Conformation Guidebook


Formerly CRD
I have been lucky, and received so much knowledge from my breeder.

Before that, it was difficult to find very much information on anything.

Grooming, handling, baiting, trotting, leads.

You name it.

I know we have a few members getting started out in everything (including myself) so I figured it may be neat for everyone to share their routines, their tricks.....

Here is an excellent thread on stacking, and learning how to do this.
Everything revolves around stacking in conformation, and this should be one of the first things you teach yourself and your dog.

Stacking 101 | Doberman Chat Forum: Talk About Doberman Pinschers

Here is a thread with information about show leads. Growing by the day.

Show leads | Doberman Chat Forum: Talk About Doberman Pinschers

Since I am just starting out on handling in AKC I will leave that conversation alone, since I am learning myself.

On to grooming.......
Everyone will have there different techniques.
Learning each one and developing your own stemmed off of this is your best bet.

For my grooming technique..

I shower Raven the night before the show. Some may disagree with this due to washing away some of the oils that keep the coat shiny.
Raven is on a supplemented 2000mg of salmon oil a day, so needless to say his coat is always very shiny.
I like bathing him before hand as it makes his coat very soft. I like this because the judge will always feel his coat on the examination. If his coat is softer than the rest that may stand out to him/her.

I use electronic clippers for most of the grooming.
First I get the ears.

I use a 40 gauge for the extra hair along the ears. I will make a video for this part this evening, which should make this a little easier to figure out.

Then I move to the cowlicks. I take scissors and a comb. I don't cut to low, but merely trim the loose hair that stands out. This way even though they are there, they are not noticeable.
The goal behind grooming is to get not one specific area to stand out, so the judge is more focused on the entire picture.

Then I move to the hanging skin that connects the stomach to the back legs.
I also trim this up with a 40 gauge so it is flush with his body.

Moving to the tail.....
I use a 40 on the underside of the tail all the way up to the edge.
Then I edge off the hair at the end of the tail.
Will take a video of this also.

For the whiskers I normally use a 40 as well.

Make sure you check all over as those whiskers can be anywhere.

Grooming at the show site........

First I spray Raven with a mist of water. I use a brush to clean off any dirt, or debris he has accumulated the night before.

Moving on I spray him with an olive oil spray. You can find this in the ethnic hair section at walmart.
It does not leave a greasy feeling, and it really makes him shine.

After that I use coconut oil on the nails to get them to shine, as well as a little bit on his nose.

My routine is pretty simple, but hopefully some will chime in soon with more info.

Lots of stuff will come to me throughout the day , so I will try to post all of that once I make the videos.

Until then, what is everyone elses routine?

Tricks that may help someone starting out?


Formerly CRD
A great place to start would be the DPCA's website.

The link I am posting is to many articles that helped me along the way, and continue to do so.
Everything in there from evaluating a dog, to keeping their head up while trotting.



Formerly CRD
While I cant gurantee these videos will help anyone. This will show the standard ring routine.

It will vary between judges, but always includes a "Down & Back" at least one "Go around" and a "Stand for examination"

The Stand for examination will include looking at the teeth, and an up close and personal view for the judge. Where he/she will put their hands on your dog to better examine him/her.

Plus you guys can make fun of the noob factor I exhibit in these videos.


Hot Topics Subscriber
Thanks for this!! It's awesome for me because I am in the preschool stage of learning about conformation. The more info the better.


Hot Topics Subscriber
Hmm... I better get on the stick. I don't do as much grooming as you. Drake's grooming is done on a regular basis. I brush him everyday and he gets a bath once a week. As far as trimming, I really only have to do a few stray hairs on his tail. The brush I use seems to polish him up and he looks like I sprayed something on him.
I know some people don't think I need to bathe him that much. But I like a clean dog because he sleeps with me, besides, you can't argue with success. His coat looks great!
I think has some good tips on getting started, if I remember right.

The brush I use
Curry Comb for Dogs Grooming | FURminator®
Works great for our short haired dogs.


Formerly CRD
I hate having to bathe raven for shows, but once the shows are over he doesn't get bath time.

Crow hasn't had a bath in months, and her coat is thicker than ever.

But, she is dirty underneath that glamorous hair.

At Purina you should try this olive oil spray a day or so before to see how you like it.
It takes the shine to an all new level.

Crap! Forgot the video.

Amber is asleep, but I will do my best on Thursday night, while I am getting him ready for his shows in Iowa this weekend.


Formerly CRD
:eek:You have to cut the dogs whiskers?! I did not know that. I LOVE my dogs whiskers!:) How long does it take them to grow back?

Maybe a month for them to be all the way back? They grow reaallly fast. Much faster hair.

See I'm different. I love the smooth clean cut face, but I also like that balance comes with full whiskers.


Hot Topics Subscriber
Ok, so where is the grooming video?? I ask because the IABCA is coming up and I need to figure out just how much I want to do.

I have a few questions. Why is the trimming of the whiskers important? I just don't get that. I mean they are dogs, and dogs have whiskers. I might get it if it was a Miss America contest and one of the contestants wanted to shave her mustache. The whiskers don't bother me.
Do you get penalized if you don't do the whole routine of grooming? I guess I must like the natural look because I think if your dog is clean, well cared for and just a good example of the breed, they are good enough to compete. Do I need to change my thinking? If so, help me understand what is wrong with my thinking.


Formerly CRD
I'm sorry Paint.

Just made a rush video.
It gives a good idea. Although amber is not the best camera women.

I will bring all my stuff to St. Louis and if you want maybe we could make another video?

Give it about 15 minutes to upload to YouTube.


Hot Topics Subscriber
Very good video!:beer: #1 your dog is so good!:) I was wondering how they get so shiny! If I used a razor like that to Geist he would have stripes!!!:rofl: