What are conformation dog shows?

In simple terms conformation (or dog shows) is the evaluation of breeding stock. A judge examines each dog to see how closely they match the breed standard therefore determining which dogs should be bred to pass on the traits vital to what makes a Samoyed a Samoyed – in the case of our breed!

In practice, however, conformation is a very nuanced sport where often times which dog wins depends on factors such as their performance on the day, whether they are in or out of coat, how well they were groomed as well as the judge’s personal preference.

Conformation basics and starting out

Prancing a dog around the ring may appear easy at first however in reality it takes years of practice to master showing a dog to the best of his or her potential. Both the handler and the dog have to work together as a team, the handler has to know what speed to move their dog at to show off their movement in the best possible way, ensure the dog stays alert and focused in the ring and know how to play up their dog’s strengths and hide their weaknesses. For the latter it also takes knowing what your dog’s strengths and weaknesses are by being very familiar with both your dog and what the breed standard says!

When you get a show quality puppy your breeder will be a wonderful resource in helping you prepare for the conformation ring. Start socializing your puppy early, have every stranger touch them and feed them treats to make it a positive experience as being touched by strangers will be a big part of their show career. Take them to crowded places as most show sites are large, noisy arenas, get them used to this atmosphere. Find conformation handling classes near you and start going as soon as your puppy gets their first shots, these classes are usually taught by professional handlers or long time breeders who have shown many dogs to their championship so the experience you get there will be invaluable.

What are the correct structure and movement for a Samoyed?

Correct movement and structure are an important part of the Samoyed conformation, especially because Samoyeds are meant to be working dogs with great endurance for which the ability to move effortlessly is vital. Incorrect structure and movement means the dog’s body will wear out easier and the dog will be more prone to injury than a correctly built dog. Here are some of my favorite articles on structure and movement, they are not Samoyed specific but all of them are relevant to Samoyed structure.


Only dogs who have a full AKC registration are eligible to compete in AKC conformation shows. Your breeder is the only person who can provide you with your dog’s registration papers so if participating in conformation shows is something you may be interested in discuss this with your breeder right away, not only will the breeder pick a show quality puppy for you but he or she will also provide you with the right type of registration to compete in shows.

Entering a conformation show

The easiest way to find and enter a conformation dog show is online. There are various websites which make online entry possible, from general websites to particular region superintendent websites, find a few of them below (and a full list under the Resources section on this page). You will need to have your dog’s registration papers handy to enter.