Assuming that you have entered your dog for a show, let's hope you have investigated carefully, and that your dog has no disqualifications. In certain breeds the Standard of the Breed (by which all judges are supposed to judge) lists certain faults as complete disqualifications. In all breeds, cryptorchidism (male with no testicles) or monorchidism (males with one testicle) is cause for disqualification. In some breeds an undershot mouth (under jaw protruding) will disqualify. In some breeds an excess of the color white will disqualify. As well as having no disqualification, it would be well if your dog had no faults listed as serious in the Standard of the Breed. These are the reasons why you should so strongly know your breed before you buy the dog and before you start to show him.
It is also wise (almost necessary) that you have had your dog inoculated by a competent veterinarian, not only against distemper and hepatitis, but for any other diseases for which vaccines are available at the time you are ready to show.
One very necessary subject that you must learn something about, but which I will not go into detail here, is trimming. Since practically every breed is trimmed differently - and of course some require no trimming - it is necessary that you know exactly what is done for your particular breed.
If you have studied your breed as carefully as you should have, you will begin to see that trimming may help conceal certain faults in your dog, or it may be used to emphasize his good points. Watch how other successful people, whom own your breed of dog, trim their dogs. You must ask for permission to visit them when they are trimming though. If you own a long-haired but flat-coated dog, such as a Cocker or Setter, who is just a shade wide in the shoulders, you could be of much help with a very judicious use of thinning shears. By removing some hair from underneath without interfering with the top hair, you will improve your dog at this faulty spot. If your breed should be well-chiselled between the eyes, a few hairs plucked out with the fingers or stripping knife may help him a great deal. The better you know your breed, the better you will be able to trim your dog for the show ring.
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