From the very small to the very tall dogs come in all shapes, sizes , colors and types, but these dogs, no matter how different, all have one thing in common; they are tough competitors.
From early spring through fall, dogs compete in over 15,000 AKC accredited regional dog show events across the country earning points that they hope will garner them an invitation to Westminster in February.
The dog shows we typically watch on television are conformation shows, dealing strictly with the structure and movement of a dog.
The standards for all breeds are written by the parent club and are occasionally updated to reflect changes in the breed. Judges look for the most well balanced animal representing the ideal standards.
To be eligible to compete, a dog must be a breed recognized by the AKC and be individually registered with the AKC, meet the eligibility requirements for the standards and be at least 6 months old.
Most dogs are competing for points toward their AKC championship. It takes 15 points, including two majors awarded by at least three different judges, to become a "Champion of Record." Once a dog is a Champion they can compete in the best of breed class, consisting of champions as well as the best class male and best class female of that day.
Those winners from best of breed then go on to compete in one of seven groups. Each dog winning first place in that “Group” goes on to compete in best in show. And only one dog out of those seven groups wins “Best in Show” that day.
Only the top five dogs from across the country in each breed are invited to pre enter Westminster. But if a dog is unable to compete another champion could take their place and have their chance to drink from the Westminster Cup.