Dog Showing for Newbies: Get Started Today!

How long does it take before you get addicted to dog shows? If you’ve never seen dogs compete at their best, then you haven’t lived until you see some amazing pups showing off their skills.

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of what is involved in your puppy’s participation in a show. There are plenty of resources available on the internet for more information about showing dogs, so I have tried to cover just the main points which will ensure that you know what to expect along with the most common questions asked by first-time entrants.

It’s important that you have all the information you need before stepping into this arena, and I’m here to help! During the detailed analysis, we will use Sarplaninac dogs.

A Selection of Puppies in the Litter

Not all puppies in a litter can be of exhibition potential. There is an exception when there is a small number of furry friends. But …

The breed standard clearly defines the rules of the game, and some flaws are clearly visible!

On the other hand, the high price sends a clear message “stable character + exhibition potential” when it comes to shepherd dogs.

Obedience Training

When you have a little champion by your side, the fun begins. The first thing you have to teach your buddy is not to resist when checking the teeth. The same applies when it comes to males and testicles!

After that, it is necessary to work with the dog to stand still in one position. Why? The cynological judge must check the length of the hair and individual parts of the dog’s body.

By repeating the above actions, you achieve the expected results easily! Start training your champion while it’s young and success is guaranteed.


Assuming you have already taught your puppy the basic commands, you can begin teaching the furry friend to walk on a leash.

The first step is to put a collar on the little champion and attach the leash. Let your pup get used to the feel of the collar and leash by walking around the house with the buddy following you. Do not try to pull; simply let it follow you.

Keep in mind that sarplaninac puppies show extreme intolerance towards the leash in the initial training phase. The way teddy bears express their displeasure is very cute.

In these situations, it’s best to leave the puppy on a leash in one place. A beloved pooch will understand that there is no need to be afraid of a “new toy” around the neck.

Next, take your puppy outside and begin walking around your neighborhood (after revaccination). Choose quiet locations where there are not many people or noise: a football pitch, a walk in the park in the morning hours, school yards, etc.

When it comes to shepherd dogs, don’t let strangers play with your buddy. During such encounters, any form of aggression should be (carefully) sanctioned.

The goal is to have a balanced dog.


To ensure a canine’s hair is in its best condition for the dog show, it’s important to take some time to care for their coat.

Proper brushing and bathing can help keep the fur healthy and free of tangles, while regular trimming can help keep the coat looking neat. Additionally, using a fur conditioner can add extra shine and help keep the fur soft and smooth.

Taking the time to properly care for a dog’s coat can make a huge difference when it comes to their presentation at the dog show.

If you want to see how we prepare our sarplaninac dogs for exhibition, I suggest you watch the video below.

A Few Words About Dog Shows …

At dog shows organized by cynological associations, furry friends are not compared to one another, but are measured according to the standards-description of an ideal dog!

A list of characteristics that cynologists have compiled and occasionally make alterations to.

Judges look for dogs that are closest to that ideal, and give a lower rating to dogs that are further away from the standard.

Only purebred dogs that are at least three months old on the day of the exhibition can participate in exhibitions.

Entering the Ring

Take your place in the line of dogs and exhibitors, place the future champion in the exhibition stance and adjust its legs, tail and neck to the desired position.

The judge, usually an experienced breeder, will assess the mental and physical characteristics of your canine.

He will examine the body structure, coat and assess the dog’s compliance with the breed standard.

The judge’s interpretation of the standards is subjective, and therefore different dogs win at different shows.


The beloved pooch always goes on your left! It looks straight ahead, ignoring the other dogs in the ring.

This is where some handlers take advantage of the situation – by using a little trick with the help of the leash, they don’t allow the dog to lower its head when moving.

I don’t think it’s fair to the other participants.

The breed standard also describes the way the dog should move. The judge may ask you to make several circles inside the ring so that he (or she) can look at the dog from the side, front and back, penalizing any stiff movement.

Dogs that win when moving show confidence and joy. Although the judges are focused on dogs, the relationship between canine and owner is important.

Picking a Winner

The cynological judge may make a short selection, so the chosen ones will have to make a few more laps inside the ring.

The winner is awarded the title, and the other dogs are given grades from excellent to insufficient.

Winners of different classes (males, females, juniors, adults) can compete for the title BOB – Best of Breed.

Dogs that have received the BOB compete further for the title of best in their FCI group.

The group winners compete for the most beautiful dog of the show.

My Experience

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Our kennel achieved excellent results at these events and I think we have no need to compete or prove to someone what kind of dogs we had.

What is most important to me is the behavior of the dog that represents our kennel. First of all, I mean the movement inside the ring.

Did my champion manage to attract the attention of the audience and the other participants? Is it afraid or aggressive towards other dogs? These are the key questions.

Titles and prizes take a back seat, and the decisions of the cynological judges must be respected on the day.

However, I react very violently when it comes to injustice! Then I do a detailed analysis, publish a video on our YouTube channel, and visitors make the final judgment.

On the other hand, I understand that kennel judges have very little time to notice the virtues & faults of each dog.

Also, I appreciate and respect those who explain their decisions out loud, so that the fans of the breed (the audience) can learn something.

Whether I like it or not …

But I will never allow anyone to disparage my dogs, and therefore the kennel!

The cost of entering a dog show varies depending on the type of show and the organization hosting it - mostly between $20-$30. The entry fee for the Westminster Dog Show can be around $100.

There are several reasons: breed standard, grade "EXCELLENT" so that the dog could go further in breeding and disqualification - lack of teeth, the impossibility of a dental exam, the dog's jaw.

Neutered or spayed dogs aren’t allowed to compete in purebred shows.

Don't wear the same color as the dog's coat! If the dog is black, you can choose a red color and with small things you can draw attention to yourself and your furry friend.

Are You Ready to Compete In a Dog Show?

Dog shows are held to encourage the breeding of purebred dogs! The primary purpose of the manifestation is to evaluate breeding stock, but pets have several tasks: to make new friends and socialize with other dogs.

Our kennel wishes you success at dog shows! I hope you found this article helpful and thank you for your attention and time.


My name is Alen Stefanovic, and I am the founder and administrator of the website "Awesome Sarplaninac". As an economist-trade manager, and web designer, I have a passion for the Sarplaninac breed (number 1 dogs for me). My father has been breeding these dogs since 1990, and through the website, I aim to share valuable information about nutrition, care, and training for both puppies and adult dogs. Whether you're a new or experienced owner, you'll find plenty of helpful tips and resources on the site. Welcome to "Sarplaninac FCI 4302", and I wish you a pleasant stay.

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