What happens at a show?

Basenji outlineChampions and non champions compete together in the classes. A dog once titled still continues to compete from the same classes against other champion and/or non champion dogs.

Open Dog Class at Basenji Specialty 2009
Photo:P.Heaton
Open Dog Class at a Basenji Specialty Show


To start with dogs compete against dogs of the same breed,  age, and sex. The winners of all the different age groups (still against the same sex) compete against each other for the Challenge Certificate.
These Challenge Certificates are awarded to the Best Dog and the Best Bitch provided that the judge considers them to be of such outstanding quality as to be worthy of the Champion title.
Reserve Challenges are then awarded to the 2nd best dog and bitch. ie: (Best Dog-2 or Best Bitch-2).

Bitch class at Basenji Specialty Show
Photo:P.Heaton
Bitch Class at Basenji Specialty Show

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  • Best Of Breed and Runner Up!

    The dog and bitch Challenge winners then compete against each other for BEST OF BREED (BOB). The Reserve CC winner of the same sex as the BOB winner then re-enters the ring to compete against the opposite sex Challenge winner for Runner Up Best Of Breed.
    This is followed by the respective “run-offs ” between the class winners in dogs and bitches for Best Baby Puppy of Breed, Best Puppy of Breed etc.

  • Group specials!

    Once all the breeds are judged in the Group then the Group Specials commence. Best of Breed winners compete for Best Exhibit in Group (the equivalent of Group 1st)and the Runner Up to Best of Breed winner to that dog then enters the ring to compete for Runner Up to Best in Group (an equivalent of Group 2nd). These are the only Group placements - there is no 3rd or 4th Group placements. These awards are then followed by Best Baby Puppy in Group, Best Minor Puppy in Group etc.
    A certificate is awarded for Best in Group indicating the points won for that particular show (usually 25 points as long as there are at least 20 adult dogs in the group).

  • Best Exhibit In Show!

    The 7 Best In Group winners compete against each other for Best in Show (BIS);the Runner Up In Group winners standing by in case the BIG winner from their group wins Best In Show, in which case they would then re-enter the ring to also compete for Runner Up In Show.

Gr Ch Afrikenji Hot Sumaknight being examined by the judge
The judge is examining the tabled dog

  • How does the judge make their decision?

    Each breed has a written Breed Standard which is basically a word picture of the ideal dog of each breed. The judge assesses each dog against this standard and selects the dog or bitch which he/she feels most closely matches the breed standard.

    Your dog must be trained to allow a stranger (the judge) to come up and run their hands all over him/her and to allow the judge to open their mouth in order to check it has the correct bite required for the breed.

Gr Ch Afrikenji Hot Sumaknight
Basenji gaiting around the show-ring

  • What is gaiting?

    Your dog needs to be trained to move around the ring (gait or trot) at its most ideal speed so that the judge can view its movement. The way a dog moves is a good indicator of the dogs structure and condition.

  • How do you stack a dog?

    The dogs are then stacked. This means that we stand the dogs in a position that allows the judge to examine the dogs appearance to make a comparison against the Breed Standard & each of the other dogs competing. This usually involves slightly lifting the front feet off the ground with one hand under the chin and and the other hand under the chest then simply dropping the front legs into place under the front, while the rear legs are extended until the hocks are perpendicular to the ground.

Afrikenji Indigo Ice
Photo: M.Fox
One of our Baby Puppies in a show stack

Do your best to present your dog to its best advantage and then leave it up to the judge to make his decisions. Always remember to display good sportsmanship whether you win, lose or draw and most of all enjoy the day out with your best friend!


Written by Helen Veless - © Afrikenji Basenjis - Victoria, Australia