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Conformation dog show looks for ideal canine features

Original Publication Date: May 9, 2016
By C. Sue Furman, Ph.D.

The American Kennel Club promotes purebred dogs at their conformation dog shows where a dog's conformation or overall appearance and structure are evaluated.

The Kennel Club of Greater Victoria, Inc. will host two AKC All Breed Conformation Dog shows on May 14 and 15 at the climate controlled Victoria Community Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Judges are experts in the breeds they are judging. They are looking for the "perfect" dog as described by the official breed standard, which includes qualifications for structure, temperament and movement. Each standard describes the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred.

There are seven groups of dogs in an all-breed show.

Sporting dogs are those like the pointers, retrievers, setters, and spaniels that were bred to hunt game birds on land and in the water.

Hounds were bred for hunting other game by sight or scent. The hound group includes beagles, basses, dachshunds, greyhounds, Irish wolfhounds, and others.

Dogs in the working group pull carts, guard property, and perform search and rescue missions. The akita, boxer, doberman pinscher and St. Bernard are included in this group.

The terrier group is the largest with breeds that were bred to rid property of vermin such as rats. The airedale, bull terrier, and Scottish terrier are members of this group.

Dogs in the toy group like the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, and pug were bred to be prized companions of royalty.

Non-sporting dogs are a diverse group like the chow chow, bulldog, dalmatian, and poodle that share attributes but don't fit into the mold of other dog groups.

Darby Wins Best of Breed Darby Wins Best of Breed
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Dogs in the herding groups include the briard, collie, German shepherd dog, Old English sheepdog, and others that were bred to help shepherds and ranchers herd livestock.

After all of the groups are judged, the show culminates in a best in show competition where the winners of the groups compete to select the one dog that is considered the ultimate winner for the day.

The judging schedule that details specific breed judging times and activities for the weekend can be found at

Parking is free. The gate fee is $4 per adult and $2 per child each day. St Joseph High School's Booster Club will provide a menu of food items for sale.

Don't miss the Victoria Dog Obedience Club's demonstration in the Dome at lunch both days.

Get ready for some cuteness when you watch the 4 to 6 month old beginner pup competition on Saturday beginning promptly at 9 a.m.

Late Saturday morning, dog lovers will be given the unique opportunity to meet and play with different breeds. Come learn the breed's country of origin, historical purpose or function, attributes as a family pet, and which breed may be right for you.

Hope to see you at the dog shows this weekend.

Sue Furman, Ph.D, has published two books and a DVD on canine massage and teaches classes in pet massage, acupressure, first aid and CPR. See her schedule and submit questions at