Dog Show Spectator Info

 Things to know before heading to the show:

  • If you have a breed you don’t want to miss, come early!  Showing is a process of elimination and many exhibitors leave when they are done.
  • Leave your own dog at home. Non-entered dogs should not be on the show grounds.
  • Wear comfy shoes! You’ll probably do a lot of walking and standing.
  • Leave the stroller at home. Most show sites prohibit strollers for the safety of kids and the dogs.
  • Breeder shopping? Bring a pen and a little notebook to jot down contact information or other notes.
  • Bring spending money for the vendors and the concession stand. Some shows have several vendors, carrying all sorts of wonderful dog related items.


Things to know while at a show:

  • If you want to see specific breeds, ask at the door or superintendent table for a judging schedule. This program is free and will show what time and in what ring each breed is being shown.
  • You can also purchase a show catalog, which contains the schedule in the front.  Catalogs have the dogs’ names and owners listed, which is helpful if you want to contact breeders.
  • Ask before petting any dog and accept “no” for an answer. There is grooming work involved and some exhibitors and dogs need mental focus time. Each exhibitor and dog are different.
  • Do not attempt to pet a dog in a crate.
  • If you bring children, keep them under close supervision. Do not let them rush up to dogs, for their own safety. Do not let them hang on the ring dividers. Do not assume a dog is kid-friendly.
  • Try your best not to block aisles and ring entrances. Dog shows are usually crowded and exhibitors may have limited time to move from one ring to another. Please be courteous and try to make way for them.
  • If you are hoping to find a breeder, realize that showing does not make a breeder responsible. Any dog without a disqualifying fault can be shown, so being at a show does not mean the dog is of quality. Showing is one piece of the breeding puzzle, health and temperament are just as important.
  • Exhibitors may be busy before their ring time. When approaching an exhibitor to chat, ask if it’s a good time. If it isn’t, ask to meet with them later in the day or request contact information to call on them at a later date.
  • Do not lean over the rings or talk to exhibitors when they are in the ring showing.
  • Understand that some exhibitors may be dog-tired after having driving long hours, hauling supplies and grooming dogs. They have lots of time and money invested for those few minutes in the ring. Like everything else in life, there are good and bad sports among exhibitors.
  • Don’t bad mouth a dog. You never know if the breeder, owner, or their friend is standing near-by!
  • For those interested in adding a new breed to their household, find out about temperament, exercise needs, coat care, health issues, life span and other particulars about the breed.
  • Check near the superintendent’s table for interesting pamphlets and information.
  • Have fun and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Most exhibitors love the opportunity to talk about their passion – their dogs! Use this to your advantage, to either learn more about a breed you already love or to gather information about breeds in which you are interested.