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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would share this article I wrote to explain how dog shows work... Enjoy.


Dogs at dog shows are NOT judged against each other, but, are compared to the AKC Breed Standard for that Breed.  EVERY AKC breed has a written description of the ideal dog of that breed called a Breed Standard.
In other words, each Boxer entered at a show is compared to the written Boxer Breed Standard for the breed that describes the perfect Boxer. They are NOT compared to each other! No dog is perfect, so the judge chooses a dog based on his or her opinion as to which dog most closely meets the breed standard. Which dog a judge chooses on any given day is also determined by the judges interpretation of the breed standard. (Therefore, different judges often choose very different dogs as their winners!)

A male dog of any breed is called a 'Dog'. A female dog of any breed is called a 'Bitch'.

Classes for boxers in the US are divided as follows:
6-9 puppy dog
9-12 puppy dog
12-18 dog
Bred By Exhibitor dog
American Bred dog
Open Fawn dog
Open Brindle dog

Different breeds have varied classes, but the consistent classes are Puppy Classes, American Bred, Bred By Exhibitor, and Open. There IS a Novice class, but it is rarely used.

The judge awards placements in each class from 1st to 4th place.
The First place winners of each of these classes competes against each other for Winners Dog. The judge gives 'Winners Dog' to the dog(male) from the above listed classes who he/she feels comes closest to meeting his/her opinion of the ideal Boxer Dog (male). Winners Dog is the ONLY male entered who receives points that day. The judge also picks a 'Reserve Winners Dog' who does not receive points.

6-9 puppy bitch
9-12 puppy bitch
12-18 bitch
Bred By Exhibitor bitch
American Bred bitch
Open Fawn bitch
Open Brindle bitch

The judge awards placements in each class from 1st to 4th place.
The First place winners of each of these classes competes against each other for Winners Bitch. The judge gives 'Winners Bitch' to the bitch from the above listed classes who he/she feels comes closest to meeting his/her opinion of the ideal Boxer Bitch. Winners Bitch is the ONLY female entered who receives points that day. The judge also picks a 'Reserve Winners Bitch' who does not receive points.

Both Winners dog, and Winners bitch come back into the ring for the Best of Breed judging. At this time, any Champions who were entered at the show also come into the ring. From these dogs the judge must choose Best of Breed, Best of Opposite, and Best of Winners.

Best of Breed is the dog that the judge feels BEST meets the breed standard. This dog goes on to represent the breed in the group judging. (It is important to remember when watching a 'Group' competition, that each breed is NOT judged against each other! They are compared to the written Breed Standard for each breed!)
If the show is a Specialty show, Best of Breed is the highest award given. A Specialty show is a show where only one breed is being judged.

Best of Opposite is the BEST dog, or bitch, of the OPPOSITE sex to the Best of Breed dog, or bitch. (So, if Best of Breed is a male, Best of Opposite is a Bitch) Best of Winners is given to either Winners Dog, or Winners Bitch. This is who the judge decides is the 'Best' of the two winners.

The Best of Breed winner will compete in the Group. There are SEVEN Different Groups:
Sporting Group* - (Labs, Cocker Spaniels,  Pointers, Golden Retrievers, etc.)
Hound Group* - (Borzois, Afghan Hounds, Dachshunds, Whippets, etc.)
Working Group* - (Akitas, Boxers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Great Danes, etc.)
Terrier Group* - (Bull Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Fox Terriers, etc.)
Toy Group* - (Chihuahuas, Maltese, Papillons, Pugs, Shih Tzu, etc.)
Non Sporting Group* - (Bichons, Bulldogs, Shar-Pei, Standard Poodles, etc.)
Herding Group* - (Border Collie, Collie, Briards, Old English Sheepdogs, etc.)
*Please note - Examples shown do NOT represent ALL the breeds in each group.

In each Group, the judge chooses the 4 dogs who come closest to meeting each breeds standard. They are placed in order from 1st to 4th. Each Groups 1st place winner goes on to represent its group for BEST IN SHOW. Here, the judge chooses his BEST dog in the Show from the Seven Group winners. This Dog stands alone at the end of the show, remaining undefeated.

In the good ol' USA we need 15 points to become Champions....
The HIGHEST point value you can win at a show is 5 points.
A Major win is 3,4, or 5 points.
In those 15 points you need to become a champion, you need two majors. (So two of your wins must be of 3-5 points. These wins MUST be awarded by two different judges, and part of the remainder must be awarded by yet another judge! (So Judge A can give you one major, Judge B the second major, Judge C gives you 2 points, and etc...)
Point value is determined by the amount of boxers ENTERED, and PRESENT at the show on that day. For example, in Illinois (My own state) for a 3 point major, 21 males MUST be entered and present at a show. 24 females are required for a 3 pt major in Illinois. For a 5 pt major, 37 males MUST be present and entered. 39 females for the same point value.

Now, the amount of dogs entered to 'make a major' or to determine ANY point value varies by area, state, or region. There are different point divisions in the US.
For example, in Alaska there needs to be 8 male dogs entered and present to make a 3 point major, rather than 21. 10 females for 3 pts there, compared to 24. For 5 pts, they need 10 males, and 13 females. (I hope this isnt too confusing!)

So, for a 3 point major in our area, a male must win Winners Dog when there are 21 or more dogs entered and PRESENT on that day!

Now, in this country, lets say the males 'Make a major' (Meaning there are enough dogs entered and present that the Winners dog WILL BE awarded 3 points.)
Now, there were NOT enough females entered to make a major....
IF the female goes "Best of Winners" she TOO gets a major of the same point value equal to what the Winners dog was awarded since she won 'Best of Winners' over the male.

Confusing at times....

After a dog, or bitch has both their majors, then, they need to win 'single points' to complete the required 15 points to become a champion. Most shows are 'smaller' point shows - (1 or 2 points awarded for a win)

So, an example:

A female wins WB at a show for 2 points. (Judge A)
She wins WB for a 4 point major: (Judge B)
She wins WB for 1 point. (Judge C)
She wins WB and BOW for a 4 point major. (Judge A again)
She wins WB for 2 points. (Judge D)
She wins WB for 2 points. (Judge E)
Shes now a champion!
(This isnt including the many losses under judges F through Z!!)

In the US the dogs DO NOT have to compete against dogs that are already champions for the points!!! The dogs who are ALREADY champions show only for the 'Best of Breed' competition.

This is also very different than the Canadian shows... they need 10 points with no majors.

So, there is my long, and utterly confusing write up on how points work. Someone needs to write it up in 'childrens book' form, perhaps with Dr.Suess rhymes!!
(I do not like Judge A, Judge B,
I do not like Judge C, Judge D..... you get the idea)

1,552 Posts
Basically; actually the CKC now requires one "major" win, but a major simply means a win of 2 or more points.  The point schedule for Canada is the same for all breeds and all areas (in the AKC it varies by breed and region), and is far lower than most of the breeds/areas of the US.  So for Boxers, for example, in Michigan it takes like 30 Boxer bitches to make a small major (3 points) in bitches; in Canada, it takes 6-9 Boxer bitches for 3 points, and 13 or more for 5 points (the highest number awarded at one show, CKC or AKC; in AKC in Michigan it's like 45 Boxer bitches for 5 points - in Maryland it's 60!).

Also in Canada you get additional points for group placements, as well as group wins - in AKC only group wins have a point value, and it's only a 'bump-up' - you get the highest number of points awarded to any dog competing in the group that day.  (So if, for example, in AKC you won 2 points going BOB and then won the group over a Dobe who'd won 3 points going BOB; you'd bump up to a total of 3 points won that day; in CKC if you won 2 points going BOB and then won the group over at least five other dogs, you'd add 3 points to your BOB for a total of 5 points won that day.)

Clear as mud? ;)  Points and point schedules are probably the most confusing things about dog shows!
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