How confusing it all was. BOW, BIG, WD, WB, BIG, and my favorite BOS that I just knew had to be Best Of Show. Wrong!! As I soon found out it is Best In Show (BIS). BOS - is actually Best Of Opposite, as fairly close as you get to BOB - Best Of Breed - without actually taking the title.

After a little time in the ring the terms are now much a part of my everyday language. Still, reality sometimes slaps me in the face when I encounter someone who doesn't know or frankly really doesn't care about my world. So I really shouldn't be surprised when a look of confusion crosses someone's face when I answer, "How was your weekend?" With " I was Winner's Bitch." It just doesn't translate well.

Another look of I've come to recognize is "Why did I start this conversation?" Usually seen after I launch into a long conversation about which ribbons I brought home. Yes, I've learned to keep it short. "We won" covers a lot of territory. It could be a class blue ribbon, Winners ribbon, Best Of Winners ribbon, Best Of Opposite ribbon, Best Of Breed ribbon, the highly prized Best In Group ribbon, or the ultimate - Best In Show ribbon. Yes they all qualify under "We won". So even when I'm about to bust out of my skin to detail a win - To those who really aren't impressed with detail I simply say "We won".
Will Someone Please Tell Me - WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
So just how many ribbons are floating around a single show? Most of us have seen the big shows on television. Seven groups, the final 7 competing for the highest of honors. What alot of people aren't aware of is just how much it takes for a dog to earn a place in front of those cameras. It's not all caviar. Ron Reagan isn't commentating, there is no music or commercial break. No cheering stadium crowds. Don't wait for the Letterman show to call when you win Best In Show if it isn't New York's Madison Square Gardens.

So just what does it take.

Well first break down the number of breeds being represented.

Each breed is judged separately and broken into classes typically by age group. The dogs and bitches are judged separately in the classes below.

At a typical show using the Papillon as an example you will find these classes of competition:

There is the 6-9 months group from which ribbons will be given to the top 4 entries

Then the 9-12 months top 4.

Onto the top 4 of the 12-18 month age group

Finally the top four in the Open class for dogs typically older than 18 months but younger dogs can also compete in this class

Keep in mind there may be additional entries in other classes such as Bred by Exhibitor (meaning the person showing the dog is also the breeder, and Novice (older than six months but no points or less than a certain number of wins in specific classes).

The 1st place winners from all the above classes are given Blue Ribbons and move onto
the winners' circle. Again the male and females are judged in separate groups. From this group one dog will be chosen as Winners Dog and one bitch will be chosen as Winners bitch and each is given yet another ribbon. Dogs who place second to the Winners dog and bitch from their entry class are called back into the winners circle and compete with the remaining dogs for Reserve Winner (runner up ,or second place if you prefer) and will receive a Reserve Winners ribbon.

After Winners Dog and Winners Bitch have been determined they will will be judged against each other in the Best of Breed ring to determine Best Of Winners. Nope- No ribbon is awarded for " Best Of Reserve" - Not a prayer since there is no BOR listed anywhere in the AKC vocabulary. But secretly if my dog goes Reserve in my mind he or she is BOR. The Best Of Winners will grab another ribbon and at the same time is also competing against the other "Specials" for Best Of Breed.

"Specials" - you may ask? - Better known as Champions - dogs who have already competed in the above classes and won enough points in the winners Circle to meet the AKC guidelines for Championship. Those treasured points that separate champions from dogs are only won in the winner's circle. Once a dog has championed he never again has to compete in the lower classes. Watch your dog closely after he has championed, he should hold his head higher, walk with more dignity and may refuse other canine companionship. If not, you did not jump up and down enough when he won - shame on you.

Point's distribution varies from region to region. The number of points given depend on the number of dogs competing. Unless your dog is a single entry you can win from 1-5 points in a single show. Once your dog has accumulated 15 points and has won two majors he is crowned a champ. A major win is a win that earns you 3 to 5 points. A win that only carries 1-2 points no matter how many you win is not a major. So what happens if your dog is the only entry? Well you go pointless but you will also be BOB (less a judge disqualifies or excuses your dog) and move on to the group ring. Disqualified? Yes if the judge finds a fault with your dog that is a no no(disqualifying fault) to the AKC standard your dog is disqualified from showing (read those standards). Excused? If your dog behaves badly or is disrespectful to the judge he can simply send you packing for the day - but not for the lifetime of you or your dog.

That's pretty much the scoop on points with a few gottcha's. Majors must be under different judges, at least one other win cannot be the same judge as the majors. Yes ,Yes read the rules carefully before you jump up and down like a mad dog screaming were "Finished". Finished? - a term used to describe what happens to a dog when he completes his championship, he's considered "Finished", which is a good thing not to be confused with he's a goner.

Also within the Best Of Breed competition the Best Of Opposite ribbon is awarded. This ribbon is given to the dog determined to be the best of opposite sex to the dog that wins the Best Of Breed ribbon. So to say one who is BOS cannot be BOB and vice versa.

It doesn't stop there. Each winner of the Best Of Breed will move onto the Group ring of which there will be 7 groups. The winning dog from each breed will be judged under the group it belongs to IE.. Toy, Hound, and Terrier etc..... will all pick the top four dogs in its respective group and award more ribbons. The Best In Group 1st place winner from each separate group, if the handler hasn't fainted, will move into the final competion of the day, Best In Show. In this final competition only 1 winner of the final 7 will be chosen as the best dog entered for the show.

The more breed, group or show wins a dog has the higher his ranking is with the AKC. With several shows every week all across the country -. some with thousands of entries -. In the end only 7 will stand in the final competition of the elitist of shows. From there its roll em. Say hi to Ron for me, then again, maybe someday I'll say it in person. It could happen.
WD - Winners Dog - Best dog in breed from regular classes

WB - Winners Bitch - Best bitch in breed from regular classes

BOW- Best Of Winners - Best of the two above

BOS - Best Of Opposites - Best in opposite sex to the dog found Best Of Breed class or special(champion)

BOB - Best Of Breed - Best all classes and specials(champions) for the breed
being judged

BIG- Best In Group - All BOB winners compete in their respective groups to be
the Best In Group.

BIS- Best In Show - The final seven dogs representing their group for the day compete to be the single winner of the Best in Show
To much information - Here's a quick reference guide
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