Showing Italian Greyhounds

An Introduction to showing Italian Greyhounds: Part 3 – Attending your first Championship Dog Show

Attending your first Championship Dog Show with your Italian Greyhound

Attending your first Championship Dog Show can be daunting, as there are some key differences between these and Open/Premier shows. You do not need to qualify for the vast majority of Championship Dog Shows, but entry fees can be pricey, so it’s something you might not want to invest in until you feel you and your dog are ready. It is a good idea to visit a Championship Dog Show to watch and see how the show is set up. Championship shows are usually held over four days, because the entries are too many to accommodate in one day. Remember to check that you go on the correct day for the Toy Group. The atmosphere is often more intense at Championship Shows, as there are more points and prizes at stake than at Open or Premier Shows.

Preparing to attend your first Championship Dog Show

You can find Championship Dog shows to enter on the same websites as Open and Premier Dog Shows.

Fosse Data: filter to show General Championship Dog Shows with classes for Italian Greyhounds and use your postcode to narrow results down to those closest to you

Higham Press: filter shows by Championship Shows and 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 an upcoming Italian Greyhound Club Championship Show (usually held in July each year). 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.

Entry fees will vary depending on the prizes available, usually starting at around £15 a class to anything up to £35 a class. Stakes and Handling classes are cheaper, as with Open and Premier Dog Shows.

Classes available to enter

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.

  • Minor Puppy: aged 6-9 months
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Special Beginners: for handlers, dogs and owners who have never been awarded a Challenge Certificate or Reserve Challenge Certificate.
  • Good Citizen Scheme: for dogs that have passed the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme Bronze, Silver, or Gold test

At Championship Shows, most classes are split between Dogs and Bitches in each breed. The Italian Greyhound Dog classes run first, followed by the Dog Challenge, then the Italian Greyhound Bitch classes run, followed by the Bitch Challenge. Finally, the winners of each sex go up against one another to determine the Best of Breed, Best Puppy in Breed, and Best Veteran in Breed. Some Championship Shows will have a Best Junior in Breed, too. Special Beginners and Good Citizen classes are sometimes split between Dog and Bitch, but often there will be one class for all Italian Greyhounds to enter, with the winner being the Best Special Beginner or Good Citizen in Breed.

Additional Extras

You have the option to purchase a catalogue or a breed download. A catalogue will contain all entry details for the day, with space to record the winners of each category. Catalogues generally cost between £6-£8.50 and you must collect them before 12 noon on the day of the show. Remember to note and book a catalogue for the day of the Toy Group.

Some shows offer a breed download as an alternative to a catalogue. These will be only for your breed category and will not include any Stakes or Handling classes you’ve entered. Breed downloads are usually about £3, and are available from 7am on the day of your show. You can find them after 7am on the web page containing your show passes or with the entry numbers and order of judging.

Don’t forget to check if you need to book parking in advance. Parking is usually £5-£10 a show and will be cheaper to buy at the time you enter than on the day. Remember to note and book parking for the day of the Toy Group.

An exciting and tiring day at Crufts!

What is a benched show?

Most Championship Dog Shows are benched. This means each dog is allocated space to rest throughout the day. Benching is a raised wooden platform, separated into sections, with space for a crate for your Italian Greyhound to rest in. The idea is that spectators can find the benching for a specific breed and find exhibitors and breeders to talk to, and to see the breeds of dog they might be interested in.

If you bring a dog Not For Competition, you can pay a fee to be allocated benching, even though you are not exhibiting the dog. The fee is usually around £10-£15 per dog.

Additional preparation for attending your first Championship Dog Show

One difference between Open, Premier and Championship Dog Shows is entry and exit passes. You will receive an email a week or two before a Championship Dog Show telling you that your passes are available to download.

You will find:

  • Entry pass/es
  • Catalogue voucher, if you’ve ordered a catalogue
  • Exit passes, one for each dog you’ve booked in, including Not For Competition
  • Car parking pass, if applicable
  • Sometimes you will also receive ring number/s, too

You will need to print and cut these out to take with you on the day.

An example of show passes to print and cut out

If your Championship Show is unbenched, you will need to print and cut out your ring number/s to use in the ring on the day.

Have a good look at the instructions for parking on the day. Some shows have more than one entrance, and you will need to head for the correct one for your parking pass and/or breed ring.

An example of a map of a Championship Show Ground

On the day of your first Championship Dog Show

The day of a Championship Dog Show is not vastly different to an Open or Premier show. Instead of collecting a free rosette, if you are not awarded a rosette in the ring, you can take your prize card to buy a rosette directly from one of the rosette manufacturers present on the day. With some of them, you can have your dog’s name printed on the tail of the rosette. If you are placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in your breed class you have qualified for Crufts!

There are plenty of trade stands to browse while waiting for your classes and when your classes have finished.

Best of Breed AND Group 1 for this Italian Greyhound!

If you are lucky enough to win Best of Breed, Best Puppy in Breed, Best Special Beginner in Breed (if applicable, Best Junior in Breed) you go on to the Toy Groups. Four exhibitors are chosen in each Group, with placings referred to as Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, and Group 4. Any of these placings is a big achievement. Only Group 1 goes through to the Best In Show ring. Because the show is held over several days, the Best In Show is held on the final day, and Group 1 winners of the main Groups and Puppy Groups have to return on the final day to contest for Best In Show. The Show Society will usually give you a monetary contribution towards coming back for the final day.

Prizes available at Championship Dog Shows

The main prize people aim for at Championship Dog Shows is the Challenge Certificate for their breed. Challenge Certificates are awarded to the best Dog and the best Bitch in breed. Winning three Challenge Certificates, each awarded by a different judge, earns your dog Champion status. Alternatively, winning 7 Reserve Challenge Certificate (RCC’s) and 2 Challenge Certificates (CC’s) awarded by a different judge each time, will earn your dog Champion status.

Awards available:

  • Dog Challenge Certificate (DCC)
  • Dog Reserve Challenge Certificate (DRCC)
  • Bitch Challenge Certificate (BCC)
  • Bitch Reserve Challenge Certificate (BRCC)
  • Points towards Junior Warrant (JW), Show Certificate of Excellence (ShCEx), Veteran Warrant (VW)
  • Prize money in some Stakes and Groups placings

At the end of the day

When you are finished in your classes, you can leave whenever you like. Remember to have your exist passes to hand.

Hopefully, no matter what happens, you will have had an enjoyable day out with your Italian Greyhound. Remember, no matter the outcome, you ALWAYS go home with the best dog!

About the author

The Italian Greyhound Club

The Italian Greyhound Club the guardian of the breed for future generations. They organise and run dog shows and sponsor Italian Greyhound classes at other shows. They also coordinate and oversee the training of Italian Greyhound breed show judges. The Italian Greyhound Club is an official organisation run under the auspices of the Kennel Club.