Many people express an interest in showing their Kennel Club registered Italian Greyhound/s but never get to try it because they do not know where to start. Even locating Kennel Club dog shows can be difficult for a complete beginner, let alone knowing which classes to enter. If you would like to show your Italian Greyhound, the following articles will help you understand what you need to do and what to expect.
Preparing to exhibit at dog shows
1. Find your local Ring Craft group
Before you show your Italian Greyhound, it’s strongly advisable to find local ring craft sessions so you can learn the ropes and have a few practice runs before entering any classes. Many canine societies and some seasoned exhibitors run inexpensive weekly sessions where people and dogs can practice their ring craft. They are usually held in a village or town hall and are set up to emulate a show ring. There are usually green or blue runners laid out in a triangle, and a table for small dogs (“table dogs”) to practice on. Italian Greyhounds are table dogs, and at ring craft sessions you can learn how to safely stand your Iggy on the table and present them to the judge.
Attending a local ring craft session will enable you to have a go at showing with your Iggy, without the pressures of being at a dog show. Your Iggy will need to be confident being placed on a table and being approached and handled by a stranger before you enter a dog show. You will also meet other exhibitors (of lots of different breeds) and learn what you need equipment-wise before attending your first show.
2. Attend a dog show as a spectator
It’s a good idea to attend a dog show or two as a spectator before taking the plunge and entering your Iggy into classes. As a beginner, dog shows can be overwhelming and it will be much less stressful to attend for the first time without the pressure of finding your way around under a time limit of your classes starting.
You can find shows local to you on the two main websites for entering dogs shows:
Fosse Data: filter shows to those exhibiting Italian Greyhounds and use your postcode to narrow results down to those closest to you
Higham Press: filter shows by the “Toy” option. Higham Press doesn’t offer the option to filter by specific breed, so check that any show near to you is an “all breed” show, or a “toy group” show with a category for Italian Greyhounds.
Have A Dog Day: this website caters for breed club shows, so this is where you will find the schedule for any upcoming Italian Greyhound Club shows. Find out when the upcoming IG Club shows are on the Club website here, then head to Have A Dog Day to download the schedule.
Most canine societies charge a nominal fee for dogs to attend “not for competition”, so you can bring your Italian Greyhound with you, and they can experience the atmosphere of the show ground, too. The Kennel Club have an age limit on puppies attending shows, even “not for competition”. You cannot attend with a puppy younger than 4 months old and you cannot exhibit a puppy younger than 6 months old.
You can find the schedule for each show on all of these websites and see the classes and running order of the day.
3. Register your Italian Greyhound/s for showing
You will need to register your Italian Greyhound/s with Fosse Data, Higham Press, and Have A Dog Day, so that you are all set to enter classes at KC dog shows. Registration is free and easy to complete. Your Iggy needs to be KC registered, with a KC registration number in order to register with these websites and exhibit at KC dog shows. You will then be all set to enter your first show.
4. Get your show equipment together
Showing Italian Greyhounds is very easy compared to hairier breeds of dogs, but you will need some equipment to take with you on the day:
- A show set (showing collar and lead). This is a special collar and lead set specifically for showing. There are several types available for an Italian Greyhound-sized dog, including various styles of martingale, half-checks with fine chain or nylon, and an option to have a “kindness collar”, also known as a “comfort collar”, which has a wider base beneath the dog’s chin. You can learn more about the options available at your ring craft sessions.
- A number clip, for displaying your exhibitor number
- A treat pouch (also called a bait pouch).
- Wet wipes, water and bowl, and appropriate coats for your Iggy.
- A crate or stroller for your Iggy to rest in.
- A camping chair is a good idea, as sometimes show days are long!
- A packed lunch is a good idea! Not all shows have catering facilities, and those that do can be pricey.
5. Select and enter your first show
Your local ring craft group will help you decide on a good first show for you and your Iggy. You may with to show your Italian Greyhound in just one class for your first time; you might prefer to enter two, so you and your Iggy can go back into the ring with the benefit of the experience of the first class. For puppies, one class is probably enough to begin with. Discuss with your ring craft leader what might be better for you and your Iggy.
Dog Show Classes
It can be confusing knowing what classes to enter. Classes run according to age, then according to awards won. The Kennel Club has a multi-level system of classes which dogs progress through as they win prizes. On each show schedule the KC definition of classes is displayed. By far, the most common classes you will see are.
- Puppy: aged 6-12 months
- Junior: aged 12-18 months
- Yearling: aged 12-24 months
- Post Graduate: this is a class, most often seen at Open, Premier, and Championship Shows, for entry level adult dogs.
- Limit: for dogs who have not won Champion status but have won too many first prizes to continue in Post Graduate classes.
- Open: for all dogs of the breed for which the class is provided and eligible for entry at the Show.
- Veteran: for dogs of not less than seven years of age.
- Special Beginners: for handlers, dogs and owners who have never been awarded a Challenge Certificate or Reserve Challenge Certificate.
- AVNSC Toy: Any Variety Not Separately Classified in the Toy Group. When entries are expected to be very low for particular breeds, they will be put together into the AVNSC class. This is the class to enter if there is no category for Italian Greyhounds. The classes run exactly as they would in the main breed category, you will just have some other uncommon breeds in the ring competing with you.
- AV Toy: Any Variety in the Toy Group. This is a group of classes you can enter in addition to the Italian Greyhound or AVNSC classes. You might choose to do the IG/AVNSC Post Graduate class, then the AV Toy Post Graduate class as another opportunity to exhibit on the day.
In addition to the main breed classes, you will find Stakes Classes and Handling Classes, which run throughout the day alongside the breed judging. Once entered, you are counting down the days until your first dog show!