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What is a Dog Show?

A Conformation Show is a process of elimination. The judge is an expert on the breeds they are judging. They will look at each dog presented in profile for overall balance and correctness. They will examine each dog with their hands to see if the teeth, muscles, bones and coat texture conform to the breed’s standard. They will assess the dog for correct movement for its breed.The Judge will give awards according to how closely each dog conforms to the “perfect” dog as outlined in that breed’s official standard.

Judging will take place in the following order of classes:

  • Junior Puppy (6 – 9 months)

  • Senior Puppy (9 – 12 months)

  • 12 – 18 Months

  • Canadian Bred

  • Bred by Exhibitor

  • Open Class


All classes of male dogs will be judged first followed by the female dogs. The judge will award first, second, third and fourth in each class depending on the entries. After all male classes (listed above) have been judged, the dog placing first in each class will be brought back into the ring to compete for the Winner’s Male award. Once the Winner’s Male is selected, the dog that placed second to the Winner’s Male in its original class will be brought back into the ring to compete against the other class winners for Reserve Winner’s Male. This dog will be awarded the points if for any reason the win of the Winner’s Male is disallowed by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).

The above procedure is repeated for females entered in the classes.

Specials Only are “Conformation Champions”. All male and female dogs entered as Specials Only will enter the ring together, along with the Winners Male dog and Winners Female dog to compete for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex to the Best of Breed and Best of Winners. Once these awards are completed, Best Puppy in Breed will be judged. 

Once the Best of Breed judging is completed for all breeds within a Group, the Best of Breed dogs will compete for first, second, third and fourth Group awards. Following the Group judging, Best Puppy in Breed dogs will compete for the Best Puppy in Group award.

After all seven groups have been judged, dogs that placed first in their Group will return to the ring to compete for Best in Show.

This procedure will be repeated for all Best Puppy in Group winners. They will return to the ring to compete for Best Puppy in Show.

To become a Conformation Champion (Ch), a dog must earn 10 points, including one major (a win of two or more points) awarded by at least three different judges. A dog qualifying for a championship at a conformation show has the designation Champion or “Ch.” added as a prefix to its registered name. The number of championship points awarded at a show depends on the number of males and females of the breed actually in competition. The larger the entry, the greater the number of points a male or a female can win. The maximum number of points awarded to a dog at any show is 5 points. Region is not a factor in determining points for a win in Canada – the point schedule is the same across the country.

A Grand Champion (GCh) title can only be earned after the Conformation Championship has been awarded. The dog must earn 20 points which must include one Best of Breed and a minimum of two wins of at least two points each. To earn a Grand Champion Excellent (GChEx) a dog must earn 100 points and have been awarded a CKC performance title from any CKC event. Some restrictions apply. 

For the most up-to-date information on the Conformation Show Rules and Regulations, please visit the CKC website

All Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognised breeds are divided into seven groups: 


Group 1 Sporting 

Sporting breeds are bred to hunt game birds on land and in the water, i.e., Pointers, Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels. 


Group 2 Hounds

Hounds are bred for hunting game by sight as they run down a quarry or by acute scenting powers to follow a trail, i.e., Afghan Hound, Beagles, Dachshunds, and Whippets. 


Group 3 Working

Working breeds are bred to pull carts, guard property, and perform search and rescue, i.e., Boxer, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, and St. Bernard. 


Group 4 Terrier 

Terriers are bred to hunt vermin such as rats, otters, and weasels, i.e., Airedale Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and West Highland Terrier.  


Group 5 Toy

Toy breeds are bred to be primarily lapdog type dogs and companions, i.e., Chihuahua, Pekinese, Pomeranian, and Pug. 


Group 6 Non-Sporting

Non-sporting breeds vary in size and function. Many are considered companion dogs, i.e., Bulldog, ChowChow, Dalmatian, and Poodle. 


Group 7 Herding 

Herding dogs are bred to herd and guard livestock, i.e., Briard, Collie, German Shepherd Dog, and Old English Sheepdog. 

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