Dog shows are a fantastic way to meet Corgis and Corgi owners. If you are considering showing, going to one of the many shows across the country will be a good first step.
As someone new to showing there is no lack of help available from the many experienced and successful people who have been showing Corgis for many years. Never be worried about approaching them to ask for advice. (But, maybe not as they are about to enter the ring). If you go to a breed club show it is guaranteed that you will have many people saying hello and offering help.
Once you have made the decision you would like to show your Corgi, find your local Ring Craft Class. There will most probably be one within a few miles of where you live. Here you will learn all you need to know to get started and enter a show. 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. All breeds and ages of dogs attend, from puppies to adult dogs that just need a ‘reminder’ session. It is particularly good for puppies as they get to learn how to be show dogs while in the company of (and with the distraction of) other dogs. These classes are relaxed and fun.
See the Kennel Club website to find your closest Ring Craft class.
There may not be any Corgi experts at these classes, but that is fine. You can get specialised advice from the more experienced Corgi exhibitors you will meet at the shows. If you have bought your Corgi from a show breeder they will give you great advice too.
It is daunting to take that first step into a show ring. You may have practiced repeatedly at home, but nothing can really prepare you for the thrill (or terror) of walking into that ring with everything crossed that you and your lovely corgi will be able to perform as you know you can.
But as a beginner do not worry, just enjoy the experience. People around the ring will be on your side. The best way to learn is to watch the masters at work and ask them questions, questions, questions. As you and your corgi get more experience the bug may well bite and then there is no turning back. And remember you always, always take the best dog home!
Preparing for a show
Shows can be very busy places. Obviously there will be lots of dogs. The exhibitors will be setting up, grooming their dogs, and 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 especially important, 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 then again with a dog comb.
Unlike some breeds grooming a Pembroke Corgi couldn't be simpler. Everyone has their little tricks to get the best out of their dog’s coat but in general use a dog comb, make sure white bits are white and importantly keep their nails short and hair between the pads trimmed. There is a myriad of grooming lotions and potions on sale and you will eventually find which you prefer. A pre grooming product is always good to make combing through the coat easy. However, do read the Kennel Club rules relating to grooming products in the coat when in the ring.
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.
Your dog also needs to be able to walk at a good pace on a loose lead, but not so fast it breaks into a run. Show leads are different to normal leads. Corgis are shown on a show chain with thin leather or fabric leads. Corgis soon recognise that the show lead means they will be doing show training. They know when the show lead is on that they need to get their game face on! The judge will tell you what to do, so it is imperative you watch and listen to the judge at all times. Although a chat with your fellow exhibitors is often too hard to resist.
If you are placed 1st, 2nd and sometimes 3rd the judge will write a ‘Critique’ of your dog setting out what they liked about your dog and why they awarded them their place.
If you achieve a first place in your class you will be called to participate in the Challenge where all first placed dogs compete for the Challenge Certificate (CC) or Reserve Challenge Certificate (RCC). Dogs and bitches are judged separately until the dog CC and bitch CC compete for Best of Breed.
Show and Class Types (The technical bit)
There are a variety of shows you could enter, but attending a specific Corgi breed show is probably the best place to start, even before you get your Corgi. Details of these shows can be found on this website.
Dog Shows are held at different levels and have different entry criteria, for example:
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.
If you are new to dog showing or are showing 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 success. 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.
Special Beginner Stakes classes are usually sponsored by a company. The aim is to give less experienced exhibitors and their dogs the chance to compete on a more level playing field. It is a great opportunity to be in the ring with others who are also new to showing and can offer the opportunity to experience showing in the big main arenas at Championship shows.
Below is an example of some typical breed classes.
Always check show schedules to ensure you dog is eligible for entry to a specific class in case any rules are changed.
In each class the first five are placed in order of merit. 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!
Dogs who are awarded three Challenge Certificates are able to use the title 'Champion'.
For your first ever show you need only very basic equipment:
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 will have the contact details of the organisers, if you have questions please contact them - they will be delighted to help and encourage you.
To compete in Kennel Club registered Breed Shows your corgi needs to be on the Kennel Club's Breed Register.