Conformation competition is the oldest form of competition and has been the mainstay of AKC competition. Conformation is basically a beauty show. Each dog is shown to a judge who compares the dog's physical attributes against his/her mental version of the ideal dog. The conformation competition is really a team event. The dog and his handler work as a team. The handler's job is to present the dog to its best advantage. Although easy to learn the basics, it does to time to learn how to show a dog well. In addition, since the Scottish Terrier is a groomed dog, one needs to acquire the skill to produce a well-groomed dog.
A typical ring appearance consists of:
stacking the dog: to show the overall appearance and silhouette of the dog to the judge
walking the dog around the ring: to show the side view of the dog's gait, displaying the drive, reach, and form
tabling the dog: stacking the dog on the table for the judge to go over the dog: touching the dog to feel the structure of the dog, examining its bite and coat texture
a second gaiting of the dog: to examine the gait from the front and rear
Re-examination of the dog on the table or re-gaiting the dog
Final walk around
Sparring is a technique seen most commonly in the Terrier ring whereby judges observes dogs' reactions to other dogs. The most common form is where a judge will call two dogs to the center of the ring, or away from the other dogs in the lineup, and have them face each other, with handlers keeping control of the dogs. This is done to see which dog will act more dominant. Depending on all other qualities that the judge has observed in each dog, this sparring behavior can help the judge make the final decision on placing those two dogs.
Done properly, with properly trained dogs, a pair of terriers sparring is a lovely sight indeed. Both dogs will march proudly towards each other, muscles taut, heads held high, eyes flashing at one another, clearly stating to each other that they are the top dog, they are the best of the best. Toplines will straighten and level, necks will arch, ears will nearly touch in the middle of the topskull. At this point in time the two dogs are showing themselves to their best advantage, trying to display beyond doubt that they are the superior specimen, and most worthy to pass on their genes to the next generation. It is up to the judge to properly read and balance this aspect of terrier temperament and make the human show placement that encourages breeders to follow through and make sure those genes get passed on!
Levels of Competition
There are different levels of competition. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the parent organization to the STCA. The AKC awards various awards in conformation including AKC championship and grand championship.
In addition, there is competition called specializing. The finished champions compete over the course of a year to defeat the most dogs. This often involves lots of dog shows, lots of travelling for the dogs and handlers.
Conformation competition is run be many organization besides the AKC.
Conformation competition is available in many countries around the world. Each country has different rules on what determines a dog has reached the championship level. Many owners and their dogs compete and complete championships titles on their dogs in other countries.
In addition, the STCA has a series of competitions based on dog's winning various classes, number of Best of Breed, etc. These Tally's are presented at the annual STCA dinner and represent the overall performance of the members dogs over the course of the year. The dog community also tracks the number of breed wins and number of Scotties defeated, group placements, Best-in-Show(BIS), and number of all dogs defeated during a calendar year. This leads to top 25 placements for Scottie dogs and bitches, overall Scotties, all terriers, and all bred competition. This tracked in various dog magazines such as Showsight.
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