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Dog Competitions and Contests

Updated on July 3, 2013

Knowing what your dog was bred for and what instinctual traits he has will help you chose the best competition to include him in. There are many competitions to enter your dog into whether he is purebred or a mixed breed dog. Investigating what contests are available in your area will help you make a decision on which ones will best suit you and your dog.


Hunting contest involve tracking, treeing, retrieving and flushing out hunted animals. Most of these competitions are timed events allowing your dog to prove his hunting capabilities. Training your dog for a hunting competitions needs to start at an early age. Basic commands and exercises will teach him what to do, when to do it and to listen for your commands during the activity.


Herding competitions are done with herd animals like cows, sheep, goats and even geese or ducks. Each dog and handler have several tasks to do, moving the herd animals from one area to another. Most herding dog breeds have the instinct to herd. Training involves command training to direct the dog which way you need him to move the herd, when to back off and when to push the herd.

Obedience and Agility

Both obedience and agility contests involve the dog following a set of commands in a ring or through a course. Obedience includes basic commands like sit, stay and down and can include tricks and advanced commands like halt, heal and stay for long periods of time. Obedience can be done both on and off the leash depending on the training level of the dog. Agility contests involve the dog running through a course of obstacles. The dog with the best time in each class wins. The training for both obedience and agility involve basic commands that work into advanced commands along with obstacle exposure and a lot of practice. Not all dogs in these competitions have to be purebred unless specified in the contest rules.


Each breed of dog has physical characteristics. Conformation contests involve dogs of the same breed competing against each other for the specific physical traits of the breed. The training for conformation contests include setting up or standing squarely and still while a judge touches them. They will also be expected to show their gate by trotting back and forth in front of the judge. If the dog wins the contest for the breed division it can then be entered into the category division and go on to win over all or best in show.

Just for Fun

Some dog contests are just for fun. For example, the ugliest, cutest or best dressed dog contest are all just for fun. Unless specified the training for these contests is minimal and the dogs are judged on how they look. Dog trick contests would be a just for fun contest that would involve you teaching your dog some tricks to win the contest.


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    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 7 years ago from Colorado

      I have only heard of Agility, this is really cool!