What’s In A Title – Conformation

| January 17, 2012 | 1 Comment
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Snowy River's Black Diamond is the Best Of Winners at the 2011 ECBRC Specialty - http://retrieverlife.com

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This is a part of a series explaining various types of competition and how to obtain various titles in conformation, hunt, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. This article focuses conformation titles. What does it take to become a Champion or Grand Champion? Besides good looks, proper structure, and an attitude? These titles can be achieved in various countries and each country has their own definition; this article includes the criteria for conformation titles awarded by the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. It is by no means comprehensive, just enough to whet your appetite and encourage you to get out with your dog and compete.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two types of championship titles for conformation:

  • Champion (CH). Dogs must acquire 15 points, including 2 majors won under different judges and at least one point under a third different judge.
  • Grand Champion (GCH). Dogs must be a champion of record and acquire 25 Grand Championship points, including 3 majors won under three different judges and at least one or more points won under a fourth judge. Also, the dog must have defeated at least one other AKC Champion of Record at 3 shows. Grand Champions have the ability to earn Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum designations by acquiring increasing levels of Grand Champion points.

How does a dog earn Championship points? A dog receives championship points if it wins Winners Dog (WD) or Winners Bitch (WB) at a dog show – Winners Dog or Winners Bitch is the winner of the competition of all class winners (please refer to the road to best in show article for more details). If a dog has championship points but has not acquired the necessary points towards his championship (or “finished”), owners may refer to him as “championship pointed” or “major championship pointed”.

The Road To Best In Show - http://retrieverlife.com

Click on image for larger version of the Road To Best In Show.

Points are awarded based on the AKC Schedule of Points for a particular region. in 2011, there were 13 divisions that are associated with geography. For example, Division Three consists of District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Division Eight includes Oregon and Washington. The point system not only differs for the various breeds, but also may vary by division. Typically bitches have to win over a larger number of their competitors to get the same number of points a dog wins. Note: a “major” is considered anything three points or above.

How does a dog earn Grand Championship points? Only dogs who are already champions can receive Grand Championship points which are often referred to as Select points. Dogs that are awarded Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog and Select Bitch receive points based on the same published AKC Schedule of Points with the following caveats:*Curly-Coated Retrievers collect standard points awarded to all other breeds and varieties not called out in the schedule.

  • Best of Breed – All dogs of both sexes in the breed or variety exhibited in the regular classes and Best of Breed competition will be counted
  • Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed – All dogs of the same sex in the breed or variety exhibited in the regular classes and Best of Breed competition will be counted
  • Select Dog or Select Bitch – The total number of dogs of the same sex in the breed/variety defeated in the regular classes and Best of Breed competition will be counted. (i.e. 2 dogs less than the total number of the same sex)

Let’s walk through a simple example together. Let’s say we are in Division 8 and that there are 20 Labrador Retrievers (5 dogs and 15 bitches) competing in the classes and 4 male “specials” and 2 female “specials”, for a total of 26 dogs competing for Best of Breed. If a male “special” wins BOB, he beat 25 dogs and points should be awarded accordingly (3 Select points). If one of the female “specials” wins BOS, she beat 15 class bitches plus 1 female “special” for 16 bitches total (3 Select points). If the Select Dog was one of the male “specials”, he beat 5 class dogs plus 2 male “specials” for a total of 7 dogs (1 Select point). If the Select Bitch is one of the female “specials”, she beat 15 class bitches plus 1 female “special” for a total of 16 bitches (2 Select points). Note: class dogs (or dogs that are not yet champions) who are awarded BOB, BOS, Select Dog or Select Bitch cannot earn Select points toward their Grand Championship.

The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognizes that same two types of championship titles, except has slightly different criteria.

  • Canadian Champion (Can CH) – Dogs must acquire 10 points under at least three different judges and have earned at least one 2-point win, either at the breed or group level.
  • Canadian Grand Champion (Can GCH) – Dogs must be a champion of record and acquire100 points which must include one Best in Show or a Best of Breed at a Breed National Specialty (where a minimum of ten dogs have competed) or a Best in Multiple Breed Specialty with at least five breeds represented; plus 3 group firsts or 3 Breed Specialty wins must be earned at Conformation shows.

Championship points are awarded on a similar schedule of points as in the American Kennel Club system.

Grand Championship points are awarded as follows:

  • Best in Show or Best in National Specialty Show or Best in Multi Breed Specialty Show:10 Points
  • Group 1 or Best in Specialty Show: 5 Points
  • Group 2 or Best of Opposite Single Breed Specialty Show: 4 Points
  • Group 3: 3 Points
  • Group 4: 2 Points
  • Best of Breed: 1 point

Note: Only the highest points earned at a single show are carried forward. For example, a dog that wins Group 1 and then wins Best in Show, earns 10 points, not 15.

If you need more clarification or would like to know the Schedule of Points for your region, please visit the AKC or CKC sites. Other countries may have their own definition of what it takes to become a champion. If you know what they are and would like to share, please feel free to send us the information to post in a future issue.

Before I leave this topic, I should also mention the International Championship title since you might also see that title used, for example Int’l CH Gingerbred Brillhills Mischief. There is some ambiguity with this title as there are various organizations around the world recognizing this title so please make sure you clarify with the breeder and/or owner how the dog received his/her International Championship.

  • Via the FCI. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale is the World Canine Organisation. It awards the title of International Beauty Champion to dogs that have obtained four Certificats d’Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté (CACIB) no matter the number of dogs in three different countries under three different judges within the period of a year.
  • Via the UCI. The IABCA (International All Breed Canine Association of America) has been granted dispensation by UCI (Union Cynologie International e.V. headquartered in Germany) to sanction shows in the United States and to award UCI certificates and titles. In order to receive an international title, the dog must receive three “Certificates of Beauty” (Certificat d’Aptitude au Championat International de Beaute). These certificates must be awarded by three different judges, with at least two of the judges residing in different countries (for example: 2 Americans & 1 Canadian. or 1 German). The judging programs at the dog shows are usually orchestrated so that you could achieve your title over one weekend.
  • Border crossing. If a dog is titled in a country other than its country of residence (where it has already achieved its title), the dog could be considered “internationally titled”. For example, Am/Can CH Gingerbred Celestial Thunder has achieved his American title and his Canadian title so may be referred to as an International champion.

Get Ready

Showing and handling a dog looks so much easier than it actually is. So not only should you go to a dog show just to observe judges and handlers, but you should also go to a dog handling class so you and your dog can put your best foot (and paw) forward when you step into the ring.  For those light of heart, there are many qualified handlers that you could ask to show your dog. Visit the Retriever Life Trainer/Handler List. With any partnership, there’s a chemistry that takes place to make things good; if your handler and dog don’t have that chemistry, find a pairing that does. We hope this has sparked your interest to go out and have more fun with your dog! Best of luck in the show ring!

Category : Conformation, What's In A Title

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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  1. Alexsandra says:

    Pet quality puderbers have flaws that the judge would count against them. It could be the head shape, the length of body to legs, wrong coloring, wrong size (undersize as well as too large), or any of a thousand other things. The chance of two of them having a show quality pup is pretty low since both are going to be passing on the faults they have in them. I wouldn\’t count on it happening.

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