How Dogs are Judged

Males and females compete separately within their respective breeds, in six regular classes. During the competition a Judge will traditionally begin by asking the class to gate around the ring to watch the movement of the entries and get an overall comparison of the entries. Then each dog will be placed on the table where the judge can see and feel the structure, coat and bite of each dog. Following the table a judge will watch the dog as it gates away from the judge and returns towards the judge again watching reach, gate, top-line or length and levelness of the dog’s back, carriage of the head and attitude. Some judges have the dogs face each other to judge attitude and feistiness of the dog. This is called sparring.

The following classes are offered, and are divided by sex:

Puppy: dogs between six and twelve months of age, which are not yet champions.

Twelve-to-Eighteen Months: dogs twelve to eighteen months of age, that are not yet champions.

Novice: dogs that have never won a blue ribbon in any other other classes, or have won fewer than three first place ribbons in the Novice class.

Bred by Exhibitor: the dog is not yet a champion, and the exhibitor is the breeder and the owner.

American-Bred: a dog whose parents were mated in America, and the dog was born in America. The dog is not yet a champion.

Open: any dog of the breed, at least six months of age.

After these classes are judged, all the dogs that won first place (blue ribbon) in a class, Class winners, re-enter and compete again to see who is the best of the Class Winners. Males and females are judged separately. Only the best male (Winners Dog) and the best female (Winners Bitch) receive championship points. The Winners Dog and Winners Bitch then re-enter and compete with dogs that have attained their championship and compete for the Best of Breed award. The following awards are given during this portion of the competition:

Best of Breed: the dog (male or female) judged as the best in its breed category.

Best of Winners: the dog judged as the better of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Best of Opposite Sex: the best dog that is the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner.

At Specialty shows there is usually a Sweepstakes competition prior to the above judging. In this competition only puppies from the ages of six to eighteen months compete. No professional handlers are allowed to show in the Sweeps competition, unless they are owners or co-owners of the dog. The same procedure as above is followed. The Class Winners return to the ring to compete for Best of Sweeps and Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Sweeps.

Additional classes:

Veterans: female and male dogs of seven years or older, are offered. Winners of each will compete with the Best of Breed competition.

Brood Bitch and Stud Dog: are also offered. The mother and at least two of her offspring (called progeny) are shown together to determine consistency and quality in the breeding. The same occurs with the males, the fathers and their progeny compete as well. The judging is based on the quality of the progeny and not the parent. The winners of these classes do not compete for Best of Breed. But for the winners it is a prestigious award the displays the breeder’s selective breeding process.

We want to hear from you!

Our leadership is all volunteer and usually have full-time jobs as well as taking care of their family and Westies, so be patient, we will get back to you!

If you're interested in learning more about the West Highland White Terrier Club of Greater Atlanta, joining or working on a committee, here are the folks that can help. Just click on their names to contact them.

President: Don Mallik

Vice President: Donna Cannon

Treasurer: Brenda Hemphill

Secretary: Fran Stephenson

West Highland White Terrier Club of Greater Atlanta, Inc.

Post Office Box 844
Roswell, GA 30077-0844

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