dog show

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a competitive event in which dogs are exhibited and judged by an established standard or set of ideals prescribed for each breed.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of dog show

First recorded in 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a dog show?

A dog show is a competitive event in which dogs are judged based on the standards set for their breed. It’s essentially a contest to determine which dog in the show is the most ideal specimen (like a beauty pageant for dogs).

Dog shows typically consist of dogs being presented by their handlers and being observed and inspected by judges, who assign scores based on criteria like gait, teeth, and other physical attributes, as well as behavior and obedience. Awards are often presented for “best of breed” and “best in show” (best overall).

Of course, though it’s the dogs that are judged, the competition is also thought to be among the handlers and caretakers who raise the dogs and prepare them for the show.

The most prestigious and well-known dog show in the U.S. is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, commonly called the Westminster Dog Show. 

Other prominent dog shows in the U.S. include the American Kennel Club (AKC) National Championship and the National Dog Show.

The term dog show is also sometimes applied to events in which dogs compete in athletic-style competitions, such as completing obstacle courses or leaping.

When is the Westminster Dog Show?

The 2021 Westminster Dog Show will be held from June 12–13, 2021. It’s usually held in February.

More information and context on dog show

Breeding dogs based on desired traits or characteristics is an ancient tradition, but the modern dog show is thought to trace back to an 1859 event in Newcastle, England. The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held in 1877.

Dogs at dog shows are often grouped into categories, including Sporting, Hound, Working, Tracking, Herding, Terrier, Non-Sporting, and Toy.

The term dog show should not be confused with the expression dog and pony show, which refers to elaborate presentation or campaign, especially one held to drum up publicity or attention. (This phrase is a reference to the traveling variety shows that once used actual dogs and ponies as part of the entertainment).

What are some terms that often get used in discussing dog show?

How is dog show discussed in real life?

Big dog shows like the Westminster Dog Show are often televised and have become pop culture events.


Try using dog show!

True or False?

Dog shows often separate dogs by breeds or categories like “working” or “herding.”

How to use dog show in a sentence