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  The United Canine Association Conformation Show Process

Conformation shows are events in which the dogs are judged against their written United Canine Association approved Breed Standard on that given day, and in that judge's opinion.

Sometimes referred to as the "Beauty Pageant" of the dog world, conformation shows areBrandon Mismash and one of his show entries. at the heart of any responsible breeder's program.

Responsible UCA breeders breed to improve the characteristics and health of their dogs and to get as close to their breeds written UCA breed standard as possible thereby maintain proper breed type.

Only United Canine Association registered dogs and bitches that have no known disqualifying faults as defined by their individual UCA breed standard may compete at UCA or in  United Canine Association sanctioned conformation shows.

All participating dogs at UCA sanctioned shows may be shown by their breeders, owners or amateur handlers.   Professional handlers are not allowed and should be strongly discouraged.

Each breed will be evaluated by an UCA approved judge.   All UCA Judges have met UCA certification requirements and are considered qualified to judge the breeds which they have been assigned.

Breeds are shown in alphabetical order.   Starting with the American Bulldog and ending with the Valley Bulldog. 

Males Mrs. Bev Hale and her Olde English Bulldogge male.of a breed are shown first then the females are shown.  Competition is broken down into several "classes" per breed.  The classes are Puppy I, Puppy II,  Junior, Senior and Veteran. 

All classes of each breed both males and females are judged before the next breed can begin judging.    

After the winners have been chosen from each class, the winners of each class enter the ring once again, to compete for "Best Male or Best Female" of breed.

Then the winners of the Best Male and Best Female classes will compete for "Best of Breed".  

After each breed has been judged for Best of Breed the "Champion" class is held. 

The UCA "Champions" class is for all recognized UCA Champions of all breeds, both males and females are judged with their peers against each breed's UCA approved written breed standard.

Next all of the Best of Breed winners and the winner of the Champion class complete for the overall “Best of Show”. 

  Breed Classes

Males and females compete separately within their respective breeds, in five regular classes. 

Males and females that have not attained the Champion title compete for points towards their championship.

The following classes are offered, and are divided by sex:

Puppy I -  For dogs between three and six months of age, that are not yet champions.

Puppy II -  For dogs between six months and one year of age, that are not yet champions.

Junior -  For dogs between one to two years of age, that are not yet champions.

Senior -  For dogs between two to three years of age, that are not yet champions.

 Veteran -  For dogs three years of age and older, that are not yet champions.

Best Male -  The dog judged as the best of the male class winners in each breed.

Best Female -  The female judged as the best of the female class winners in each breed.

Best of Breed -  The dog judged as the best in its breed category.

Champions -  For males and females that have earned their UCA Champion title.

Best of Show -  All Best of Breed winners along with the winner of the Champions class complete for Best of Show using each breed’s own written standard.

  Which Dogs May Participate in a UCA Sanctioned Show?

In order to be eligible to compete, a dog must:


  Be individually registered with the United Canine Association.

  Be 12 weeks of age or older.

  Be a UCA breed for which classes are offered at a sanctioned show.

  Meet any eligibility requirements in the written standard for its breed.

United Canine Association conformation dog shows are intended to evaluate future breeding stock.

The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure) and temperament, an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged.

Spayed or neutered dogs are not eligible to compete in conformation classes at a dog show, because the purpose of a dog show is to evaluate breeding stock.

  Which Dogs May NOT Participate in a UCA Sanctioned Event?

The following dogs are not eligible to compete at a UCA Sanctioned Event:

  Dogs that are NOT registered with the UCA.

  Dogs that are spayed or neutered.

  Females in heat.

  A breed for which classes are NOT being offered at a show.

  Dogs that do not meet the eligibility requirements in the written standard for its breed or dogs that have a disqualifying fault as stated in the breed's UCA written standard.

  Dogs that are human aggressive.

  Dogs that are overly dog aggressive.

UCA Conformation / Dog Shows are intended to evaluate breeding stock.  The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure) and temperament, an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged. 

Spayed or neutered dogs are not eligible to compete in conformation classes at a dog show, because the purpose of a dog show is to evaluate breeding stock.

  The Role of the Judge at a UCA Sanctioned Show 

Judges examine each exhibiters dog, then gives placements /  awards according to how closely each dog compares to the judge's mental image of the "perfect" dog as described in the breed's official United Canine Association breed standard.

The UCA's breed standard describes the physical characteristics and temperament of the breed that it was written for.  These standards include specifications for structure, temperament and movement.

The official UCA written standard for each breed is maintained by the registry and published by the United Canine Association on its official website.

The judges are experts on the breeds they are judging.  UCA conformation judges examine ("go over") each dog with their hands to see if the teeth, muscles, bones and coat texture conform to the breed's standard. 

They view each dog in profile for overall balance, and watch each dog gait ("move") to see how all of those features fit together in action as described in that breed's specific UCA breed standard.

  How Does A Judge Select a Winner at a UCA Sanctioned Show?

UCA judges will examine each dog in a class according to its age and sex, and evaluate it relative to the United Canine Association Breed Standard.

The UCA’s Breed Standards strive to describe the ideal "Type" of dog for each breed.   
"Type" is what makes a Boxer, a Boxer and a Colored Boston Terrier,  a Colored Boston Terrier.

The judge will be first looking for any disqualifying breed faults that would preclude a dog from competition. 

Examples of disqualifying faults for Olde English Bulldogges for example would include missing one or more of the large canines, scissor or overshot bite, a completely pink nose etc.          
After determining that the exhibit does not have any disqualifying faults, the UCA judge will "go over" the dog, checking eye color, mouth structure and dentition, head type, physical structure and condition. 

The judge will then have the handler move the dog, and examine its movement coming, going and from the side.
Ideally, the judge will select as the winner in each class, the dog that most closely meets the description of the breed as given in the UCA Breed Standard.  Second through Third place will also be awarded.

  Tips for the First-Time Exhibitor


  Make sure your dog is registered with the United Canine Association.  UCA registration is offered at all UCA events.

  Be sure your dog is current on all inoculations.  Proof of Rabies vaccination is required.

  Learn the proper techniques for grooming and for presenting your dog in the ring.


  Join your breed's UCA sanctioned club in your area and attend meetings regularly.

  Become familiar with the UCA rules and regulations for dog shows.


  Attend some dog shows to observe your breed being judged and how others present your breed.

  Use the knowledge of your breeder or another experienced breeder of your breed.

  Don't be afraid to ask questions.

  Attend handling classes with your dog.

  Tips for the First-Time Spectator

  However tempting, do not pet a dog without asking for permission first.  The dog may have just been groomed in preparation for being judged.

  At each dog show, you will find vendors and information booths.  Many club booths offer helpful information to the general public.

  Wear comfortable shoes - you'll be doing a lot of walking.  Unless you bring a chair or arrive early, be prepared to stand most of the time, as seating is usually limited.

  If you are considering getting a purebred dog, talk to the breeders and exhibitors - they are knowledgeable in their breeds.

  If you bring a baby stroller to a dog show, be careful that you do not run over any dog's tail, and that your child does not grab or poke the dogs it can reach.  Avoid having them near ring entrances, which are especially crowded. 

  Dog Show Terminology

Angulation -  Angles created by bones meeting at their joints.

Baiting -  Using liver or some treat to get the dog's attention and have him look alert.

Exhibitor -  A person who brings a dog to a dog show and shows it in the appropriate class.

Fancier -  A person who is especially interested, and usually active, in some phase of the sport of purebred dogs.

Gait -  The way a dog moves, movement is a good indicator of structure and condition.

Handler -  A person who takes a dog into the show ring.

Heel -  A command to a dog to keep close beside its handler.

Pedigree -  The written record of a dog's family tree of three or more generations.

Points -  Credits earned toward a championship.

Soundness -  Mental and physical well-being.

Stacking -  Posing the dog's legs and body to create a pleasing picture.



Contents Copyright 2003 - 2011    By United Canine Association