There is much to know about handling dogs in the breed ring, from finding the
right puppy, to training, grooming techniques, understanding of show etiquette
Show Dog Resources
Tell Me More about Dog Shows for Conformation
By Jan Bramhall ©1998
shows promote the continued development of dogs which meet the
Retriever Standard. Dogs (males) and bitches (females) compete for the eye
of a judge, who chooses the winners at each event. Dogs and bitches classes are
judged separately; all dog classes are judged prior to all bitch classes. Both
Winners Dog and Winners Bitch accrue points toward a championship To become a
Champion requires at least 15 points, earned under at least 3 different judges,
and two "majors," that is, shows where so many dogs/bitches were defeated that 3
or more points are awarded. The two majors must be under two different judges.
In New England, to earn 3 points, the winning Golden Retriever must have
defeated at least 21 dogs (22 bitches). In other parts of the country, the point
system varies slightly, based upon the average number of Golden Retrievers shown
in that area.
Show dogs aren't just pretty faces; the standard dictates
that they must be shown in hard working condition. They must meet the breed
standard in all areas and have no disqualifying faults. A good show dog has
received a lot of training in all of the varied show ring procedures. Dogs must
learn to be examined by strangers, to pay no attention to the other dogs, and to
move around the ring and stand still to show to their best advantage. The best
also have a personality or presence which somehow makes them stand out as
Typically, after all the dogs in the ring are marked present by
the number on the handlers' arm bands, the judge looks at each dog "stacked"
(stood in show position) by the handler to quickly appraise outline, head and
type, and then sends all the dogs around the ring together at a trot to watch
their collective movement and see what he/she has to work with. Then the judge
evaluates each entry individually, checking for the correct scissors bite and
complete dentition, proper head shape, correct dark eyes and nose pigment, ear
set and size, a sturdy, medium long neck, shoulder angulation and layback,
length of upper arm, depth of chest, width of chest and amount of forechest,
correct rib spring, topline, rear angulation, correct tail-set, correct pasterns
and feet, correct length of tail, proper coat, etc. After physically going over
the dog, the judge watches the dog move in a designated pattern whereby he/she
can determine the gait of the dog "coming and going" (front and rear leg action)
and the side gait, where "reach and drive" can be determined.
temperament, structure, movement, and overall balance of the dog is clearly
delineated in the standard, and each dog is judged against the breed standard,
not against the other dogs in the ring. Overall appearance, balance, gait, and
purpose are given more emphasis than any single component. Once all the entries
have been examined and gaited, the judge selects the top four placements, based
on which dogs most nearly approximate the Golden Retriever Standard in all
aspects. This procedure is followed in all of the different classes for dogs
(males) and bitches (females). The winners of each of the dog/bitch classes then
enter the ring to vie for "Winners Dog/Bitch," selected in the same manner as
the winners of the classes were chosen. The "Winners Dog/Bitch" is awarded 1-5
points toward his/her championship, based upon the number of dogs/bitches
defeated by that dog/bitch that day.
Once both Winners Dog and Winners
Bitch have been awarded, they both enter the ring with the "finished" Champions
being shown and all compete for "Best of Breed." Again, this award is presented
to the animal in the ring which comes closest to the judge's interpretation of
the standard, only this time the sexes are judged together. Once Best of Breed
has been determined by the judge, he/she selects the "Best of Opposite Sex,"
awarded to the animal not of the same sex as the Best of Breed which most
closely meets the standard. Finally, the judge selects the "Best of Winners."
This is either the Winners Dog or the Winners Bitch.
There may be special
prizes for these three wins, but only the Best of Breed may go on to compete
against other breeds for Group placements and Best in Show. Group placements
accrue points toward achieving recognition in the Show Dog Hall of Fame.
Golden Retriever Clubs in the U.S.
Golden Retriever Clubs all around the World