SEENWORSTAFF

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Helpful Hints for the total Show Novice

If your planning to show your dog , preparation is important , enrol in a ringcraft class inorder to socialise and familiarise both you and your dog . Here the trainer will teach you the basic ringcraft skills you will need to show and prepare your dog for being handled and examined. Most classes will accept young puppies once they've been vaccinated , the earlier you start the better , remember to make it fun for your pup/dog as you'll get more out of him if he enjoys what he's doing .............After that its up to you to get as much practice in as possible , remember to let friends and family handle and look in your dogs mouth frequently in order to prepare him for being assessed . If you can not find a local ringcraft class contact either the Kennel Club or any local Canine Society for help .

Next if you don't yet feel confident enough to enter a show , attend a few shows as a spectator , have a look around , ask a few questions and just see what goes on .  

Once your ready to take the plunge and enter a show you then have to decide what sort of Show ! There are 3 different Types .

Limit Shows

Limit shows are run by individual dog clubs, and are restricted to the members of that club. These shows are probably the best place to start as you will be given a lot of help and advice without the pressures of the larger, more competitive shows. The classes at these shows are quite small making it an ideal place to start. Usually you have to subscribe to become a member to enter these shows , however this is normally only a small subscription of say £5 per year.

Open  Shows

These shows have a broader range of classes and tend to be more competitive. In some classes you will be up against dogs of other breeds. Open Shows can also be purely for one specific breed. The top prize at this is The Best in Show, which is judged from the Best of Breed. The Best in Breed is the best dog and bitch of that one breed.

Championship Shows

These shows can be breed specific, group specific, for example gundogs, working etc, or for all breeds. These shows offer the widest range of classes and winning at these can gain the ultimate award of qualifying for Crufts, the most prestigious dog show in Britain.

 

Limit Shows, Open shows and Championships shows are all held under Kennel Club rules and regulations that are always printed on the entry schedule, or can be obtained directly from the Kennel Club. When completing the entry schedule form take your time, as many mistakes made at this point cannot be rectified on the day of the show when the catalogue has already been printed. These entry forms have a closing date for entries, usually 6 or 8 weeks before the show date, if your entry is late it may be returned to you.

To enter a show an entry form has to be filled in giving details of the dog being entered and for which class, the forms can be obtained from your local ringcraft classes, dog shows or directly from the show secretary. The forms have to be filled in and sent off with the entry fee some time before the actual show date. Once the secretary has received the entries, a catalogue of all the dogs entered is compiled. This is made available to everyone on the show day.

Care should be taken when completing an entry form as mistakes could lead to a disqualification or moved entry . You will usually find that not all the below listed classes are available for entry at shows , therefore the most appropriate class for your dogs age or wins should be chosen . You may enter as many classes in one show as you wish but remember , should you win a class and enter another then get beat , you will be no longer eligible for the unbeaten line up , ie. To choose best in breed etc.  If your still not sure about what class to enter speak to the trainer at the ringcraft class , your breeder or even telephone the show secretary , all will be happy to give you the advice and help you need .

Definition of Classes;

MINOR PUPPY For dogs of six and not exceeding nine calendar months of age on the first day of

the Show.

PUPPY For dogs of six and not exceeding twelve calendar months of age on the first day of the Show.

JUNIOR For dogs of six and not exceeding eighteen calendar months of age on the first day of the

Show.

YEARLING For dogs of twelve and not exceeding twenty four months of age on the first day of the

Show.

NOVICE For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or three or more First Prizes at Open

and Championship Shows (Minor Puppy, Special Minor Puppy, Puppy and Special Puppy classes

excepted, whether restricted or not).

UNDERGRADUATE For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or three or more First

Prizes at Championship Shows (Minor Puppy, Special Minor Puppy, Puppy and Special Puppy classes

excepted, whether restricted or not).

GRADUATE For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or four or more First prizes at

Championship Shows in Graduate, Post Graduate, Minor Limit, Mid Limit, Limit and Open classes,

whether restricted or not.

POST GRADUATE For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or five or more First

Prizes at Championship Shows in Post Graduate, Minor Limit, Mid Limit, Limit and Open classes,

whether restricted or not.

MID LIMIT For dogs which have not won three Challenge Certificates or five or more First Prizes

in all at Championship Shows in Mid Limit, Limit and Open classes, confined to the breed, whether

restricted or not at Shows where Challenge Certificates were offered for the breed.

LIMIT For dogs which have not won three Challenge Certificates under three different Judges or

seven or more First Prizes in all, at Championship Shows in Limit and Open classes, confined to

the breed, whether restricted or not, at Shows where Challenge Certificates were offered for the

breed.

OPEN For all dogs of the breeds for which the class is provided and eligible for entry at the Show.

Tips to remember ;    

When you post your entry obtain proof of postage this will be accepted by most shows should your entry go astray . Telephone the show secretary to confirm entry especially for smaller limit / open shows as passes etc are not usually issued for these . Don't forget if you miss the closing date try calling  the show secretary to see if you can make a late entry , usually they a happy to accommodate , you can only ask .

Right , you've been to your ringcraft class , you've completed an entry for your first show and the day has arrived ,what now. Preparation , make sure that your dog is clean and well groomed , that means everything , if he's smelly bath him there's nothing worse than a smelly dog , his teeth , ears , bottom and bits everything should be nice and clean , baby wipes are a saviour for a quick freshen up should a bath not be needed , also make sure that your dog is well brushed in order to remove all loose hair from his coat , a wipe over with a chamois leather just finishes him off .

What to take with you ;

You may want to take your dogs cage , this is optional for smaller shows however at larger and Championship shows where numbers are greater and you may be there longer cages are essential , even sometimes a requirement . Here is a list of some other things you may or may not wish to take ; Show collar /lead set if needed , Drinking bowl for your dog , Number clip/armband (safety pin) for attaching your show number , Baby wipes , Pooh bags , Dog treats/nibbles , Passes etc ( if sent out) , Grooming brushes etc , Towel , Folding seat ( seating is sometimes limited or unavailable ) , Snacks and drinks for yourself ( Optional as most shows provide reasonably priced refreshments ) , last but not least don't forget the dog  . Don't worry if you do  forget something most people at shows are willing to help .

Make sure you leave for the show with plenty of time to spare , just incase you have to go back for something , or in the event of classes prior to that of yours , being small or unentered , your start time may be earlier than scheduled . Once there obtain a show catalogue and check what ring you are showing in and that your dogs details are entered in the correct class , should there be a mistake go to the show secretary and inform him immediately. If your dogs details and class are correct , you can relax  . Remember when your dogs class is not the first in a particular ring , example ;  your class is scheduled to start in ring 6 an hour after the hounds , always try to follow the previous classes as should you miss yours , then thats it's gone. Finally once you're organised , exercise your dog and do that final bit of grooming just prior to going into the ring .

When you enter the ring a Steward will ask for your dogs name and the number which has been allocated to him , ( from the show catalogue ) , the Steward will then give you a corresponding printed number which you attach to yourself using your clip/pin , this should be visible and placed in a position that will not hinder or distract you or your dog . What happens next is very similar to that which you have been shown at your ringcraft classes , you set your dog up as you have been shown , according to breed , after which time the Judge will walk alongside the dogs making an initial assessment , you will then be asked to relax your dogs before taking it in turn to individually set up your dogs infront of the Judge to be examined  . Once the Judge has finished physically examining your dog , you will then be asked to walk your dog , this can be up and down , in a circle , or in a triangle , once or twice even , it all depends on the Judge , they will explain   .

When the Judge has finished assessing your dog he will thank you , upon which you rejoin the line up  and wait for any remaining dogs to be examined , this is a good time to make a fuss of your dog and keep him enthusiastic and happy .  Assessments over , the dogs are then set up for the final time , the Judge will again walk past the dogs before making a decision , first place always being announced first . Should you be awarded a place move forward where you will be given either a certificate or rosette , quite often both . The Steward will then read out the winners names , after which , usually , the top two placed dogs remain in the ring whilst the Judge writes a critique about them , all other dogs retire from the ring . And thats all there is to it......

One last thing if you win your class you get to do it all over again in the best of breed line up  and if you win that yes , you guessed it , again in the group line up and if your lucks still in , the final showdown for Best in Show ........And believe me if your knees didn't shake at the start they will by the end . ............GOOD LUCK . ENJOY .