How to Handle a Bulldog for Conformation

Judges appreciate relaxed dogs during an examination.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Showing your bulldog in a conformation class compares to a model walking the catwalk. Everything, from the dog's coat condition to even your shoes, affects the overall impression given to the judge. Making a professional impact helps to get the win almost as much as the dog's conformation to the breed standard. Walk into the ring prepared to improve your chances of making your bulldog a champion.

Step 1

Learn the standards for a bulldog set by the breed club. The dog must be registered, according to the American Kennel Club. Compare your dog to the standard, and look for any disqualifications, such as a brown or liver-colored nose. Contact breeders or the breed club to find others willing to help evaluate your dog. Show only a bulldog with competitive potential for the ring.

Step 2

Put a collar and leash on the dog, and train it to stand and hold its position correctly. The correct stand, or stack, for a bulldog requires placing the front legs apart, feet facing forward and straight below the shoulder with the hind legs slightly behind, according to the Bulldog Club of New Jersey. Consider purchasing or buying show dog stacking trays to make training easier.

Step 3

Practice the examination part of the judging competition by getting people to touch the dog during stacking, including opening and looking in the mouth and feeling testicles on male dogs. Put the dog on a table or ramp during examination since judges commonly use them for bulldogs.

Step 4

Work with leading your dog around a ring or circular area to learn how fast you need to get a proper gait from your bulldog. Train your dog to move easily, stop when you do and move forward quickly with you. Attend some dog shows to become familiar with your breed's movement and show activities.

Step 5

Contact local dog clubs to find a handler class to practice working your dog in a ring with other dogs. Ask local clubs and breeders about area matches for experience prior to official conformation competition.

Step 6

Purchase clothing suitable for showing a bulldog in the ring. Select professional clothing that complements and does not conflict with your dog's coat color. Avoid white clothing with a predominately white bulldog. The length and fit of a dress permits you to bend over to stack or work with a short bulldog in the ring.

Step 7

Contact your veterinarian for proof of rabies vaccination. Take the dog to the veterinarian to obtain current vaccinations, if necessary.

Step 8

Contact the breed club or national club, such as the American Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club, to locate dog shows, rules for the dog show and the application process. Enter your bulldog in a dog show.

Step 9

Prepare a checklist for the dog show, including items such as dog food, treats, medications, your show clothing and shoes, crate, grooming supplies and shot records.


  • The bulldog's short nose increases issues with overheating, so take a cooling mat, fan and plenty of water for outside events or facilities without air conditioning during hot weather.

  • Aggression toward a judge may result in a ban from showing.


  • Give the dog treats and praise to create a positive experience and to avoid any aggression or resistance during the examination.

  • Clean and groom your dog before showing.

Items You Will Need

  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Professional clothing