I promised in my recent blog on dog shows that I would explain how to find shows near you, give you a little advice on how to figure out what is going (Ok I didn’t mention that but I will) and some rules of etiquette.
How to Find a Dog Show in Your Area
There is a great website that will list all the shows in your state or states near you. Finding the time your interested breed is on or when best in show is scheduled can be a little tricky but I will explain.
Go to infodog.com, this is a website for what is called a dog show superintendent – a company in charge of organizing the dog show from ring setup to schedules to recording results. Once on the site, hover over “show info” then click on, “shows by state”. Then you click on the state in which you would like to see a show and a large list is populated. From that list you can choose the show date and location from there.
A couple of notes;
- Shows are listed by show name, city/state then type of show. Click on any type abbreviation and an event type legend will appear which will explain what each abbreviation means. Some will be specialties per one specific breed, some will be for obedience shows etc. All breed conformation shows will have an “AB” in the type abbreviation.
- The “closes” column just means for exhibitors, when they need to have their form sent in by to be able to enter for the show; as a spectator you do not need to worry about that.
- Clicking on the past entry will generate a list of how many dogs in particular breeds were entered at that particular show in past years.
- The judging panel will list the name of the judges for each breed, group, best in show and any specialty classes.
- Once you find a show where you would like to go, you will want to click on the show name. There you are looking for the premium list, this will give you details about the show site such as parking and any admission fees.
- Not until 2-1.5 out weeks from the show date will the list of show times be available. This can be found by clicking on the “judging program” link which will pull up a PDF of the judging times, rings in which each breed will be judged etc.
The Judging Program
Once you have clicked on the judging program scroll down to the second page where the index of breeds is listed. This will list every breed showing, at what time and in what ring. BUT sometimes there are dogs ahead of your breed scheduled at the same time so if time is tight, you’ll want to do some calculations.
I have posted an example. The picture above of the index of breeds shows that Boxers are on at 10:15 in ring 8. If you scroll further to the breakdown of ring 8’s breed assignments, you will see that Boxers are on at 10:15 after:
1 – Akitas 0-0-(1-0)
11 – Rottweilers 0-5-(4-2)
11 – Mastiffs 3-5-(3-0)
That is a total of 23 dogs that will be shown to the judge before Boxers are on. Generally it takes 2 minutes per dog to be shown so Boxers would be expected to actually go in the ring starting around 45 +/- 5 minutes, so closer to 11:00 AM. However, you can always come earlier and enjoy watching the breeds before yours.
Groups and Best in Show
As for groups and best in show, those are generally listed by the times they are expected to be on in the judging program. Sometimes delays occur but the list of groups is the order in which the breed winners will go in per their group, show and then group 1-4 winners will be chosen. The winner of each group, so the dog that places 1st amount the group will then go on to best in show.
So now that you know what time to go to see your breed and what time to expect the groups and best in show to be on, here are some tips to make your attendance enjoyable, safe and a fun time!
Dog Show Tips
Bring a lightweight folding chair, these can be set ringside away from the entrance and the general hustle and bustle outside near the ring fencing. Do leave adequate space so that you do not cause a disturbance to the dogs inside the ring being shown. If you bring children, have them stay close, do not let them run ahead or stick their fingers through the ring gating. Generally dog shows are best for children 12 years or older as young children who like to make some noise or generally touch lots of things could find themselves in some trouble. Even as an adult I find myself having to hold back on just reaching out and petting a dog, there are so many beautiful dogs there! ALWAYS ask before approaching or petting any dog.
If you are interested in learning more about what is going on or about the dog you have your eye on, wait until that dog and its handler are out of the ring; not standing ringside waiting to go back in. It is best to wait until the breed winner is chosen from that breed and approach after. When going to ask questions, the best first question is, “excuse me, do you have time for me to ask you a question?” Some people may be professional handlers and must dash off to another ring to show another breed of dog. Do not take this personally, while this is most certainly a public event that welcomes spectators; people are working and may not have the time at that moment to speak with you. Just be patient or walk around the arena and you may certainly bump into them again either around groups or during best in show when they may be taking a seat to watch the show.
In general, the sites and sounds alone can be incredibly entertaining. Your first show can be overwhelming at first but it will not be disappointing! There are often vendors around the show site so go ahead and shop around, there are some unique dog things to be seen. Have fun and if you have questions, you can always approach the superintendent stand and ask questions about how the show works and what to expect. Avoid the areas where dogs are crated and being groomed, while they don’t always have curtains around them, these are equivalent to “behind the curtain” at a theater so please respect that area. If you get talking to a breeder, exhibitor or handler, they may invite you back to this area where they can talk with you and show you some of their dogs.
Dog shows are a fantastic winter activity and in the warmer months there are some great outdoor shows you can attend. Not only are they a great place to watch and learn but if you are looking to add a new addition to your family; a dog show is a fantastic place to meet breeders and learn which breeds may or may not be the best fit for you and your family.
Leave Your Pooch at Home
Oh and if you have a personal pooch, please leave them at home. There are enough pups there I PROMISE and only dogs entered in the show may enter the show arena.