Dog Showing

I have compiled this information from various sources.

Showing your dog

Dog shows are held all around Australia, where dogs are judged by specialist judges against their breed standard.

Entering a show

Dog shows conducted under State regulations are organised by Affiliated Clubs and held throughout the year all over each State.

Championship Show

This is an exhibition of registered dogs at which best of breed and challenge certificates are awarded. A best of breed and challenge certificate evidences the number of points awarded at the fixture towards the title of Australian champion (minimum 100 points). At these shows only qualified judges officiate.

Open Show

This is an exhibition of registered dogs at which no best of breed or challenge points are awarded. At these shows trainee judges officiate and it is considered the training ground for all young dogs and owners. It is particularly good to help socialise your dog as you may show your puppy from the age of three months.

How to enter

We use Show Manager for lodging entries, and you should read the notes carefully if using a site for the first time. Firstly create a new account and then add your dogs details

The dog information you provide should be exactly what is shown on the current Pedigree Certificate of your dog, namely;

  • The Dog’s Registered Name including all titles and suffixes (CH., IMP, IID etc)

  • The Dog’s Registration Number

  • The name of the Registered Owner/s

  • The Owner Number shown on the Certificate to the right of the Owner’s name

  • Details of Date of Birth, Sex, Breeder, Sire and Dam

Within Show Manager your find the event you wish to enter, and then click on 'Enter' and then follow the prompts to enter your dog. We recommend you also get a Catalogue as this shows you exactly what dogs come before you, so you can get ready in time.

After you have completed your entries, you will receive an acknowledgement by email confirming that your entries have been correctly lodged. You should check this email to reconfirm that both the dog’s details and classes you have entered are correct.

Download the Show Schedule and keep this with you as it has the show location, start time, and also order that your group is being judged. Once the show gets closer to the date, the breed numbers will be released. You can use this to help work out when you need to be at the ring. A general rule of thumb is 30 dogs are judged per hour. But be aware that people do withdraw and the number of dogs before you can change.

What happens in the ring?

Ensure that you check the show schedule and catalogue to see when your Group and breed is being judged, unless your pup belongs to a breed which is at the beginning of the group, you will have some time to wait.

  • Special Classes - Baby Puppy and Puppy Sweepstakes

  • Group 1 Toy Group

  • Group 2 Terrier Group

  • Group 3 Gundog Group

  • Group 4 Hound Group

  • Group 5 Working Dog Group

  • Group 6 Utility Group

  • Group 7 Non-Sporting Group

Make sure you can hear the steward calling breeds and classes from where you choose to sit, or go over to the ring now and then to check which breed/class the judge is up to. When the breed before you is finishing, take your pup over to the ringside (but not in the way of dogs and handlers going in to or coming out of the ring) and listen for your class to be announced and your number called. Note that a roll call may be made while the previous group/class is still being judged.

While you are waiting at ringside:

  • Watch carefully the procedure in the ring

  • Where the steward is lining up the dogs ready for the judge

  • What the judge does when they examine each dog

  • The pattern they are asking handlers to follow when they are parading their dogs.

When you hear your number called by the steward, answer clearly "here" and enter the ring, going to where the steward directs if your pup is first into the ring or following the other pups if he is further down the line.

When the steward assembles your class, the numbers are called in order and a line is formed to enter the ring. Any person who fails to answer the steward's call will be marked as absent after 3 calls, so don't get involved in conversations or other activities which will mean you missing your call. If called absent, an exhibit can not enter that ring.

Always follow the judge's instructions and be courteous and considerate at all times to the judge, steward and other exhibitors. The judge will probably ask you and the other exhibitors in your class to gait your puppies once around the ring before standing your puppy back in front of them, (allow approximately two metres between dogs when gaiting dogs with other exhibitors).

The judge will then examine your dog from nose to tail, either on the ground or a table for small breeds, to check for correct conformation (the outward appearance and physical formation of a canine. The overall quality of a dog's structure, form and arrangement of parts), coat and condition. You will again be asked to gait your dog individually to assess movement.

If it is the first time that you are showing, it is wise to tell the steward, as he or she will relay this information to the judge who should give you consideration in understanding the ring requirements.

Actually showing your dog

The Ring Steward has the responsibility of ensuring the smooth running of the judging ring.

Exhibitors are required to follow all directions of the Stewards who will call the dogs into the Ring in the specified order of judging.

Males are judged first followed by females and then Best of Breed and other breed elimination classes before moving on to the next breed.

The order of judging Breeds is pre-determined in the show schedule/catalogue and is strictly followed. The most common order of judging is alphabetical within each Group. You should therefore be aware of the breeds that come before you so that you are ready to enter the ring when the Steward calls your number. This is where the Catalogue becomes extremely useful as it clearly shows you the number of dogs which are entered in the breeds ahead of you.

The Steward is required to announce your Exhibit Number up to a maximum of three times and should you not present your dog at the ring entrance prior to the third call your dog will be marked absent and no level of complaint will allow that call to be overturned.

When you enter the ring you then simply need to follow the directions of the judge until such time as the necessary awards have been made and recorded by the Steward.


A dog show is divided into several classes which are based on age and sex of dog. The following are the specifications of classes approved for show fixtures. Please note where separate classes are provided for each sex, the class numbers for bitches are followed by the letter 'a', i.e. Baby Puppy Bitch Class 1a, etc

  • Class 1/1a Baby Puppy - for dogs of 3-6 months of age

  • Class 2/2a Minor Puppy - for dogs of 6-9 months of age

  • Class 3/3a Puppy - for dogs of 6-12 months of age

  • Class 4/4a Junior - for dogs of 9-18 months of age

  • Class 5/5a Intermediate - for dogs of 18-36 months of age

  • Class 9/9a State Bred - for dogs 6 months of age or over whelped (born) in the state in which it is exhibited

  • Class 10/10a Australian Bred - for dogs 6 months of age or over whelped (born) in Australia

  • Class 11/11a Open - for dogs 6 months of age and over

  • Class 12/12a Veteran - for dogs 7 years and over


There are a number of different categories to win, and the show firstly works towards the Best Dog, the Best Bitch, the Best In Breed, and then goes back to the Best in Class. The Best Dog, Bitch, and Breed automatically win that Class. This can all happen fairly quickly and have you going in and out of the ring at different times. Just remember that winners and runner ups automatically win that Class.


Males and females are initially shown separately in their classes to determine Challenge Dog or Bitch. Baby Puppy Class does not get any points, and they do not compete for Challenge or Best Of Breed. Minor Puppy and older can compete for Challenge and Best Of Breed and compete as below

  • For each dog you go in Class and compete against other dogs in the same Class

  • The winners of each class compete against the winners of the other classes for Challenge (best male or female)

  • The male and female Challenge compete against each other for Best Of Breed

  • And then the male and female from each class compete against each other for Best Class In Breed

  • The winners and runner ups for Challenge or Best Of Breed automatically win the Class that they are in. All other dogs in that Class are eliminated for Best Class In Breed


The Best Of Breed within each group all compete against each other for Best In Group and Runner Up In Group. These dogs win the Class that they are in and all other dogs in that Class are eliminated for Best Class In Group

Then the remaining best Class In Breed all compete against each other for Class In Group.


The Best Of Group compete against each other for Best In Show and Runner Up In Show. These dogs win the Class that they are in and all other dogs in that Class are eliminated for Best Class In Show

Then the remaining best Class In Group all compete against each other for Class In Show.


It can be a bit complicated in knowing if you get to the next part, the below flow chart may help, otherwise just ask the steward :)