Dog ShowDog Showing in Australia          

 By Wilma Livingston - Updated 4 May 1994

Please note:  All dogs (male & female) are referred to as "dogs" and all Exhibitors and Stewards as male.  For variety the Judge is referred to as female.  "You" may include your dog.  

Getting Started 

Firstly, the dog must be registered with the controlling canine body (in Victoria it is Dogs Victoria (also referred to as the Victorian Canine Association or VCA) and the owner must be a financial member of that Association.  You get the Registration papers from the Breeder, and you must transfer the dog into your name. 

You must have a supply of Entry Forms, which can be purchased from Dogs Victoria, and may also be available from the dog shops at some dog shows. 

Show Class LineupEntering a Show 

Dog shows are advertised in the Dogs Victoria magazine, and if you have any queries about any Show, you can phone the appropriate Secretary. 

Malamutes are eligible to enter for any Shows run by the Alaskan Malamute Club, clubs relevant to the breed (such as the Spitz Breed club or Utility Dog Club), or any All Breeds Club, such as Lyndhurst Kennel Association, but not shows that are relevant only to other breeds such as the the Hound Club, Doberman Club, Fox Terrier Club etc.

Shows are usually of two types - Championship or Open - but Sanctioned Competitions are also run. 

The Classes each Club is offering are advertised in the schedule for that Show.  The Ordinary Classes are numbered for each age group and sex, (e.g. 1 Baby Puppy Dog, 4A - Junior Bitch), and the age groups are defined on the back of the entry forms.  Special Classes (Sweepstakes, Owner Handler Bred, or Local) always specify which dogs they are for and allocate a Class number. 

Show line upThe closing date is published, and the entry must be in to the Secretary by that date, which is usually about four weeks before the date of the Show.  If you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SAE) you will get your exhibit number posted to you, and you will know for certain that your entry has been accepted. 

If you included an SAE but have not received your number at least two days before the Show, phone the Secretary to be sure you are actually entered before you go to the trouble of bathing and grooming your dog, and travelling to the Show. 

Filling Out Entry Forms 

Make sure that you enter in the correct age Class i.e. the age that your dog is on the day of the Show.  If you enter in the wrong Class, the Secretary may put you in the Open Class, which is not appropriate for dogs under three years of age who have their own age groups. 

Fill in all the relevant sections on the entry form, including Breed, but not the height section which is not for Conformation Shows.  I recommend ordering a Catalogue, so that you can follow what is going on at the Show. 

Show groomingRemember to enclose your cheque for the correct amount for the Classes you want to enter, and a Catalogue.  If the Show is to be held at the Melbourne Showgrounds, or at KCC Park, a $1.00 Ground Usage Levy will be incorporated in the charge for your first entry. 

It is usual to enter in the youngest Class for which your dog is eligible, i.e. Class 2, Minor Puppy Dog - which is for male dogs of six and not exceeding nine months of age. 

Preparing for the Show 

Bath and groom your dog thoroughly.  If possible bath him two days before the Show, so that his coat has a chance to regain its natural oils.  When his coat is dry, groom him thoroughly, from his head to his heels, and his tail.  If you brush him thoroughly before you bath him, it will be easier afterwards. 

Collect all your gear together (store it in a special bag, especially for Shows) and remember to put in your Exhibit Number.

Dog in crateDay of the Show 

  • Try to get to the Show at least one hour before the advertised time for your Group. (Malamutes are in Group 6, but if the Group is split, may be 6A, 6B or 6C.)  Remember to allow plenty of time to set your equipment up and groom your dog.

  • Find out which ring you are in, and collect your Catalogue. 

  • Check that you are entered in the correct Class. 

  • Take your dog for a walk to relieve himself, and clean up any mess he drops.

  • Give your dog a final grooming, put on the Show Lead (a not too heavy Choke Chain, and a lead about 25-40 cm long is recommended, and can be purchased from the Dog Shop, or from suppliers at Shows). 

  • Pin or clip your Exhibit number on the left side of your chest, or slip into a holder on your left upper arm. 

  •  Take your dog to the Show Ring.

 At the Ringside 

Be at the ringside before the start of your Group, as you may be in very quickly.  You never know how many dogs ahead of you will not turn up, or how fast the Judge will be in her judging.  Look for the people wearing the numbers before yours, and be ready to move when they do.  Watch the dogs being judged ahead of you, so that you will know the Judge's style of judging before you go into the ring.  Watch what the Steward does with the dogs when he sends them into the ring, where they stand, where the Judge is placing them to be judged, where she is asking them to run, and where she sends them when she is finished examining them for the first time, etc. 
Show examinationAll the male dogs are judged before the bitches, and the younger dogs go in first. 
Make sure that you are in a position which enables you to hear the Assembly Steward call your number, and make sure that he knows that you are there.  When he calls you, approach him, ready to go into the ring when he tells you.  Try to see which dogs are first and last in your Class.  If you are near the front of your class, you must be very alert, as the dogs in front may not arrive.  If it is your first Show, tell the Assembly Steward or Ring Steward as you go in, and he will tell you exactly what to do.  If there is a dog in front of you, basically you do what his handler does.  Listen to what the Steward tells you, and then listen to what the judge tells you to do. 

In the Ring 

Keep your dog on your left side at all times, and do not let your body get between the Judge and your dog. 
Usually, the dogs are run into the ring one behind the other.  Run your dog at a steady trot - it is not meant to be a race - keeping at least six feet between your dog and the dogs in front and behind.
You (or the handlers of the dogs up the front of the class) will be told by the Ring Steward where to stop, and sometimes you will be asked to go around twice.  Gently pull up where requested, again keeping a good distance between dogs, and put your dog into a "Show Stance". The judge will usually then look down the line of dogs.  Do what you can to make your dog look alert and bring his ears up, but always keep him under control.
Show gaitingThe judge will then examine every dog individually, often moving him away from the 1ine of dogs to do so.  You may relax your dog until your time approaches.  The Judge usually starts by looking at the head and examining the teeth first, and working down the body to the rear.  Hold your dog's head firmly between your hands while she examines his mouth.  Continue to hold him firmly by his collar while the Judge is examining the rest of him, but try to let her have a good view of the dog at all times. 

Gaiting or Moving Your Dog 

If you are asked to "Do a triangle" the Judge wants to see your dog (not you) running STRAIGHT away from her (rear view), then across (side view), then straight back to her (front view), pulling up gently (do not adjust your dog at this time) about six feet in front of the Judge.  Line your dog, not yourself, up with the judge.  Hold that natural stance until the Judge dismisses you.  Usually she will say "Thank you" and may tell you to go to the end of the line, or "Take him around to the end" in which case she wants you to run your dog right around the ring to the end of the line (and she will watch you).  If you are not sure what she said, or what she wants you to do, ask her again! 
Sometimes she may just turn away to the next dog, or wave her hand in a certain direction.  Unless you are told anything different, run your dog gently around to the end of the line (don't cross immediately in front of the other dogs).
Show side gaitSometimes a judge will say something like "Straight out and back" or "Take him across" in which case she wants to see your dog running straight away from her, turning and running straight back, again pulling gently up into a natural stance about six feet from her.
Remember that she is trying to see how he gaits (moves), and how balanced he is when he pulls up.  If your dog breaks into a gallop she cannot assess him, and it is probably because you are running him too fast.  It is very important for the Judge to be able to assess your dog's gait, so if necessary, take him back and start again.  It is better to have a dog just loping along in a slow trot than galloping.  Moving off slowly helps.


As the last dog steps up to be examined, you should start to get your dog in position for the Judge to have her last look, and make her decision.  Make the best of your dog - stand him squarely, with his front legs and the hocks of his back legs parallel and try to make him look alert (sometimes gently clicking your fingers, or using a small piece of food, or a small squeaky toy helps), but keep him under control.  Try to keep one eye on the Judge, and one eye on your dog, and another eye on the other exhibitors, at all times when you are in the ring. 
If she selects your dog, the judge will call you out and tell you your place.  There are various ways of doing this - one judge will say "Thank you" and point to each dog in turn, another will just point, another will look at you and hold up one, two or three fingers, while others will be very specific and say "Thank you, Sir, I'll have your dog first". 

Show stackLeaving the Ring 

If you have been chosen as 1st, 2nd or 3rd, gently praise your dog for being good, and move to a position in front of the appropriate marker, and wait until the Ring Steward writes down your number, and dismisses you.  The judge may give you a ribbon, and shake your hand.  Remember to keep a good control on your dog - it is too soon to relax yet.  Try to remember to congratulate the other placegetters.  If you have not been chosen, praise your dog, and just move quietly out of the ring in your place behind the others when they go.  Try to smile and be a good sport, no matter what, and don't get a swelled head if YOU won, because the roles may be reversed next week.  You also congratulate the winners, even if you don't agree with the Judge's decision. 

Best Dog 

If you have won your Class you will be required to go back into the ring again to compete for Best Dog or Bitch, so move into a position near the Assembly Steward, and be ready when he calls you.  If you have got second place, do the same, as you may be required also.  The oldest dog leads into the ring with the youngest last.  Again, do exactly as you are told by the Judge, who will probably do things differently, and faster, this time.
After Best Dog (at a Championship Show, he is Challenge Winning Dog), is chosen, the second place winner in his Class enters the ring to compete for Reserve Dog.  That is the end of the judging of the Males.  All dogs should move away from the assembly area to give the bitches room, but the Best Dog, Reserve Dog, and all Class Winners should not go far as they will be required again.
The bitches will then be judged in the same way, through to Best Bitch and Reserve Bitch. 

Best of Breed & Runner UpBest of Breed 

The Best Dog and Best Bitch then enter the ring, with the male leading, so the judge can select her Best of Breed (BOB), and Runner-Up to Best of Breed (RUBOB).  If the dog is chosen as BOB, then the Reserve Dog enters the ring and competes with the Best Bitch for Runner-Up.  If the bitch is BOB, the Reserve Bitch competes with the Best Dog for Runner-Up. 

Baby Puppies 

The exception to the above is the Baby Puppy Class winners, who are too young to compete for Best Dog/Bitch, but will be required for the Run-off and if they win that, Group Specials. 

Run-Off for Class Winners 

After the RUBOB is chosen, all Class Winners who have not been eliminated are required back in the Ring for the Judge to choose the best of each age class.  Only the winners of the Run-off go into the Group Specials. 

Group lineupEnd of Breed Judging 

That is then the end of the Breed Class judging, and everyone can move away until all the rest of the breeds in Group 6 have been judged.  If you have not won your Class, or got RUBOB, you may go home, if you wish.  It is always a good idea to check with the Steward to make sure that you will not be required again that day.  If you have won, you will be required to present your dog for Group Specials.  Check your Catalogue, and keep an eye on what is going on in the Ring, so that you will be ready for the Specials, which usually follow straight after the Siberian Huskies, and St. Bernards.

Group Specials 

All Best of Breed winners go into the ring in catalogue order (Malamutes are second, behind Akitas) for judging of Best Exhibit in Group, with the Runner-Up's standing by.  If the group was split, the judge will first examine the dogs she has not seen.  If the Alaskan Malamute is selected for Best Exhibit, then the Runner Up Malamute goes in for judging of Runner-Up to Best Exhibit.  The Best Exhibit is automatically the Best In Group for the age class in which he is entered, and if the Runner Up to Best Exhibit is from a different class, he is also.  This is where they hand out the big sashes and the trophies.
Then the Best Baby Puppy in Group (if there is one) is judged next, Best Minor Puppy in Group etc. is judged, and so on, up to Best Open.  Remember that one, and possibly two, Classes have already been eliminated, so if you are a winner, be ready!

Best In Group lineupBest In Show 

If you are fortunate enough to win an In Group award, you will be eligible to compete for an In Show award, where the procedure is the same as for In group, except the competitors are the winners from the other six groups. 

Challenge Certificate 

If your dog won the Challenge, remember to collect your Challenge Certificate at the completion of Group Judging, or at the end of the Show Specials.  These certificates are not available until your dog has finally been eliminated. 
You are now free to go home, show off all your goodies (if you got any), and send in your Show Results for publication in the Malamute Mail.
Class Winners do not compete for Group Specials if: 

  • They have been eliminated at Breed level, by being beaten in their Age Class Run-off, or by the dog or bitch who won BOB or RUBOB, i.e. if the Open Dog gets BOB and the Intermediate Bitch gets RUBOB, then both the Open Bitch (beaten by the Open Dog) and the Intermediate Dog (beaten by the Intermediate Bitch) have been eliminated, even if they are Reserve winners.

  • If BOB is Open Bitch, and RUBOB is Intermediate Bitch, there both Open and Intermediate Dog have been eliminated, even if one is Challenge Winner.  If you do not understand this, get someone to explain it to you.  A lot of exhibitors present for Group Specials when they have already been eliminated at Breed judging level, and could have left hours earlier.

  • The Best Exhibit In Group, or Runner Up in Group is from your Age Class, e.g. if a Newfoundland gets Best Exhibit, and she is from Junior Class, she eliminates all Juniors, because she is automatically Best Junior in Group.  And if the Akita, who gets Runner Up is from the Puppy Class, he is automatically Best Puppy, and all puppies are eliminated. 

  • If both the Group winners are from Intermediate Class, then only the Intermediates have been eliminated, and all other Classes are eligible to compete.

  • Show indoor ringYou fail to answer your call to the ring, and are marked absent.  Once the Ring Steward calls you absent, you cannot enter the ring.  If you are the Challenge Winner, you also lose your Championship points. 


  • Be aware of the VCA Rule which states that Baby Puppies can only compete against other Baby Puppies, and are not eligible to compete for Best Dog or Bitch.  They are also not eligible to compete for any Special Classes, except Baby Puppy Sweepstakes. 

  • Also, do nothing to identify your dog while you are in the ring.  Dogs are supposed to be anonymous while in the ring.
    Please contact the AMCV Show Secretary or Dogs Victoria  (Victorian Canine Association) if you have any queries about showing your dog.

  • For a multiple day show, such as the Melbourne Royal, the dog’s age on the first day of the Show is used. 

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