What are the different types of competition?

Dogs and bitches are judged separately, with a maximum of seven different age classes with available placings of first, second or third, except at larger specialty shows where numbers of entries may go up to fourth and fifth, depending on the total entry.


Some shows also conduct ‘sweepstakes’ competitions for two age groups – Babies (three to six months) and Puppies (six to 12 months).


All dogs and bitches of every breed in the show are eligible to enter and compete against each other at the same time, usually as the first competition of the day.

1. Challenge points

Challenge points are only awarded at Championship Shows and are given to the Best Dog (called Challenge Dog) and Best Bitch (Challenge Bitch) for each breed. One hundred Challenge points are required before a dog can be awarded the title of Australian Champion. This title is retained for life and the initials Ch. become part of the dog’s registered name.


Judging usually begins in all rings at the same time with the various breeds, followed by group judging, and then General Specials. In All Breed shows, dogs are judged alphabetically by breed according to Group classification.

2. Best in Breed

For each breed, dog classes are judged before bitch classes. The winners of each class, excluding Baby Puppy, compete for the Challenge if it is a Championship Show, or Best Dog of Breed if it is not.


The dog selected as Challenge will then leave the ring and the dog that came second in the same class as the Challenge winner returns to the ring to compete for Reserve Challenge. Then the bitches are judged similarly.


When the judging for Challenge and Reserve Challenge Bitch is completed the Challenge Dog re-enters the ring to compete with the Challenge Bitch for Best of Breed.


Whoever wins this leaves the ring and is replaced by the Reserve Challenge of the same sex as the Best of Breed who then competes with the opposite sex Challenge winner for Reserve or Runner-up Best of Breed. The Best and Reserve Best of Breed automatically win their respective Class in Breed.


The winners of each class then compete with the opposite sex winner of the same class for Class in Breed and the winners for each class then progress to compete for Class in Group.

3. Best in Group

When all the breeds in the group have been judged, then all Best of Breeds enter in alphabetical order to compete for the Best in Group. The Runner-up Best of Breed then comes in to compete against all other Best of Breed winners for the Runner-up Best in Group.


Best in Group and Runner-up Best in Group winners are automatically the Best exhibit in whatever classes they were entered into. All other classes are then judged by having all winners for each particular age group compete for that Class in Group.

4. General Specials (Best in Show)

When all groups have been judged, the seven Best in Group winners enter the General Specials ring for Best in Show and the judging sequence of Best in Group is repeated.


The Runner-up Best in Group to the Best in Group-winning dog or bitch that wins Best in Show comes in for Runner-up Best in Show. These two dog/bitches are automatically Best in Class in Show, and all other Class in Shows are judged in the same manner as the Class in Groups.

Path to Best in Show