Let's pretend that we want to have a contest to find out who makes the best chocolate chip bagels in a high school. There are four grades and we are going to separate the boys and the girls, since we know that those poor boys cannot really compete with the girls :)
So, the freshgirls (9th grade) bring bagels and we pick the winner of that grade. The freshboys also bring their bagels and we pick the winner of the 9th grade boys. So now we have a 9th grade boy and girl who won their class, so to speak, in bagel making.
We do the same for the other grades -- each grade has a boy winner and a girl winner.
And then we have the finals! The four girl winners (one from each grade) bring their best effort in bagel making and we pick one to be the WINNER of the girls.
The four boys get their sisters to help and they bring their best effort and we pick one to be the WINNER of the boys.
Winner Girl and Winner Boy each get a prize -- a shiny new Kitchen Aid mixer!!!! But there is more -- we have to figure out the Grand Prize, which is a lifetime supply of yeast. So Winner Girl and Winner Boy each come back with their best bagels and we pick the Best of the Winners -- and he or she gets that great Grand Prize (what high school student wouldn't LOVE a lifetime supply of yeast?!)!
A dog show is not unlike a high school bagel making contest, except that dog shows happen all the time and high school bagel making contests -- not so much.
The purpose of taking your non-champion dog to a show is to get points towards a championship. Competing against others of the same breed, only one boy and one girl can get points for that day -- Winner's Bitch and Winner's Dog. Points are determined by the number of dogs beaten based on a schedule established by the AKC, and it varies between regions and states.
So anyway, like the bagel contest, there are classes -- and in these classes the girls only compete against girls and the boys against boys. Owners decide which class to enter -- I show my girls in a class called "Bred-by Exhibitor" which means the person showing the dog is also the breeder of the dog. There are classes for puppies that are divided by age, and there are a few other classes as well. Most of the time there are not dogs in all classes -- but there can be.
So each class has a winner -- small "w" winner. The dog does not get points for being a winner -- she just gets a nice blue ribbon and the chance to go to the special class for all the class winners of the same sex. So, all the girl winners go to the special class together and one of the winners is picked to be Winner with a "W" and she gets the points and is called Winner's Bitch. The judge picks her/his second favorite girl and that girl is Reserve Winner's Bitch
They do the same thing with the boys except they call them Dogs and not Bitches :)
But then you have a Boy Winner and a Girl Winner -- who is the best of those??? Well, the judge decides that as well -- and that dog is called Best of Winners because s/he is considered the best of all the class winners of both sexes.
This gets confusing -- let's say there are enough girls so that Winner's Bitch gets two points but there is not enough boys and so it is only one point for Winner's Dog. Well, if he beats Winner's Bitch, becoming Best of Winners, he also gets two points (but she keeps her points).
It takes 15 points to make a champion but included in that total has to be two wins that are worth 3, 4, or 5 points; a win with any of those point values is called a major. So a dog has to have two majors to be a champion -- she can have more but not less. Depending on where the show is, it could easily require nine or more dogs of the same sex to make up a three point major.
There is more but that should get you started on this -- we will have a test soon! To practice for that, let me share what we did today -- Zoey won her class (we went to Great Falls just for today) so she got a blue ribbon and the chance to compete against the winner of the other class. The judge picked Zoey as Winner's Bitch and she earned one point. No boys showed today so she was also Best of Winners.
Kay and Sue arrive tomorrow with Ruben -- I will be showing Ruben and one of my girls for three days in Missoula starting on Sunday (Syd on Sunday and Zoey on Monday and Tuesday). Let's start our test early -- boys and girls show separately so I will show each in their separate classes and that will be fine. But there is a situation which could happen and would require both dogs to be in the ring at the same time -- under what circumstance would both dogs have to be in the ring at the same time?