Dog shows are where we go to show off our breeding stock. The dogs are judged by AKC licensed judges according to a breed standard, which was written by the Weimaraner Club of America. The most recent version was adopted in 1971 and can be viewed here: www.weimclubamerica.org/club/akcstandard.html. At dog shows, judges try to find the best representative of the breed according to his/her experience and interpretation of the standard within the collection of dogs with which they are presented on any given day.
The key word here is interpretation.... dog show judging is subjective to a certain degree and there can be different interpretations of the standard. One only needs to attend a few dog shows to see what Iím talking about. One day a judge may find the most perfect Weimaraner specimen s/he has ever seen only to have the same dog not get a second look by a different judge on the following day. And, therein lies the challenge! If you want your dog to achieve the coveted AKC Championship status it will have to compete under many different judges and will have to beat many different dogs. However, subjective or not, the closer your dog fits the standard, the more consistently it will win.
A simplified explanation of what it takes to become an AKC Champion is that a dog needs to accumulate 15 points at AKC licensed dog shows. Points are based on the number of dogs defeated each time the dog is shown. The maximum number of points a dog can earn at one show is 5. Of the 15 points, two wins must be what are called ďmajorsĒ, which means there are enough dogs present to award at least 3 points. Those two majors must be under different judges. For a more detailed explanation see: www.akc.org/dic/events/point.cfm.
Learning to handle your own dog well enough to show in the conformation ring is fun and can be very rewarding. There are classes and/or personal trainers that will help you get started. Alternatively, there are professional handlers who will exhibit your dog for a fee. It can also be fun to watch your dog under the skillful hands of someone who has years of experience and knows how to present your dog in its best light. Either way, the first thing to do is go to watch some shows to see what goes on. You can check the AKC Events website for a listing of upcoming shows by clicking here: www.akc.org/dic/events/search. But, be forewarned.... showing dogs can become addictive!
Even if you donít have an interest in showing your dog you will find dog shows a wealth of information and always highly entertaining. If you can attend one, Weimaraner Specialty shows (shows where only Weimaraners are exhibited), especially the annual National Specialty, are the places to go if you are interested in learning more about our breed. Exhibitors come from great distances and they provide a rare opportunity to talk to breeders, owners and trainers outside of our immediate area for a broader perspective.