Confusing terms for AKC dog show beginners

Information to help remove the confusion of commonly used terms at an AKC dog show.


For a person who is a spectator or one who is interested in showing dogs, the terms used at dog shows can often be confusing. The following is an attempt to remove the confusion so many novices feel about dog shows:

1.Dog  Everyone has a dog right? Well where dog shows are concerned, only those owners or handler of MALE dogs have a dog.

2.Bitch  Far from the derogatory term that comes to mind, bitch simply means a canine of the female persuasion.

3.AKC  American Kennel Club. This is the best-known registry for purebred dogs in the United States. It is a club of clubs that breed clubs, breeders, and dog shows turn to for rules and regulations, as well as dog and litter registration.

4.AKC Sanctioned Show - A show that is listed with the AKC that follows their guidelines. It requires sanctioned shows to receive any AKC title.

5.Registration  Official shows have registration completed by a deadline before the actual date of the show. A specialized form must be filled out with the dogs name, number, owner and class entered.

6.Conformation  The judging of a dog on looks, structural build, gait, expression, and breed standard. Conformation classes are broken up into groups, breeds, sex and ages.

7.Group  There are seven acknowledged groups at an AKC show. These are Sporting, Non-Sporting, Hounds, Working, Herding, Terriers, and Toys.

8.Sporting group  Made up mainly of setters, retrievers and spaniels

9.Non-Sporting group- Made up of breeds that didnt seem to fit into any of the other categories.

10.Hounds-Strictly hounds. Bloodhounds, Bassett, Beagles, Black and Tan Coonhounds and so many more.

11.Working Dogs group  A mixture of breeds whose original functions were guarding, sledding, rescue and a few herders.

bodyOffer2()12.Herding group  Dogs that were originally bred to herd livestock. A few of these are Collies, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Bouviar des Flandres, Corgis and many more.

13.Terriers  A specialty group made up strictly for terriers. Airedales, American Staffordshires, Bull, Fox Terriers, Kerry Blues, Miniature Schnauzer and West Highland Whites are just a few of the large group.

14.Toys- As their name implies, small sized dogs. This group will include the likes of Chihuahuas, Maltese, Japanese Chins, Pugs, Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers and more.

15.CH.  This is an abbreviation is seen many times in pedigrees, newspaper adds and show books. It stands for the term Champion. Receiving the set number of points the AKC requires at several dog shows will reward a dog the title of Champion.        
16.Obedience  Classes where a dog competes against a perfect scorecard of 200. The dogs that score 170 or better have points towards an obedience title. These titles include CD, CDX and UD and each require a score of 170 at three different shows. They must be acquired in the following order.

17.CD  Companion Dog

18.CDX  Companion Dog Excellent

19.UD  Utility dog.

20. Junior Showmanship  A class in which 10  17 year olds are judged upon their handling of a dog in a conformation class atmosphere. The handler, not the dog is judge and it is a great way for youngsters to learn about dog shows.

bodyOffer3()21. Best of Breed  All the winners in a certain breeds classes are placed together by sex. The pick male and female will then compete against each other for Best of Breed title.

22. Best Of Opposite Sex  The other dog in the best of breed competition.

23. Reserve  The second best dog of each sex. This dog will step up to compete if for some reason the winner of the best of breed class cant continue competition in the Group classes.

24. Group  All the best of breed winners will then go into their respective group and compete against each other. In other words, all the different herding dog winners would be in the ring at the same time. One Collie would compete against one German Shepherd, one Corgi, one Shetland Sheepdog, etc.

25. Best in Show  After judges have picked the best dog out of each group, they then will compete in one last class. This class will be Best in Show. It is up to the judge to pick one dog that he or she feels is better than any other dog in the show. Not an easy task!

These are some of the most common terms used or overheard at a dog show and will hopefully help you out if you decide to go and watch or even participate in a show. To find out dates and locations of shows in your area, contact the American Kennel Club by phone or Internet.