In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.
~ Edward Hoagland
~ Edward Hoagland
Well, I strongly agree with the "... becoming partly a dog... " part of the above quote when it comes to preparing your precious canine pet for a dog show. You see, dog shows are all about judging how closely a canine entrant conforms with the standards set for its particular breed by official kennel clubs or other similarly authorized bodies. These standards could pertain to appearance, behavior, temperament, etc. In order to raise a dog in conformation with these standards, the owner and trainer needs to go under the skin of their canine subject. Unless one has a complete understanding of the breed and the specific individual of that breed one is dealing with, molding it in a way that it fits the bill of qualifying as an entrant for a dog show becomes a very difficult task. Dog shows, as we know it from what is telecast on the television or what we witness live at the show venue, are mostly conformation shows. In these shows, the entrants are judged on the parameters of a few set of standards such as appearance, grooming, temperament, breed specific functionalities, etc. Now, what would a dog require to be considered eligible for entering such a show in the first place? The following segment takes you on a tour of some of the most common and basic dog show requirements that must be fulfilled, no matter what authority hosts the show and in what part of the world it takes place.
Eligibility Criteria for a Dog to Enter a Dog Show
Although many people will tell you that only a purebred dog can be entered into a dog show, that's not entirely true. A lot of different types of dog shows are there that allow crossbred entrants to participate and, mostly, these shows are for pure entertainment purposes. Good examples can be local dog beauty pageants or contest for the title of the longest coat or the funniest antics. However, when it comes to conformance shows such as those held by the American Kennel club or the Westminster Kennel Club, the entrants must be purebred canines and the rules and standards with regards to the contest are way more stringent. Here are some basic dog show requirements that must be fulfilled no matter what type of show you're considering getting your dog to participate in.
Registration with Authorized Kennel Club
In order to qualify for participating in a dog show, a dog must be registered with the kennel club under whose jurisdiction the owner falls. In the USA, the canine pet registration authority is the American Kennel Club and registration is usually done at birth itself. However, on failure to register a pup by the breeder on birth, an application for registration must be completed by the owner as well as the breeder/ seller soon after birth of the pup and this completed application must be submitted to the American Kennel Club for approval.
Complete and Up-to-Date Vaccination
It goes without saying that a canine entrant must, compulsorily, be vaccinated against rabies for it to be considered eligible for participating in the dog show. Besides rabies, all other necessary shots and vaccines (such as for hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, parvovirus, corona viruses, etc) must have been administered at necessary intervals and within prescribed age brackets. Dog vaccination requirements differ from state to state and country to country and based upon such region-specific requirements, an owner must make sure that his/her canine candidate has had all necessary shots administered before applying for participation in a dog show.
Appearance and Grooming
For purpose of conformance shows, a dog belonging to a particular breed must be groomed in the way that is standard for, and unique to, the grooming requirement for its breed. For instance, grooming requirements for a dog with a long or shaggy coat can be radically different from grooming requirements of a breed with short and smooth coat. Matters regarding coat hygiene (such as tick infestation) must also be kept under strict supervision so that your dog feels as good as it looks.
Training for Handling
A dog must be adequately trained to be handled by judges for examination and professional handlers at the show so that it does not react aggressively nor shy away from touch by these strangers. If the owner himself wishes to handle the dog inside the ring, he must be aware of the standard practices and procedures of dog handling for such shows. Handlers themselves should be confident and comfortable in the company of canine strangers within the exhibition ring and should be able to conduct themselves with composed elegance.
These are the most fundamental requirements that a dog must possess in order to participate in a dog show. Based upon the type of show and the governing authority of such shows, certain additional rules and eligibility criteria may be present to shortlist canine candidates for participation. It is best to get in touch with the organizing body of the show to find out the exact details regarding participation. If you've already been raising your pet pooch in a healthy, hygienic and happy environment which is in line with the health and fitness requirements prescribed by the breeder and the vet, there are very little additional formalities that you may have to fulfill in order to get Bruno or Lassie to strut his/ her stuff out there in front of hundreds of admiring eyes!