Show Dogs / Conformation

A show dog is not a variety, kind, type, or breed of dog; neither is it a dog trained for a specific skill, as in assistance dog or police dog; rather, a show dog refers to any dog entered into a dog show. Often used as a single word (showdog), the term may also refer to a dog in the sport of conformation that displays a particularly energetic or outgoing character. Entry into many sorts of dog shows is restricted to purebred dogs registered with the kennel club or breed club sponsoring the show.

Dog shows may be held indoors, in horse arenas or other suitably large spaces, or outdoors on groomed fields. Events at which dogs may be shown vary in the requirements for entry and the amount of preparation required. Types of dog shows include:

  • Fun shows: Usually put on by charities for fund raising, these dog shows may offer prizes for costumes or for the largest and smallest dogs entered.
  • Tests and Trials: Dog shows that display a dog’s training or natural instincts. They may require a great deal of formal training of the dog, as in obedience trials, or none at all, as in herding tests. Some are entertaining spectator dog sports, such as disc dog and dock jumping, and others are of more interest to the dog than to spectators, as in earthdog trials and hunt tests.
  • Conformation shows: Originally devised for the selection of breeding stock, conformation showing has evolved into a sport requiring specific training for both the dog and handler, as well as precise grooming requirements (depending on the breed being shown.)

Popular Show/Conformation Dogs

  • American Water Spaniels
  • Barbets
  • Bichon Frisés
  • Poodles

Recommended Exercises

  • Retrieving skills
  • Jumping Skills
  • Handler chase and focus activities
  • Targeting skills

Additional Exercises:
Tunnel exercise: Make a tunnel or maze with some old cardboard boxes or chairs and encourage your dog to explore and go through it.

Concentration exercise: Hide some treats inside an old wash-glove or in a rolled up towel.

Brain exercise: Turnover a bowl and hide the treats under it. Doggie must use creativity to turn the bowl over and get treats.

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