Showing Corgis

By Gareth Cross

Dog showing is a fantastic opportunity to meet other Corgi owners as well as having fun with your dogs.

This page is provided as a guide for those interested in starting out in showing or who want more information. If you want to speak to use about showing please contact us via the contact form.

My wife and I started off in showing quite recently are some of the newest to the breed. We had dreamt of owning a Pembroke Corgi for years and eventually found one we liked from South Wales. Shortly after our boys 6 month birthday my wife fell ill, and one evening in Hospital she asked if we could go somewhere that there would be "loads of corgis". She suggested that there was a Corgi show hosted by the South Wales Corgi Club in a month and we should go. Not wanting to disappoint I spent the remaining weeks researching on YouTube and Google about shows and what it was all about; before this point I'd never spoken to anyone about Dog Showing and my experience extended to the odd hour of watching Crufts every year. We rocked up at the Open show, totally unprepared, and were greeted with open arms. Our story in the breed starts there.

 

The following is all the information you need to get you better prepared than I was for my first show. It really is a fantastic and rewarding hobby. I get so much more from my dogs now we have a goal to work towards.

Show and Class Types (The technical bit)

Dog Shows are held at different levels and have different entry criteria, for example:

  • Companion Shows

    • These are fun shows for any dog of any breed or background. You do not have to have a registered pedigree or 'pure' breed dog to enter fun classes at Companion Shows.

  • Limit Shows

    • These shows are held by local dog clubs and entry is limited to certain registered Pedigree breeds and members of that specific club.​

  • Open Shows

    • These shows are open to all to enter, but are limited to registered pedigree breeds​

  • Championship Shows

    • These shows are open to all to enter, but are limited to registered pedigree breeds. The difference between a Championship Show and Open show is that 'Challenge Certificates' (known as CC's) are awarded for some breeds. ​

  • Crufts​

    • Whilst Crufts is a Championship Show it has entry restrictions, so unless you've qualified at a Championship Show or a Crufts Qualifier - you can't enter (different rules apply for certain breeds or for international dogs).​

There are many hundreds of Dog Shows held up and down the UK every year, but not every show is going to have classes for the Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) breed. Some shows are breed specific, others are sub-group or group specific.

 

All breeds are collected into Groups dependant on their use and characteristics. The Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) is part of the Pastoral group. The other groups are: Toy, Hound, Terrier, Working, Utility and Gundog.

At most shows, each represented breed then has classes; this is where showing gets a little complicated for first timer and people new to the hobby. Below is an example of some typical classes you would see:

  • Minor Puppy

    • This class is open to dogs that are between 6 - 9 months of age.​

  • Puppy

    • This class is open to dogs that are between 9 - 12 months of age.​

  • Junior

    • This class is open to dogs not exceeding 18 months of age.​

  • Yearling

    • This class is open to dogs between 12 - 24 months of age.​

  • Novice

    • ​This class is open to dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or three or more First Prizes at Open or Championship Shows (excluding puppy classes).

  • Special Begginers 

    • ​For owner, handler or exhibit not having won a Challenge Certificate or Reserve Challenge Certificate

  • Graduate

    • ​This class is open to dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or four or more First Prizes at Championship Shows in Graduate, Post Graduate, Minor Limit, Mid Limit, Limit and Open classes where Challenge Certificates are on offer for that breed.

  • Post Graduate

    • ​This class is open to dogs which have not won a Challenge Certificate or five or more First Prizes at Championship Shows in Post Graduate, Minor Limit, Mid Limit, Limit and Open classes where Challenge Certificates were on offer for that breed.

  • Limit

    • ​This class is open to dogs which have not become show Champions under the Kennel Club Regulations or under the rules of any governing body recognised by the Kennel Club or won 7 or more First Prizes in all at Championship Shows in Limit or Open Classes confined to the Breed at Shows where Challenge Certificates were on offer for that breed.

  • Open

    • ​This class is open to all dogs of the breeds for which the class is provided and eligible for entry at the show.

  • Veteran 

    • This class is open to dogs of not less than seven years of age​.

NB: All age limited classes relate to the age of the dog on the first day of the show unless otherwise stated. Always check show schedules to ensure you dog is eligible for entry to a specific class in case any rules are changed.

If you are new to dog showing or are bringing a puppy you'd generally enter the lowest level class possible. For example, the Open class is open to all, however, if you entered a new dog in this class you'd be putting it up against Champion Dogs and this may hamper your sucsess. For puppies start in the minor puppy or puppy class if you are starting out with an adult dog try the Novice or Special Beginners class.

At shows awards are given for the first five places in a class. Sometimes you may be offered food as a prize, money off vouchers or merchandise. Generally, there are no big money prizes on offer; showing is about exhibiting healthy, happy dogs that conform to a specific breed standard for the good of that dog and the breed in general. It's about the love of dogs!

Prizes of offer at shows:

  • First place

  • Second Place

  • Third Place

  • Reserve

  • Very Highly Commended

  • Reserve Challenge Certificate (RCC) (Champ Show Only)

  • Challenge Certificate (CC) (Champ Show Only)

Dogs who have three Challenge Certificates under their belts are able to use the title 'Champion'. 

Preparing for a show

Shows can be very busy places, with people running around hauling their show equipment and many dogs around; as well as setting up, grooming and other exhibitors sharing the latest news or gossip with one another. The best way to enjoy a show is to be prepared. Pack what you need the night before, get an early night and travel there with plenty of time. Preparing your dog is also very important, the most important, as after all you are there for them. If you haven't in a while give your dog a good wash in the days leading up to the show, be sure before and after washing to give them a good brush with a dog comb (An example of a good comb for a double coated dog like a Corgi can be found here).

Unlike some breeds grooming a Pembroke Corgi couldn't be simpler. Everyone has their little tricks to get the best out of their dogs coat but in general I use my dog comb and thats it. To correct the odd fly away from my dogs lying down when damp or wet I have a spray bottle with water; 'spritzed' from a distance to wet the coat followed with a quick dry with a towel usually helps with the minor hair disasters.

Training

What is required of a show corgi is really simple, but training is required to get the best out of your dog. The best way to experience what is required at a show is to go along to a local Ring Craft training session. Here, experienced handlers will tutor you and your dog about what to expect at a show in the 'ring' and how a judge will inspect or 'go over' your dog. The Kennel Club keeps an up to date database of training clubs on their website. Click here to search (ensure you tick the Ringcraft Training box).

Judges 'go over' Corgis on a show table; so its best when a dog is young to have it accustomed to being picked up onto a table, stood still and have a stranger or friend stroke and touch your dog all over. You dog also needs to be comfortable with the judge looking at their teeth to check their bite (order and position of teeth) is correct. Many people have a mat that they put on their dining room tables to put their dogs on to groom and to get them accustomed to being put on a table and being handled; the younger you start this the calmer your dog will be at a show.

Your dog also needs to be able to walk at a good pace, but not so fast it breaks into a run, whilst on a loose lead. Show leads are slightly different to normal leads as in the ring your dog won't be wearing a collar. I have my Corgis trained differently on their show leads compared to their civilian attire; so much so when they see their collars they go crazy as they know they are going on an adventure (or walk). They know when the show lead is on that they need to get their game face on.

Equipment

For your first ever show you need only very basic equipment:

  • A show lead

  • A good dog comb/brush

  • Treats (called 'bait') to keep your dogs attention

  • Drinking Water for your dog

  • Something for your dog to sit on or in (like its bed, a towel or a crate).

  • Poo bags to clear up after your dog

There are different types of show leads that suit different people and dogs. Once you commit to the hobby you may find you prefer different types of leads, however, the best starting lead is a Leather/Chain Combination slip lead as they are easy to put on and off and are relatively cheap. You can find fine leather leads that have a slip chain already attached or you can buy a separate lead and chain. An example you can buy online can be found here. (The league doesn't endorse any particular equipment company or show and the link is for example only).

The Welsh Corgi League and its sections host Championship and Open shows throughout the year. Take a look at our events calendar to see where and when the nearest League shows are and come along to watch or take part. Every show has a 'schedule' which is downloadable through our calendar on there is the contact details of the organisers, if you have questions please contact them - they will be delighted to help and encourage you.

The Welsh Corgi League