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Conformation-Points

What is a Conformation Champion?

“Conformation” is the official name for “dog shows.” While they may seem glamorous, the true purpose of conformation showing is to evaluate breeding stock. The dog’s conformation—his overall appearance and structure—is an indication of the dog’s ability to produce quality purebred puppies, and that is what is being judged in the ring. That’s why mixed-breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are not eligible to compete. Many times a new exhibitor will get started in dog shows by finding a mentor, usually the breeder they acquired their puppy from. Many AKC clubs also offer handling classes to teach owners how to present their purebred dog to a judge at a dog show.

The American Kennel Club requires a dog to obtain a total of 15 points with two major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a champion. The majors must be won under different judges and at least one other judge must award some of the remaining points — so you need to win under at least three different judges.

You will see how to figure the points when your dog or bitch wins the Winners Class, Best of Winners, Best of Opposite Sex or Best of Breed.

Winners Dog — WD

Winners Bitch — WB

Best of Breed — BOB

Best of Opposite Sex — BOS

Best of Winners – BOW

Dogs compete within their breed at AKC registered shows. The dogs/bitches are judged based on the breed standard and only the best non-Champion male (“Winner’s Dog”) and the best non-Champion female (“Winners Bitch”) receive points in any particular show.

Dogs must acquire 15 points, including 2 majors won under different judges and at least one point under a third judge.

Dogs can win from 1-5 points in a particular dog show. 3,4 and 5 points are considered majors.

Technically, a dog can become a champion in 3 shows if he/she wins a 5 point major in each show. Generally, it takes months or even years to finish a dog and make it a champion. First there must be enough entries to qualify as a major and then the dog/bitch must be judged as the best over all the other non-champion entries – no small feat.

Here is the AKC point schedule for Division 4 (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina) effective May 13, 2015. It shows the number of dogs or bitches that need to be shown in order to win points.  As you can see a bitch must be the best of at least 21 females to win a 3 point major and the best of at least 62/73 females to win a 5 point major.

# of points 1 point 2 point 3 point 4 point 5 point
Sex Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
# of  dogs 2 2 10 12 18 21 25 38 38 62

Here is the AKC point schedule for Division 3 (District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia) effective May 13, 2015.

# of points 1 point 2 point 3 point 4 point 5 point
Sex Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
# of  dogs 2 2 7 12 12 21 21 39 39 73

The “Winners Dog” and “Winners Bitch” then compete in the Best of  Breed (BOB) against dogs which have already become Champions.

The BOB winner will then compete with all the other BOB of the sporting group to obtain a Group 1 win, and then compete for the Best in Show against the other 6 group 1 winners. When a Dog has won Best in Show, you can see BIS in front of his name. A BISS is a Labrador that won at least 1 specialty show. This means that this dog was the best Labrador in a show of only Labradors. Big specialties can hold more than 1000 Labs. That’s a BIG win!!!

AKC Champion Point Schedule – effective May 13, 2015

Information provided by (September 2015):

AKC (American Kennel Club) – AKC website

Dr. Laura van Dalen – van Dalen Labradors website

Additional information and links: FAQ