In honor of Crufts, let’s extract ourselves from our myopic viewpoint and explore how Conformation works in other parts of the world shall we?

The Kennel Club is to England what the AKC is to the US.  The first organized dog show was held in 1859 consisting of 60 Pointers and Setters.  It wasn’t until 1870 that an organization formed.  In 1880 the Kennel Club introduced registrations for dogs.  In 1884, the AKC was formed in the US following many of the rules already set forth by the Kennel Club.

Each breed recognized by the Kennel Club has a defined breed standard and is judged against that standard, the same as here.  The Kennel Club recognizes many of the same breeds as the AKC, however, they include many different breeds as well. 

There are 209 recognized breeds which are classified into 7 groups.  The 7 groups are Hound, Gundog, Terrier, Utility, Working, Pastoral, and Toy.  The Hound group includes breeds used for hunting by sight and scent.  The Gundog groupincludes breeds of Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, and Setters.  These are breeds that field live game or retrieve game.  The Gundog group is comparable to the AKC Sporting group.  The Terrier group includes breeds that hunt vermin above and below ground.  The Utility group includes dogs bred for a very specific purpose although not in the sporting or working categories.  This group consists of many of the breeds defined as the AKC Non-Sporting group.  The Working group consists of guard and search and rescue breeds.  The Pastoral group is comparable to the AKC Herding group.  The Toy group is small breeds bred for companionship.

Although the groups can be compared for similarities there are also differences as to how the breeds are categorized into groups.  For example, the AKC categorizes Poodles of the Miniature and Standard variety into the Non-Sporting group and Toy Poodles into the Toy group.  The Kennel Club lists all three varieties in the Utility group.  Generally the logic can be followed for the categorization in either country even if the result differs.  Airedales are categorized as Terrier in both clubs.

The Kennel Club also has a process for recognizing new breeds.  New breedsare added first to the Imported Breed Register before being transferred to the Breed Register.  After recognition and establishment in the Breed Register a breed standard is written.  The breed is not eligible for CCs until after a breed standard is approved.

Feel free to share an explanation of conformation in your country by emailing Dogged Dogdom.