer helpful information to the general public.

  • Wear comfortable shoes - you'll be doing a lot of walking. Unless you bring a chair or arrive early, be prepared to stand most of the time, as seating is usually limited. (Note: the Bayside Exposition Center does not offer wheelchair or stroller rental.)

  • If you are considering getting a purebred dog, don't be shy... talk to the breeders and exhibitors - they are experts in their breeds

  • If you bring a wheelchair, wagon or baby stroller to a dog show, be careful that you do not run over any dog's tail, and that your child does not grab or poke the dogs it can reach. Avoid having them near ring entrances, which are especially crowded.

  • Try to attend the show on Thursday or Friday for best browsing and parking opportunities.

Dog Show Trivia Questions
Courtesy of the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org)

Q. Which club is the official dog registrar of the Bay Colony Cluster Dog Show?
A. The American Kennel Club

Q. Although not completely hypo-allergenic, name a dog which decreases the chance of allergies.
A. Chinese Crested, Portuguese Water Dog, Bedlington Terrier or The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Q. Which dog was the number one registered dog for the AKC in 2005?
A. The Labrador Retriever

Q. About how many dogs does the AKS register per year?
A. nearly one million

Q. Which dog has had the longest total reign in the number spot?
A. The Cocker Spaniel

Q. Which breed held the longest consecutive reign as number one?
A. The Poodle

Q. Who has been the number one dog from 1991 to the present?
A. The Labrador Retriever

Q. Which breed played "Lassie" on the hit TV show in the 40's?
A. The Collie

Q. Which breed played Rin Tin Tin in the film, "Man from Hell's River"?
A. The German Shepard

Q. Which breed played the part of Bruiser in the movie "Legally Blonde"?
A. A Chihuahua

Q. About how many sub-clubs is the AKC comprised of?
A. about 500

Q. When was the AKC founded?
A. September 17, 1884

Q. What is another term used to describe the handler of the dog in the shows?
A. an Agent

Q. What title is given to the final dog left in an all-breed competition?
A. "Best in Show"

Q. Name some of the titles that a dog can win during a competition.
A. AFC - Amateur Field Champion, Ch. - Conformation Champion, FC - Field Champion OTCH - Obedience Champion, HC - Herding Champion, Best in breed, Best in show

Q. Name two ways a dog could become disqualified from a competition.
A. Due to lack of conformation or obedience or due to undesirable performance

Q. What is the name of the group of dogs which "Best in Show" is chosen from?
A. Group Class

Q. What makes up a dog's qualifying score?
A. Obedience scores and performance scores

Q. What is the "Stud Book"?
A. Monthly publication of the AKC. A listing of dogs that have sired or produced a litter that has been registered with the AKC. With this information, a person can use Stud Book volumes to trace a dog's lineage and to produce pedigrees.

Q. What does the term "variety" refer to?
A. A division of a breed approved by the AKC. There are nine breeds that are divided into varieties: Cockers, Beagles, Collies, Dachshunds, Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, English Toy Spaniels, and Poodles.

Courtesy of the American Kennel Club www.akc.org

Angulation - Angles created by bones meeting at their joints.

Baiting - Using liver or some treat to get the dog's attention and have him look alert.

Bench Show - A dog show at which the dogs are kept on assigned benches when not being shown in competition, so they can be viewed and discussed by attendees, exhibitors and breeders. Note: The Bay Colony Dog Show is NOT a benched show.

Exhibitor - A person who brings a dog to a dog show and shows it in the appropriate class.

Fancier - A person who is especially interested, and usually active, in some phase of the sport of purebred dogs.

Gait - The way a dog moves, movement is a good indicator of structure and condition.

Groom - To brush, comb, trim or otherwise make a dog's coat neat.

Handler - A person or agent who takes a dog into the show ring or who works the dog at a field trial or other performance event.

Heel - A command to a dog to keep close beside its handler.

Match Show - A usually informal dog show at which no championship points are awarded.

Miscellaneous Class - Transitional class for breeds attempting to advance to full AKC recognition.

Pedigree - The written record of a dog's family tree of three or more generations.

Points - Credits earned toward a championship.

Soundness - Mental and physical well-being.

Stacking - Posing the dog's legs and body to create a pleasing picture.

Additional terms can be found in the AKC Glossary.


From loyal and low-key Basset Hounds to the antics of a Labrador Retriever, dig yourself out of a dog breed decision dilemma with the Pedigree Select-A-Dog computer at the Pedigree show booth. The Select-A-Dog® questionnaire guides you through a maze of canine possibilities, and is a fun way to narrow your choices down to a list of the top 10 breeds best for you and your lifestyle.

At the weekend "Meet the Breed" sessions, you will get a hands-on "meet and greet" time with some of the best breeders, groomers, and handlers in the country. This is time to bring your specific questions about whether their breed is right for your home environment, personality, lifestyle and budget — some breeds are easier than others to care for!

If you are coming to the show looking to find a specific breeder, each club's show catalog lists the dogs entered and their breeders with contact information. You can also check the Sunday Boston Globe, who list the purebred breeder's referral hotline in the Classified section. under "Pets".

December 8
December 12

Rhode Island
Providence, RI
Exit 22A off I-95

starts with
Best of Breed
at 8am

and ends with
Best In Show
between 4-6pm