Rules of the SportChart - Click to Enlarge

Going to the dog show can be fun, overwhelming and even confusing. Like any other sport, understanding the rules can help make it more interesting. To finish a championship a dog must earn 15 points at AKC sanctioned shows. Two of those wins need to be Majors (3 points or more).

Dog shows are divided by class. Every dog competes to win their class on a given day. The classes are first divided by sex, then by age or other elements such a owner/handler or bred by exhibitor. The picture here (which you can click to enlarge) shows these divisions on the left hand side. The class winners get blue ribbons. Those ribbons do not translate yet to points though. The winner from each class, still divided by sex goes on to compete for Winners. If they win at this point, and there were dogs of their own gender there to compete against, this is where they get the points, they also get a purple winners ribbon. This is the color to watch.

Then the winner from both the males and the females may go on to compete against the "specials," dogs who have already finished their championship, for Best of Breed. At this point the judge will pick between the Winners male and female for a Best of Winner and also will pick a Best of Breed and a Best of Opposite Sex. Only the Best of Breed winner can go on though. The dog selected best of breed then goes to compete in the Group ring in one of the 7 groups. Maltese would go into the "Toy Group." The seven group winners then go on to compete for Best In Show.



Calculating PointsDog Show Points - Click to Enlarge

Points are invisible. The ribbons won at dog shows do not tell you much about the points won. In every breed and every region there is a different point schedule. This schedule is published in the show catalog. Using the point schedule you can count how many points are available based on the number of male or female class dogs entered in any given show. The point schedule will tell you the value of the purple "winners" ribbon that day. The chart on the right which you can click to enlarge will tell you how to calculate points based on the other possible wins a dog may have in breed that day. This is where watching the other ribbons is helpful. For instance, if the Winners Dog beats the Winners Bitch for Best of Winners and the point schedule says that he only got 1 point for going Winners Dog, but she got 3 for going Winners Bitch then he gets to "share" the points with her. They both have enough points that day to take home a Major win.



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