Getting started in showing

For every breed of dog recognized by the Kennel Club (KC) there is an established breed standard which represents the ideal conformation and characteristics for that breed. At shows, judges are comparing each dog with its particular breed standard to find the dog they consider to be nearest to that ideal picture of the breed. The breed standard for the Finnish Lapphund is available from the Kennel Club

Handling and training your dog is an exceptional and enjoyable experience, whether in the conformation ring, agility circuit or obedience class. Through these activities you and your dog will develop a special bond. There are new friends to be made too as you meet up with others on the show circuit time and again.

Attending shows and observing your breed is a great way to gain understanding of what judges and other competitors do. However, training classes called ringcraft offer the best way to practice for the show ring.

Start by joining a local dog club. The KC maintains a list of clubs and you can get details of those in your area.

Local clubs will have information on ringcraft classes as well as obedience and agility classes. From them you will get information on local shows you can enter. Clubs also often have fun matches where you and your dog can test your skill in the ring in a low-pressure, fun competition.

Tips for the New Exhibitor

  • Make sure your dog is registered with the KC. Your dog’s breeder should have provided you with details of registration.
  • Join a local club in your area.
  • Attend ringcraft classes with your dog and practice a little every day. The earlier you start with your dog, the better.
  • Learn the proper techniques for grooming and presenting your dog in the show ring. The judge will expect your dog to stand still for a physical examination, including looking at the teeth. You will also have to walk your dog at a certain pace in a specific pattern, such as a straight line away from the judge and back, or in a triangle.
  • Attend some dog shows to observe your breed being judged and how others present your breed. Buy a catalogue at the show to find out the ring number and approximate judging time.
  • Become familiar with the KC rules and regulations for showing dogs which you can find in show schedules.
  • Understand the classification – what are the eligibility criteria
  • Use the knowledge of your breeder.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Become a member of the SFLS and join in meetings and information sharing. If you’re new to showing and want some help and advice, there are plenty of people who know exactly what you’re going through and will be only too happy to offer some support.
  • If you are considering showing – but think you are entering into a new world with a whole new language then Higham Press have the perfect site for you – a glossary of show terms, which will help demystify the show scene.
  • Dog Show Central provides a useful resource for finding out about forthcoming shows