Conformation Show Tips for Tibetan Spaniels

Anxious dog moms wait for an announcement of show results.
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Tibetan spaniels were originally used as a first responder security system. Tibetan spaniels would alert the monks of a Montessori, and much larger mastiff dogs, of an unexpected intruder. The Tibetan spaniel breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1983, and breed standards for conformation shows were set at that time. Find out just what is takes to be a conformation dog show winner.

Origin of Dog Show Standards

The largest conformation dog show in the world, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, is the paradigm for all other canine competitions. The show began in 1876 as a way to delineate species and preserve genealogy. Conformation shows bring out the top dogs, but leading up to the title championship of "Best in Show", canine entrants can win trophies in Best in Group, Best of Breed/Variety and Best of Opposite Sex in each category. Westminster Kennel Club also offers an Award of Merit. The number of these awards is based on how many entries are in the breed or variety of breed groups. To establish conformability, dog breeds are separated into the hound, sporting, nonsporting, terrier, working, herding and toy groups. The Tibetan spaniel, a relatively new dog to the American Kennel Club registry, is a member of the nonsporting group.

What Are Canine Conformation Shows?

By contacting the AKC, you can acquire a specific show schedule, for specified areas and breeds. Like all dogs in conformation shows, Tibbies must meet a set of ideals called the breed standard. The Tibetan spaniel breed parent club dictates the breed's ideal standards. Breed standard is a term used in conformation shows to regulate trait descriptions and movement characteristics of each entrant. Every AKC registered breed has its own set of standards. Originally, dog shows were intended to evaluate breeding dogs, ensuring only the purest, with the strongest genes, would propagate. Conformation dog shows vary in size ranging from large shows, with hundreds of entrants, to small breed club events, with less entrants of only one particular breed. The closest dog to the breed standard for the day is awarded with placements, points and wins.

Does my Dog Have What it Takes?

Show Tibbies have to be about 10 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 9 and 15 pounds. Only pure-blooded AKC registered dogs may enter a conformation show. Tibbie breed standards dictate they must be active and alert, so be sure your dog is well rested. Your Tibbie's head must be small in proportion to his body, and held high when he struts. Your Tibbie has to be strong in stature, but not disproportionately built. Judges prefer your Tibbie have an underbite, but his teeth can't show when his mouth is closed. His neck and topline should be level. Teach your Tibbie to walk with a gate where his feet fall in line between his shoulders. Dewclaw removal is the only surgical alteration allowed for your show Tibbie. Prior to entering your Tibbie in a conformation show, visit a dog show at least once. This way you know what the judges are looking for.

More Tips For Showing Your Tibbie

Any AKC registered color of Tibetan spaniel can qualify for shows. The Tibbie has a double coat that is silky, with a smooth face and front legs.The Tibbie's coat is of moderate length on the body, but combed flat. The back of the forelegs and ear edges are feathered. The hair on the Tibbie's rear end and butt area is roughly an inch longer than the body. Males Tibbies should have a fuller coat and mane than females. Frequent brushing improves coat shine. No teasing, parting or creative stylizing is allowed at conformation shows. When showing your Tibbie, walk him with a swift gait making him appear comfortable, confident and sure-footed. A Tibetan spaniel should be leery of strangers, but not nervous. Disqualifying features include, a unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid, aggressiveness or extreme shyness and albinism.