Showing standing square  in Show positionShowing your Bernese Mountain Dog

Showing your Bernese can be a most rewarding or an extremely frustrating hobby. The breeder of your Bernese will be able to advise you as to whether your Bernese has what it takes to compete in the show ring and will be able to advise you accordingly.

Before you can show your Bernese you'll need to ensure that your Bernese has been registered with the Kennel Club and has a registration number. You will also need to know it's parents kennel names to enable you to enter your Bernese for Open & Championship shows, whether they be club shows or general shows. The Bernese breed clubs also hold fun/working days each year where you can enter your Bernese for fun events without having to enter your Bernese in advance. These events are most enjoyable and are taken far less seriously than normal showing and are open to crossbred Bernese as well.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a working breed and therefore are shown in the working group. There are several different types of shows, depending upon the quality of your bernese and how far you wish to travel, and how seriously you want to show.

There are three different types of dog show; Exemption Shows, Open Shows & Championship Shows. Open & Championship Shows can be Breed only shows i.e. Bernese or can be General shows which will have classes for various different breeds. At these general shows you can enter your Bernese in the Bernese classes if offered or if not then the AVNSC class, which means Any Variety Not Separately Classified. Even if you've entered your Bernese in Bernese classes or the AVNSC class you can also enter them for the AVWC class (Any Variety Working Class). Most people would usually only enter their Bernese in a breed class or Not Separately classified class.

Exemption shows are commonly known as fun shows and are sometimes held as part of a village fete. They usually consist of four or so pedigree classes followed by half a dozen or more fun classes. You can enter these shows if you have a pedigree or a heinz 57 mongrel and are open to all breeds. These shows you can enter on the day for a nominal amount and are just a bit of fun. Winning your class or Best in Show at one of these shows is great fun but it doesn't count towards any points for Show certificate of Merit or Junior Warrants.

Bernese Fun days are the next type of event and are held at least once a year by each of the Bernese breed clubs. There aren't any pedigree classes just fun ones but you also get the chance to compete with other Bernese in obedience, agility and the carting classes if your Bernese has been trained and you own your own cart, there is also the carting fancy dress classes. At these events you'll meet like minded Bernese owners/breeders and a pleasant day is always had. You'll also get the chance to have your Bernese temperament tested and to try your hand at the Kennel Club Good Citizen Awards. If you do well you'll probably have your picture in the next club magazine and on the club web site.

The next type of show is the Open Show. There are two types of open show, general and breed. The general open shows can be entered by any pedigree breed of dog where as the breed open shows can only be entered by that breed. Most of the breed clubs hold at least one if not two breed open shows each year. At a general open show you can enter your Bernese in the Bernese classes, or if there aren't any Bernese classes then the working classes. There are usually three or more classes. If you win your class then you can compete for best of breed at the end of the breed judging. The best of breed winner then competes later on in the day against all the best of breed winners in the Working group and then the winner of the working group then competes against all the other group winners for the Best in Show prize. If your Bernese wins lots of Best of Breeds and has group placing's at this type of show then he may well earn himself a Show Certificate Merit award. Some open shows are not judged on the Group system, so all Best of Breed winners go into the winners ring from which Best in Show is picked. At breed open shows, you have a large choice of classes to enter. Dogs & bitches are judged in their own classes and usually by a breed judge or a good all rounder. The winner of each male class competes at the end of the male judging for best male and the winners of each of the females classes compete for best female. Then at the end of the day the best male and best female go against each other for Best of Breed and in turn Best in Show. It is quite something to win Best in Show at a Breed club open show, as competition is quite fierce.

The last type of show is the Championship show. Judged in the same way as the general and breed open shows, but the Bernese you will see at this type of show are the top Bernese in the country. If you win a first, second or third in a certain class at a Championship show then you qualify your Bernese for the following year's Crufts. If you win your class at Crufts your dog automaticly qualifies for the following year's Crufts. If your Bernese wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the Limit or Open class at a Championship show, it qualifies for Crufts for the rest of it's life. At Championship shows the best male and best female each get awarded a Championship Certificate. If your Bernese gets three of these Championship Certificates under three different judges then your Bernese becomes a Champion. The reserve best male and reserve best female get awarded the Reserve Championship Certificates, even though these don't count towards becoming a champion they are still lovely to win and if the actual Champion Certificate winner is disqualified at a later date then you will be awarded the Champion Certificate. Winning at this sort of show is quite something. At breed Championship shows the males and females are usually judged by different judges, with the Best in Show winner being decided between the two judges. If a decision can not be made then the referee is called upon to decide. If you are lucky enough to own both males and females then showing at breed championship shows can be hard work as often you're required in two places at once!

If you have entered your dog for several classes and your dog only wins one of these classes but is beaten in the others then you are unable to compete for Best of Breed or best of sex, as it is only unbeaten dogs that can compete for these titles. If you have a puppy who won a puppy class but was beaten in another class say junior at an general open show, then your puppy can still compete for best puppy in breed. If you have a puppy and the only class you can enter it in at a general open show is the junior class but it doesn't win this class. If it was the only puppy in the breed or the highest placed puppy in the class then it would still win best puppy. If there are several puppies in the Junior class then the puppy with the highest placing would winning best puppy.

All Judges are required by the Kennel Club to write a critique on at least the winning dog in each class, and preferably the first three in each class. When you dog has been placed in 1st, 2nd or 3rd then the steward will indicate to you if you should stay for the judge to jot down some notes about your dog for his critique. The critique will then be published in one or both of the two weekly dog newspapers, namely: Dog World and Our Dogs, and if it's a club event then in the next club publication and perhaps on their web site as well. Most of the Bernese clubs also take photos of the winner of each class for their publications and web site. Sometimes the Best of Breed winner at an open show is offered a free sitting with one of the Dog Newspaper photographers to be published in their Newspaper at a later date. Even though the sitting is free to have the photo in the paper will cost you generally under £30.

At Open & Championship shows whether they be general or breed ones, you have classes that you enter your dog in. Depending upon the age of your Bernese and it's previous wins determines the class or classes you can enter him in. These classes have to be entered in advance and before the closing date given on the schedule. Schedules can be obtained from the club secretary of the club hosting the event. These details will be advertised in the Dog papers several months in advance. Upon receiving your schedule and deciding upon which class or classes to enter you need to complete the entry form, with all your Bernese's Kennel Club details, Kennel Club number, Parents, Breeder, Date of Birth and then enclose a cheque for the relevant amount. Often you can purchase catalogues along with your entry will you will be able to collect on the day of your show. The catalogue lists all the dogs entered at the show, with their details and owner's details. Open shows vary and classes usually cost from £5 to enter. Championship show classes usually cost from £19 per class to enter, with club shows somewhere between. It's usual to pay the full price for the first class each of your dog's enters and a lesser amount for any subsequent classes you enter your dog in.

Most general Championship shows can be entered online via Dog Biz, Fosse Data or CID. Your dog's details can be stored on their database and entry is made very easy for you, as only the classes they can compete in are offered. There is usually a £1 charge for entry online but once you've received your confirmation emails from the relevant company you know your dog has been entered. A few weeks before your show you will receive entry passes for your dog, which you'll need to check carefully to ensure they are correct. Don't forget to take these on the day of your show so that you can take your dog in and later out of the show.

If you entry your show by post, it is very wise to enclose a stamped addressed envelope so that they the club secretary can confirm receipt of your entry. It would be awful to travel to a show only to find your entry had been lost in the post and your dog couldn't compete.

The classes available at Open & Championship shows are based either on the age of your dog or how much your dog has won in the past. You need to take care that you enter your dog in the correct class as you could get disqualified if your dog wins a class that it wasn't eligible for. The different classes definitions are usually as below but check your schedule first before entry.

Minor Puppy - For dogs of six months and not exceeding nine calendar months of age on the first day of the show. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Puppy - For dogs of six months and not exceeding twelve calendar months of age on the first day of the show. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Junior - For dogs of six months and not exceeding eighteen calendar months of age on the first day of the show. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Yearling & Special Yearling - For dogs of twelve months and not exceeding twenty four calendar months of age on the first day of the show.

Maiden - For dogs that have not won a challenge Certificate or a first prize at an open or championship show.

Novice - For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or three or more first prizes at open or championship shows.

Graduate - For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or four or more first prizes at Championship shows in a Graduate or higher class.

Post Graduate - For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or five or more first prizes at Championship shows in Post Graduate or higher class. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Mid Limit - For dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or five or more first prizes at Championship shows in Mid Limit or higher class.

Limit - For dogs which have not won three Challenge Certificates under three different judges or seven or more first prizes at Championship shows. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Open - This class is for all dogs of the breed which are eligible for entry at the show. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Veteran - For dogs no less than 7 years old on the first day of the show. Winning this class at a Championship show will qualify your dog for Crufts the following year.

Progeny - For a dog or bitch accompanied by at least three of it's registered progeny. The dog or bitch not necessary having been entered in any other class at this show but each of the progeny having been entered in other classes at this show.

Brace - For a pair of dogs of the same breed but of either or mixed sex owned by the exhibitor, each of the dogs having been entered in other classes at the same show.

Breeders - For dogs bred by the exhibitor.

Not Bred by Exhibitor - For dogs not bred by the exhibitor.

When you show your dog in the ring, you are issued a ring number. This number must be worn at all times whilst showing your dog and should be securely fixed on to you via either a show clip or a show card armband. At open and breed club events your ring number will be handed to you by the steward upon walking into your class. At General Championship shows your ring number will be on your dogs bench along with his bench number. You can find your number by looking in your catalogue.

At general championship shows your dog will have a bench allocated to him with his ring number on. Kennel Club rules say that your dog should be placed on his bench and secured by his benching chain. You can also supply your dog with a cosy benching blanket to lay on. Some dogs do not like the idea of benching but others love it. The younger you can get your dog used to lying on a bench the better. It is becoming the norm at these events for many of the dogs to be absent from their benches for most of the show and can be found around the ringside. At club events there are generally no benches and the dogs are with their owners around the ring or nearby, watching all the action.

It is always wise to arrive at your show an hour before judging is due to start to ensure you don't miss your class and to allow for traffic hold ups.

Your dog should have been bathed the day before and thoroughly groomed in readiness for the show. Bernese should be shown as naturally as possible with the minimum amount of trimming, saying this though, your Bernese should have had the hair around his feet trimmed. If you're unsure it's best to ask someone knowledgeable in the breed before you get over keen with the scissors. Pack all your essential showing items the night before so that you don't forget something important in your mad dash to leave the house early the next morning. If you become a regular shower then you'll probably have a special bag in which to keep all your showing items. Your show bag will probably contain the following items: Slicker brush, medium & narrow tooth combs and scissors. Water bowl and bottle of water. Benching rug and chain. Food and treats. Show lead & collar. Wet cloth and towel. Show passes if relevant, show pin and money. It is always a good idea to also take a fold up chair and something for yourself to eat and drink as unless you know that refreshments will be available and ample seating, it's advisable to go prepared, as show days can be fairly long ones.

Back to Top

Web Site Built & Designed
by
Philippa Green MCITP

Home | Our Dogs | Our Puppies | In Loving Memory | Gallery | Breed Info
Tia Maria | Team Pasturegreen |
Latest News | Links | Contact Us

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

                                    Free Hit CountersSearch Engine Optimization
© Copyright Pasturegreen Bernese Mountain Dogs 2003 - 2016