The American Kennel Club (AKC), an
independent organization devoted to the advancement of purebred dogs,
provides rules and regulations for individual breed eligibility and
As part of this process, breed clubs, via
committee, maintain and submit a written definition of "breed
type" -- a detailed description of a breed's general and technical
attributes based somewhat on it's original historical purpose --
to the AKC. This written definition of breed type is called a
"standard." As such, a
breed's written standard, represents an ideal for producing and
evaluating breeding stock.
It is sometimes said that this ideal can
never be achieved -- only approximated. To that end, the standard
presents the ultimate pattern for which breeders strive and to which
Naturally, in a less formal sense,
breeders are always the first judge of their breeding and how well a
whelp conforms to the standard of breed type.
In a more formal sense, conformation is
an adjudicated competition that takes place at a dog show. The challenge
to the judge, whether it be a "point show" or a "fun
match" is to determine the entry that best conforms to the
standard. The judge must set about this sometimes difficult task based
on his or her knowledge of the standard, experience as a judge and with
the breed, and the presentation of the dog on that day.
At a point show, purebred dogs of at
least six months of age are presented by a handler or exibitor to a
judge, according to a protocol set down by the AKC. The judge awards
points -- from one to five, based on the number of dogs entered in
each sex -- towards an AKC title of "Champion." To receive
this title, a dog must earn 15 points, awarded by no less than three
For more information about the rules and
regulations of AKC dog shows, please refer to their website at http://www.akc.org.
To read the official American Kennel
Club Standard of the Breed, please see our related
For more information about the concept
of conformation and dog shows, please refer to the following
The Complete Collie
by the Collie Club of America
Howell Book House, Inc.
New York, New York
Alpine Publications, Inc.