The purpose of Conformation shows is to judge dogs (males) and females (bitches) based on the breed’s standard (see the official Golden Retriever breed standard). The objective of this is to identify the dogs that are closest to the breed standard. These dogs, providing they pass the appropriate health clearances and have a temperament that meets the standard, are usually included in breeder’s breeding programs to produce future generations.
In the breed ring, there are several levels of competitions. Once a dog has acquired a certain number of points, he/she becomes a Champion (Ch.). In Canada, 10 points are required to qualify as a Champion, and these points must be won under at least 3 different judges.
The first level of competition is the judging of “Class” within a breed (will be dogs of the same sex, age, etc). (Class Dogs are unfinished Champions). All the dogs that win first place in their class advance to complete in the “Winners” competition in it’s own sex category. The dogs in the Winners competition are re-evaluated by the judge. The judge will then choose a Winners Dog (male) and a Winners Bitch (female), who advance to the Best of Breed Competition.
In the Best of Breed competition, the best dog is awarded the Best of Breed. Awarded to the best dog of the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner, is the Best of Opposite Sex. The Best of Winners is awarded to the best dog between the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch. Winning dogs continue to advance through to the Best in Group competitions (for golden retrievers, they are in the Sporting Group), and the winner there goes onto the Best in Show competition.
As for the point schedule, “class dogs” (unfinished Champions) can win Championship points (points towards their Championships) at a dog show. Whereas the Champions compete in a separate class, and the Best of Breed Champion is awarded points according to the total dogs he defeated that day. These are not Championship points, but rather points earned towards TOP DOG standings, which is a different point system for rating dogs.
There are also Junior Handling Competitions. These are available to handlers that are under the age of 18. For more information on Junior Handling and Junior Kennel Clubs click here and visit the CKC Junior Kennel Club section.