There are 3 main types of shows in the UK run under the auspices of the Kennel Club, these are:

I will give a brief resume of each for anyone interested in knowing a little more about the show scene or who is considering having a go themselves.

Exemption shows

These are run throughout the year, but mainly in the summer, where many people first start showing. They help raise money for rescue organisations, good causes and various charities. Most of the exhibitors come from the local surrounding area and the exemption shows enable people to enjoy their dogs and have a good day out at the same time. Exemption shows are often held in conjunction with horse shows, village fetes or country fairs. The show is split into two sections, the Pedigree classes and the Novelty classes. Kennel Club Registered dogs can be shown in the Pedigree and Novelty classes but mixed breeds can only be shown in the Novelty section. Entry fees are taken on the day and are usually only about £1 per class.

Open shows

Again these are held all year round sometimes indoors sometimes outside or a combination of both. Registered societies put on a variety of classes for specific breeds. Any dog exhibited at the show but not having a breed class to enter has to be shown in the AVNSC category (Any Variety Not Separately Classified). Show schedules are posted out to exhibitors (at their request) prior to the show, exhibitors then complete the entry form, enclose their payment and post back to the Show Secretary before a specified closing date. Entry fees are often in the range of £3-5 for the first class with a reduced fee for subsequent classes with the same dog. The schedule will list the classes available and the definitions of classes.

Championship shows

More experienced exhibitors usually find themselves competing at Championship level with a view to possibly winning the coveted CC (Challenge Certificate). A dog needs 3 CCs awarded by 3 different judges in order to gain the title of Champion; a dog with this title then has CH put before its name. These shows attract very large entries and for Ridgebacks it is not uncommon to have more than 100 dogs at a show. The classes are split into Dog and Bitch classes and entrance fees are on average about £18 for the first class and approximately £2 for any subsequent class with the same dog. All the General Championship shows are "benched" which means that every dog entered has its own section of bench where it should be until ready to be judged. Breed Championship shows are often unbenched and more relaxed.


If you are interested in taking part in some dog showing then you need to locate a Ringcraft training session in your area and attend with your puppy from about 5 months of age. You and your puppy will be schooled into the techniques of showing your dog off to its best advantage. However, much can be learnt from just observing from the ringside at shows to see how more experienced handlers do it. You may find that your local pet shop, vet's notice board or boarding kennel can help you locate a suitable Ringcraft. Exhibitors are usually very pleased to see new faces around the shows so do not be afraid to approach other Ridgeback exhibitors, say hello and ask for advice. We are all human you know.