Sometimes, some of our puppy school parents ask us about dog shows. They’ve seen them at the Royal Melbourne Show, or in movies like Best in Show, and want to know how to get involved.
There are a number of different dog show competitions in Melbourne owners and the pets can enter. Pedigree groups and kennel clubs, like the West Highland White Terrier Club will have conformation or breed shows, and there are also agility and obedience competitions.
These events are a great opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts. They’re a fun day out for you and your pet. Both of you will get to meet other dogs and socialise in a dog-friendly environment. Often, vendors will be there, selling toys and merchandise to keep your dog entertained.
Conformation, or Breed, shows are reserved for purebreds. Looks, gait and temperament are judged against a number of criteria. There, your pet will be judged against the standards of the breed, not the other dogs. In essence, it’s about how typical your dog is of its breed, how Samoyed is your Samoyed, or how typically Westie your Westie is.
Conformation shows are a bit of fun and their results should not be taken too seriously. All dogs are deserving of love, regardless of whether their ears are too pointy, or tail too curled.
Although they are a bit of fun, a lot of work can go into exhibiting your dog at a conformation show, and they can provide an excellent excuse for extra training and grooming, and a good reminder to keep your vaccinations up to date.
Agility has had an upswing in popularity lately. It’s where you direct your dog through an obstacle course: up and down ramps, weaving through poles, entering tunnels, and up and over a see-saw. Owners must help their dogs navigate through the course against the clock, competing against other owner-pet teams for the best time.
Like marathons, agility competitions are something to work towards. They require training and practice. It can be hard work, but the results are often worth it.
There are a many conformation events throughout the year, with Melbourne’s various dog clubs each holding their own. Readers would probably be most familiar with the dog shows held at the Royal Melbourne Show every year.
If you’re interested in showing your dog, check to see if your pet has their own breed club in Melbourne. Dogs Victoria have also put together a booklet to help you get started.
Likewise, there are myriad agility clubs and contests throughout Melbourne. If you’re interested in pursuing agility training with your pet, Dogs Victoria have also assembled some resources for agility amateurs as well.
Agility competitions and conformation shows should be fun for both you and your dog. They are social, goal-focused events that can help grow your relationship. If they are causing stress and anxiety for your pet, consider first what’s best for them. And before you sign up to any agility or kennel club, make sure they only allow positive, reward-based training and healthy practices.
The Karingal Veterinary Hospital is open 7 days a week.
Our hours are
- 8am-8pm Monday-Friday,
- 9am-5pm Saturday,
- 9am-1pm Sunday,
* We are closed on public holidays.