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10 Types of Dog Competitions and Pageants to Enter

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on July 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

Hungarian vizsla puppy at dog show

10 Types of Dog Competitions and Pageants to Enter

Are you looking for activities that you and your dog can do together? There are multiple great options for contests and pageants that you can enter your dog into. Each type of activity has its benefits, but no matter what, you’ll be getting your dog up and moving.

On top of that, you’ll be getting yourself up and moving as well! If you’re interested in finding competitions or pageants for your dog, keep reading.

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The 10 Types of Dog Competitions and Pageants

1. Conformation

Four dachshunds on the dog show
Image Credit: StockphotoVideo, Shutterstock

If you’ve ever seen a dog show, then you’ve seen a conformation show. Conformation refers to the breed standards that each breed is held to. During a confirmation show, a judge examines the appearance, movement, and temperament of each dog to ensure they meet the standard of their breed.

To win, the dog must be the best representative of its breed in the group. This is why you see conformation shows starting with multiple dogs of the same breed and then being narrowed down to different breeds that belong to the same group, and finally being narrowed to the best dog in each group.

2. Agility

Border Collie dog running through agility tunnel
Image Credit: Angelique van Heertum, Shutterstock

Agility is an excellent activity for active dogs, and while breeds like Border Collies are often associated with agility, any breed can do agility. Agility trials are competitions that put your dog’s agility skills to the test against other dogs. Your dog must perform the course correctly and complete the course faster than the other dogs in their group. For agility trials, there are typically groups broken out for small, medium, and large dogs, which allows every dog to have a fair shot to compete against “someone their size.”

3. Obedience

handler put corgi dog in the right stance at international dog show
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

Do you have an extremely obedient dog? Obedience trials are a fun way to reward your dog for their obedience by turning it into a game. During these trials, you will be asked to have your dog perform certain commands. Dogs that perform the commands quickly and correctly are awarded points that are used to determine which dog will win the competition. Any breed can participate in obedience trials, but dogs that are easily overstimulated or high energy may not be particularly good at this type of competition.

4. Disc Dog

border collie dog catching the flying disc
Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

Disc dog competitions are a fun way to show off your dog’s frisbee skills. These competitions can be held in two different ways. The first is based on distance and your dog’s ability to catch the disc before it hits the ground. The second is the freestyle disc event, which requires you to choreograph a routine and then perform it with your dog. These routines are typically accompanied by music and a variety of tricks outside of catching a frisbee.

5. Flyball

dog in flyball competition
Image Credit: dodafoto, Shutterstock

Flyball is a team competition that includes your dog and three other teammates performing a relay race. In this race, the dogs each run individually to the end of a course where there is a platform. They hit the platform with their paws and a ball comes out. The dog must catch the ball and then run back through the course for the next dog to go. The courses typically include jumps or other obstacles that slow the dogs down as they complete them. The team that finishes fastest with all four balls wins.

6. Fast CAT

two greyhound dogs in fast CAT competition or lure coursing
Image Credit: Henri Faure, Shutterstock

Have you ever seen racing dogs running a course? That is essentially what Fast CAT is. CAT stands for “coursing ability test” and involves a 100-yard dash where the dog chases a lure. The fastest completion of the dash wins. You can do Fast CAT competitively, but some clubs do the activity for fun. For many dogs, this activity is a great outlet for excess energy, and it can help appease some dogs’ prey drives as well.

7. Earthdog

jack russell terrier dog thrusting its head to a hole
Image Credit: Coffeemill, Shutterstock

If you have a dog that loves to dig, then Earthdog may be the best option for them. Earthdog tests require your dog to enter a tunnel to find the prey trapped inside. The prey animals, like rats, are not harmed during this activity and they are kept securely away from the dogs. These tests are typically considered to be non-competitive and are instead often used as a gauge for how strong a dog’s instinct is. This is especially common in terriers. Although these trials are usually non-competitive, you can find some competitive Earthdog trials as well.

8. Dock Diving

dog catching the lure in the air in dock diving competition
Image Credit: GoDog Photo, Shutterstock

For dogs that love to jump, swim, and play fetch, dock diving combines all of their favorite things. Dock diving competitions involve a dog running down a platform and jumping off of it into the water. There is a lure that the dog is supposed to catch while they’re in the air. They then land in a pool of water and swim to a platform to get out of the water. Dogs in these competitions are judged on how far they can jump horizontally.

9. Beauty Pageants

Yorkshire terrier at the dog show
Image Credit: Kanyshev Andrey, Shutterstock

If conformation isn’t up your alley but you still want people to see how beautiful your dog is, then canine beauty pageants are for you. The categories for beauty pageants are different from how dogs are judged in conformation trials. Beauty pageants often include categories like fluffiest tail, perkiest ears, and being the most photogenic. Some of these competitions may be judged live, but there are also many options for dog beauty pageants online where you can submit pictures of your dog.

10. Grooming Shows

poodle at grooming dog show
Image Credit: WildStrawberry, Shutterstock

Whether you’re a professional groomer or an amateur who grooms your dog at home, you can enter grooming shows. These competitions judge the appearance of the dog based on the grooming skills of the groomer, making these competitions more focused on your abilities rather than your dog’s abilities. These judge for things like the quality or appearance of the groom and how well it meets the standard for the breed, but some contests also encourage dogs to be dyed with dog-safe dyes, with the most creative or best-quality dye jobs winning.

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Competitions and pageants are wonderful ways for you and your dog to spend quality time together and bond. Doing things together can build your dog’s trust in you, as well as get both of you out of the house for a little while. To find activities near you, check with breed clubs, kennel clubs (like the AKC), and local dog clubs. There are often fees associated with all of these activities, so make sure to ask about costs when you start talking to people about them.

Featured Image Credit: SubertT, Shutterstock

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