The American Kennel Club Sanctions Many Types of Dog Shows

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The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884 to promote purebred dogs, sanctions many types of dog shows throughout the United States. Although these dog shows are actually put on by individual kennel clubs, they must adhere to the rules and regulations of the American Kennel Club or AKC.

Here are some examples of various types of dog shows.

AKC Conformation Shows

AKC conformation shows are dog shows in which dogs are judged according a description of the breed called the breed standard. Dogs and their handlers gait around the ring and are examined by the judge. Dogs are evaluated as to how their physical attributes, movement and temperament conform to the breed standard. All AKC registered breeds are eligible to enter conformation shows.

AKC Agility Trials

AKC agility trials are dog shows in which dogs run through a course of obstacles directed by their handlers. Obstacles include jumps, tunnels, a dog walk, a see-saw, an aframe and weaves poles.

Dogs must complete the course in a specified course time, usually between 45 to 60 seconds. All AKC registered breeds and AKC registered mixed breeds are entitled to enter. 

AKC Obedience Trials

AKC obedience trials are dog shows in which dogs perform precision obedience exercises such as heeling, retrieving and coming when called according to their handler’s commands. Dogs are judged as to the accuracy and precision of their performance and must show an eagerness to work as a companion animal. All AKC registered breeds and AKC registered mixed breeds may enter obedience trials.

AKC Rally Trials

AKC rally trials are events that are similar to obedience trails. Dogs perform a series of obedience exercises that are generally easier in nature than those in obedience trials. Although dogs must show their willingness to perform, perfection of each exercise is not required. All AKC registered breeds and AKC registered mixed breeds are eligible to enter rally trials.

AKC Tracking Trials

AKC tracking trials are dog shows that demonstrate the dog’s ability to scent. Dogs must follow a track scented by a human tracklayer and locate an article at the end. Tracks are between 440 and 1000 yards long and include several turns. Handlers follow behind their dogs who are attached to 50 foot long leashes. Handlers do not know where the track leads and must rely totally on the ability of dog’s nose. All AKC registered breeds and AKC registered mixed breeds may enter tracking trials.

All of these types of dog shows promote teamwork between dogs and their handlers. For more information about dog shows, click onto the American Kennel Club website.

All dogs who enter dog shows should be considered canine athletes and should be in excellent physical condition. They should also have the required training necessary for the various types of dog shows before entering. Contact your local kennel club for information about training classes in your area.


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