One of the most addictive canine pursuits has to be dog showing.  Some people buy a puppy and have their sights set on Crufts’ from the word go, but others attend a local Companion Dog Show, win a rosette and from that moment there is no turning back.

If the puppy was not purchased as a show puppy but the owner wants to show, first of all talk to the breeder. If the dog is of a good standard then the breeder will probably be happy for it to be shown and will usually offer advice on trimming and showing, but it must be registered on the Kennel Club’s Breed Register, click here to visit the Kennel Club web page.

Show training is therefore most important and Breinton Ringcraft Society provides structured classes every week. 


There are various ways to find out about the dates and venues for dog shows: 

Companion Dog Shows are advertised in local papers, dog press or on local radio.

Limit, Open and Championship Dog Shows are advertised in the Kennel Gazette (published by the Kennel Club) and in weekly, canine related publications (see Links Page) and which are also available from a newsagent or direct from the printers.

The internet has made entering shows easier. Commercial publishers, produce schedules for shows and have websites where it is possible to download schedules and enter online. This service is available for all General Championship shows and about half of the general open shows.


The most popular form of canine competition in this country is the dog show - the contest for Kennel Club registered pure-bred dogs, such as those seen at Crufts. The Kennel Club sets a Breed Standard for every breed of dog it recognises, which represents the ideal conformation and characteristics for that breed. 

The judge checks teeth

At shows, the Judge must compare each dog with the Breed Standard to find the dog nearest to that ideal picture of the breed.

The Kennel Club Breed Standard page gives more information - 
click here

The following is a brief summary of the types of shows: 


Companion Dog Shows. These are fun, charity events.

They are Kennel Club Licensed which means certain guidelines must be followed, but they are open to pedigree (KC registered or not) and crossbreed dogs.


The Show must be organised to support a registered charity.  Entries are taken on the day and there are usually pedigree and crossbreed classes, novelty classes (e.g. prettiest bitch), junior handling and sometimes obedience classes. 



Limit Shows 

These are comparatively rare; they are "limited" in that competitors must be members of the Club running them. Membership usually costs very little and they may be run by a club for a single breed.

Alternatively, if they are run by a general canine society, there will be classes for any breed.  Usually the classes are mixed e.g. Any Variety Gundog.



These are the most common types of shows.  They are open to all, competitors do not have to be members of the organising club, but membership usually means it is cheaper to enter.


Open Shows also fall into categories:  

General Canine Societies can run one or two open shows per year depending on the success of previous shows and usually have 3 to 5 classes for each separate breed scheduled plus a number of variety classes.

These may be run on the 'Group System’, where the Best of Breed and Best Puppy winners for each breed compete for Best in Group and Best Puppy in Group and the winners go forward to Best in Show and Best Puppy in Show.

Alternatively to the Group System all Best of Breeds and Best Puppy in Breeds stay to the end and compete for Best in Show and Best Puppy in Show.


Open shows are popular because they are local, points can be gained which count towards Junior Warrant and Show Certificate of Merit Awards and they are cheaper to enter than championship shows.

They are a good training ground for dogs, handlers and judges.

Group Open Shows are restricted to one or maybe two groups e.g. Gundog shows.

Breed Club Open Shows are restricted to one breed but they will have around twenty classes for the breed.  They are popular shows although the competition can be as strong as at Championship Shows.


Open shows must be entered about four weeks in advance either by obtaining a schedule from the secretary, filling in an entry form and sending with a cheque or by entering online.



Are shows where wins at certain class levels count towards the Champion title. Some placings will also give your dog a chance to exhibit at Crufts. The class places for this do vary according to breed and are determined by the Kennel Club.


General Championship Shows are held over several days with the different groups competing on each day.  Most of them take place in the summer months as outdoor venues have more space.  Classes are scheduled for each breed and dogs and bitches are judged seperately. 


If challenge certificates are on offer for the breed the class winners for each sex  compete together to challenge for ‘The Ticket' and ‘Reserve Ticket’.  A Best of Breed is chosen and this goes forward to the Group.  The group winner then competes with all other group winners for Best in Show.


If dogs win three Challenge Certificates (or tickets) under three different judges they become Champions or Show Champions, depending on the breed. 


In a popular breed (e.g. Labradors), wins of 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Minor Puppy, Puppy, Junior, Yearling, Post Graduate, Limit or Open classes at a show where Challenge Certificates are on offer for the breed, will qualify your dog to exhibit at Crufts.

Placings in Limit and Open classes can also give your dog a ‘Stud Book Number’ which qualifies it to exhibit at Crufts for life.  In less numerous breeds the requirements can be different (as set by the Kennel Club).


Breed Championship Shows are confined to one breed.

The Breed Line up -who wil get the Ticket?

The number of classes is usually greater than at General Championship Shows but the Challenge Certificates and Crufts qualifications remain the same.


These shows are cheaper to enter and usually draw a bigger entry than GCS. In popular breeds there may be a different judge for dogs and bitches. 


Championship Show Classes

The show schedule gives a list of classes and definitions for each class.  The classes depend on either age or previous wins.  It is worth reading this section carefully. Ringcraft trainers can give advice on the classes suitable for your dog.

As a general rule just enter the lowest class your dog is eligible for e.g.  If you have a 10 month old puppy just enter ‘Puppy’, don’t go in ‘Junior’ or any other class.


The Best Dog

Remember, win or lose, you always go home with the best dog.Best in Show

You will learn a lot from your first show dog and other exhibitors are usually pleased to offer help if asked. 


Often the friends you make at shows are friends for life.