Interested in showing your Beagle?
Dog conformation showing is a competitive hobby in which pedigree dogs are assessed against an official Kennel Club 'Breed Standard' for that particular breed of dog. A breed standard sets out specifically what is expected from each breed in terms of physical characteristics and temperament.
Dogs were historically bred in a range of sizes and with varying temperaments to perform a variety of functions - from small, fast terrier type dogs that could flush vermin from undergrowth, to large, powerful and loyal working dogs that would stand guard to deter thieves and poachers. It is this selective breeding that ensured the dog's form was fit to function, and has resulted in the diverse range of the 200+ pedigree dogs that we know and love today.
If your Beagle is Kennel Club registered (on the breed register) and you believe them to be a good example of the breed, as described by the breed standard, then you may wish to show your hound in the ring.
The best place to start is with this guide produced by the Kennel Club, which provides a wealth of information to newcomers.
You should then attend a local ringcraft class. This is where you will learn how to present your Beagle to the judge for physical examination on a table, and you will need to learn how to 'move' your dog at the correct pace so that the exhibit can demonstrate the reach and drive required of the breed.
Ringcraft classes often have numerous show 'schedules' available for upcoming local shows. A schedule is a booklet which details when and where a show is held, and what classes are available for each breed, along with the show regulations and an entry form. The classes you are eligible to enter will depend on the age and previous achievements of your hound.
You can find a local ringcraft class using the Kennel Club's "Find a Club" function. If you are having trouble locating a local class in the Four Counties area please Contact us and we will let you know of any unlisted classes.
In order to compete at a show, your dog must be in sound health, KC registered and at least 6 months of age. You will need to submit an entry form before the closing date as detailed on the show schedule.
It is a good idea to attend a conformation show before competing, so that you can see how things work. You should also take the opportunity to chat to exhibitors at the ring side who will be more than happy to help - we were all newcomers once!
Details of forthcoming Four Counties Beagle Club shows can be found here - please feel free to come along and see what it is all about!