Dog Show Terminology
Like all sporting events, dog shows have their own unique set of rules and terminology. The following is a helpful list of terms associated with the sport.

Angulation: Angles created by bones meeting at their joints.

Armband: The number worn on the handler's left arm that corresponds to the number listed in the official show catalog.

Bait: The food or object the handler uses to focus the dog's attention or to have it look alert in the ring.

Bench show: A dog show at which the dogs are kept on assigned benches when not being shown in competition, so they can be viewed and discussed by attendees, exhibitors, and breeders.

Best of Breed: The dog judged as the best representative of the breed.

Best of Variety: Award given in lieu of Best of Breed for those breeds divided by varieties. There are nine breeds divided by variety: Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds, Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, English Toy Spaniels, Poodles, and Collies.

Best of Winners: The dog judged as best between the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch.

Best of Opposite Sex: The best dog that is of the opposite sex to the Best of Breed Winner.

Breed Standard: Official written description of the ideal dog of each AKC-recognized breed, as specified by the breed's parent club. Includes characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred and outlines the structure, form, movement, coat, and temperament of the breed. Dog show judging is a comparison of dogs to this established standard.

Bred-by-Exhibitor Class: A regular class for dogs that are owned or co-owned by one of the breeders and shown by one of the breeders or a member of the breeder's immediate family.

Breeder: A breeder of a particular dog is the person who owned the dam (mother) at the time she was bred to produce that dog.

Breeder-Owner-Handler: Someone who exhibits, owns, and handles the dog they bred.

Catalog: Official listing of all dogs entered in the show, categorized by breed. Each breed is divided first by sex for class judging of non-champions. Next, champions are listed in the Best of Breed class. The catalog assigns each dog a number and follows with the dog's name, AKC registration number, date of birth, parentage, and ownership.

Catalog Order: Ordering of the dogs in the ring for preliminary class judging in the order they appear listed in the catalog.

Champion: An AKC title conferred upon a dog that has earned 15 points in competition as a result of defeating a specified number of dogs at a series of AKC dog shows.

Conformation: The form, structure, shape, and arrangement of the parts of a dog, as they relate and conform to the written standard of the breed.

Conformation Dog Show: An event held under AKC rules where championship points are awarded. The purpose is to allow breeders to evaluate the success of their breeding program, with the goal of achieving structure and temperament necessary for the breed's function and to evaluate dogs for use as future breeding stock.

Exhibitor: Someone whose dog is entered and shown at a dog show.

Expression: The general appearance of all features of the head.

Fancy: The group of people who are especially interested in purebred dogs or in a specific breed. Fanciers usually are active in the sport of purebred dogs.

Feathering: Longer fringe hair on ears, tail, or body.

Field Trial: Competition for certain Hounds or Sporting breeds in which dogs are judged on their ability and style in finding or retrieving game or following a game trail.

Gait: Pattern of movement of the dog. Can be described as gallop, trot, walk, or hackney. Gait is a good indicator of structure, temperament, and condition.

Groups: All AKC-recognized breeds are a member of one of seven groups: Sporting (dogs developed for the hunting of feathered game); Hound (dogs commonly used for hunting by sight or scent); Working (dogs used to pull carts, guard property, and for search and rescue work); Terrier (dogs originally used to hunt vermin); Toy (dogs characterized by very small size); Non-Sporting (diverse group of multi-functional dogs not generally regarded to be game hunters); and Herding (group of dogs whose main duty is to drive livestock from one place to another).

Grooming: Making the dog's appearance adhere to the standard by bathing, brushing, combing, trimming, etc.

Handler: A person or agent who takes a dog into the show ring or who works the dog at a field trial or other performance.

Heel: A command to a dog to keep close beside its handler.

Judge: An official approved by the AKC to judge dogs at AKC events.

Junior Handler: Person between the ages of 10 and 18 who competes in an AKC-sponsored class called Junior Showmanship. Junior handlers are judged on their ability to show and handle their dog, not on the quality of the dog.

See part 2
Showing your Bulldog
Selecting a puppy with personality tests
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