Conformation offers exhibitors the opportunity to see how close their dog fits the breed standard. The breed standard offers descriptive information on the dog’s outward appearance, structure and temperament. Breeders use the standard as a guideline for their breeding programs.

Showing your dog in conformation can be very exciting and rewarding, and is definitely a team effort. The effort starts even before stepping into the show ring. People who show their dogs start conformation training early as the dog must be behaved and understand what is being asked of them in the show ring. Grooming is also a very big part of the “behind the scenes” when showing in conformation. Grooming should be done routinely at home to keep a dog’s coat, teeth, and nails in optimum condition. Right before the show, the dog should be groomed to perfection as grooming plays a big role in the dog’s outward appearance.

Dogs must learn to stand stacked while a judge evaluates him/her. The German Shepherd Dog is the only breed that is stacked and evaluated in a three-point stance. The front legs should be placed parallel underneath the dog. The back inner leg should be slightly forward and the outer leg should be place slightly back. The judge will look at the dogs as a group and then individually by checking teeth and structure. The judge will also have the exhibitors move the dogs around the ring at a trot. This helps him/her see the dog’s movement as a ground-covering, flowing gait is an important aspect of the German Shepherd Dog.

There are several classes offered in conformation and the exhibitor must choose the one that will best suit his/her dog. All male classes will go first followed by female classes. Dogs initially compete within a class, and can go on to compete for higher placement.

The WGSDCA offers conformation dog shows using qualified judges, awarding championship points and titles to dogs that characterize the essence of the breed standard. For more information on WGSDCA shows or other opportunities to show your dog, see the Shows section of the web site. The WGSDCA also offers Altered Dog classes where white German Shepherd Dogs that are spayed or neutered can compete to earn a championship as well as Stock Dog classes for colored, white-factored dogs.

Conformation Venues