Conformation shows are the events people most often associate with the AKC. Dog shows are a means of evaluating breeding stock. Each entry is judged against its breed standard. There is one ultimate winner at a dog show: the dog that comes closest to achieving perfection on the day according to its standard.

Specialty shows are dog shows open only to a single breed. ASSA and its member clubs sponsor AKC-approved Shetland Sheepdog specialty shows. ASSA holds one show each spring, the national specialty show, which draws hundreds of Shelties from across the country. All ASSA member clubs also have their own smaller local specialties.

If you think you might be interested in exhibiting in conformation, you should attend local all-breed and specialty shows. You can contact a local ASSA member club or find an upcoming show in your area by searching the AKC’s events database. Read the Shetland Sheepdog standard and consider attending the next ASSA National. Join an ASSA member club, or attend a local club event. Most importantly, get to know your fellow Sheltie breeders. Our breeders have a wealth of practical knowledge learned through experience.

Conformation shows can be confusing to the novice, and the AKC website has an excellent beginner’s guide to dog shows, which describes in detail how a dog show works. You can also obtain a free copy of the AKC publication, Rules Applying to Dog Shows, by emailing the AKC.