WHAT IS CONFORMATION?
Showing in an AKC Conformation event is essentially this -- presenting your dog to the judge assigned and asking that judge his/her opinion. For that judge to place the dogs entered based on their unique perspective which, is to be strictly based on the official AKC Breed Standard.
Males (dogs) start first, puppy classes 6-9 months, 9-12 months and 12-18 months followed by bred by exhibitor, american bred and then, open dog. All of the 1st place winners from these classes then compete for Winners Dog (WD) to be selected as "first place" out of all of the male dogs. After that - the females (bitches) are presented in that same order. The first place winners of the classes complete for Winners Bitch (WB) to be selected as "first place" out of all of the female dogs. Once all of the regular classes have concluded then, Champion (Specials) dog and bitches (and/or Grand Champions) of record compete for Best of Breed (BOB). Also, the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch compete against each other at this time to be awarded Best of Winners (BOW) and can also be selected by the judge as Best of Breed or Best Opposite Sex if the judge finds that the BOW class winner is deserving of a placement over the Champions...We've had that happen a lot and it is an extrorindary honor. The winner of BOB will compete in the Hound Group representing the Rhodesian Ridgeback "Breed" winner competing for a Group placement (if selected) and the ultimate goal is to compete for Best In Show (BIS) and hopefully, WIN! It's a long day and a BIG goal for sure...imagine for example out of 1500 dogs competing that day, it comes down to 7 Group winners and ONLY 1 can be the BIS winner. It is a BIG DEAL and a lot of work--but worth every minute and all of the effort required in the show ring!! Enjoy our gallery of pictures from the show ring below!
Conformation isn't for everyone, you MUST Win and Lose with grace. Every judge has a unique perspective, understanding that in advance is crucial. There are Conformation classes that you can attend and lots of practice is the key. If you think "showing" might be for you, we highly recommend starting in Rally/Obedience first to give you a feel for showing and working with your dog to see if venturing into Conformation might be a good fit. Our dogs are always owner handled...but a professional handler can be a tremendous asset. We have many friends that are wonderful professional handlers and we are always happy to make arrangements on your behalf.