Beginner's Guide Page 2

Types of Conformation Dog Shows

There are three types of conformation dog shows: 

All-breed shows offer competitions for over 150 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC. All-breed shows are the type often shown on television.

Specialty shows are restricted to dogs of a specific breed or to varieties of one breed. For example, the Bulldog Club of America Specialty is for Bulldogs only, but the Poodle Club of America's specialty show includes the three varieties of the Poodle - Standard, Miniature and Toy. 

Group shows are limited to dogs belonging to one of the seven groups. For example, the Potomac Hound Group show features only breeds belonging to the Hound group.

Which Dogs May Participate

To be eligible to compete, a dog must:

  • be individually registered with the American Kennel Club
  • be 6 months of age or older
  • be a breed for which classes are offered at a show
  • meet any eligibility requirements in the written standard for its breed

Spayed or neutered dogs are not eligible to compete in conformation classes at a dog show, because the purpose of a dog show is to evaluate breeding stock.