Sports and shows

Owners of dogs often enter them in competitions[68] such as breed conformation shows or sports, including racing, sledding and agility competitions. In conformation shows, also referred to as breed shows, a judge familiar with the specific dog breed evaluates individual purebred dogs for conformity with their established breed type as described in the breed standard. As the breed standard only deals with the externally observable qualities of the dog (such as appearance, movement, and temperament), separately tested qualities (such as ability or health) are not part of the judging in conformation shows. Conformation shows, also referred to as breed shows, are a kind of dog show in which a judge familiar with a specific dog breed evaluates individual purebred dogs for how well the dogs conform to the established breed type for their breed, as described in a breed's individual breed standard. This handler prepares a Silky Terrier to be presented. A conformation dog show is not a comparison of one dog to another but a comparison of each dog to a judge's mental image of the ideal breed type as outlined in the individual breed's breed standard. Dog show judges attempt to identify dogs who epitomize the published standards for each breed. This can be challenging, because some judgements must necessarily be subjective. As an example, what exactly entails a "full coat" or a "cheerful attitude", descriptions found in breed standards, can only be learned through experience with the breed that has that particular requirement. Judges are generally certified to judge one or several breeds, usually in the same Group but a few "All-Breed" judges, have the training and experience to judge large numbers of breeds. The first modern conformation dog show was held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in June 1859, and the only breeds scheduled were pointers and setters. Dogs compete at dog shows to earn points or certification towards championship titles. The Kennel Club (UK) system, which s also used by the Australian National Kennel Council[1] and in other countries, is considered the most difficult to earn a title under. At certain shows designated as Championship shows, the top bitch and dog in each breed will be awarded a Challenge Certificate, with three CCs needed to become a champion. The amount of CCs on offer for each breed is decided by the Kennel Club in advance, so opportunities to gain a title are very limited. In the US and Canada, each time a dog wins at some level of a show, it earns points towards the championship. The number of points varies depending on what level within a show the win occurs, how many dogs are competing, and whether the show is a major (larger shows) or minor (smaller shows). The exact number of points needed to gain a championship varies depending on the kennel club offering the title. Federation Cynologique Internationale sponsors international shows that differ from other shows in that dogs first receive individual written descriptions of positive and negative qualities from the judge, and only dogs with high ratings go on to compete against other dogs in the class. A dog must receive four international Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beaute to qualify for a Championship; one must be won in the dog's own country, and at least two in other countries under at least three different judges.[2] Dogs compete in a hierarchical fashion at each show, where winners at lower levels are gradually combined to narrow the winners until the final round, where Best in Show is chosen, usually from among specials, dogs that have already completed their championships and are competing for group and best in show wins. At the lowest level, dogs are divided by breed. Each breed is divided into classes based on sex and, sometimes, age. Males (dogs) are judged first, then females (bitches). At the next level they are divided by group. At the final level, all dogs compete together under a specially trained all breed judge.