Dog shows, breed shows or conformation shows are competitions where the judges examine dogs of a specific breed or sometimes dogs of all breeds, to see whether it meets the breed standards or not. Kennel clubs and breed clubs conduct such kinds of shows. Shows where only specific breeds are examined are known as specialty show.
The standards are set prior to the show by the judges of the show. During the show, they choose dogs, which match the set standards. This task is extremely difficult because the judgments made should be completely subjective. Not only is one dog compared with the other, but the comparison of the dog to the judge's image of an ideal dog which meet the breed standard almost perfectly. The objective of each dog show is to select a winner dog, which matches the breed standards.
The breed standard is jotted down in a long list, which is called a conformation point. All the judges get together and frame the conformation point. Conformation point can vary from one competition to another, but there are certain requirements that are general. The fur is the most important factor. The pet's color, pattern, length, type and quality are observed carefully. The distribution, quality and quantity of the markings are observed.
Healthy skin with no pigmentation is also one of the important criterions. The shape and color of the head is also taken into consideration. The general attitude and temperament is noted down for each breed of dogs. The jaw-line and the structure of the teeth and how they align when the jaw is closed are compared. Shape and color of the eyes and shape and set of the ears are observed. The sizes and the ratio of the length and height are also compared. The style of walking and gait is compared. The shape of the tail and feet are closely observed. The dogs, which enter such competition, should be well groomed. Some even check for skin wrinkles and measure the flews. The name of each participating dog should be registered. Every dog's name is attached with the breeder's kennel name. Every dog can have a registered name as well as a call name. The kennel club uses the registered name and the owner to refer to the pet uses the call name.
There are many dog shows conducted on various levels. There are local shows and national shows, which attract competitors from different parts of the country. Usually dog shows are hierarchical competitions. The winners earn certain points in each show and each level, which makes them eligible for the next show. And the dog which wins shows that are at the highest level is declared as a champion. 'Ch.', for example Ch. Tony, appends the dog's name. Such shows are called as prestigious shows.
These shows allow pets, which have already won championship in other shows. These shows aim to choose the best in the breed. Such shows make the reputation of the dog, breeder and kennel higher. The price of the puppies of that particular dog is sold for a surprisingly high price. This is because other people want to buy a pet, which resembles the champion. The popularity of the breed increases rapidly. There are two such prestigious shows, The Crufts in the United Kingdom and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the United States.