Why Show? Why do you want to show pugs? You may own a pug that you feel is very pretty, and they would like to see how it does in competition. For pug breeders, the show ring is a show case for their stock and a guide line for their breeding programme. For others, the show ring is a competitive sport. Others simply enjoy the buzz of showing and enjoy meeting other pug people. For most of us, showing pugs is all of these things.
The first step for anyone intending to show a pug is to read and understand the FCI Breed Standard. Judges are looking for a pug that fits the breed standard.
Visit A Show It is a good idea to visit an IKC Dog Show as a spectator before you start to train yourself and your pug. Watch what the exhibitors do in the ring. See the quality of the pugs that are currently been shown. Talk to exhibitors. Many will give you advice.
Show Training Show dogs (and their handlers) need to receive some basic training before they attend their first show. Before you start, you will need a show lead. Show leads come in many shapes and sizes depending on the breed. A basic nylon martingale style lead is useful for pugs. Some owners progress to quality leather or even beaded leads at a later stage, but for a pug (and handler) in training, keep things simple. A show pug needs to be trained to do the following: · Accept the noise and bustle at a busy show. Remain calm around other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Accept being handled on a judging table by a stranger (ie - the judge) Accept a judge examining his teeth. Walk calmly on a loose lead, on your left hand side. Stand squarely when asked to, sometimes for quite long periods. Stand squarely on a judging table.
Ideally, a local club will be running show training classes near you. Such classes are invaluable when show training a young pug, however, there may not be such a class in your area. If you have friends that are also at the training stage, you can get together. Failing that, you can train your dog at home, but do make sure that you invite lots of family and friends to ‘go over’ your pug on the table, and do make sure that you take him/her to lots of busy places.
In The Ring The typical routine in the ring at a show is as follows. The dogs always walk anticlockwise around the ring, hence the requirement to walk your pug on your left hand side. When your class is called all the exhibitors enter the ring and line up, in numeric order, where directed by the steward. If you have been watching the previous classes, you will know where to stand. Most judges will ask the exhibits to move once around the ring together. The judge will then start to examine each pug individually.
Each pug is examined first ‘on the table’. As the pug ahead of you is being examined ‘on the floor’, get your pug into a show stance on the table. When the judge turns around to start examining your dog, he/she should be presented with a pug standing square and ready to be examined. The judge will ‘go over’ your pug, checking all aspects of its anatomy. Many judges will examine the teeth, but other experienced pug judges will merely check the chin line. Be warned, most pugs dislike having their teeth examined. (This is where your training comes to the fore!) The judge may ask you questions, usually about the age of the pug. Answer questions politely, but do not otherwise chat to the judge. Let them concentrate.
The judge will then wish to examine the pug ‘on the floor’ to see its movement. Most judges ask for a ‘triangle and up and down’, so that they can easily see the movement both coming, going and sideways on. Hopefully you will have been practicing this move at home and at your classes. At the end of your up and down, stand your pug so that the judge gets another look at your pug at its best. At this point, most judges will thank you, and then you move to the end of the line, while the judge moves on to the next pug. At a Championship show, the steward will hand you a grading card at this point. When the judge has examined all the pugs, he/she will walk down the line to make the final decision. Make sure your pug is standing square. The judge will then place the pugs and hand out prize cards. Win or lose, always be gracious.
Open Shows and Championship Shows At Championship shows, dogs compete for Green Stars. For most breeds, there will be two Green Stars on offer – one for the best dog and one for the best bitch. Dogs that have been awarded seven Green Stars earn the title Champion. All Breed Championship shows are large events with lots of dogs, lots of people, and lots happening. A first outing at an All Breed Championship Show can be quite a daunting experience.
At Open Shows, there are no Green Stars on offer, and often the competition is less pressurized. Open shows are often chosen as a first outing for a young dog, or a new handler, as the atmosphere is usually more relaxed.
The Irish Pug Dog Club runs an annual Breed Championship Show. This is a good event for both experienced and novice exhibitors. Competition is usually strong, with all the top pugs in attendance. However, the event is also very much a Club event and all members (and non-members) and their pugs are welcome. There are special novelty classes, including Fancy Dress, and the general atmosphere is friendly.
Entering A Show The IKC website lists all the shows for the year. The list is also published in a small booklet for easy reference. Once you have selected a show, you need to get a schedule. Schedules are free. The show secretary will post one out to you. Many shows have an online entry facility, and the schedule can be viewed on line. (See Links page.) Make sure that you enter the show before the closing date. Choose your class carefully. The schedule will explain which dogs are eligible for each class – the divisions are mainly age related, unless your dog is a Champion. Many shows also have an option to pay for parking and catalogue at this stage, for a slightly cheaper rate than applies on the day.
Ring numbers for Championship shows are posted out and should arrive a few days before the show, together with parking and catalogue vouchers if bought in advance. At most Open shows, the ring numbers are collected at the show.
Immediate Preparation Pugs require relatively little immediate preparation for a show. (Spare a thought for those with long-coated breeds!) Your pug will need a good bath before the show. Many people like to bathe their pug two or three days before the show, to allow the natural oils to return. However, if necessary, the pug can be washed the night before. Don’t forget to clean ears, nose wrinkle, and face, and trim long nails.
On the morning of the show, give your pug a quick brush and tidy up. Don’t forget to pack a show lead, some dog poop bags, your ring numbers and a pin or holder, some tit-bits for the show ring, and drinking water for your pug. Many people also bring a show crate and cover to give their pug somewhere quiet to rest. You may wish to bring a packed lunch for yourself. Some venues have dining facilities, but not all. Finally, dress smartly. Scruffy clothes show a lack of respect for the judge. Serious handlers dress very smartly indeed, but a neat and tidy outfit will be fine.
At The Show On arrival, find your ring. If you have a show crate, find a place to put it, ideally where you can watch your ring. You may wish to buy a catalogue. Take some time to get your bearings and relax. Watch the breeds ahead of you. Watch how the judge orders his ring – where he stands the exhibits, how he goes over the dogs, and how he gets them to move. Chat to some of the other pug exhibitors. Make sure that you are ready to go into the ring when your class is called. Make sure that your pug has had a chance to relieve himself outside before the class. Make sure you have your ring number on. Give your pug a quick brush down. If need be, practice your handling, and make sure that your pug is in the mood for the ring – not too excited, and not too bored.
When your class is called, enter the ring and put all your training into practice. If all goes well, you may be placed 1st. But win or lose, always remember to be gracious. If you have been placed first, you may have a chance to challenge further for a Green Star or Best of Breed (depending on grading and whether a Championship or an Open show). Check with the other exhibitors if you are in any doubt as to whether you will be called back to challenge further.
After The Show After your first show, you and your pug will be tired, but hopefully happy. If you have caught the showing bug, you will find yourself checking the calendar for your next event. Before you know it, 1st placings won’t be enough – you will want Green Stars and that elusive Champion title. Welcome to the World of Dog Showing!