What It Takes to Be a Dog Show Champion

How a winning dog earns the abbreviated "Ch.” in front of its name.

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Q. How many dog shows does a dog have to win to become a champion?

A. For every breed entered in an American Kennel Club dog show, one male and one female are chosen Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, respectively. Each is awarded from one point to a maximum five points toward its championship title. Three-, four- and five-point wins are called “majors”; the number of dogs of each sex needed for a major vary by breed and region of the country. For example, in California, 52 males are currently needed to build a five-point major in Labrador Retrievers. Compare that to 10 Pharaoh Hound males or six Glen of Imaal Terrier males for the same five-point major.

Fifteen points, including two majors, are required to achieve the title of AKC champion, abbreviated as “Ch.” in front of the dog’s registered name. Therefore a dog could win consecutive five-point majors and finish its championship in only three shows, although this is a rare occurrence.


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