Dog shows have been called "beauty contests", but there is more involved than just whether or not a dog is beautiful. Whippets in conformation dog shows are judged and placed according to how well they conform to the breed standard, which describes a Whippet that is not only beautiful, but also a capable athlete.
Conformation Whippets are expected to stand still while being examined by the judge and gait under control on leash at the trot, so that their movement can be evaluated. With practice, most people can learn the basics of show handling, which involves not only a good rapport with your dog, but also the willingness to wear jacket and tie (men) or dressier sportswear (women) in all kinds of weather! Handicapped or elderly people, or those who are not able to travel to shows can still compete, as there are many professional dog handlers who show dogs for a fee. Conformation shows are held both indoors and outside, and are found throughout the USA and the world. More informal "fun matches" are common also, and provide a good place for novice dogs and handlers to gain experience. The most prestigious show for Whippets in the USA is the American Whippet Club National Specialty, which moves from region to region each year and regularly draws over 500 entries.
The American Kennel Club awards the Championship title (Ch.) to dogs who defeat the required number of their breed, under several different judges. If you are interested in conformation, it is essential to purchase a Whippet from a breeding program where the focus is on breeding for conformation, and to select a dog that is considered by its breeder to be show quality or show potential.
Text Copyright Nancy Bennet