Showing your dog, or competing in "conformation competitions" is a popular hobby for many people and their canine companions. And no breed is better for any sort of dog competitions than the Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is an extremely intelligent breed with a desire to please their owners. These traits, combined with the Golden Retriever's natural beauty, make them a great competitor in the show ring.
The AKC has specific guidelines for conformation trials. They follow established guidelines for breed characteristics. These written standards describe the ideal size, color, and temperament of each breed, as well as correct proportion, structure, and movement. Dogs are judged in groups by AKC category, such as Sporting Dogs, Toy Dogs, and Working Dogs. The Golden Retriever competes in the Sporting Dog category in AKC shows. A "best of breed" will be chosen among each breed within a category. Then, these "best of breeds" will compete for a best of category prize. All dogs who win in their category are then eligible to compete for "best of show", the overall winner, which can come from any breed or category.
Of course, part of what makes a dog a show champion is their appearance, and their physical characteristics as compared to the ideals for their breed. However, there are other characteristics besides the physical that make a champion in the show ring.
One of the most important characteristics of a champion dog is a reliable temperament. Show dogs must be tolerant of show conditions and must be able to handle the pressure of life in the show ring. They must be calm around strangers and other dogs.
Another important characteristic of a show dog is obedience. A show dog will be put through his paces in the ring and must respond to commands given by his handler in an instant. It's imperative that show dogs show impeccable manners and do not hesitate in obeying commands.
Finally, show dogs should love performing in the ring. Some dogs appear to have been born to be in the show ring, and these are always the dogs that do best in competition. Trying to force a dog that doesn't enjoy the show ring into competition is a sure way to make an unhappy dog.
It's easy to see why Golden Retrievers are such great show dogs. They are intelligent enough to learn any commands required and calm enough to be able to withstand the pressure of the ring. They get along well with other dogs and generally love all people. And, of course, the Golden Retriever is one of the most beautiful breeds around, making them stiff competition in the ring.
If you'd like to show your Golden Retriever, get in touch with your local Golden Retriever Club to determine how to begin. Golden Retrievers are naturals in the show ring, and most love the glory of the competition.