A Guide to Attending Your First Dog Show

your first dog show

Attending your first dog show can be an exciting and eye-opening experience. Whether you’re a dog enthusiast curious about the world of canine competitions or considering entering your own dog in a future event, this guide will help you navigate your first dog show with confidence. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your visit.

What to Expect at a Dog Show

Dog shows are exciting events that showcase a variety of breeds and highlight the temperament and athleticism of each dog. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find at a typical dog show:

  • Breed Competitions: Dogs are judged based on breed standards, and winners may move on to higher levels of competition.
  • Obedience Trials and Dock Diving Competitions: These events test a dog’s training, responsiveness, and athleticism.
  • Vendor Booths: You’ll find booths selling dog-related products, from toys and grooming supplies to dog-themed art and apparel.
  • Demonstrations and Exhibitions: Some shows feature special events, like agility demonstrations or police dog exhibitions.

Tips for Attending Your First Dog Show

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, consider these tips before attending your first dog show:

  1. Research the Event
    Before you go, research the dog show online to understand its schedule, location, and entry fees. Check if there’s a website or social media page that provides additional information, such as a list of events, maps, and exhibitor information. Start your research at infodog.com.
  2. Dress Comfortably
    Dog shows often require a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers to accommodate indoor and outdoor areas. Some shows take place in large convention centers, while others are held in outdoor venues, so be prepared for different environments.
  3. Bring a Camera and Notebook
    Dog shows offer plenty of photo opportunities, so bring a camera or smartphone to capture memorable moments. You may also want to bring a notebook to jot down names of breeds, exhibitors, or vendors you’re interested in.
  4. Respect the Rules
    Respect the event’s rules and guidelines. This includes not touching or distracting dogs without permission, keeping noise to a minimum, and respecting designated spectator areas. Remember, the dogs and handlers are there to compete, and distractions can affect their performance.
  5. Talk to Exhibitors and Handlers
    Dog shows are excellent opportunities to learn more about different breeds and meet experienced handlers. Don’t be shy about asking questions or striking up conversations. However, be mindful of timing—avoid approaching exhibitors when they’re about to enter the ring or are focused on preparing their dogs.
  6. Explore Vendor Booths
    Take time to explore the vendor booths and support local businesses. You might find unique products for your dog or pick up some dog show memorabilia. This is also a great chance to discover new grooming products, training aids, or specialty foods.
  7. Enjoy the Variety
    Dog shows offer a diverse range of events, from breed judging to obedience, fast CAT and dock diving competitions. Take the time to watch different events and appreciate the skills and beauty of various breeds. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the dog world and perhaps even discover a breed you’d like to explore further.
  8. Be Patient and Stay Flexible
    Dog shows can be bustling and sometimes chaotic. Be patient and prepared for potential delays. Bring snacks and water, and plan your day to accommodate breaks and downtime.


Attending your first dog show is an exciting experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the world of dogs and connect with fellow dog enthusiasts. By following these tips and maintaining an open mind, you’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable time at your first dog show. Happy exploring!

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