Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. The podcast on purebred dogs. I’m your host Laura Reeves. So today we are going to do some work on real basic stuff because there is alot of new exhibitors that this is still really challenging for them and I want to help you work your way through it because it can be scary and it’s only scary because you don’t understand or know the process. We want you to have fun and we want  you to enjoy your hobby with your dog. Knowledge is power don’t forget. So we are going to give you the tools that will help you make a comfortable and rewarding experience for you and your dog.  We are talking about 2 of the most frequently asked questions at dog shows.

When is it my turn and if your dog won, how many points was that? And those first few dog shows can seem like a maze and you are there without a tour guide. Don’t worry about it. I got your back on this.

All classes are divided by sex and championship status. That’s where we start. Non-champion male dogs compete for winner’s dog. Then the non-champion female dogs compete for winner’s bitch. Only the animals that are rewarded winner’s dog and winner’s bitch are eligible to earn points toward their championship status. After that, the  champion animals and the winner’s dog and the winner’s bitch compete for best of breed. That’s your basic.

So let’s talk about the classes. These are the categories that you are going to enter your dog in. You need to know what class to enter. If you don’t know or if you have any questions about it, talk to your breeder. Talk to your mentor. Do that before you send in your entries. You also need to know how old your dog is and you need to know how old he’ll be on the day of the event. Three of the available classes are divided by age. Now remember your puppy has to be over 6 months old to compete in what we think of as regular confirmation competition. And that’s competition in order to earn championship points. I’ll give you a little bit of a quick overview so you have some idea what your options are:

6 to 9 months – puppy

9 to 12 months – puppy

12 to 18 months -So after the puppy classes you’ll see the novice class which is designated for dogs which have not won 3 blue ribbons in any other class. The American bred class, this is clearly as the name says, dogs bred in US, then the bred by exhibitor class, dogs bred by the person actually showing the dog, amateur handler class is defined by the exhibitor, not the dog and open class which is for any animal, any age, any handler.

Now in certain breeds, you’ll have classes that might be divided by coat, by dolor or by size, all of these can be identified with the links on our show notes and you can find definitions and alot  more in-depth information there.  My suggestion is study and memorize this list cause it will help save you grief and aggravation in the long run.

Another note, very important to remember, only enter one class!!! Yes, I’m yelling a little bit here. This is a common mistake and an expensive one. If you enter your dog in more than one class, he has to win every class he’s entered in to compete for his championship points.  Again, only enter one class.  Now very seldom are you going to entry in every single one of the available classes. Non-champion dogs, ok we call those class dogs, the non-champion  males are all judged in the class order that I said earlier.  The winner of each class has to stay ringside to return and compete for winner’s dog. Something people sometimes forget, the second place animal in each class, if there is one, also needs to stand by in case of a reserve placement. We’ll get to that in a minute.

So now you have all of the class winners and it’s time for winner’s dog competition. This gets a little confusing until you’ve watched it a few times because they call the dogs back in the opposite order of how they were judged. So the open dog , then the bred by dog, and then last in line is the 6 to 9 puppy dog, like that. Judge selects winner dog from these class winners. This winners dog is the dog who is awarded championship points. And we’ll talk more about how many and how that works in a little bit. Winners dog will be awarded his ribbon and he’ll leave the ring. If there was a dog who was second place in that winner’s class, that dog will be called back into the ring to be considered for reserve winners dog. If there was no second place animal in the class, reserve is chosen from the dogs remaining in the ring.

For example, let’s say your dog was second place in the open dog class. You need to be paying attention to the judging if winners dog came from open you’ll return to the ring for the judging of reserve winner’s dog. ok. If winner’s dog came from the bred by exhibitor class, your competition is done for the day.  Now let’s take it a step further, we are going to say your puppy was second place in 6 to 9 months. Good job! Now there are 20 more class dogs to be judged before winners dog goes in. It’s going to take over half an hour and you really have to go to the bathroom. OK, you can do that but be quick because you need to be back in time to watch the judging of winners dog. It’s possible your competitor from the 6 to 9 months class could go winners and then you and your baby are going need to go back in the ring to compete for that reserve winners dog ribbon. This is important because reserve is literally the animal who could be awarded championship points. That happens if the winners animal is deemed ineligible for some reason. AKC reviews every award from every dog show and if there’s an error the reserve dog is awarded the points that were basically taken away from the winner. Alright so we are through that piece.

Now the female entries are going to go through the same process in order to select winners bitch and reserve winners bitch. Once the girls have a turn, now we are going to be ready to have the best of breed competition. At this point, all of the champions who are entered are called into the ring with winners dog and then winners bitch at the end of the line up. Generally speaking, the judge will ask for male champions first, female champions next, followed by the winners. This isn’t a given and it’s just how the champions are lined up is completely up to the judge. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to go watch the ring for a breed or two before yours is judged so you have an idea what’s going to happen. Keep in mind, almost exclusively, male dogs are given odd number armbands starting with number 5. Females are given even number armbands starting with number 6. I have no idea why this is but it will help you to know what’s in the ring if it’s males they are all going to have odd numbers, if its females they are all going to have even numbers and if it’s best of breed there will be both odd and even numbered dogs in the ring.

Alright, so now at the end of the judging in the best breed ring, the judge will line the dogs up in order of their placement. The first dog in the line is going to be the best of breed winner. Next dog in the line is going to be the best of winners and this is award that is given to the judge’s choice of the best animal between the winner’s dog and the winner’s bitch. This ribbon can have alot of bearing when we are counting points and we’ll talk about that in a little bit.

Next in line is the best of opposite sex to best of breed. This sounds confusing but it’s not that bad. If the judge selects a male dog for best of breed this award is given to a female. Vice versa. Finally, in the order of the way the dogs are standing in line, the male and female select awards are presented, these awards are for grand champion points and are only available to champion dogs in the ring who did not win best of breed or best of opposite sex. That’s the distillation of what can look a little confusing to the beginning eye.

Now we are going to talk about how many championship points were earned by which dogs.  This is even more confusing so stick with me here. I’ll start at the top.  Points are awarded based on the number of dogs defeated. Bottom line. Dogs can earn anywhere from 0 to 5 points at any given dog show.

For example, if there is only one class dog and one class bitch entered, there will be no points available. Any time a dog defeats enough animals to earn 3, 4 or 5 points its called a major. All dogs have to earn 2 major wins and accumulate a total of 15 points to be awarded championship status. How many championship points are awarded is based on 3 factors:

Your breed

Your dog’s sex

Region of the country in which you live and show dogs

If you have a chance, grab a piece of paper and scratch these numbers out so you have kind of an idea what we are talking about.  It gets confusing when you are talking about different breeds so we are going to stick with one just to give you an example. If you have a low entry breed; German wire-haired pointers are my breed, we’ll use that one. Low entry breed in the State of Oregon, with an entry of 4 class dogs and 4 class bitches, both winners dog and winners bitch will earn 3 points for a major. If you are in another state or another region of the country, that entry might only bring you 2 points. Just as comparisons, if you are showing a Golden Retriever, it takes 24 bitches to earn a 3 point major. Alright.

Stop by PureDogTalk.com and you’ll find a link in the show notes to AKC point schedule. It covers all 15 divisions of the country. This schedule changes in May every year. So what constitutes a major on May 1st may well not count on May 15th. So you really, it’s critical to keep current on the document.

Now this is where best of winners might come into play. The dog awarded best of winners earns the highest number of points available. This isn’t in addition to the points you earned. For example, if we have 4 male and 4 female class dog wire-haired pointers being shown in California, which is its own division, there are 3 points available in dogs and 2 points available in bitches. If the female is declared best of winners, she has also earned a major. This is frequently referred to as sharing the points, or crossing over the points. Keep in mind the judge does not automatically do this and their deciding this whether winners dog or winners bitch the best representative of the breed. Ok. So that’s the basics.

We are getting pretty good at the concepts here. We are going to step up our game. Ready? Let’s talk about championship points awarded in the case of a dog earning best of opposite or best of breed. If the class dog from the classes beats the champions, the number of champions of the same sex are added to the count of how many dogs in competition to earn points. So if your winners bitch goes best of opposite, we add the number of female champions. OK? When a class animal defeats champions to earn best of breed, all of the champions present are included in the count of dogs defeated.

Sometimes I think it’s easier to visualize this if we use examples. So we are going to back to the example of the German wire-hired pointers and in this case the total entry of German wire-haired pointers is 4 males, 4 females, one male champion and two female champions. OK? In this example, it takes 4 males or 7 females to earn a 3 point major. OK. so let’s say winners bitch was awarded best of opposite sex. Think about it for a minute. She’s now defeated two more bitches because we said there were 2 female champions. So we add those to the 4 class bitches that were entered, make a total of 6 bitches defeated, it still not enough for a major.

So let’s take that example to the next step. We’ll say winners bitch was awarded best of breed and the class dog was awarded best of opposite sex. OK. So the class dog a special also. Did winners bitch earn a major now? Think about it? Yeah. She did. On 2 different levels. First because best of breed is automatically best of winners if its a class animal and second because now the winner’s bitch has 7 animals in competition; 4 bitches, plus 3 champions, that’s the number needed to earn a 3 point major in wire-haired bitches. This is very exciting!

Now, now’s this is a big test. This is the $60,000,000 question. How many points did winners bitch actually earn? We know she had a major, but how many actual points Alright so quick go check the point schedule. Wait for it. The class dog earn best of opposite sex which means 4 class dogs and one champion present is a total of 5 animals. The point schedule for wire-haired males shows that 4 points for 5 dogs in competition. The class dog earned 4 points by going best opposite the class bitch was best of breed and best of winners, she also earned 4 points. So there you go. There’s not an infinite number of variables, but there really are quite a few.  Getting the fine print takes a while. Don’t worry about it. I had to sit and think about this literally for 10 minutes to make sure I got it right. So really don’t feel bad.

Nonetheless, the basics are pretty cut and dried.

1)Make sure you know the point schedule for your breed in the division in which you show dogs.

2)Take note of the number of dogs actually in the ring. Just because the dogs are entered, it doesn’t count. If they don’t show up, it’s going to change your points available most likely.

3)If you get a blue ribbon or a red ribbon in your class, don’t leave until the purple and white ribbon is handed out. That’s number 3.

4)In all cases, if you are the winner, verify it with the ring steward or the superintendent that the judge wrote down your dog’s number properly and verify the number of dogs actually in attendance. Super easy way to do this go to the superintendent and ask to see the tear sheets fro the judge’s books. These are always make available to all the exhibitors usually within an hour or 2 at the ending of the judging of your breed and you can look and make sure how many dogs were there and that your dog’s number is written down properly.

So there you go. You are ready for the dog show. You have hard facts. Nothing to stress out about. You can focus on your dog and make every second in the ring count. If you have some grey areas left on this, stop by the website and check out our very detailed graphic. It will give you a visual diagram of the entire process that we talked about in our example today. If you still have questions, just drop me an email. We will help you problem solve it.

As always if you have any questions or input. We’d love to hear from you. The show notes and links to resources on today’s topic are available at puredogtalk.com. Drop us a note in the comments or email to laura@puredogtalk.com. Remember this podcast is for you so if you want to know something, give me a holler. We’ll do a podcast for you. If you wouldn’t mind, you could help me out here. Take a couple minutes and visit I-tunes and give us a review. This will help us share the love with others out there in the sport. This has been pure dog talk with your host Laura Reeves. We hope you can join us next time as we journey on the road to success with your pure bred dog.

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