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Specialty dog shows are events that feature just a single breed, or the varieties of one breed. There are about 2,000 national, regional, and local specialty shows every year.

The breed’s national parent club typically holds the national specialty or “the national” annually. At the national, fans of the breed gather year after year to share their knowledge and passion, and to bring their best dogs to compete. For example, the Keystone Collie Club Speciality is a local specialty attached to an all-breed dog show. The Collie National was held by the Collie Club of America in March.

Importance of Specialty Shows

Specialty shows are important for a variety of reasons. Along with conformation, many nationals have educational seminars and other events such as ObedienceTracking, and Agility. The event may also have breed-specific performance venues including EarthdogField TrialsHerding testsLure Coursing, or Draft tests.

Like all Conformation classes, the goal of the national is to determine the best breeding stock to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. Conformation is taken very seriously at the national because the event is a chance to look at the state of the breed and where it’s going.

Why You Should Participate in Speciality Shows

If you’re considering participating in a dog show, you should consider your breed’s national specialty show. While general dog shows are also exciting, the national presents a unique opportunity to learn more about the breed and meet other breed fans.

“There is no better place to learn about your Boxer than at the Specialty Show, in particular, the National Specialty, which is held annually by the ABC,” The American Boxer Club explained on its website. “It’s where dedicated fans of the breed meet together year after year, sharing their knowledge and passion and bringing their best dogs to compete.”

Also, a class win at the national can be a highlight of a dog person’s year and a Best of Breed or Best in Sweepstakes win can be the crowning glory of a long history in the breed. However, the beauty of the national is more than winning. If you’re a dedicated fan of the breed, it’s exciting to experience a ring full of your favorite breed, spend time with other people who share your interests, and learn from others about the breed.

Attending a Specialty Show

Parent clubs typically hold nationals in different parts of the country every year. If you’re interested in attending a specific breed’s national, look up the breed’s parent club to learn details about the next national.

Want to look up national-specialty info for a breed? You can search for upcoming national and regional breed specialties on our website.

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