What is a Conformation Show?

Conformation shows might be a little intimidating at first. Walking into a building where there might be 500, 800, 1000, maybe even 2000 dogs of different breeds can certainly be overwhelming. Our dog shows are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Dogs are judged on their conformation to the breed standard.

Are There Different Kinds of Conformation Shows?

There are three basic kinds of dog shows. All Breed Shows, Group Shows, and Specialty Shows. 

  • All breed shows allow all AKC recognized breeds to enter
  • Group shows are limited to only certain types of dogs.  For example, and Irish Setter is a part of the Sporting group and therefore may enter a Sporting show
  • Specialty shows are breed specific.  That means that only one breed of dog is allowed to enter that show.


How Does A Conformation Show Work?

Dogs and Bitches are entered in different breed specific classes:

  • 6-9 month old puppies
  • 9-12 month old puppies
  • 12-18 months
  • Open – no age limit
  • Amateur Owner Handler – no age limits and the dogs handler is not a professional
  • Bred By Exhibitor – no age limits and the handler is also the breeder of the dog
  • American Bred – no age limit and the dog was bred/born in the USA

A winner of each class is selected by the judge. The winners from each male class are then judged for “Winners Dog”. The winners from each female class are then judged against each other and “Winners Bitch” is awarded. Next, the “Winners Dog”, “Winners Bitch”, and all specials are brought into the ring. Specials are dogs/bitches that have already won their championship title. All of the dogs/bitches are then judged against each other for for There are several awards that come out of this judging. “Best of Breed”, “Best of Opposite Sex”, “Best of Winners” and Select Dog, and Select Bitch. Best of Breed is awarded to the dog/bitch that judge deems most closely conforms to the breed standard. Best of Opposite sex is awarded to the dog/bitch that most closely conforms to the breed standard opposite of the “Best of Breed” winner. For example if the “Best of Breed” winner is a dog, Best of Opposite is awarded to a bitch. Best of Winners is awarded to the better of the “Winners Dog” or “Winners Bitch”.

How are Points Awarded?

To earn a conformation championship, a dog needs to earn 15 points with two major wins. Major wins are wins that earn the dog three or more points at one show. Points are awarded to the “Winners Dog” and “Winners Bitch” based on the number of class dogs/bitches competing in the show.

Does This Sound Like Something You’d Be Interested In?

Many members of the RMKC are involved in conformation shows. We’d be happy to help get you get involved!