What should I do if I want to show my dog?

We have been asked to provide some hints and tips to enable you and your puppy or family pet to enter the exciting and rewarding world of dog shows. If you are thinking of showing your novice dog, we recommend that you and your dog enrol into Local Ringcraft Class. Visit the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk

We advise you start training when your dog is around 10 weeks old. For example as part of the ringcraft process, your puppy will need to get used to other dogs and different people handling him. A young dog needs to learn to allow strangers to look at his teeth during the judging process to make sure he has well formed and white teeth and a correct bite. He may be sensitive to this when he is teething, so don’t trouble him at this time, just lift his lip when he lies next to you each night.

Before you start to show your dog, we advise you to visit a local Dog Show, so you can see how it is done. (Do not take your dog along to the show if the dog is not entered in the show). Not all shows allow unentered dogs in to shows. A dog can not be entered in a show until he is 6 months old – on the date the show starts.


Why should I consider ringcraft?

Ringcraft will teach you and your dog how to stand and move your dog in the ring, and good ring etiquette. During your training you will for example learn that puppy’s claws should be regularly trimmed and what type of brush you will need to to groom your dog. You will get advice from experts about training and how important it is to encourage the puppy to move and walk correctly.  Cheese or small biscuits are much loved treats to encourage him! We also suggest you buy a show lead which is much finer than the leads used for walking a dog.



How do i start entering dog shows?

We advise you start with a local “Open Dog Show”. In order to enter a show you must first obtain a show Schedule, which is a small booklet which provides a list all available classes at the show. They can be obtained through the show secretary. Visit the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk for details. Fosse Data and Higham Press also list upcoming shows. Closing dates are usually 6 weeks before the show.


Open shows

Open Shows are usually held over 1-2 days, and can involve between 300-400 dogs. Classes are held for each individual breed, and there maybe mixed classes for breeds which do not have their own separate classes. German Pinchers will most likely be entered in the Working Group AVNSC (any variety not separately classified) as there are not usually sufficient numbers for classes to be scheduled at Open shows. When you arrive at an Open Show, we suggest the first thing you do is find out which ring you are due to show in, and the numbers are handed to the exhibitors on entering the ring. The card showing your number must be worn. Use a ‘ring clip’ which are available at stalls at most shows or a safety pin.


Championship shows

These are the biggest shows. They can attract a larger number of entries. You may find 10,000 – 12,000 dogs of many different breeds are competing and showing during the course of A General Champonship show. In order to enter a Championship Show you must first obtain a show Schedule, (normally published as a little booklet) which provides you with a list all available classes at the show. Schedules can be obtained through the show secretary and you can register by post 5-7 weeks before the show date, or online. Championship shows are usually held over 3-4 days and include classes for most KC recognised breeds. You can find upcoming events ows on under shows.  The Kennel Club have details on their website www.thekennelclub.org.uk (general and group championship), or www.highampress.co.uk or www.fossedata.co.uk


Arriving at the show

Your show Passes (tickets) will be sent to you by post and will allow you and your dog in and out of the showground. *NB You cannot bring unentered dogs – ie your pet cannot usually (although occasionally are allowed) come to a Championship show.  At Championship Shows dog are ‘benched’ while not in the show ring. Each dog is allocated a special raised ‘bed’, called a bench, on which he can rest while not showing.
We advise that you bring a cage for your dog to rest in while they are waiting to be shown. We also advise you to give yourself plenty of time to get to the Show on time, so you do not miss your Class.

When you arrive at the show be sure to obtain a show Catalogue. (You will find details of each dog attending a Championship show and ever dog is given a number. The catalogue will tell you which ring number you are showing in).  There is usually a map of the show ground to guide you in the front of the Catalogue.  We would advise you to order a Catalogue on your entrance form as it is cheaper than buying the Catalogue on the day.

At a Championship show your number will be placed above your bench (the place to set your dogs cage up on), which will usually be in large marquees, so look in the Catalogue to help you locate your tent and bench number. Sometimes there is a board up on entering the Championship show indicating at which tent or area you will find your bench and number in.


Working Group ; German Pinscher ; Tent 7 ; Number 262 ; Ring 3

We suggest you check to see how far the judging has gone in your ring. Also ask other German Pinscher owners (when they think your class will be on.) and go and wait by the ring (as in the photo on the left) with the other exhibitors in plenty of time before your class is due in. It may be helpful to walk your dog up and down and try to relax them, before you enter the ring.

Younger dogs are on first in the ring.  Once your breed is due to be shown the ring, the steward (the judge’s assistant) will call the Classes, and he will inform exhibitors which Class is next in the ring. As the numbers are low in German Pinschers, we do not have a Challenge Certificate (CC) allocation which means Pinschers cannot become Champions in the UK at this time but the Best of Breed on the day can compete against the other working breeds in the Group competition.


Entering the ring and showing your dog

  1. All dogs are ‘Set Up’ (made to stand correctly) so the judge can see all the dogs in a line.
    All the dogs are asked to move round the ring 1-2 times.
    Each dog is then examined by the judge, you might be asked to stand your dog on a table.
    The judge will look at your dog’s teeth; and “Go Over” you dog.
    The judge might ask you how old is the dog.
    Start to set your dog after the last dog has been “Seen”.
    All the dogs are then “Set Up” again and the judge will make his final decision.
  2. If you lucky enough to get First Place, you will be asked to come back in the ring for Best of Dog or Bitch, if he is unbeaten in other classes.
  • Most Classes offer 5 placings from the Winner, 2nd and 3rd place, reserve and VHC (very highly commended).
  • Winners will receive a card and usually a Rosette, the first placed and second placed dogs remains in the ring while the judge writes a critique on them.
  • To qualify to enter Crufts you much have won 1st – 3rd place in a Championship Class.
  • If you wish to withdraw from a class you should inform the ring steward before your class starts.
  • At Championship shows the dogs and bitches of each breed have separate classes, (if there are low numbers of Pinschers showing they might be in the same class).
  • Dogs are always shown first and then bitches.
  • All unbeaten puppies compete for the title of ‘Best Puppy’ in Breed.
  • Each Best of Breed then competes in the group for the title of ‘Best in Group’. There are 7 groups. These are: Toy Terrier, Utility, Pastoral, Working (German Pinscher), Gundog and finally Hound.

Each breed is classified under one of the groups. Once all the groups are judged the 7 group winners compete for the title Best in Show. Do not approach the judge while you are in the ring.  Any question should be asked after all classes have finished. You may ask the judge to sign your Certificate. Never leave your dog in your car, (dogs can easily die in a hot car). Always take water for your dog.


Mike Turner stacking Fast Eddie
Mike Turner showing Fast Eddie