Conformation:All-Breed and Group
All-Breed shows offer competitions for over 175 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC. Group shows offer competition for a group of breeds (Sporting breeds).
You may be familiar with All-Breed and Group Dog Shows as they are the type commonly shown on television, where all AKC breeds can compete. These events are a process of elimination where the judges select one dog from each breed to advance to the Group competition. Once a winner is chosen to represent each of the 7 Groups, they go head-to-head for Best In Show.
A Specialty is a type of Conformation Show in which only dogs of an individual breed are eligible to enter.
As an example, the Bulldog Club of America Specialty only allows Bulldogs to enter. In the Conformation ring, each dog is judged individually against its unique breed standard and whichever the Judge deems closest to meeting it, will win it all. Specialties usually have a large number of dogs entered and crowds of spectators cheering them on.
Conformation:4-6 Month Beginner Puppy
The 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition introduces exhibitors and their puppies to the dog show world.
In a stress-free and relaxed environment, this event provides the opportunity for puppies to socialize with people and other dogs at an optimal time of their development. The puppies competing in 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy competitions are hoping to earn points toward a Certificate of Merit, which is an introductory title to AKC conformation events. Once a winner for each breed has been chosen, they compete to win their respective Group (Toy, Working, etc.) and then the Best 4-6 Month Puppy In Show is awarded! It's adorable!
Conformation:FSS Open Show
FSS Open Shows are informal AKC sanctioned events giving owners and dogs of FSS & Miscellaneous Class breeds a chance to gain the ring experience of a Conformation dog show in a relaxed environment.
FSS Open Shows also allow clubs, judges, and stewards to gain the experience needed for licensed events. Miscellaneous Class and FSS breeds are considered equivalent to a Group, just like Sporting or Toy. The winner of the Miscellaneous Class & FSS Groups will go on to compete for Best in FSS Open Show. While no points are earned towards a Championship, Certificate of Merit points may be earned. These shows provide clubs a great opportunity to welcome new exhibitors to the sport as well as get people involved in their club.
AKC Match Shows are a great way to socialize your dog in an informal and educational dog show environment. Most of all, it's pure fun!
Match Shows provide people who are new to or interested in getting involved in Conformation a hands-on, no pressure learning experience with their dog. These Events are often used as practice for puppies and their owners who want guidance and feedback from seasoned handlers, judges or fellow newbies. Match Shows are as enjoyable to watch as they are to participate in, so join the fun!
Agility is an exciting sport where a handler directs their dog through an obstacle course, in a race for both time and accuracy.
Even if you don't recognize it by name, you have probably seen an Agility competition. Agility is the ultimate game for dogs and is one of the most exciting canine sports for spectators. During an Agility competition, a dog demonstrates its agile nature and versatility by following cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other objects. It's an activity that strengthens the bond between dog and handler and provides fun and exercise for both. Agility has become the fastest growing dog sport in the United States!
Obedience Trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs.
Obedience trials demonstrate a dog's ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of the dog as a companion to humankind. It is a team sport, where the dog and its handler are judged on how closely they match the judge's mental picture of a perfect performance as they complete a series of exercises; such as walking on and off-leash, retrieving, jumping and staying in place. There are multiple levels of competition from basic to more advanced exercises. Obedience deepens the bond between a dog and its owner, and is a joy to watch.
AKC Rally is a sport requiring teamwork between a dog and its handler along with performance skills, similar to obedience.
Rally provides an excellent introduction to AKC events for new dogs and handlers. The dog and handler team move at their own pace through a course of 10 to 20 exercise stations, which are labeled with a sign so that the crowd and handler knows what action the dog needs to perform. The handler can communicate to the dog throughout the entire course and there should always be a sense of teamwork and enthusiasm. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
Tests for Field Trials were developed to encourage hunting dogs to compete, and thereby improving their field performance.
Field Trials are separated into four components, based on the hunting characteristics of the breeds involved. These include Pointing, Flushing, and Retrieving Breeds, and Scenting and Trailing Hounds. Trials resemble, as closely as possible, a day\'s shooting in the field and dogs are expected to work with all manner of game--from rabbits and hares, to partridges and pheasants. Field Trials are popular and attract crowds of competitors. If you enjoy the countryside and like to see dogs working as they were intended to, Field Trials are a great fit for you.
Hunt Tests evaluate the abilities of a variety of sporting breeds whose original purpose was to assist their human companions while hunting.
Pointing breeds, Retriever, and Spaniel are the major classifications of hunt tests developed specifically to those styles of bird dogs. Though the hunting styles may be different, the goal and results are the same. Pointing breeds indicate to their owner the location of game by lifting one of their front paws and “pointing” in that direction. Retrievers, as you might guess, sit alongside their human companion during the hunt and retrieve game from land or water. Spaniels flush and retrieve birds in an efficient manner. Hunt Tests are designed to test a dog's ability to work with their human hunting companion in a simulated hunting situation.
Herding Tests and Trials
Herding Tests and Trials preserve and develop the herding skills inherent in herding breeds and demonstrate they can perform the useful functions for which they were originally bred.
Herding requires the dog to show sustained interest in herding livestock by strategically maneuvering the flock or herd into a pen. All the while, demonstrating the ability to move and control the livestock by fetching or driving and not chasing. Shepherd and Collie breeds, as well as many others, are known for their herding instincts. Trials measure the same herding abilities as in a test, but at increasingly advanced levels with more complex and challenging courses to work. A great combination of control, intelligence and discipline must be used together by the dog and handler to get the job done!
Farm Dog Certification
The Farm Dog Certified Test assesses a dog's conduct in a typical farm environment. It tests a dog's self-control when exposed to livestock and other sounds, sights and scents unique to a farm.
Spectators of the Farm Dog Certified Test will watch purebreds and mixed breeds tackle a series of twelve exercises that represent situations a dog may encounter on a farm. These exercises are designed to demonstrate a dog's trainability, self-control, confidence, and trust when working in partnership with their human companions. The Farm Dog Certified Test is a noncompetitive pass/fail evaluation and open to all dogs over nine months that are registered or enrolled with the AKC.
Lure Coursing Tests and Trials
Lure Coursing is a system of mechanized lures and pulleys that simulate the unpredictability of chasing live prey.
Lure Coursing is a competition designed to have sighthounds follow a lure controlled by a lure operator thru a pulley, which is run according to a particular course design. The lure will lead a pack to run as fast as they can, zig-zagging across an open field in hopes of catching it. The test is a basic performance of coursing that is non-competitive and is pass/fail. Trials are more comprehensive, offering different stakes and levels, as well as awarding championship points towards titles. Lure Coursing features breeds such as Greyhounds, Afghans, Salukis, and Whippets to name a few. A great athletic sport to keep intact their purpose as well as a great spectator activity to attend!
Coursing Ability Test
The Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is an introductory event fashioned after the sport of lure coursing, and tests a dog's basic coursing instinct or hunting-by-sight ability.
Most dogs have the urge to chase different objects, whether it's a ball or each other during playtime. CAT is a noncompetitive, pass/fail event that harnesses their natural instinct. Each dog competing runs one at a time and chases an artificial lure. To pass the CAT, a dog must pursue the lure, completing the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a given time. Depending on the dog's height they will either run 300 or 600 yards and in order to pass, finish the course under 1.5 minutes or 2 minutes respectively. All dogs over 12 months of age that are registered or enrolled with the AKC can play!
Fast CAT is a timed 100 yard dash for all dogs and is a fun and healthy activity for dog owners.
This exciting and fast-paced Event features one dog running at a time, with their speed clocked and converted to MPH. The lures can be either a white plastic bag or a squawker. Any dog over 12 months of age that are registered or enrolled with the AKC can participate in Fast CAT.
Tracking demonstrates a dog's natural ability to recognize and follow a scent, and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work.
Dogs have a very keen sense of smell—100,000 times stronger than humans! That's why dogs are often used to find lost people and animals, drugs, disaster victims, and even to detect cancer. The purpose of a tracking test is to demonstrate the dog's ability to recognize and follow a scent and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. In Tracking, the dog is completely in charge, as only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. Getting started in tracking is easy, and you won't find a more willing participant! A puppy instinctively uses his nose—training your dog to track simply hones his natural ability. And since all dogs have an innate ability to follow a scent, any breed is capable of learning to track.
Earthdog tests measure small terriers and Dachshunds' natural aptitude and trained hunting behaviors when introduced to an underground hunting situation.
AKC has developed three levels of Earthdog Tests for the go-to-ground breeds such as Terriers and Dachshunds. Introduction to Quarry is the noncompetitive Earthdog program which begins with a basic introduction to den work and quarry. Junior, Senior, and Master Earthdog follow as levels in the program where dogs receive titles as they tackle new challenges underground in pursuit of quarry. But fear not, rodent lovers; the rats are safe and never harmed. Even if you don't have a dog that qualifies to participate, Earthdog tests are a great way to meet fellow dog owners and watch dogs perform based on their natural instincts.
Coonhound Events are comprised of nite hunts, bench shows, water races, and field trials all of which together demonstrates the form and function of seven distinct coonhound breeds.
Nite Hunts require Coonhounds to hunt at night with a handler and be scored on their ability to trail and tree a raccoon. At bench shows, Coonhounds are exhibited on a bench and judged according to their breed standard. Gait and movement are also observed. Field Trials are held during daylight where they race across land while picking up the scent of a raccoon and then tree the raccoon. They are judged on their speed and accuracy. A Water Race is the same, except they must swim across water first then onto land to continue and tree. These competitions allow owners, handlers, and breeders a way to both preserve and improve the inherent hunting abilities and conformation found in Coonhounds. Plus, it is fun to watch and the hounds enjoy doing what they were meant to do!
Annual Event Results
Championships won, titles earned by each breed, and the most popular events (by dog participation).
AKC Event Cancellations
Cancellation announcements for AKC Conformation, Agility, Obedience, AKC Rally®, AKC Performance Events and AKC Coonhound Events.
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