Download a brochure “A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows from the American Kennel Club (AKC).

What’s a Dog Show?

Dog shows (conformation events) were originally intended to just evaluate breeding stock, but they’ve become much more than that.

As a spectator, you’ll get to see dog breeds you never dreamed existed. There are over 190 different breeds of dogs and you’ll get to see the majority them. These breeds were developed for specific purposes, from hunting to companion dogs (some of whom were originally bred to keep fleas off the high-born ladies by attracting them themselves). You’ll see great big ones and little tiny ones, hairy ones and one without any hair at all.

You’ll be impressed with how much time and care goes into the preparation of these dogs for the show (to say nothing of the time spent at home preparing them, feeding them just the right food, giving them just the right amount of exercise), and you’ll notice how the dogs love the show. After all, they get primped and get fed tasty treats and get to spend quality time with their people.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, this is the perfect place to go. You’ll see lots of different kinds and you can talk to the owners who will be honest with you about what type of home is best suited for their breed. The people at the dog shows know just about everything there is to know about dogs!

We welcome you to come to the show and find out about purebred dogs!

Dog Show Activities

If you’re new to dog shows, here are some tips:

  • Go into the Jackman-Long building to see the dogs being shown. There’s an information booth about everything dog against the East wall.
  • There will be a Meet the Breeds booth there with scheduled times for breeds.
  • Watch the dogs being shown and take in all the vendors.
  • Visit the grooming area in Columbia Hall and talk to owners about their breeds — they are experts in their breeds.
  • While in the grooming area, talk with professional groomers to get tips on keeping your dog looking his best.
  • Also in Columbia Hall is the obedience and rally competition. Watch them to see how well-behaved they all are.
  • Check out the vendors in Columbia Hall.
  • Wear comfortable shoes — you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Unless you bring a chair or arrive early, be prepared to stand most of the time, as seating is usually limited.

Dog Etiquette

  • However tempting, do not pet a dog without asking for permission first. The dog may have just been groomed in preparation for being judged.
  • Do not put your hands in the dog’s crate nor put your face up against the crate door. This is very threatening to a dog.
  • If you bring a baby stroller to a dog show, be careful that you do not run over any dog’s tail, and that your child does not grab or poke the dogs it can reach. Avoid having them near ring entrances, which are especially crowded.