Purebred shelties make excellent show dogs. They are intelligent and beautiful and usually enjoy the experience of being in the show ring. If you're interested in turning your sheltie into a show dog, here are some tips to get you started.
Your dog must be registered - In order to compete in AKC competition, your dog must be registered with the AKC. Both his sire and his dam must be registered and his litter must be registered. It is your breeder's responsibility to register the litter; you will need to register your own puppy.
Your dog must be trained - Start basic obedience training when your puppy is very young. All dogs need obedience training, but it is especially important for show dogs, since they must always be on their best behavior in the ring, even when there are many distractions.
Decide who will handle your dog - In the show ring, your dog will require a handler, who will walk him through the paces as required by the judges. If you'd like to handle your dog yourself, it is usually pretty easy to find a class to teach you the basics. Many local breed clubs offer handling classes. If you'd prefer to have someone else handle your dog, you can hire handlers. The AKC has a registered handlers program where you can locate experienced and certified handlers for your dog.
Go to a dog show - If you've never been to a dog show, you'll want to go to a few as a spectator before you attempt to show your dog at one. Watching how it's done will make you more comfortable when it's your turn in the ring. Be sure to meet some people while you're there and find out all you can about how dog shows work, and how people are successful.
Get a handle on grooming - In case you haven't noticed, dogs competing in shows are always perfectly groomed. There are special techniques that show dog owners use to keep their dogs' coats in top condition. You can save money by learning to groom your dog for shows yourself. There are tools that can save you time and the expense of a professional groomer, but you need to know what they are and how to use them.
Have fun! - Competing in dog shows is designed to be fun for both you and your dog. So, look at the competition as an experience that will bring you and your dog closer and that will provide entertainment and enjoyment for you. Your sheltie will thrive on having a purpose in life and will love the praise that a good show will bring. You'll make new friends and learn about a hobby that has been rewarding dogs and their owners for many years.