Top tip of running a dog show - Beware of complacency.
Just because you know where the venue is and how your show
is ran, do not expect visitors to know these things.
Most novelty and companion dog shows are held to raise funds
for charities. Therefore it is imperative that the show is well advertised in
advance with roadside flyers, flyers in local shop windows, etc.
It is equally important that the venue is well signposted on
the day with clear large signs so that visitors can find you. Laminated A4
signs do not stand out when a motorist is driving through an unknown village
whilst trying to find a field in an area unknown to them. Consider approaching
an estate agent to borrow some large plastic signs that you can write on the
back of. Prominently displaying large advance signs like "Dog show next
left" can make a big difference to your attendance figures.
To hold the most basic of fun dog shows
- Consider running your show outside of the usual fun show season, perhaps held in a sports venue or large hall.
- Ask a vet or veterinary nurse to judge your show - and give them a copy of our judging guide
- Advertise your show on dorsetdog.com, and display flyers at local vets, shops, and supermarkets
- Set up a ring of at least 15 metres by 15 metres - it is better to have a ring 20 x 20 than crowded in a 10 x 10
- Limit dogs to a minimum age of 6 months - No dogs under 6 months of age may be shown
- Have a list of classes (large writing) on a chalkboard or A frame. A plastic sheet (or cling film) will keep it dry
- Collect the entry money as people walk into the ring
- Ensure that the Judge does not have dogs continuously walking round in circles, as this puts the dogs off.
- Have a Best In Show Class (Free
class - chosen from 1st place Winners of all classes) as this encourages people to stay until the end of the dog show
Class suggestions for Fun dog shows
Classes will not usually include Pedigree specific classes, but can include Best Pedigree to split from Crossbreed
Best classes are judged on the health of the dog. So the Judge is looking at the eyes, teeth, as well as the movement.
Classes such as Best Pedigree and Best Crossbreed can result in huge class numbers. If this is the case then one can split the class into two - so
- Best Pedigree Dog
- Best Pedigree Bitch
- Best Crossbreed Dog
- Best Cross Breed Bitch
- Best Golden Oldie dogs over 7 years of age
- Best Rescue
If one is holding a fun show with no pedigree classes, but one has a "Best Crossbreed" class - then it is polite to hold a "Best pedigree" class as well!
Other "None Best" classes are true fun classes, and should be judged on the specific look or feature of that class. So for example, Best rescue is judged on the condition of the dog as much as the background story of the rescue - but the judge must consider how quickly the new owner has turned the dog into a socialised pet dog.
- Fastest sausage eater - Size of sausages should be reduced for smaller breeds. Do consider running heats to make the class easier to judge
- Fancy dress
- Prettiest bitch
- Most handsome dog
- Scruffiest mutt
- Bad hair day
- Best 6 legs
- Best local dog (within x miles, or local parishes)
- Best long haired coat
- Best short haired coat
- Dog most like its owner
- Family dogs (between 2 and 8 dogs who live in the same household)
- Most unusual brace from the same household (i.e. such as Dachshund and Great Dane)
Most unusual brace
- Odest brace
- Best brace - (matching pair)
- Musical mats - just like musical chairs. Carpet tiles or old samples are ideal for this
- Best trick - one trick per dog. Basic obedience is not a judgeable trick
- Longest stay down - with temptations. Temptations includes rolling balls, squeaky toy, treats, etc
- Waggiest tail
and my favourite class title
- Best Dog or Bitch of dubious parentage - But this can be taken in 2 way
The last classes are usually -
- In a Companion Dog Club type show, it could be taken as - Dog that looks most like a known pedigree breed
- In a Fun dog show, it could be taken as - Dog that has so many breeds in its lineage that it is impossible to tell what breed it may have come from
The last class should be
- The Best of the rest - open to any dog who has not won a rosette in any previous class.
- Dog the judge would like to take home
- Best In Show, with Reserve Best In Show
Best In Show is a free class for the winners of 1st Place in all of the show's classes. In a fun/novelty show then the Judge simply picks out the dog that they think is the best from the day's winners. The Reserve Best In Show is chosen from the same lineup.
In a fun show, the class is partially held to encourage people to stay until the end of the show.
Setting up and setting out the site
- You will need to provide toilet facilities. For small events
a portaloo will usually suffice.
- A tent or gazebo should be used for entrants to book in to
the classes. Chairs should be available for the volunteers booking in the entry
- Safety pins (in an open ice cream tub is a good idea) should
be available for entrants to pin their ring number on to their clothes. Due to
Health and Safety regulations, you should make the pins available, but not
actually offer them in case the person pricks themselves - and I am not joking!
- Do leave space around the ring for the entrants to bring
chairs, and parasols for hot sunny days. Allow for spectators to sit around
three sides of the ring.
- Do allow dog show entrants to park near to the ring, but
prevent them from parking within 4 meters of the ring so that spectators can
sit around the ring and enjoy the show.
- If your dog show is a part of another show and you have
space for dog entrant's parking near to your area of the site, then do clearly
mark at the site entrance where the dog entrants can park.
Instructions for the show and a list of classes being held
should be prominently displayed. Wind is always a factor at dog shows, so
pieces of paper attached to a gazebo will never display properly. One option is
to stretch a piece of Safety Netting or Wind Break Netting between some Steel
Fence Pins that have been hammered in to the ground. The wind netting might
also reduce the gale blowing across the admin table.
Dog drinking water and dog waste disposal
Organisers should ensure that a large bowl or similar is
available near to the ring entrance for dogs to use, and that water is readily
available to dogs.
Where a show is held in hot weather, do consider organising some wet towels in case the need arises to cool dogs down. Placing a washing up bowl on the ground and stack towels in the bowl. Then fill the bowl with cold water. Where the show is held near to a garden or building that has a water supply, then do consider arranging for a hosepipe to be available for fresh water and for cooling any dog down.
Dog waste disposal point
Click on the images to view/download a larger version
Litter bins or similar with black bins bags should be
available for visitors to place wrapped dog waste in to. These bin should be
clearly marked for accepting dog waste. The dog waste bin or bag should be
clearly marked. Feel free to print and laminate this "Bag it and bin
it" sign, and fix to the bin or adjacent post
To view the class numbers you'll need the Adobe Reader software. If you don't already have it you can download it for free by clicking on the Adobe icon
If you are holding pedigree classes, then an inspection
table some 3 ft by 4 ft should be provided for the small dogs to stand on. The
table should have a none slip surface or covering. A rubber mat with a piece of
carpet on top can be used if necessary. A sheet or towel on top of a slippery
table top is not acceptable.
You should provide a gazebo and chair for the judge to sit
out of the sun or rain whilst the stewards arrange the next class.
On hot sunny days, the inspection table should be placed in
the gazebo for the judge to view the small dogs, and moved out of the way for
the judge to view the larger dogs in the gazebo.
You should consider providing a light lunch for the Judge
Ring surface condition
In order for the dog to be shown at its best to the judge,
it is important that the dog is able to walk properly around the ring without
obstruction – this includes tripping over agricultural stubble .
Organisers of events held on agricultural fields are asked
to ensure that the grass path of the parade circuit within the ring has been
cut in the last day or so. Watching a yorkie and other short breeds jumping
over crop stubble is not fair on the contestant – and makes it impossible to
judge the shorter dogs.
If you are cutting agricultural stubble in advance of the
show and will be holding pedigree classes, then you will need to cut a path
from the table to the two opposite corners of the ring, and also a path from
the table to a point midway between the two corners.
The ring should not be set in an area where contestants
spend more time trying to avoid equestrian or agricultural livestock droppings
than of showing the dog.
Ring Notices / Ring Class Numbers
If you have a second ring for Agility/ Obstacle course or
Obedience, then a notice of that ring’s purpose should be displayed on a
prominent notice board.
Notices or information other than the class being held
should not be positioned near to the ring entrance as spectators might gather
in the entrance and obstruct the ring exit. It is important to have the ring
class number prominently on display at the ring entrance. One method is to fix
a transparent plastic A4 wallet on to a board and have all the class details
printed on separate A4 sheets. With the entire list in the wallet at the
beginning of the show, it is simply a question of removing the last class
notice to display the next class.
The class notice should have the actual number as large as
is possible on the A4 sheet - so that it can be read from the other side of the
ring. It is best to use a clear font, such as Ariel or Veranda.
Here is a PDF of large Class Numbers that you
can download and print off
To view the class numbers you'll need the Adobe Reader
software. If you don't already have it you can download it for free by clicking
on the Adobe icon
The ring should be large enough for the contestants to stand
along 2 sides and maybe partway down the third side. For a 6 class novelty type
show, you should consider a ring of some 20 meters by 20 meters. If the
contestants are stood along 4 sides then the ring is too small for purpose - so
make it bigger next year.
Spectators should be able to sit along at least 2 sides of
the ring, if not 3.
It is best to have one ring for Novelty and Pedigree
classes, as entrants will be registered in both, and delay will occur as
contestants hop from ring to ring. Alternatively, start the Best of cross breed classes an hour or more after starting the Pedigree classes
High visibility tape
Plastic electric fence posts
Electric fence posts
High vis tape used outdoors
Use the type with a ridge
Ideal for using indoors
The High visibility tape really stands out indoors
If your event has parking in a different location to the
show, do ensure that the car park is clearly marked in order that the local
residents are not inconvenienced.
A sign saying "Car park →" pointing up a road,
when it is actually in a field at the end of an estate road is not clear
signing, whereas "car park → in field" is clear and obvious.
If the car park is away from the show site, do ensure that
you have a clearly marked dog waste bin at the entrance to the car park.
There is nothing worse than a long walk back to the car,
only to find that the nearest bin has a padlock on it.
Please ensure that a litter bin is provided at the car park
entrance, which wrapped dog waste can be placed in.
If your dog show is a part of a much larger event, then please ensure that parking is available near to the dog show ring for all entrants of the dog show. Consider a separate vehicle entrance and/or car park if necessary.
It is not best practice to expect show entrants to walk the dogs and equipment through a large car park or show site in order to reach the show ring. This is especially true if you have a veteran class. A lot of people like to take chairs and other picnic items, as well as bits and pieces for their dogs.
It is traditional to give rosettes to the winners of every
class, with a larger and more colourful rosette to the Best In Show Winners
As well as class positions, you will also need rosettes for
- Judge's rosette
- Stewards' badges
- Best in Show
- Best Puppy
- Best Non-Pedigree
Some shows give rosettes to the first four places, whilst
some shows have rosettes down to 6th place. You do not have to award six places
in every class.
Traditionally, the shows name is printed around the outside
of the rosette, with the place position in the middle. By leaving the class
name off the rosette allows the rosettes to be used for all classes, reducing
Show organisers should also consider a "Special"
rosette. The special rosette allows the judge to give a rosette to a dog that
would have come in an equal position, or for example to a dog entered in the
Most handsome dog class, but awarded for being the "Most cute in
Also consider two special rosettes for the veteran class. Give the Special rosettes to the oldest dog and oldest bitch in the class. The veteran class should not be judged by the age of the dog, with the oldest dog winning.
Whilst there is no set colour for positions, the most
recognised colour sequences are
Some shows award certificates as well as rosettes.
The certificates can be A5 or A4 in size and of a decent thickness
It is important to choose a decent readable font, such as Tahoma. Using a
script or serif font or italics can make a certificate impossible to read
The certificates usually have
- The show name in the largest font (maybe Tahoma 60)
- The show date in a medium font (maybe Tahoma 18)
- The class position in the larger font (maybe
Tahoma 36 )
- The class name in the larger font (maybe Tahoma 36)
- The judge's Name in the medium font (maybe Tahoma 18)
- The class sponsor's name in the small font (maybe 18)
- The certificate sponsor's name in the small font (maybe 18)
Click this line to download an editable version of the certificate below
Example of certificate
Every show will have its own style of Entry form.
Ideally, the form should be A4 size with the entrant keeping
the top half - which has venue, class list, class fee, sponsors, etc.
The volunteer booking in the entries should write the
classes entered on to the kept section, or on to the back of the ring number
cards as they are issued. The bottom half should be submitted at the entry
point, and include
- Name, age and breed of dog
- Owners contact details
- Classes being entered
- Total entry fee paid
- Companion Dog Club membership number (If a CDC event)
Other preprinted paperwork forms should include
- Stewards' records for each class listing entries (columns
for ring number, dog name, dog breed)
- Forms on which to record class winners, best in show, etc.
Please feel free to download and use these examples of
Stewards' Records and Class Winners Forms. Each PDF has a blank template at the
end of the file so that you can use them for your own classes if you so wish.
Pedigree Classes Stewards' record
Pedigree Classes Winners Record
Novelty Classes Stewards' record
Novelty Classes Winners Record
If the show is held under Kennel Club regulations then this
information has to be recorded and kept for one year.
To view the records you'll need the Adobe Reader software.
If you don't already have it you can download it for free by clicking on the
The Kennel Club's advice on - Organising a Companion Dog
Full details at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/1822
“I would strongly encourage others to hold Companion Dog
Shows. It is such a fun day out for all the family and of course a great
way to fund raise for your chosen charities.” Sheila Hamilton-Andrews,
Companion Dog Show Organiser
Everything You need to know about holding a Kennel Club
licensed Companion Dog Club Show
Why hold a Companion Dog Show?
Dogs have a special place in our hearts and are a vital part
of any community. What better way to raise funds for your charity or cause than
by holding a dog show, where the dogs and owners in your neighbourhood can join
you in raising money as well as enjoying a great day out. Always popular
events, Companion Dog Shows attract hundreds of hounds and generate millions of
pounds every year for countless important and worthy causes.
Why not unleash the fundraising potential of the dogs in
your community by holding a Companion Dog Show?
What are Companion Dog Shows like?
Sometimes forming part of a village fete, or as events in
their own right, Companion Dog Shows are great fun events at which all dogs,
great and small, pedigree and non-pedigree, take part.
The mainstay of many Companion Dog Shows are the fun or
‘Novelty Classes’ like ‘Dog most like its owner’ and ‘Dog with the waggiest
tail’. Use your imagination and schedule some classes that everyone attending
can have some real fun with. As there is nothing like a bit of healthy
competition to get people coming along to a show, Companion Dog Shows can also
schedule classes which allow pedigree dogs to compete head to head in classes
such as ‘Any Variety Terrier’ or ‘Any Variety Puppy’. Many people like to bring
their new puppies along to Companion Dog Shows to get them used to other people
Please note that puppies under six months old are not
permitted to take part in Companion Dog Club Shows.
Sounds great, what do I need to do?
You will need to fill in a Licence Application Form and send
it to the Kennel Club with supporting paperwork from the charity of your choice
and a fee of £10 (2010). The Kennel Club can also provide Insurance for your
show for a fee of £10 (2010) (inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax at 5%) if
required. Also if you intend to hold Companion Dog Club Classes (see below),
you will be entitled to receive promotional assistance for your dog show.
Please fill in the relevant section on the Licence Application Form.
Before sending in your completed form, you must inform your
charity, or cause, in writing that you are intending to hold a Companion Dog
Show on their behalf. The charity’s acknowledgment and agreement to your letter
(this must be the original letter and not a copy) should be sent to the Kennel
Club, along with your completed application form. It is not possible for the
Kennel Club to issue the licence without this information.
Why do I need a licence?
Holding a Kennel Club Licensed Show means that all dogs,
including pedigree dogs, can compete and join in the fun. Licences are only
granted to properly organised events so that all those attending the show know
that the money is going to charity and that the show is being run under the
high standards set by the Kennel Club.
One of the ways the Kennel Club makes sure that a licensed
show is of a high standard is that licences are only issued to shows that are
held in accordance with the Kennel Club’s regulations and have a published
schedule. The regulations are not complex and are fully explained in an
How long does it take?
You should not have to wait longer than two weeks to receive
your licence (although in the very busy ‘show season’ of April to August it
might take slightly longer. The Kennel Club state 42 days prior to the show
date in their regulations, but endeavour to process sooner). The earlier in the
year you apply for a licence, the earlier you will receive it.
Do I need insurance cover to hold a Companion Dog Show?
There are so many ways in which an event could run into
problems, it is essential that you always secure suitable liability insurance
for any public event. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Another way the Kennel Club ensures that licensed events are
of a high standard is by stipulating that the licence will only be valid if a
current Public Liability Insurance Document is held and is on display on the
day(s) of the show. This is for the safety of all those attending the show and
to protect you, the organiser.
The Kennel Club, in partnership with Agria Pet Insurance
Ltd, have introduced a Public Liability Insurance for Companion Dog Shows. The
premium is just £10 (2010) (inclusive of insurance premium tax at 5%) and to
take advantage of this great offer for your show, you only need to tick the
appropriate box on the application form and send it with a £10 (2010) fee to
the Kennel Club, at the same time you apply for your licence. This offer is
available to shows taking place in England, Scotland and Wales.
Are there any other safety tips I should bear in mind?
Companion Dog Shows are most typically held over the summer
and dogs suffer terribly if they are left in hot cars – even for short periods
of time. This notice must be included on your Schedule and Entry Form, to make
all competitors aware of this.
What sort of classes can I hold at my show?
It is possible to hold both pedigree and novelty classes at
your show. For detailed information of the Regulations for a Companion Dog
Show, go to the Show Regulations page. This information forms the basis for
your schedule, as shown in the Specimen Schedule.
For a successful show which includes all the dogs in the
community, you must schedule some pedigree classes. We can only licence shows
that include these classes.
Also you might want to think about scheduling a Companion
Dog Club class as this will mean that the Kennel Club will help to publicise
your event for free.
Companion Dog Club Novelty Classes
These can consist of similar novelty classes as listed in
the specimen schedule, for example: Dog with the waggiest tale, Most handsome
dog or you can choose other classes such as OAP (dogs over 8) etc. The only
limit on the range and number of classes you hold is your imagination. So you
can be as creative as you like – but remember the easier the class is to enter,
the more entries you will receive. Remember no pedigree classes should be
scheduled. Whatever classes you have chosen, it must be listed accurately on
the schedule, as this helps to prepare the entrants and their dog on the day.
For ideas which may assist you in creating popular novelty
classes you might wish to hold, please see the sample specimen schedule.
Hold a Companion Dog Club Class and the Kennel Club will
promote your event for free!
Once you have confirmed that your event will hold a
Companion Dog Club class the Kennel Club will help you market this by:
•Listing on The Companion Dog Club section of the Kennel
•Listing in the Kennel Gazette (the Kennel Club’s flagship
publication sent to 8,500 subscribers). Please note you must send in your
application form three months in advance of the show date, in order to meet the
publication's monthly deadlines.
•Access to the online special interest group, exclusive to
Companion Dog Club members. This new section contains news on up and coming
Companion Dog Shows with CDC classes, features on Member of the Month, Special
Offers, news and lots more..
For Promotional Assistance: Please fill in the relevant
section on the Licence Application Form along with your license request and
return the completed form to Canine Activities to gain your free publicity.
How do I find a suitable judge for my show?
Why not get in touch with your local dog club and see if
they can recommend a good local judge? Making contact with your local clubs may
mean that you can get the support of their members for your event.
Contact the Kennel Club to get a full list of clubs in your
area - see below for details.
Can I hold a Companion Dog Show as part of another dog show?
Yes, Companion Dog Shows are often held as part of other
Kennel Club licensed events, but a separate licence must still be applied for.
The Kennel Club has no jurisdiction over Hunt Terrier and
Lurcher Shows, however, if these shows are scheduled they must be held as a
separate event and not as part of the Companion Dog Show.
Who can tell me more?
If you would like to discuss your event in more detail with
one of our specialists, or would just like some advice, contact the Kennel
Clubs Canine Activities Services Team on 0844 463 3980 or email Lauren Lowe.
Holding a Companion Dog Club Class
The Companion Dog Club is all about people and their dogs.
Open to both crossbreed and pedigree dogs alike, it is a great way to become
part of the dog community and celebrate a dog’s company with others.
With over 6,000 members throughout the UK Companion Dog Club
members have proved themselves to be loyal and enthusiastic dog show
participants, taking part in Companion Dog Club classes throughout the country.
Hold a Companion Dog Club Class and we’ll promote your event
Once you have confirmed that your event will hold a
Companion Dog Club class we will help you market this by:
Please fill out and return the downloadable Promotional
Assistance Form to gain free publicity from the Kennel Club.
What are Companion Dog Club classes?
Companion Dog Club classes are an exciting feature of any
Companion Dog Show.
Exclusively available to Companion Dog Club members, classes
enable them to compete for their rightful share of the limelight as well as the
chance to win great prizes.
Companion Dog Show Organiser of the Year
As an added incentive Companion Dog Club members who
organise Companion Dog Shows are also eligible to be nominated for Organiser of
the Year. Established in 2007, members are already rallying their friends and
families to help prove why their shows are the best.
To qualify, the Kennel Club are looking for entries from
those special people who work hard to put on fantastic dog events and raise the
much needed funds for a wide range of causes. If this sounds like you or
someone that you know, we want to hear from you.
The CDC Organiser of the year will be announced at Discover
Dogs at Earls Court, held each November, call 0844 463 3980 to apply.
Ideas that will impress the Kennel Club judges are:
Have run at least one CDC class per show
Have generated over £1000 for charitable causes
Have a minimum of five CDC members in a CDC class
Feedback details of the winners of the CDC class with
photographs so that they can be featured in the members newsletter
- Has made the effort or actively recruited new CDC members at