The Dog Word

Conformation Shows

Conformation shows are for purebreed dogs who are held against their breed standard and judged for how well they fit it based on appearance and personality.

Conformation shows are competitions where dogs of the same breed are judged based on their adherence to their breed standard. These are often called show dog competitions or breed shows. The competition includes being judged based on body measurements, posture, and personality. The standard is determined by the local governing body (like the AKC, CKC, etc).

Conformation Shows

The reward is usually for a title or to receive points towards a championship title like “Best of Breed”. Dogs who win a title or titles are valued even more because they are ideal for breeding since they are considered excellent representatives of their breed. 


The judges should be very familiar if not experts when it comes to the breed they are judging because they are not comparing each competitor. Instead they are judging each dog to their knowledge of the breed itself. For this reason often judges require some certification to be able to judge a specific breed or multiple breeds.

The Winners are judged in a hierarchy, where winners at lower levels are combined and winners chosen until the final round. Groups may be divided based on gender and age, but sometimes based on variety, like rough or smooth coats. There are many titles to win based on breed like top sporting dogs, working dogs, hound dogs, overall top breed, etc.

The Rules

Each country has their own standards, titles, and rules for their conformation show even if they are fairly similar throughout the world. If you are going to enter your dog it must be a registered purebred with the local governing body, like the AKC or the CKC, or the Kennel Club (UK). You will find breed specific titles as well as titles to be achieved for all breed competitions.

Conformation Shows

National & International Competitions

The Canadian Kennel Club

Who Can Participate: Pedigrees

The Canadian Kennel Club does run events where you can earn points towards their titles. Check out their event calendar to find one near you.

The Amercian Kennel Club Conformation Shows

Who Can Participate: Purebreds

If you want to start attending shows and competing with your breed, be sure to check out the AKC event calendar to find local events if you are in America.

Crufts Annual Dog Show (UK)

Who Can Participate: Pedigrees

In the Crufts dog show, many dogs are competing in many different dog sports, including agility, for the championship titles. To even be eligible for Crufts you must come in first at events they hold in your home country. You can their qualifications here.

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