There is much to know about handling dogs in the breed ring, from finding the right puppy, to training, grooming techniques, understanding of show etiquette and more.

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Tell Me More about Dog Shows for Conformation
By Jan Bramhall ©1998

Entering the ring in Wales!Dog shows promote the continued development of dogs which meet the Golden Retriever Standard. Dogs (males) and bitches (females) compete for the eye of a judge, who chooses the winners at each event. Dogs and bitches classes are judged separately; all dog classes are judged prior to all bitch classes. Both Winners Dog and Winners Bitch accrue points toward a championship To become a Champion requires at least 15 points, earned under at least 3 different judges, and two "majors," that is, shows where so many dogs/bitches were defeated that 3 or more points are awarded. The two majors must be under two different judges. In New England, to earn 3 points, the winning Golden Retriever must have defeated at least 21 dogs (22 bitches). In other parts of the country, the point system varies slightly, based upon the average number of Golden Retrievers shown in that area.

Show dogs aren't just pretty faces; the standard dictates that they must be shown in hard working condition. They must meet the breed standard in all areas and have no disqualifying faults. A good show dog has received a lot of training in all of the varied show ring procedures. Dogs must learn to be examined by strangers, to pay no attention to the other dogs, and to move around the ring and stand still to show to their best advantage. The best also have a personality or presence which somehow makes them stand out as "showy."

Typically, after all the dogs in the ring are marked present by the number on the handlers' arm bands, the judge looks at each dog "stacked" (stood in show position) by the handler to quickly appraise outline, head and type, and then sends all the dogs around the ring together at a trot to watch their collective movement and see what he/she has to work with. Then the judge evaluates each entry individually, checking for the correct scissors bite and complete dentition, proper head shape, correct dark eyes and nose pigment, ear set and size, a sturdy, medium long neck, shoulder angulation and layback, length of upper arm, depth of chest, width of chest and amount of forechest, correct rib spring, topline, rear angulation, correct tail-set, correct pasterns and feet, correct length of tail, proper coat, etc. After physically going over the dog, the judge watches the dog move in a designated pattern whereby he/she can determine the gait of the dog "coming and going" (front and rear leg action) and the side gait, where "reach and drive" can be determined.

The temperament, structure, movement, and overall balance of the dog is clearly delineated in the standard, and each dog is judged against the breed standard, not against the other dogs in the ring. Overall appearance, balance, gait, and purpose are given more emphasis than any single component. Once all the entries have been examined and gaited, the judge selects the top four placements, based on which dogs most nearly approximate the Golden Retriever Standard in all aspects. This procedure is followed in all of the different classes for dogs (males) and bitches (females). The winners of each of the dog/bitch classes then enter the ring to vie for "Winners Dog/Bitch," selected in the same manner as the winners of the classes were chosen. The "Winners Dog/Bitch" is awarded 1-5 points toward his/her championship, based upon the number of dogs/bitches defeated by that dog/bitch that day.

Once both Winners Dog and Winners Bitch have been awarded, they both enter the ring with the "finished" Champions being shown and all compete for "Best of Breed." Again, this award is presented to the animal in the ring which comes closest to the judge's interpretation of the standard, only this time the sexes are judged together. Once Best of Breed has been determined by the judge, he/she selects the "Best of Opposite Sex," awarded to the animal not of the same sex as the Best of Breed which most closely meets the standard. Finally, the judge selects the "Best of Winners." This is either the Winners Dog or the Winners Bitch.

There may be special prizes for these three wins, but only the Best of Breed may go on to compete against other breeds for Group placements and Best in Show. Group placements accrue points toward achieving recognition in the Show Dog Hall of Fame.

Golden Retriever Clubs in the U.S.


Golden Retriever Club of Northern Alabama
Midnight Sun Golden Retriever Club
Valle del Sol Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles
Golden Retriever Club of San Diego County
Norcal Golden Retriever Club
Mile Hi Golden Retriever Club
Southern Berkshire Golden Retriever Club
Everglades Golden Retriever Club
Mid-Florida Golden Retriever Club
Atlanta Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Hawaii
The Golden Retriever Club of Illinois
White River Golden Retriever Club
Des Moines Golden Retriever Club
Kansas City Golden Retriever Club
Wheatland Golden Retriever Club of Wichita
Greater Louisville Golden Retriever Club
Pine Tree Golden Retriever Club
Chesapeake Golden Retriever Club
Gunpowder River Golden Retriever Club
Yankee Golden Retriever Club
Fort Detroit Golden Retriever Club
Mid-Michigan Golden Retriever Club
Greater Twin Cities Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Greater St. Louis

New Jersey
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
New York
New York
New York
New York
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina

Garden State Golden Retriever Club
New Jersey Pine Barrens Golden Retriever Club
Rio Grande Valley Golden Retriever Club
Autumn Valley Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Central New York
Golden Retriever Club of Western New York
Hudson Valley Golden Retriever Club
Long Island Golden Retriever Club
Northeastern New York Golden Retriever Club
Tarheel Golden Retriever Club
Cuyahoga Valley Golden Retriever Club
Golden Retriever Club of Greater Toledo
Golden Retriever Club of Columbus OH
Central Oklahoma Golden Retriever Club
Pacific Rim Golden Retriever Club
Greater Pittsburgh Golden Retriever Club
Lenape Golden Retriever Club
Sandlapper Golden Retriever Club
Austin Golden Retriever Club
Dallas Fort Worth Metro Golden Retriever Club
Greater Houston Golden Retriever Club
Potomac Valley Golden Retriever Club
Evergreen Golden Retriever Club
Inland Empire Golden Retriever Club
Badger Golden Retriever Club
Northern Flyway Golden Retriever Club


Golden Retriever Clubs all around the World
  Golden Ret Club of Canada
  Golden Ret Club of Greater Toronto
  Golden Ret Club of Quebec
  Golden Ret Club of Newfoundland
  Golden Ret Club of British Columbia
  Golden Ret Club of Alberta
  Ottawa Valley Golden Ret Club
  Golden Ret Club of Manitoba

   Canadian Kennel Club

  Golden Ret Club of South Australia
  Golden Ret Club of NSW Australia
  Golden Ret Club Italiano
  Golden Ret Club (New Zealand)
Golden Retriever Breed Council
   Includes 13 Clubs in Great Britain,
   with clubs below having own sites:
       Golden Ret Club of Wales
       Golden Ret Club (all of U.K.)
       Midland Golden Ret Club
           (Middle England) 
       Northern Golden Ret Assn 
           (Lincolnshire to Cheshire 
           down to the Scottish Border)   
       All Ireland Golden Ret Club    
   United Kennel Club

  Club Español De Retrievers  (Spain)
  Retriever Club de France  
Retriever Club Luxembourg
Der Österreichischer Retriever Club  (Austria)
Golden Ret Club Belgie  (Belgium)
Golden Ret Club Nederland  (The Netherlands)
Deutscher Golden Ret Club e.V.  (Germany)
Retriever Club of Switzerland
Golden Ret Club of Japan
Golden Ret Club of the Transvaal  (South Africa)
Golden Retriever I Danmark  (Denmark)
Norsk Retrieverklubb  (Norway)
Golden Ring ry  (Finland)
Golden Retrieverklubben  (Sweden)
Golden Retrievery Polen  (Poland)
Bulgaria Golden Ret Club 
Eesti Kuldsete Retriiverite Tõuühing (Estonia)
Golden Retriever Russia