“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 purpose of non-competitive earthdog tests is to offer breeders and owners of small terriers and Dachshunds a standardized gauge to measure their dogs' natural aptitude and trained hunting and working behaviors when exposed to an underground hunting situation. The non-competitive program begins with a basic introduction to
“den work and quarry” and progresses through gradual steps to require the dog to demonstrate that it is willing to perform the required tasks, including seeking and locating its quarry underground. Fear not, rodent lovers: The rats are safely caged and are not harmed. In fact, many participants keep rats as pets for use in earthdog trials.
Arya the Cesky Terrier
Deb Jaspers with Rio, Judge Susan Thurlow, Pam Gates with Sugar, Heather Lindsey with Gonzo and Judge Russ Wischover with Gonzo’s first EE ribbon.