Conformation Showing is one of Canada’s most popular dog sports and it is restricted to those dogs registered as pure bred dogs through the Canadian Kennel Club. Beautiful dogs are shown against one another and compared to their breed standard by the judge in order to select the winners. Dogs of the highest conformation are considered to have breeding potential, though many other factors are also taken into account.
The foundation for the Conformation Dog Sport is the canine/human relationship and the healthier it is, the greater the success. Dogs must enjoy showing to be successful. We teach them to enjoy what we want them to do by using positive training techniques. They need to be taught to gait, stack, and stand stay and to have their bite examined. This training should be relaxed and fun and preferably be done in a group environment to socialize the dog.
As in any dog sport, a dog needs to be comfortable in a competitive environment to perform well. The dog also needs to enjoy the preparation required. The handler grooms and conditions the dog to top form. Grooming, exercising and conditioning time is a time when the canine-handler bond can grow.
Todays’ competitors include those people who choose to show their own dogs and professional dog handlers (hired by people to exhibit their dogs). Dog showing is one of the only sports in which professionals compete against amateurs. The challenge of the competition and coming up with the winners is what attracts people to the dog shows of which many are held each year under the Canadian Kennel Club Rules. It is worthwhile remembering that showing dogs should be about the dogs first and the rewards of success (titles and ribbons) second. A common thing that dog handlers say is “the best dog is the one we take home at the end of the show”.