What upcoming dog shows are there in 2023?
3rd January, 2023
From fun events to championship competitions, we’ve got the rundown of the must-visit dog shows of 2023. Find out how to do well and what to wear while competing with your dog.
Are you an experienced breeder looking to show off your prized pedigree? Or a crossbreed owner searching for a fun event where you can test your dog’s agility skills?
Pet lovers countrywide look forward to annual dog events. They can mingle with like-minded owners, get tips from leading trainers and perhaps even win a rosette or two for their beloved pet.
When: 9th-12th March
Where: The NEC, Birmingham
When you hear the words ‘dog show’, we’re sure Crufts is one of the first things that springs to mind. Organised by The Kennel Club, the event hosts over 18,000 competitors each year and is shown on TV all around the world.
With such a high status, you can expect to witness some of the most agile, good-looking and well trained dogs around! To take part with your pet, you’ll need to be registered with The Kennel Club or have the authority to compete (ATC) number from them.
Just want to enjoy the show from the stands? Here’s a timetable of what breeds are on:
- Gundog (9th March)
- Working and Pastoral (10th March)
- Terrier and Hound (11th March)
- Utility and Toy (12th March)
Expect to see canines dazzle in obedience, flyball and heelwork to music. Plus there’s a huge trade show with every doggy related product imaginable. Not 100% sure what dog agility entails? Find out elsewhere on our site.
If you’re thinking about getting a pedigree dog and taking part in Crufts down the line, you might want to know which breeds have won the most!
The English Cocker Spaniel comes out in top spot, followed by three tied in second place – Irish setter, standard poodle, and Welsh terrier. Unfortunately, boxers sit at the bottom, having never won best in show. We still love you, boxers!
Many pedigree pups are predisposed to certain medical conditions. This was highlighted by vets after an adorable dachshund won in 2020. Get ready to protect your pup with specialist UK pet insurance as soon as you take ownership.
The NEC is easy to get to by car and pre-booking your parking space is recommended by the arena. Alternatively, Birmingham International train station is only a five-minute walk away.
When: 9th-12th March
Where: The NEC, Birmingham
Same venue and dates at Crufts? Yes, but this show is a little different. For all those mixed breeds who aren’t eligible to enter the world-famous championships, Scruffts gives them the chance to become winners in their own right.
Crufts is often seen as a ‘serious’ dog show, but Scruffts is more about having fun, while stressing the importance of responsible dog ownership.
Dogs aged 6 months to 8 years can take part in the Most Handsome Crossbreed and Prettiest Crossbreed.
And just like UK pet insurance plans from Purely Pets, there’s no upper age limit! Senior hounds can compete in the Golden Oldie Crossbreed category as long as they’re at least 8 years old.
Just make sure you don’t take your non-competing pups with you. They’re not allowed inside, unfortunately.
When: 3rd and 4th June
Where: Broadlands Park, Romsey, Hampshire
The gloriously beautiful Broadlands Park is the perfect setting for this late spring show. Family fun and plenty of doggy activities are on the cards at this event. There’s lots to keep humans young and old entertained and, of course, loads for your canine companion to enjoy.
By attending this show, you’ll be supporting charity while brushing up on your dog’s training skills. Visit Broadlands Park in June and expect:
- UK Agility and Dogstival Open Cup
- Fun dog show – think more humorous than championship competition
- Agility courses to test your dog’s skills, like flyball and barkour (make sure your pup’s covered with UK pet insurance in case of injury – make sure to check your policy’s terms and conditions to see whether they cover sporting events)
- Behaviour arena to get tips from the experts
- Canine MOT centre for a pup health check
- Doggy model competition
- K9 Splash Pool for a quick dip
- Live music on Hound Dog Stage
- Muddy Paws Tavern with bingo, a canine quiz and doggy disco
- Vintage family fun fair with rides and games
- Plenty of stalls and food stands
With so much to see and do at Dogstival, this one’s not to be missed! Getting there is easy, and you’ll spot signposts along all major roads.
Parking is included in your ticket price, and Blue Badge holders will be directed to spaces near the entrance.
When & where:
- 13th and 14th May – Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire
- 27th and 28th May – Loosely Park, Surrey
- 10th and 11th June – Ragley Hall, Warwickshire
- 17th and 18th June – Tatton Park, Cheshire
- 2nd and 3rd September – Ashton Court, Bristol
- 9th and 10th September – Knebworth House, Hertfordshire
- 23rd and 24th September – Harewood House, Yorkshire
From taking part in fun dog shows to exhilarating walks around grand stately homes and stunning gardens, there’s something for everyone at DogFest.
With 7 locations and dates to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to join the action.
What’s on offer?
- Compete against other fun-loving pups for the waggiest tail, ‘dog the judge would most like to take home’ or the top title of ‘Best in Show’.
- Test your pet’s skill on the have-a-go activities.
- Take part in the Big Dog Walk and pick from the 2km or 4km routes. Why not check out our guide to walking your dog before you go?
- Hang out with other same-breed pet parents and make new friends.
- Meet celebrity guests and learn from dog experts.
- Pick up the latest doggy accessories on over 100 stalls.
There are no specific requirements when it comes to which breeds can enter here. As long as your pup is healthy and happy, they can try their paw at any of the activities on offer. Just don’t forget their UK pet insurance as protection.
Wherever you choose to attend, you’ll spot signposts en-route. Along with your entry tickets, make sure you pay extra for a parking pass if you’re travelling by car. Dogs go free!
When & where:
- 15th and 16th April – Newbury Showground, Berkshire
- 22nd and 23rd April – Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire
- 30th April and 1st May – Hylands Park, Essex
- 28th and 29th May – New venue to be confirmed
- 27th and 28th August – Norfolk Showground, Norfolk
Support numerous charities by attending this show that’s – you guessed it – all about dogs. Whether you come with a pup or not, there’s lots to keep you busy!
Expect a big selection of have-a-go activities for your canine companion to enjoy or head to the arenas to see some expert displays from leading UK trainers.
Want to take part? There are nearly 50 classes to enter with your pooch.
Not quite ready to compete for best in show? Get top advice from some of the best experts around on training your dog. We’ve also got heaps of training tips from Animal Behaviourist Rosie Bescoby right here on our blog.
Explore the plentiful trade stands, relax with live entertainment on the village green and retire to your tent for the night if you decide to camp on-site!
Tickets include free parking at all events, and you’ll find it easy to get to with signs when you’re close by. Don’t forget to pay extra for camping if you’ll be staying for the weekend.
When: 29th June-2nd July
Where: Home Park Windsor, Berkshire
We’re back to championship competition level at Home Park – an idyllic setting for a premium dog show. Enjoy some fun in the sun on the banks of the Thames at what’s often dubbed as the ‘Summer Crufts’. The line-up is as follows:
- 29th June – Terrier and Toy Breeds
- 30th June – Working and Pastoral Breeds
- 1st July – Gundog Breeds
- 2nd July – Hound, Utility Breeds and Best in Show
In addition to watching the pedigree pups pull out all the stops, there’ll be dozens of stands and food vendors to explore.
Visitors by car will need to enter on King Edward VII Avenue and pay £10. Travelling by train? Expect a quick 5-minute walk from Windsor & Eton Riverside station. Spectator dogs are welcome, but entry charges apply.
Keep all pups on a lead so they don’t get lost or hurt. Worried they’ll slip loose and get into an accident? Your UK pet insurance will make sure they get the attention they need.
What are the different levels of dog shows?
Not all dog shows are made equal! Some are just for fun while others are taken more seriously and require lots of preparation to take part.
Here are the five main levels:
- Companion shows – Fundraising events like these are relaxed and a lot of fun. They’re often in conjunction with a fair and include classes like waggiest tail and fancy dress for both pedigrees and crossbreeds.
- Limited shows – As the name suggests, entry is restricted to a certain region or specific group, like a breed, society or club. Pups who’ve got a Challenge Certificate or any award that counts towards the Champion title are exempt.
- Open shows – Any registered pedigree dog can participate in an open, and they’re a fantastic opportunity to test and improve your pet’s skillset. Win best in show, best puppy or reserve best in show and you automatically qualify to enter Crufts!
- Premier shows – A larger version of an open, the premier level is also open to all pedigrees and provides more winning dogs the chance to participate in Crufts.
- Championship shows – At the highest level of dog show in the UK, your pedigree pup has the chance to win a Challenge Certificate (CC) and qualify for Crufts. Attain three CCs from three different judges (one must be from when your dog is at least one year old), and become Show Champion, entitling your hound to proudly carry Sh Ch before its name – this only applies to Gundogs and Border Collies.
5 tips for your first dog show
Has all this talk about dog shows got you in the mood to show off your prized pooch? There’s more to these events than simply showing up with your handsome hound.
1. Make sure your dog meets the requirements
If you’re hoping to compete at Crufts or other major championship events, your dog’s breed will need to appear on The Kennel Club’s Breed Register. Your pup’s not on the list?
That’s OK, you can still take part in companion dog shows. It’s also better to have a few smaller shows under your belt first before competing with the big dogs.
Your dog will need to be at least 6 months old and in good health. Make sure they’ve been for a vet check-up, are up-to-date with vaccinations and covered by specialist UK pet insurance, like the lifetime policies from Purely Pets.
2. Learn the basics of showing your dog
Find your nearest ringcraft club to get a feel of what it’s like to show your pet. You’ll get to meet lots of like-minded dog owners and pick up plenty of helpful training tips.
Your club might even hold mini dog shows called matches for you to get some practice in.
3. Ask the experts
When you visit some of the shows listed above, why not make the most of your time there by speaking to industry experts and leading trainers? Don’t be afraid to ask anything - every participant was new once!
Got a health-related question about your dog? If you’ve got UK pet insurance with us you can benefit from 24/7 vet video calls.
4. Wear the right clothing
Don’t worry, you’re not being judged on what you wear, but the right gear could make the show more enjoyable and boost your chances of winning! Here are some top tips to wearing the ideal dog show outfit:
- If the show’s outside, be prepared for all weather conditions.
- Make sure your outfit is comfortable, especially your shoes. Yes, your dog is the one showing off its agility skills, but you’ll still need to walk, run and bend a little.
- Wear a different colour to your dog’s coat so the judges can easily see what your pet’s doing.
- Avoid floaty clothing that could get in your dog’s way when running along the course.
5. Take the right gear
Even though you’ll only be going for a day or two, packing the right stuff can make or break your experience. Don’t forget:
- Passes to the show (if necessary)
- Ring clip
- Poo bags
- Food and water bowls
- Treat bag (if needed)
- Grooming gear
- Cage or crate for travelling
And, although your UK pet insurance isn’t an item in itself, it’s important you have evidence of your policy with you in case you need it in an emergency.
What skills does your pet need for a competitive dog show?
You’ve got your foot in the door and attended a few companion and limited shows. Now you’re ready to compete at a top level and want to show everyone what your clever canine can do.
But, with thousands of competitors at dog shows, how can you impress the judges and win that Best in Show rosette?
First up on your training to-do list should be gaiting. What does it mean? You’ll need to teach your dog to move at varying speeds in line with you, in an exact manner (depending on the breed standard) and without tugging on the lead.
Judges will carefully watch your dog’s posture and monitor the way they trot, checking how the opposite front and back legs move together.
Standout stacking skills
Your dog will need to stand in the correct position according to the breed’s written standard. There are two variations of stacking:
- Hand stacking – You or the judge will physically manipulate your dog’s position.
- Free stacking – Your dog will enter the position alone and you may need to prompt it to slightly move a paw into place.
In a show, your pup will need to stack multiple times, including when it enters the ring, for the judge’s physical examination and for the final line-up.
Remember! Each breed has its own stacking position, so before you start training, you’ll need to check the guidelines for your specific dog.
Help them tolerate the physical exam
Finally, your dog will need to sit perfectly still while the judges perform their physical exam. They’ll evaluate all parts of your pet, even their teeth (make sure they’re clean), which could be risky if your dog isn’t well trained.
Any glimpse of a growl or snap could mean you get disqualified.
So, what can you do to make sure your dog is on its best behaviour during the show?
- Regularly touch your pet and give them plenty of praise and treats as you go.
- Work up to only giving them a treat at the end of a petting session.
- While taking things slowly, get them used to you examining their teeth, torso and testicles if they’re male.
- Consider giving your pup a cue that you’re going to look inside their mouth. Something like ‘teeth please’ works well.
- Once your pet is used to you giving them a physical exam, ask friends and family to do the same. The more used to different people your dog becomes, the more likely they are to behave well in front of the judges.
Start your physical exam training as young as possible and always remember to reinforce good behaviour with plenty of treats and cuddles.
Most importantly, have fun! Yes, there’s a competitive element to dog shows and it’s a wonderful feeling to walk away with the top prize, but just enjoy your pup and the quality time training and showing together.
Protecting your show dog with UK pet insurance
It doesn’t matter whether you and your pet enjoy entering local companion shows or are aiming for the top at Crufts – every dog deserves to be protected.
And what’s the best way to reward their unconditional love, loyalty and many hours working hard at training? With a specialist lifetime pet insurance plan.
At Purely Pets, we care about your four-legged friend just as much as you do, which is why we cover pups as young as 8 weeks and have no upper age limit for greying seniors.
Managing your policy and making a claim is easy through our online portal, and every policy holder gets access to 24/7 vet video calls.
Every dog deserves award-winning UK pet insurance. Give us a call today!
Pet Insurance Quote
- 98% claims paid *
- Claims paid directly to vet
- 24/7 vet video consultations
- Interest free monthly payments