A Guide to Canadian Dog Shows for Americans

We love having American guests at our specialty shows and boosters, but I know that sometimes the whole show points/dog show entry thing can be a bit confusing. Since we have more events coming up soon, including our annual November Booster at Caledon, I thought it might help if I put together a quick guide to Canadian dog shows.

By the way, here’s all the details you need for the upcoming November show: https://www.facebook.com/events/353254061433772/


Requirements to Show AKC Registered Dogs in Canada

All dogs that are foreign born and foreign owned (including American born and bred AKC registered dogs) and enter Canada for the sole purpose of entering CKC events no longer require a CKC registration number but DO require an Event Registration Number.

The ERN MUST be applied for within 30 days of the first day of entering a CKC event to avoid cancellation of any awards or scores. The fee is $53.50 Cdn. per dog payable to the Canadian Kennel Club by Visa, Mastercard or certified cheque.

To obtain an ERN simply send a written request to the CKC with the following information:

1. the name of the dog
2. the breed of dog
3. the name of the owner
4. the current mailing address and telephone number of the owner
5. a photocopy of the dog’s registration certificate reflecting current ownership
6. the fee (discounted cheques in U.S. dollars will not be accepted)

Faxed requests are accepted as long as credit card information is provided (legible Visa or Mastercard number, expiration date, cardholder name, and signature). An assigned ERN may be used indefinitely. Forward your request to:

The Canadian Kennel Club
100 – 89 Skyway Avenue
Toronto, Ont.
Canada M9W 6R4

Phone (416) 675-5511
Fax (416) 675-6506

It is not necessary to have an ERN before entering a Canadian show but the All Breed or Specialty club will require a “listing” fee with your entry. It is important to note that the CKC will only accept a photocopy of a regular, full registration not an AKC Limited or an ILP registration. These will be rejected. I do know of people who have lost the points their dogs have won because they didn’t apply for their ERN number within the required time frame. My suggestion is to do it as soon as you decide you’ll be entering your first Canadian dog show.

Entering Canadian Shows

Most Canadian shows enthusiasts use entry services for their dog show entries. In Ontario and Quebec, the most popular service is Entry Line – https://www.entryline.com/ Their website will give you a toll free phone number which you can call to do your entries. Payment can be made by credit card.  They also offer a calendar of upcoming shows with closing dates.

A popular site for show information in Canada is Canuck Dogs, which also offers an incredibly detailed event calendar, with links to the full PDF premium lists for each show. Many of us find shows on Canuck Dogs, peruse their premium lists, and then use Entry Line to do our entries.

 Crossing the Border with Your Dog

Crossing into Canada for a dog show is incredibly simple. For the people traveling, you’ll need a passport or enhanced Driver’s Licence. For your dogs, you’ll need: 1. a valid Rabies vaccination certificate. To be valid ensure there is an expiration date some time in the future on the certificate. 2. registration papers or other proof of ownership. 3. confirmation of entry at a Canadian dog show.

Becoming a Canadian Champion

Unlike in the USA, the Canadian point schedule is the same for all regions of Canada. There are no variations for what constitutes a major in any given area. Instead, points are awarded on the basis of the number of dogs entered, including all class dogs and champions. The current, October 2012 point schedule is as follows:


Breed Points:

Dogs Competing 1 : 0 points

Dogs Competing 2: 1 point

Dogs Competing 3 – 5: 2 points

Dogs Competing 6 – 9 : 3 points

Dogs Competing 10 – 12: 4 points

Dogs Competing 13 or more: 5 points

In order for a dog to be recognized as a Champion and the owner provided with a Championship Certificate, the dog must:

a) earn at least ten points under at least three different judges;
b) earn at least one 2-point win, either at breed or group level, and
c) be individually registered in the books of the Canadian Kennel Club or have an Event Registration Number (more about this later)

A maximum of five points can be credited to a dog per show at Breed or Group level. A dog needs to be awarded at least “Winners” to earn any points.

A Best of Winners award means that a dog is credited with the number of points representing the category for the dogs COMPETING – male AND female, even if a dog was previously excused from the ring by the judge. For example, if a dog is awarded Winners and then Best of Winners, all the dogs defeated directly or indirectly in the breed shall be included in the total.

If a dog wins Best of Breed, he is awarded the total number of points for all of the dogs competing, male and female, class dogs and champions. Canadian dogs can also win points in Group competition, depending on the number of breeds represented in group.

Group First Group Second Group Third Group Fourth
13 or more breeds in Group 5 4 3 2
10 to 12 breeds 4 3 2 1
6 to 9 breeds 3 2 1 1
5 breeds 2 1 1 1
4 breeds 2 1 1 0
3 breeds 2 1 0 0
2 breeds 1 0 0 0
1 breed 0 0 0 0
Irregardless of what you win in group, you still can NOT win more than five points at any one show.

Conformation Shows

Most Canadian dog shows are three day events, running Friday through Sunday. They are all in the same location, the same as a “show cluster” in the USA. Occasionally shows run for longer for three days, or run Saturday through Monday. A new phenomenon of double show days has recently become popular.

These ‘two a day’ shows are just that – two full conformation shows on a single day, with two full sets of points, group and Best in Show competitions. Check the premium list to see if the show you are considering entering is offering this option.


Most Canadian Specialty shows are held on the site of a larger all breed conformation show. The specialty will be a separate class, with a separate set of points from the regular class judging offered at that same show. When doing entries for a specialty, you will have to specify if you want to enter both the regular classes AND the specialty, or just one or the other. Specialty shows often hold a number of additional classes, called ‘unofficial classes.’ These include classes where veteran dogs may compete, and neutered/spayed dogs may also compete. Other specialty classes will often include brace class as well as stud-and-get (a male and his offspring) or dam-and-offspring (a female and her offspring).


Boosters, or ‘supported entry shows,’ fall somewhere between specialties and all-breed shows. Boosters are held as part of a regular all-breed show, but prizes are given for BOB, BOS, BOW and BPIB at least. Often there are prizes for every class winner, as well as for the Winners Male and Female and on up.

Boosters also often include a trophy for the breed member who places highest at an associated obedience trial. The prizes given will be determined by the folks who actually put the booster on. Boosters are very easy to hold. All one needs is permission from the club offering the Conformation show, some prizes and a little enthusiasm.

Some booster holders hold raffles and fund-raising events to pay for prizes; others donate prizes or make them themselves. A booster is a great way for a club to offer a breed event without all the associated hassles of a National or regional specialty.

To enter a Booster, you must enter the regular class judging being held that day. Additional points are not awarded for Booster wins.

Classes at Canadian Dog Shows and Specialties

JUNIOR PUPPY CLASS — For any dog 6 months of age and under 9 months of age on the day of the show.

SENIOR PUPPY CLASS — For any dog 9 months of age and under 12 months of age on the day of the show.

12 TO 18 MONTHS CLASS — (A Specialty option only) For dogs 12 months of age and under 18 months of age on the day of the Specialty.

CANADIAN BRED CLASS — For any dog born in Canada. Champions of any country excluded.

BRED BY EXHIBITOR CLASS — For any dog owned and handled in the ring by owner/breeder. The handler MUST be the owner/co-owner AND breeder/co-breeder of the dog. The owner/breeder must handle the dog at the class level, but need not handle the dog for further awards.

OPEN CLASS — For all dogs.

VETERANS CLASS — (A Specialty option only) For all dogs 7 years of age and over on the day of the Specialty. The winners of the Veteran Male and Female classes do NOT compete for Championship points but go directly onto the Best of Breed competition. NOTE: Spayed or Neutered dogs ARE eligible for competition in this class.

SPECIALS ONLY CLASS — For any dog which has a recorded CKC Registration or Event Registration Number and has attained the required points for Championship status.

EXHIBITION ONLY — All dogs entered in this class shall be listed in the catalogue with the same particulars as dogs entered in regular competition. Dogs entered in this class may not compete in any Regular class but may enter and compete in Non-Regular classes and/or Parades only.

CH — Champion (Conformation Title) — A dog attains the rank of Champion when he is declared a winner by at least three different judges and accumulates a minimum of 10 points. Dogs are shown in Classes — Males are judged first and a winner is declared (Winner Male). Females are then judged and a Winner Female is named.

BIS — Best in Show (Conformation Title) — The first place winner from each of the seven groups compete for Best in Show . This dog is awarded a large red, white and blue rosette, and usually nice trophies as well.

BPIS — Best Puppy in Show (Conformation Title) — The seven group winning puppies compete for the BPIS award. This winning puppy receives a large pale blue rosette.

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