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Best of Breed: GCHS CH Brynjulf Wahoo Creek Don't You Feel It RN CGC TKN (Marco), Great Pyrenees; Working Group judging at the 2019 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, Orlando, FL.

Snuggle in! Watch the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin on ABC from 2-5 p.m. ET on January 17, 2021. Grab your dog, some popcorn, and watch the entire event from the comfort and safety of your couch.

Dog Show Basics

So what exactly are you watching? If you’re new to watching dog shows, let’s go over the basics. Most dog shows take place in a single day, following a pyramid-style competition format.

At the first, broadest level, dogs of each breed compete against each other, with one earning the coveted Best of Breed ribbon.

Later in the day, those breed winners compete in their respective groups. The AKC recognizes seven groups, in which dogs are categorized based on a similar function or history.

Sporting dogs, for example, were bred to hunt birds on land or water; Toy dogs evolved to provide companionship in a pint-size package. (If you are doing research on a future family member, focusing on a particular group can help you zero in on the temperament, activity level, and sometimes size that’s right for you.) Each group judge then places four winners, though only first place continues on to Best in Show.

Can’t Wait?

Check out last year’s show in the meantime, or stream the action-packed AKC Agility Invitational Finals!

The AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin is available to watch on-demand on AKCtv.

Related article: How Does a Dog Win a Dog Show?
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