For information about classes, see below.
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What is Conformation?
At AKC shows, the dogs entered in a particular breed are divided into three categories: 1) Class Dogs (males that have not yet finished their Championship), 2) Class Bitches (females that have not yet finished their Championship), and 3) Specials (Dogs /Bitches that are already Champions.) All the Class dogs compete first, and after the various classes, the judge picks the Winners Dog (WD). The judge then judges all the class Bitches and picks a Winners Bitch (WB). Then the WD and WB go back into the ring and compete with the Champions for Best of Breed (BOB), Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed (BOS), and Best of Winners (WB), or better between the WD and WB. The WD and WB will win the “points” toward their championships. The number of points earned is based on the area of the country where the show is held and the number of dogs in competition. To complete aChampionship, a dog must earn 15 points. These must include two major wins (3, 4, or 5 points) under two different judges and at least one point under a third judge. The BOB breed dog then competes in the Group Judging. At AKC shows all the breeds are divided into seven Groups: Sporting, Working, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-sporting, and Herding. The first place dog from each of the Groups them competes for Best in Show (BIS). Therefore, a show such as Louisville that started with over 5,000 dogs entered will end up with one dog that is awarded Best in Show.
Conformation handling is wonderful socialization for dogs, as they are encouraged with treats and toys. It gives them an opportunity to have a stranger gently pet/examine them in a non-threatening situation. It is good for all trainers and handlers as it teaches the basis of structure and movement. A sound dog is better equipped to compete in obedience and agility, and these classes are a starting point for recognizing structure, soundness, and movement.
Gem City’s conducts Conformation/ Show Dog Handling Classes. The instructor for these classes is an experienced handler who has bred, trained and shown dogs in the breed ring since 1970. The Conformation classes sequence consists of a Beginners Class for eight weeks followed by eight weeks of Advanced Classes. Students must complete Beginners Class or have previous breed ring experience to register for the Advanced Classes. Here are the highlights of the classes.
These are structured classes with the emphasis on the handler and are open to everyone. One does not have to participate with a show quality dog. The student may take the classes with a “pet” quality dog to learn the techniques.
In the Beginners Class the students will learn how to stack, gait, and free bait the dogs. There is also instruction on the AKC point system, show attire, ring procedures, canine anatomy, and general dog show knowledge. Students are required to do a brief oral presentation on their breed and its standard. The Beginners Class is offered in October and March.
Offered: January and May
The Advanced class deals with advanced ring patterns, canine structure and how it affects movement, tack box essentials, and how to win in the ring when competing against Professional handlers. The Advanced Class is offered in January and May.
Drop in Classes
Gem City also offers drop in classes for experienced handler who want to start a new dog or need ring experience. Cost is $3.00/members and $5.00/non-members.