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Owner-Handler Show Glossary
(please note: in dog show terminology, the term “dog” refers to a male, and the term “bitch” refers to a female. For purposes of this glossary, the term “dog” may be used simply to refer to your canine.)

Classes: “Class dog’ or ‘Class bitch’ refers to dogs that have not yet earned their championship. The typical classes for regular all-breed shows are 6-9 month, 9-12 months, 12-18 months, novice, Amateur Owner-Handler, Bred By Exhibitor, and Open. Males compete only against other males in classes, females compete only against other females.

Winners Dog/Bitch: The winners of each of the above classes will then compete for Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. This is the level where “points” are awarded toward the championship title. Only the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch will receive the points toward the championship, and the amount of points will depend on how many dogs or bitches were in the classes, and may vary depending on the geographical region. (see points)

Champion or Special: Once your dog has earned the championship title, they are often referred to as specials. Continuing to exhibit a dog after the championship has been earned is often referred to as “specialing” the dog. Dogs who have earned the championship title no longer compete in classes, but are entered directly into the Best of Breed competition. (see Best of Breed) Please note, a dog may continue to be shown in classes for a period of time after the points and majors have been earned, until the owner receives written notification of the title. (check with AKC current rules for period of time...)

Points: In AKC, a dog must earn a minimum of 15 points, which must include two “Majors” in order to earn a championship title. How many points the dog may earn at any given show will depend on how many other class dogs/bitches compete that day, although all breeds can earn a single point by defeating at least one other class dog of their own gender for Winners. (check?) For AKC points, refer to the Point Schedule for your geographical region to determine how many dogs/bitches must compete to earn more than 1 point. This amount can change yearly, and is based on how many entries of each gender there have been in classes in that region during the previous year.

Majors: Simply put, a “major” is 3, 4, or 5 points earned at a single show. In AKC, your dogs points must include at least two majors. It is possible to earn a championship, for instance, with three 5-point majors, earning both the 15 points and at least 2 majors.

Best of Winners (and Crossovers): When there are entries in classes for both dogs and bitches, but there may be more males than females, or vice versa, it is possible to increase the number of points your dog earns by defeating the other gender’s Winner
or Best of Winners. For example, all the males in classes will compete, and the winners of those classes will compete for Winners Dog. If the Winners Dog only earned a single point, or perhaps no points because there were no other class entries for
males, he will still go into the Best of Breed ring along with the Winners Bitch, who may have earned, say, a 3-point major for the number of other females she defeated. The judge will then choose either the Winners Dog or Winners Bitch to be Best of Winners. In our example, if the male is awarded Best of Winners over the female, he will then be awarded an equivalent number of points as her points. So she will keep her 3-point major, and the male will also be awarded a 3-point major.

Best of Breed: After all the class dogs and bitches have competed, and Winners Dog and Bitch selected where applicable, then the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch will go into the ring again, along with all champions and grand champions of record. From this lineup, the judge will choose one dog to be Best of Breed, one to be Best of Opposite Sex, and Best of Winners. Where applicable, the judge may also award “select” to a male or female champion, which counts toward the Grand Champion title.

Best of Opposite Sex: Whichever gender is selected as Best of Breed, the best of the opposite gender will be awarded Best of Opposite Sex.

Select: Points awarded to champion (special) that the judge deems to be deserving of recognition after Best of Breed and Best of Opposite.

Grand Champion: Dogs who have earned their championship title are eligible to begin earning points toward their grand championship. These grand champion points may be attained through taking Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, or Select, and are based on the number of other dogs defeated. To earn a grand championship in AKC, the dog must earn 25 points, which must include 3 majors, 3 wins over other champions, and under at least 4 different judges.

Specialty: A specialty is a breed competition that is just one breed. It can be held in conjunction with an all-breed show, or as a separate event. Typically specialties offer additional classes beyond the usual all-breed classes, and may include Brood Bitch, Stud Dog, Veteran, etc.

Checking in/Picking up: Upon arriving at a show site, you will need to go to the ring where your breed will be showing and check in. You should have received your dog’s armband number assignment in the male approximately a week prior to the show, but if you have not received it, there will be a catalog at each ring. In each ring will be a steward assisting the judge. You must check in with that steward and let them know your dog is there. Do not give the steward your dog’s name! Just tell them the breed and catalog number. The steward will find the armband for that dog and hand it to you. There will usually be a baggie filled with rubber bands at each ring as well. Pick up a couple of these rubber bands and put them on your left upper arm, and tuck the armband inside those rubber bands. (hint: it helps to make little notches in the side margins of the armband, as this will help keep the armband in place. Also, if you have narrow arms, you can fold the excess edge of the card bad and out of the way-­making sure the number 1s fac1ng out).