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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have never attended a dog show and would like to know if anyone has any tips on what to expect? I am looking at the upcoming Poodle Club of Canada Annual Specialty on September 1st. I just called the CKC because I wasn't quite sure whether spectators can just attend these events and they said yes, no pre-registration required. I asked about the event time (the premium list doesn't list times, just date) and the CKC rep said the judging usually begins in the morning and lasts all day.

I would appreciate any tips on the best time to arrive and what to expect. Do specialty shows only judge conformation? I am able to attend the show for only a couple of hours due to health issues, so I want to make the drive and effort worthwhile. I'm bringing my husband (who is supportive but not the poodle fan that I have become) so there's an added interest in making it worthwhile :)

http://www.poodleclubcanada.club/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/poodlepl2019.pdf
 

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Looking at the premium you linked to this is a conformation only event. PCA also has obedience, rally, agility tracking and hunting events. Once the entries close on the 20th the secretary or superintendent will put together a judging program which will let you know when each variety is scheduled to start judging and which ring if there is more than one. Hopefully it will be posted on the CKC website for anyone to view, but you can also probably email the secretary around the 22nd or 23rd and ask for a copy. Have fun!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the tips and second pair of eyes! I didn't know what to look for, or that the schedule would come out later. I was hoping there would be other events than conformation, like agility, but it's all good!

Maybe I'll do a search for agility events on the CKC website, I'm still figuring out where to see more poodles :)
 

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Oh and I should have said don't talk to handlers when they are getting ready to go in the ring! I've never looked at the CKC site, but if it is like AKCs site but if they are similar it should be easy to find any kind of show you might be interested in.
 

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Take a folding chair - (many events only provide very few) unless it is forbidden. Buy the catalog (so you know who is who - via the armband). Talk to as many people as you can - don't bother them if they appear unfriendly - but the vast majority will be way chattier than you can imagine. Don't be afraid to use your own judgement. Walk up to the dogs and people YOU like. Identify yourself properly - if you are new to Poodles say so. If you are shopping for a breeder - tell them. If you are interested in showing - ditto. If you want "just a pet" please tell them. Breeders and handlers are experts who if shown a little respect are full of useful knowledge for you. Observe ring behavior - I always gravitate towards those teams that look like they are having fun. If you are looking for a future pup go by behavior more than confirmation. If this is a Specialty you can expect most of the dogs to be reasonably well built but temperament is great to assess at a show. You will see nervous and high strung but you will also see funny, goofy and just Happy to be there dogs - those are the ones I am always most interested in.
Wear good shoes- you will be on your feet a lot! If it is outdoors - wear a hat - the sun can be brutal in a dog show.
 

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Yes, take a folding chair! Also disinfectant wipes, some shows only have porter potties.

They don't announce groups or winners at conformation shows. The judge points quietly at the winner and 2nd and 3rd place and that's it. Sometimes it's good to put your folding chair right next to the stewards table (outside the ring of course), so you can see a little better who's winning.

1st place gets their ribbon first, then 2nd, then 3rd. And they leave the ring as soon as the have their little ribbon. Those not placed often leave the ring before the 1st place, but even the winner leaves the ring very quickly. Unless you pay attention for those 5 seconds, you don't know who won.

Sadly, there's no commentator like at Westminster on TV. It can be disappointing if you're expecting that. Often you can find somebody by the ring who's more than happy to explain to you which group is showing and why some dogs go back in the ring. There's a lot of groups (young puppies, old puppies, adults, owner amateur, breeder, novice, specials, American, ... - and all separated by male and female).

It's OK to talk outside of the ring. But no squeaky toys, and be mindful if you loudly unwrap food or make other noises that would get the dogs very distracted.


Don't touch the poodles! You don't want to break their hairsprayed hair and they're not supposed to have any "oil" from your hand on their fur. E.g., my groomers says I can't pet my pup, only use the comb when we're getting ready for a show.

Keep in mind that some handlers show multiple dogs, so even after showing they might need to run to get their next dog.

Bring cash in case you need to pay for parking. Also for the catalog (usually $10-$15). There might be vendors where you can buy dog treats, leashes, combs and so on, but also dog themed knick knacks like poodle shaped door signs.

Bring business cards or pen and paper if you're not super comfortable with your phone in a hurry. You probably want to write down some people's numbers and give out your contact info. Either because you're shopping for a dog or because somebody wants to give you more info about agility.
 

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BabetteH you added really useful details to our earlier answers! Thanks.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, take a folding chair! Also disinfectant wipes, some shows only have porter potties.
......
Bring business cards or pen and paper if you're not super comfortable with your phone in a hurry. You probably want to write down some people's numbers and give out your contact info. Either because you're shopping for a dog or because somebody wants to give you more info about agility.
Yes, excellent advice indeed - thank you so much Babette! These are the little details you don't know about until you try it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just emailed the secretary for the judging schedule as per lily cd re's helpful suggestion and got a copy (it wasn't on the CKC website).

If anyone feels so inclined, I'd love to know what the numbers (and letters BP) beside and after the class (Toy, Miniature, Standard) mean... :) Here's an excerpt:

POODLE CLUB OF CANADA
RING 1 - JUDGE: Leehy Packer
2:00 p.m.
1 Poodle (Toy) 1-0-0-0
followed by:
8 Poodles (Miniature) 2-3-1-2
3 BP - Poodles (Miniature) 2-1
18 Poodles (Standard) 7-2-4-5
3 BP - Poodles (Standard) 2-1
followed by: Silent Auction (donations welcome)
followed by: Best in Specialty

Thank you!
 

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dogs-bitches-champion dogs-champion bitches

Those numbers are important, as exhibitors see how many (grand) champion points they could get awarded.

I think BP might be Beginner Puppy (4-6 month), not sure though. I've only seen the Beginner Puppy entries listed in the puppy section, not with the other poodles. If CKC allows parti-colored poodles, maybe they're judged separately like in Germany and P is for Parti?
 

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1 Poodle (Toy) 1-0-0-0
8 Poodles (Miniature) 2-3-1-2
3 BP - Poodles (Miniature) 2-1
18 Poodles (Standard) 7-2-4-5
3 BP - Poodles (Standard) 2-1

So this means:
1 male toy poodle who is a class dog, not a champion

8 miniature poodles - 2 class dogs, 3 class bitches, 1 dog special, 2 bitch specials (the word "Class" means entered in a class other than best of breed) ("Specials" are champions of record who are entered in the best of breed competition)

3 miniature poodles in beginner puppy classes - 2 dogs and 1 bitch. No championship points are given in beginner puppy classes - beginner puppies are 4 to 6 months of age.

18 standard poodles - 7 class dogs, 2 class bitches, 4 dog specials, 5 bitch specials

3 beginner puppy standard poodles - same breakdown as minis


A "Best of Variety" is awarded in each size of poodle, the variety winners then compete for "Best of Breed" - only poodle specialties have a Best of Breed competition - at an all-breed show there are no best of breed competitions for breeds that have varieties (besides poodles, other breeds that have varieties are cockers, dachshunds, beagles, fox terriers, chihuahuas, English toy spaniels, Manchester terriers, and collies. I may have missed some of the rarer breeds.)

At a conformation dog show, dogs are not judged against each other, they are judged against the standard of the breed. The breed standard is maintained by the national breed club for that breed of dog. So the poodle standard is maintained by the Poodle Club of America. You can download a copy of the breed standard at: images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/Poodle.pdf

There is much, much more to this. A really fun way to learn about showing poodles is to read some of the Laurien Berenson mysteries that center around dog shows and standard poodles. She always explains how dog shows work in each of her books. Another source of an overview is the "New Exhibitor Orientation Brochure" on the onofrio.com web site.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
1 Poodle (Toy) 1-0-0-0
8 Poodles (Miniature) 2-3-1-2
3 BP - Poodles (Miniature) 2-1
18 Poodles (Standard) 7-2-4-5
3 BP - Poodles (Standard) 2-1

So this means:
1 male toy poodle who is a class dog, not a champion

8 miniature poodles - 2 class dogs, 3 class bitches, 1 dog special, 2 bitch specials (the word "Class" means entered in a class other than best of breed) ("Specials" are champions of record who are entered in the best of breed competition)

3 miniature poodles in beginner puppy classes - 2 dogs and 1 bitch. No championship points are given in beginner puppy classes - beginner puppies are 4 to 6 months of age.

18 standard poodles - 7 class dogs, 2 class bitches, 4 dog specials, 5 bitch specials

3 beginner puppy standard poodles - same breakdown as minis


A "Best of Variety" is awarded in each size of poodle, the variety winners then compete for "Best of Breed" - only poodle specialties have a Best of Breed competition - at an all-breed show there are no best of breed competitions for breeds that have varieties (besides poodles, other breeds that have varieties are cockers, dachshunds, beagles, fox terriers, chihuahuas, English toy spaniels, Manchester terriers, and collies. I may have missed some of the rarer breeds.)

At a conformation dog show, dogs are not judged against each other, they are judged against the standard of the breed. The breed standard is maintained by the national breed club for that breed of dog. So the poodle standard is maintained by the Poodle Club of America. You can download a copy of the breed standard at: images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/Poodle.pdf

There is much, much more to this. A really fun way to learn about showing poodles is to read some of the Laurien Berenson mysteries that center around dog shows and standard poodles. She always explains how dog shows work in each of her books. Another source of an overview is the "New Exhibitor Orientation Brochure" on the onofrio.com web site.
Wow, thank you very much for the detailed rundown Johanna. It's very cool, I'm really looking forward to it now that I know what the indicators mean.

The novel suggestions and onofrio link are fantastic as well.

My only question now is, how does a toy poodle compete against itself? ;-)
Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My apologies, it appears from your post that the lone toy poodle would be judged against the poodle standard, not against other dogs anyway (as is the case with all of the others where there are multiple dogs competing).
 

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Poor little toy poodle - all alone! He can be awarded ribbons but cannot get any points unless he wins the toy group, not a likely scenario. It can happen - it happened to me once, but with a whippet, not a poodle. I got a single point on my whippet by winning the breed, but I also won the group that day and was awarded a 4 point major.

So here is how points work.

AKC has set up 15 "divisions". Each division is made up of one or mores states - the states in each division have similar entries at conformation shows. For example, Division 6 is Arizona and Colorado; Division 9 is California; Division 2 is Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Each year AKC counts the number of dogs of each breed that were shown in each division and from that count determines how many dogs it will take to earn 1 to 5 championship points. For male toy poodles in Division 6 this year, it takes 2 dogs for one point, 3 for 2 points, 4 for 3 points, 5 for 4 points, and 6 for 5 points. For female toy poodles, though, the numbers are 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. That's because more females were shown last year than males.

To obtain a championship, a dog must collect a total of 15 points, BUT, within that total of 15 there must be two major wins. A major is 3 or more points. Majors do not occur at most shows due to the number of dogs required for 3 or more points. This is not an accident - the idea is to make it reasonably difficult to become a champion.

Because more standard poodles than toy poodles are being shown in Division 6, the number of males per point is the same as for toys, but the number of females per point is 2, 5, 8, 9, 11. There are more standard females being shown than toys or minis.

Other divisions have different numbers - it all depends upon the number of dogs shown in the prior calendar year (the calendar year for points begins May 15th).

If a dog wins the group or best in show, s/he is awarded the highest number of point available for any breed entered that day. That's how I won a 4 point major on my whippet even though there were only 4 or 5 whippets entered. There was a major in another hound breed.

Finally, being awarded points is not a sure thing. Judges can withhold ribbons if the best dog is not, in the judge's opinion, not of sufficient merit. Here at our local show I once saw a judge withhold ribbons (and therefore points) in toy poodles because of the two dogs entered, neither was of sufficient quality to merit championship points. As a former judge, I can tell you that it is really painful to withhold ribbons for lack of merit. You have to tell some really nice person that although their dog is a sweet, lovely pet, it is just not a dog who should have a show ring career.

Hope that's somewhat clearer than mud!
 

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In AKC, you don't get any points for winning the group or Best in Show, see https://www.akc.org/sports/conformation/resources/counting-points/

So a lone toy poodle can't get a single point towards his championship. He still gets NOHS points and Puppy of Achievement points if applicable. Unless he's disqualified, he'll always win Best of Variety and advance to the group ring. There, he'll compete against the other dogs in the toy group (not against poodles).

The exhibitor will either
  • not to show the toy poodle if they can't get a point
  • show for the experience (puppy, traumatized dog, or novel exhibitor)
  • if they have a spectacular dog, they might do it because they hope to win the group and Best in Show (for fame, not for champion points)
  • show for NOHS points (important for ranking for NOHS finals) or Puppy of Achievement points
I showed before even though I knew there's no other poodle entered and I had no shot at winning the group. But I needed the experience and ended up meeting another poodle owner and now we coordinate entries so there's at least one point to have.

In FCI it's different: in addition to a placement you get a rating. You can get first place, but unless you got the highest rating, you don't advance to the group ring. And you can receive the equivalent of points even if you have the only toy, if you get a great rating.
 

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Chapter 16 section 2 of "Rules Applying to Dog Shows":

SECTION 2. A dog which in its breed competition at a show shall have been placed Winners and which also shall have won its group class at the same show shall be awarded championship points figured at the highest point rating of any breed or recognized variety or height of any breed entered in the show and entitled to winners points in its group, or if it also shall have been designated Best in Show, shall be awarded championship points figured at the highest point rating of any breed or recognized variety or height of any breed entered and entitled to winners points in the show. The final points to be awarded under this section shall not be in addition to but inclusive of any points previously awarded the dog in its breed competition or under the provisions of this section.
 

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In AKC, you don't get any points for winning the group or Best in Show, see https://www.akc.org/sports/conformation/resources/counting-points/

Actually, you do. Here is the rule from Chapter 16:
SECTION 2. A dog which in its breed competition at a show shall have been placed Winners and which also shall have won its group class at the same show shall be awarded championship points figured at the highest point rating of any breed or recognized variety or height of any breed entered in the show and entitled to winners points in its group, or if it also shall have been designated Best in Show, shall be awarded championship points figured at the highest point rating of any breed or recognized variety or height of any breed entered and entitled to winners points in the show. The final points to be awarded under this section shall not be in addition to but inclusive of any points previously awarded the dog in its breed competition or under the provisions of this section.

Sorry, Reraven - I did not see that you had already posted this.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The points system is much more intricate than I anticipated. I've been telling my husband about all of this purebred dog and poodle information I've been learning (from colour genes to health testing and now showing) and I think both our heads spin when I'm trying to explain what I know so far. But it's been fun, and it's a whole new world of learning that I'm enjoying.

I can see it'll take some time for me to get acquainted with this points system as well ;-)

Thank you again everyone for taking the time to humour a beginner like myself.
 
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