All About Dog Shows


A university professor asked us to define The Fancy as a career choice because dog show judges, exhibitors and breeders pump $millions into host city economies.



What Is The Dog Show Fancy?

"Dog Fancy" doesn't necessarily mean fancy dogs but its origin defined purebred dogs - and the people who love them.


Bobby Barlow, the Handler's handlerWhen the professor who frequently visits TheDogPlace asked to define "the dog fancy" as it might relate to career choices for his students, we were amazed to find no definition for such an important segment of society.  So we wrote one for him.


The "dog fancy" is comprised of professionals and hobbyists who are invested in the sport of showing dogs in judged competitions.


Those competitive events range from traditional dog shows (selection based on structure and breed type) to performance events such as Obedience, Agility, Field Trials, and a growing number of popular spectator events like Terrier Racing, Dog Dancing, Lure Coursing, Weight Pulling, etc.


The Dog Show Fancy Includes:


  • Judges who are licensed or approved by AKC, UKC, NCA, etc. to chose the best dogs in each class at each show.

  • Professional Handlers who train, condition, groom, oversee, transport, promote and present the dog to the judges.  Incomes exceeding a half million are common.

  • Exhibitors are owners or breeders who train, condition, groom, promote and present show dogs themselves.  They spend a lot of money doing that.

  • Breeders are those dedicated people who artfully create generation after generation of quality pets and show dogs which they sell.

  • Kennel Clubs who members are local people from the above four groups, who host and operate dog show venues.  They rarely receive personal remuneration.

  • Breed Clubs whose members promote an individual breed


Peripheral groups that derive income from the dog fancy include:

  • Veterinarians who take care of the show dogs.

  • Dog Show Media provide information and advertising.

  • Writers, Reporters, and Journalists who write about dog shows.

  • Photographers and Artists who specialize in show dogs.

  • Suppliers of nutritional, veterinary, and dog show accessories.

  • Boarding and Training kennels operated by show dog handlers.

A big dog show can pump over $800,000 into the local economy as show dog handlers, owners, and out of town spectators frequent motels, hotels, restaurants, shopping, gas stations, RV service centers, and local attractions.


Dog show events may be three or more days in the same location but they are usually hosted by individual "Kennel Clubs" whose Board and members are devoted dog fanciers.  Kennel Clubs put on dog show events which offer learning opportunities, seminars, and ring competitions adjudicated by different judges (approved by their respective registries) for each breed, each day.


Media photographers at Westminster Kennel Club Dog ShowThe most famous show is the televised Westminster Dog Show in New York City in February.  There, members of the dog fancy rub shoulders and chat with movie and TV stars, sports celebrities and news commentators, all of whom are there because they are members of "the dog fancy."


A special press box is set up for newspaper photographers as shown here and TV cameras are shooting from every angle.


The Group judges wear tiny microphones so that viewers can hear their greeting and instructions to the handlers as each dog is examined and gaited.


Unlike most sporting events, spectators can get up close with both the "exhibitors" (the person showing the dog) and the dogs themselves but always ask before petting a dog. It takes time, expertise, and concentration to prepare a dog for the show ring.  Most of the dog handlers are also parents who know children can have sticky hands.  Politeness and protocol is important in the dog fancy.


If you are a dog breeder, dog show judge, handler, or exhibitor and are tired of explaining who you are and what you do, Send this page  to family and curious acquaintances.

Copyright 12031712


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