Showing your Dog: Breed Shows

A comprehensive guide to training and presenting your dogs for dog shows.

german shepherd male stud dog, German Shepherd Breeders in Virginia
Puma von Nummer-Eins being presented for evaluation.

As a part of the German Shepherd world for the past two and a half decades, I can tell you that entering a SV style conformation show with your German Shepherd dog requires careful preparation and attention to detail. From selecting the right equipment to ensuring your dog is in top physical condition, there are many factors that can make or break your chances of success in the ring. In this article, I will outline the key steps you need to take to prepare for a SV style conformation show with your German Shepherd dog.


The first thing you need to do when preparing for a conformation show is to make sure you have the right equipment. This includes a well-fitting show collar and lead, grooming supplies, and a show crate. You’ll also want to invest in a high-quality show leash that is comfortable for both you and your dog to handle. It’s important to practice with your equipment before the show so that you and your dog are comfortable with it and can use it confidently in the ring.


Training is a crucial component of preparing for a conformation show. Your dog should be well-trained in basic obedience commands where it’s easy to show his her teeth, not have separation anxiety and be stable enough to be touched by the judge, measured etc.  You’ll also want to work on ring-specific skills such as gaiting (walking and running in a specific pattern) and stacking (posing your dog in a stationary position). It’s important to practice these skills in a variety of environments so that your dog is comfortable and confident in the ring. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your dog is in top physical condition by providing a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Ring Presentation

When it comes to ring presentation, there are several things that judges are looking for. These include proper gait and movement, correct breed type, and overall condition and grooming. Your dog should move smoothly and effortlessly around the ring, with a confident and self-assured demeanor. The judge will also be looking for breed-specific traits such as a strong, muscular build, a powerful and, flowing gait, and a characteristic head shape. Additionally, your dog should be clean, well-groomed, and in excellent physical condition.

In conclusion, entering a SV style conformation show with your German Shepherd dog like any other dog show requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By selecting the right equipment, providing proper training, and presenting your dog effectively in the ring, you can increase your chances of success and showcase the best qualities of your beloved canine companion. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve your goals and enjoy the thrill of competition in the exciting world of conformation shows.


While it’s true that hiring an experienced handler can provide a number of benefits when it comes to preparing and presenting your German Shepherd at a SV style conformation show, there are also some reasons why you might choose not to hire a professional handler. One possible argument against hiring a popular handler is that it can be costly, and some owners may not have the budget to pay for professional handling services. Additionally, some owners may prefer to handle their dog themselves in order to better familiarize themselves with process of showing dogs and gain their own experience. 

However, if you do decide to handle your German Shepherd yourself, it’s important to understand the process of double handling and to do it correctly in order to achieve the best possible outcome in the show ring. Double handling is the practice of having a second person help to show your dog in the ring. This is typically done when the handler is unable to move around the ring fast enough or when the dog is being stubborn or difficult to handle. The second person will help to control the dog and keep it focused for the judge to evaluate, while the primary handler moves around the ring to showcase the dog’s movement and structure.

When done correctly, double handling can be a useful technique for presenting your German Shepherd in the best possible light. However, it’s important to ensure that both handlers are on the same page when it comes to how the dog should be presented, as conflicting signals or movements can confuse the dog and detract from its overall performance. Additionally, the second handler should be familiar with the breed standard and have a good understanding of how to showcase the dog’s best qualities in the presentation around the ring. 

In the overall picture, double handling is just one aspect of presenting your German Shepherd at a SV style conformation show.

Whether you choose to hire a handler or handle your dog yourself, it’s important to keep this in mind and to approach the show with a positive attitude and a commitment to excellence, to strive to do better than what you did last time, as we all start somewhere. 

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