The Purpose of Dog ShowsThe American Kennel Club's Beginner's Guide to Dog Shows states that dog showing is a competitive sport designed to evaluate the breeding potential of an individual dog by testing areas of performance that include overall appearance, structure, obedience, agility, herding, hunting, and more.
The areas of competition may vary with the breed of dog but, simply stated, the overall goal of any dog show is to determine the dog's ability to produce quality puppies.
Eligibility StandardsIn order to compete in an event sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC), for instance, dogs must be at least 6 months of age, registered as a purebred, and a member of a recognized breed competing at the event. Because the overall purpose is to evaluate breeding potential, spayed or neutered dogs are ineligible. The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC) and The Kennel Club (United Kingdom) have similar requirements for their events.
Types of Shows and Awards
Some shows are limited to a particular breed or group, others welcome all seven recognized breeds: Sporting, Hounds, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are included in the Toy group. Male and female dogs compete in separate categories. The final award of the show, "Best of Show" is a competition among the "Best of Breed" winners from each subgroup. Winners receive ribbons as well as points.