WHAT TO EXPECT AT AKC CONFORMATION SHOW
First, all the classes are divided by sex, all the male dogs go in first, then the females.
There are 3 different classes according to age for pups from 6 months up to 9 months old: 9-12 month, 12-18 month.
Then you have the 4 adult classes:
Novice class is for dogs that have not won more than 3 first places in Novice.
Bred by Exhibitor, means that this class is only for the breeder showing their own dogs, (members of their immediate family may also show the dog)
American Bred class is only for dogs that a were bred and born in the USA,
Open class... this class is open to any dog of the same sex... one can even place a pup in this class if they wish, but it's chances of winning would not be very good.. The Open class is usually where you find your best dogs,
Any dogs that wins a first place in it's class will have to go back in the ring to compete with the other first place winners for "Winner's Dog" or Winner's Bitch". Even if your dog has won a 2nd place you should hang around, as once the Winner is picked, from all the first place dogs, the dog that took second place to the dog that just went winners has to go back in to compete for Reserve Winner.
When it is time to start the shows, The ring steward will call your dog's number to go in the ring, they usually go in the ring in the order that they were entered. Once in the ring, the judge may choose to change the dogs places in the line up.
At a AKC show, the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch are called Best Male and Best Female.
It is the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch that get the points toward their Championships. These two dogs have to return to the ring to compete for Best Of Breed, along with any dogs entered who already have their Championships. From this class the Judge will pick a Best of Breed, and Best of Opposite Sex, (If the Best of Breed is a male, then the best of Opposite Sex will be a female) then they will pick the Best of Winners, (this is only between the Winners dog and Winners Bitch).
The first place puppies from each class will compete for Best Puppy and Best of Opposite Sex puppy.
The best thing a new person a can do is to attend a few conformation handling classes if possible, but if you can't do this don't worry about messing up in the ring we have all done it, and the people won't be laughing "at you" as much as they are laughing "with you" Good luck!