A Day At The Dog Show
The AKC Dog Show Experience
The day before an AKC Conformation Dog Show, we must go to the show site to the designated grooming area, and unload our grooming tables, equipment and kennels. We try to set up a in a nice open area at the dog show venue, and get our grooming area ready to be used the next day.
The day of the dog show I get up early and pick out an outfit to wear to show my dogs. An AKC dog show is important and to show respect to the American Kennel Club. You must also show your respect to the judges assigned to judge your breed. By doing this, you are showing your respect to the whole dog show experience and to the sport of dog showing itself. I, like most dog show persons, like to dress up. My “uniform” for showing is a nice pair of khaki pants, shirt, sport coat, and either a regular tie or a bowtie. Wearing the sports coat also has the advantage of having extra pockets for holding treats, and toys, as well as a comb for touch ups in the show ring.
We then head to the show site to start grooming dogs. It takes anywhere from 1 hour to 1 ½ hours per dog that you are showing to be groomed correctly. We start by taking the dog to the dog washing area at the show site, usually portable dog bathing tubs that are set up by the kennel club hosting the event. When we bath a miniature schnauzer for that is being shown, we can only bath the long hair on their legs, skirt and face. We can’t not wet the hair on their back because it would mess up their wire hair coat. After the bath we head back to the our grooming area.
Here is where the fun begins. The dog must be brushed out with care not to break any hair, we must then put on a spray that prevents static that builds up in their hair due to the heat, and using metal tools to work on the dog. After the hair has been brushed we start to blow dry the furnishings, the long hair on the schnauzer. When blow drying a dog for showing special care must be giving to make sure that the hair is blown dried as straight as possible and always in either a upward, or outward direction. By drying the hair in this manner you are providing a base for the rest of the grooming, the better the drying techniques the better the end result.
After the hair has been dried we must then treat it for the humidity in the area, by adding a little chalk into their furnishings. This not only keeps the hair dryer for and therefore easier to style but also gives a whiter appearance to the dog’s hair with optical brighteners. At this point you can we take dog down and let them go on a walk as the grooming process can trigger the urge to defecate. After the dog has exercised then we can resume the grooming process.
The next step is getting the hair in placed to show off the best attributes of the dog. This includes using a hair pick and pulling the hair straight out from the base to give it that full fluffy look. Once the look that we are striving for is achieved we may spray a little hair spray on the hair to keep it in place. This also helps in the humid weather that we tolerate here in the south. After the dog has finished being groomed then it’s time to head over to the show ring for the judge’s opinion of our dog.
We arrive a little early for the show ring, because we want to see the pattern that the judge wants the dogs to walk while in the show ring. This also gives us time to make any last minute adjustments to the dog before they enter into the show ring. When it’s time to show the dog to the judge I enter into the show the ring and line up with the dogs that are also being judged in our class. The judge cannot look at all the dogs that are entered all at one time as, this would usually be very difficult even to get all the miniature schnauzers that are attending a show to be in the ring at the same time, so they are broken up into groups, such as, puppies 6-9 months, 9-12 months, bred by exhibitor, open, and breed, just to name a few. Usually the judge will have the dogs walk around the show ring and then one at a time be placed onto the judges table to be looked at by the judge. The judge will look at the dogs outline first, then they will come over and fill the dog, to see how the structure of the dog is. Once the judge has looked at every dog in the class, then they make a choice as to the best 3 or 4 dogs and they get ribbons.
The dog that won first place for that class, then goes to winners, and the best dog or bitch, whichever the judge is judging, is chosen. After the best dog and the best bitch from the class dogs has been chosen then it’s time for the best of breed competition.
During the best of breed competition the dogs and bitches that already AKC recognized Champions are brought into the ring along with the winning dog and bitch from the earlier classes. The judge must then examine each of the champions that are entered, then they usually watch as the 2 class dogs walk around the ring, as the judge has already examined those dogs during the classes competition. The judge decides which dog there is the best representation, in their opinion, of the miniature schnauzer breed, the best representation of the dog of the opposite sex of the breed champion, as well as best of two class dogs.
If we won the best of breed then the day has just started, as we must prepare all over again for the group competition where the best terrier in the judge’s opinion is chosen which then goes into the best in show competition to try to get the title Best in Show, meaning your dog is the best representation of it’s breed, and that no other dog there was had a better representation of their breed than your dog has.
If we did not win we go back to the grooming area and let the dogs rest while we clean up the grooming area and get it ready for the show the next day. If it’s the last day of the show we pack everything up into my trailer, and head home until the next show.
The Best Of Luck To You AT Your Next Dog Show!