Tag Archives: Westminster Dog Show

Dog show terms

I’ve been writing for NZ Dog World magazine since 2010; this is the magazine of Dogs New Zealand (formerly known as the NZ Kennel Club).

For those of you who have heard of shows like the Westminster Dog Show, but have never been to a dog show, here are some basic terms:


Handler, agent, or exhibitor (depending on what country you’re in)

This is the person who shows the dog in the ring.  The handler isn’t necessarily the dog’s owner and in high-stakes shows like Westminster, the handler may be paid to show the dog.


Usually treats or a toy that the handler uses to get a dog’s attention or to have the dog look alert in the ring

Best in Show

The final award which is presented to the dog that is judged to be the best of all dogs shown

Conformation show

A dog show which judges the dogs against a breed standard

Group show

A type of conformation show that is limited to a single group of dog such as Hunting Dogs or Sporting Dogs

Specialty show

A type of conformation show that is limited to either a single breed or a group of breeds, such as terriers


The posing of the dog in a natural standing position for evaluation by the show’s judge

Dogs New Zealand

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

New dogs at Westminster in 2015

The Westminster Kennel Club will allow two new breeds to compete this year:  the Coton De Tulear and the Wirehaired Vizsla.

Sometimes referred to as a ‘Bichon-type’ dog, the Coton De Tulear is known for its cottony coat. The long topcoat covers the forelegs.  The breed belongs to the Non-Sporting Group.

Photo by Wikipedia

A Coton De Tulear, photo by Wikipedia

The Wirehaired Vizsla is a member of the Sporting Group and is known for its energetic and active lifestyle.  A breed requiring mental stimulation daily, it is an excellent hunting dog with origins in Hungary.

Three Wirehaired Vizlas:  Harry, Vincent and Poppy (photo courtesty of DogBreedInfo.com)

Three Wirehaired Vizlas: Harry, Vincent and Poppy (photo courtesy of DogBreedInfo.com)

The Westminster Dog Show begins on Saturday, 14 February 2015.

All American or Mutt? What to call our mixed breed dogs

This article by columnist Britt Peterson lends some interesting perspective on what to call our mixed breed dogs – now that even the Westminster Kennel Club is allowing them to compete in dog shows.

Good cur! – Ideas – The Boston Globe

A New Dog Sport “Legend” Is Born

Read this article to learn about all of the winners at this year’s Westminster Dog Show.  Malachy the Pekingese won the coveted Best in Show title.

A New Dog Sport “Legend” Is Born.