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According to the American Kennel Club event statistics, more than 3,000 dogs and 150 breeds are entered into a typical large all-breed AKC show. There are also specific breed shows, agility shows and herding trials. That's a lot of competition for any dog! If you are interested in getting your dog started in dog shows, you need to know how to prepare him and yourself for the challenge.
Photo by joshwept via Flickr
The first thing you need to know before entering your dog into dog shows is what is necessary to qualify. The AKC requires dogs meet several basic requirements, including:
The AKC will not accept any dogs into their competition that do not meet all four of these requirements so it is important to determine if these are met before you set your heart on showing your dog.
Photo of the Hounds group edited by Pharaoh Hound photo by Ed Schipul via Wikimedia Commons
Once you have determined whether your dog meets the AKC requirements for competition in a dog show, you need to determine the category for your dog. Each dog breed, including all variations of particular breeds, are categorized based on their primary uses and other similar features. The AKC divides dogs into the following groups:
Check your breed's standards to determine which group your dog belongs in. Before you sign your dog up for a show, you will also need to make sure his breed qualifies for that specific show. All-breed shows are open to dogs of all breeds; specialty shows are only open to specific breeds that will be listed; and group shows are open to dogs in one of the seven categories.
Photo by whartonds via Wikimedia Commons
Now that you're ready to move forward, you need to prepare your dog and yourself for the show. These tips can give you the edge when you begin competing. Some dogs win these competitions repeatedly so it can be difficult for new dogs to break into the competition and do well. With the right steps, you increase your chances of success.