The official term for dog shows is conformation — as in, the act of conforming or producing conformity. While a dog show may look like a beauty pageant, it’s not: Dogs are not being compared to each other; they’re being measured by how closely they conform to the standard of their particular breed. Why? Because the closer a dog’s appearance is to the breed’s standard, the better that dog’s ability will be to produce puppies that meet the standard. It’s also the reason why mixed breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are ineligible to compete.
With the exception of the Westminster Kennel Club show in February all dog shows that appear in the listing below are unbenched*, which means that exhibitors and their dogs may leave the show following breed judging if they are not selected for further judging in the Group. Most AKC dog shows begin at 8 AM sharp, so if you hope to see your breed in the ring and have a chance to meet the dogs afterwards, you must plan to arrive early! For tips on how to make the most of your visit to a dog show, please see the AKC's web publication, A Beginner's Guide to Dog Shows
Please note the links that appear just to the right of each dog show or show site address. These links indicate each particular show's superintendent . Breed ring numbers and judging times may be found on the individual show superintendents' web sites a week prior to the day of a given scheduled event. If you have already been in contact with an ATCC or an ATCA breeder, he or she can provide more detailed information and will arrange to meet with you ringside once judging has been completed.