The Vizsla Newzsletter (Apr/ May 1998)
Breed Showing in New Zealand

By Jenny Peacocke
(c) Copyright 1998

Photo: Flame and Jenny at Tokoroa

Flame - Ch Barat Amber Flame Breed showing in New Zealand is basically an amateur 'sport'. Unlike many other countries, professional handling is a rarity and most owners handle their own dogs. Costs are also still in the range that most people can afford with entries to championship level shows being in the $9 per dog per show range at the time of writing this article (August 1998).

We have seven groups of dogs in the New Zealand showing area. They are:

  1. Toys
  2. Terriers
  3. Gundogs
  4. Hounds
  5. Working
  6. Non Sporting
  7. Utility

Within each group are the individual breeds and then each breed is divided into different classes. The most usual of these classes are listed below alongside their class numbers:

    1 (1a) Baby Puppy Dog (Baby Puppy Bitch) - Aged from 4 months to 6 months. This age class is unable to awarded a Challenge Certificate.

    3 (3a) Puppy Dog (Puppy Bitch) - Aged from 6 months to 1 year.

    5 (5a) Junior Dog (Junior Bitch) - Aged from 1 year to 2 years

    6 (6a) Intermediate Dog (Intermediate Bitch) - Aged from 2 years to 3 years

    8 (8a) NZ Bred Dog (NZ Bred Bitch) - Any age bit MUST be born in New Zealand

    11 (11a) Open Dog (Open Bitch) - Normally 3 years upwards but can accept entries from any age

You will notice some class numbers are missing, other classes are occasionally offered such as Minor Dog (bitch) and Stud Dog (Brood Bitch) but these are so uncommon that they are not worth listing.


At present there are two recognised achievements in conformation showing - Champion and Grand Champion.

To become a Champion a dog must be awarded 8 Challenge Certificates from at least 5 different judges. At least one of these Challenge Certificates must have been awarded after the dog is out of puppy class. Challenge Certificates can be awarded to the Best Bitch and the Best Dog of each breed at a Championship level show PROVIDED that the judge also thinks that the dog or bitch is of Championship quality. Challenge Certificates can often be withheld because the judge thinks that, while it may be the best dog or bitch, it is still not of championship quality on the day.

To become a Grand Champion a dog must win at least 50 Challenge Certificates and win THREE Best in Shows at ALL BREED Championship shows under three DIFFERENT In Show judges.

Breed Judging

Order of judging for the breeds is within the control of the individual club running the show so (for pre-entered shows) a reporting schedule is sent to all entrants about a week before the show letting them know this information. Within each individual breed, classes are always judged in the same order. Assuming the classes in the list above (if any extras are judged they are added in their numerical order - e.g. class 2 would be between 1 & 3, 2a between 1a & 3a), judging is always carried out as follows:

First dogs (males) are judged.

    1 Baby Puppy Dog
    3 Puppy Dog
    5 Junior Dog
    6 Intermediate Dog
    8 NZ Bred Dog
    11 Open Dog
Winner of each class then compete for Best Dog and (in a championship show) Challenge Certificate. The best dog is then replaced by the reserve dog from the class it came from and the lineup is judged again for Reserve Dog.

Then bitches are judged:

    1a Baby Puppy Bitch
    3a Puppy Bitch
    5a Junior Bitch
    6a Intermediate Bitch
    8a NZ Bred Bitch
    11a Open Bitch
Winner of each class then compete for Best Bitch and (in a championship show) Challenge Certificate. The best bitch is then replaced by the reserve bitch from the class it came from and the lineup is judged again for Reserve Bitch.

Next the Best Dog and the Best Bitch compete for Best of Breed. Whichever one wins is then replaced by the reserve of that sex to compete for Reserve of Breed. Then the dog & bitch winners of each class compete for best of each class (e.g. Best Baby Puppy Dog against Best Baby Puppy Bitch for Best Baby Puppy of Breed).

The two exceptions to this are the classes that the Best of Breed and Reserve of Breed are from. Best of Breed (BOB) automatically wins it's class (e.g. if BOB was an Open Dog then it is, by default, Open of Breed). Reserve of breed also automatically wins its class UNLESS it is from the same class at the Best of Breed.

Group Judging

After all the breeds in a group have been judged, group judging is carried out. All Best of Breed winners for the group are taken back into the ring in the order that they were judged at that show. From this lineup the judge picks their Best of Group. When Best of Group has been awarded the Reserve Dog of the winning breed is brought into the ring and the judge picks their Reserve of Group.

The Best of Group (BOG) also automatically wins it's class of group (for example if the BOG was from the open class it also automatically wins Open of Group). The Reserve of Group (ROG) also automatically wins its class of group UNLESS the Reserve is from the same class as the Best of Group.

Next the rest of the classes are decided excluding the ones that the BOG and ROG have already automatically won. So all the Baby Puppies of Breed will be taken into the ring for the judge to select their Baby Puppy of Group, etc. through all the classes.

"In Show" Judging

Best in show (BIS) is selected by bringing the seven Best of Group winners into the ring. The judge will make their selection for Best in Show from this lineup. After awarding Best in Show, the Reserve of Group from whichever group the BIS was from is brought into the ring with the remaining six dogs. This lineup is then used for the judge to pick their Reserve in Show.

As with Breed and Group, the Best in Show also automatically wins the Class in show (e.g. if the dog is open class and wins Best in Show it also wins Open in Show). The Reserve in Show also automatically wins it's class in show UNLESS it is from the same class as the Best in Show winner.

Then the In Show classes are judged by bringing in the winners from the groups - e.g. Baby Puppy In Show is selected from the winning Baby Puppy from each of the seven groups.

Show types

There are three official levels of breed shows:
  • Championship shows. - These shows are the only ones where a dog may be awarded a challenge certificate. Both dog and handler must be a member of the NZKC controlling body. (The NZKC does allow dogs and handlers of some affiliated overseas Kennel organisations to show for a few shows in New Zealand before registering with the NZKC).

    Championship shows must be pre-entered and are always advertised in the NZKC Gazette. Prizes and ribbons are given for group levels and above (some shows also have these at breed level but this is unusual) These shows often have sponsorship.

  • Open Shows. - These are very similar to Championship shows except that Challenge Certificates cannot be awarded. For this reason they are usually smaller and cheaper to enter. They are pre-entered, handlers and dogs must be members of NZKC and, as with championship shows, ribbons and prizes are offered from Group level.

  • Ribbon Parades - This is the learning ground for us all - from judges and other officials such as stewards, through to the handlers and the dogs! While dogs are shown in the same way as the more official shows, these are not pre-entered (just show up on the day) and there is no requirement for either dog or handler to be a NZKC member. These are usually much less formal than the other shows. No prizes may be offered at a ribbon parade but (as shown by the events names) ribbons are offered for placements down to breed and class level. Dogs that have attained their championship are no longer eligible to enter Ribbon Parades.

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