Deciphering Titles and Show Results

To the uninitiated, the world of conformation shows can be a sea of acronyms. What do all of those letters mean?


  • CH: Champion of Record, or Champion for short. Indicates a dog or bitch who has won a total of 15 points at licensed AKC shows. At least 6 of these points must have come from “Major” wins (see “Points”) under different judges. “CH” becomes part of the dog’s registered name. Only Champions may compete in Best of Breed competitions.
  • GCH: Grand Champion. Indicates a Champion who has won a total of 25 points points at licensed AKC shows in Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed, or Select Dog/Bitch. At least 9 points must have come from Major wins under three different judges, with at least one more point from a fourth judge. In addition, the dog must have defeated at least one other Champion at three shows.

Types of Shows

  • All-Breed Show: Open to all AKC-recognized dog breeds.
  • Specialty Show: A show open only to dogs of a particular breed (e.g., miniature bull terriers for MBTCA) or varieties of a breed (e.g., white bull terriers and colored bull terriers for BTCA).
  • Benched Show: An all-breed show in which all the entered dogs must stay in an assigned “benching area” for the duration of the show (except when being exercised, groomed, or exhibited) so spectators can visit the dogs and talk to the breeders, owners, and handlers. The most famous example is the Westminster Kennel Club show held each February in New York City.


The dogs entered into a show are divided into groups called classes. There are eight “regular” classes:

  • Puppy 6 to 9 months
  • Puppy 9 to 12 months
  • 12 to 18 months
  • Novice: Dogs or bitches that have not won points yet
  • Bred by Exhibitor: Dogs or bitches owned by the breeder and shown by the breeder or a member of the breeder’s immediate family
  • American-Bred: Dogs and bitches whelped in the US from a mating that took place in the U.S.
  • Open: Any dog or bitch 6 months of age or older
  • Amateur/Owner Handler: Any dog or bitch 6 months of age or older shown by the owner who is not a professional handler

Nonregular classes include

  • Futurity: Puppies from a litter nominated before they were born. Usually held at national specialty shows, Futurity competitions showcase a breeder’s expertise in researching, planning, and caring for a litter of puppies.
  • Sweepstakes: “Sweeps” recognize outstanding young dogs and puppies. The top-placing dogs in Sweepstakes may receive a portion of the show’s entry fees as prizes. Sweepstakes are the only classes where money prizes are normally awarded.
  • Veterans: A competition for dogs who are at least 7 years old. A chance for senior dogs to show they still have it!

Show Placements

  • BIS: Best in Show
  • BISS: Best in Show Specialty
  • BOB: Best of Breed
  • BOS: Best of Opposite Sex
  • BOW: Best of Winners
  • WD/WB: Winners Dog/Winners Bitch
  • RWD/RWB: Reserve Winners Dog/Reserve Winners Bitch
  • SD/SB: Select Dog/Select Bitch
  • AOM: Award of Merit
  • BSW: Best in Sweepstakes
  • BOSSW: Best of Opposite Sex in Sweepstakes
  • BVSW: Best Veteran in Sweepstakes
  • BOSVSW: Best Opposite Sex Veteran in Sweepstakes
  • G1: Terrier Group First Place
  • G2: Terrier Group Second Place
  • G3: Terrier Group Third Place
  • G4: Terrier Group Fourth Place
  • GBIS: Best in Show at Terrier-Only Show
  • BJH: Best Junior Handler

Click here to learn how these titles are conferred at a show.

Sources: Nipkissing Kennel Club;; Basset Hound Club of America