The American Kennel Club requires a dog to obtain a total of 15 points with two major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a champion. The majors must be won under different judges and at least one other judge must award some of the remaining points - so you need to win under at least three different judges.

Most competitive events held under AKC rules are dog shows, where the accent is on conformation. After being examined by a judge, dogs are placed according to how well (in the judge's opinion) they measure up to their breed standard.

To be eligible to enter, an AKC-registered dog must be at least six months old on the day of the show and be of a breed for which classes are offered in the premium list (the list of breeds being shown). Dogs that are spayed or neutered are only eligible to be shown in stud dog and brood bitch classes. Dogs with disqualifying faults as described in their breed standard are ineligible.

There are three types of dog shows: specialty, group and all-breed. Specialty shows are limited to dogs of one breed and group shows are limited to a particular AKC group. All-breed shows, as the name indicates, are for all AKC breeds.

Most show dogs are competing for points toward their championship. To become an official AKC champion of record, a dog must earn a total of 15 points, which would include 2 major wins under 2 different judges. These points are awarded based on the number of dogs in actual competition--the more dogs, the more points. However, the number of dogs required for points varies with the breed, sex and geographical location of the show. The AKC makes up a schedule of points each year to help equalize competition from breed to breed and area to area.

Dogs can earn from one to five points at a show. A win of three, four or five points is called a major. The 15 points required for a championship must be won under at least three different judges, and must include two majors won under different judges.

There are six regular classes in which dogs seeking points may compete. (Dogs that are competing for points are frequently referred to as class dogs.) these classes are

Puppy (frequently subdivided into 6 to 9 months and 9 to 12 months);
12 to 18 Months;
Novice (dogs that have no points toward their championship and have not won three first prizes in the Novice class or a first prize in any but the Puppy classes);
Bred by Exhibitor (the dog must be owned or co-owned by any one of the breeders of record or a spouse and must be shown by one of the breeders of record or a member of their immediate families);
American Bred;
and Open (which may be divided according to weight or color).

There is no intersex competition in these classes; dogs compete against other dogs, and bitches against other bitches. Only one male (dog) and one female (bitch) of each breed can win points at a show.

Judging in every breed proceeds along the same lines. The judge begins with the Puppy Dog class. In each class the dogs are evaluated and placements are made for first, second, third and fourth. Only the first-place winner in each class remains in competition; the others are eliminated.

After the judge has completed the Puppy Dogs, 12-to-18-Month Dogs, Novice Dogs, Bred-by-Exhibitor Dogs, American-Bred Dogs and Open Dogs, the first place winners from each class are brought back to compete against one another. This is called Winners class. The dog selected best is the Winners Dog. He is the male who receives the points at the show. Next, the dog that placed second to the Winners Dog in his original class is brought into the ring to compete with the other class winners for Reserve Winners Dog. The Reserve Winners Dog will receive the points if for any reason the Winners Dog is disallowed by the AKC.

The same process is repeated in bitches, resulting in a Winners Bitch (the only bitch of the breed to receive points at the show) and a Reserve Winners Bitch.

Next, the Best of Breed/Variety class is judged. All dogs and bitches that are already champions enter in the ring for this class, joined by the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, the judge selects one Best of Breed/Variety. Then, between the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, the judge selects a Best of Winners. If either the Winners Dog or the Winners Bitch is selected Best of Breed, it automatically becomes Best of Winners. (The Best of Winners gets the higher number of points, too. If the points at the show for the defeated Winner were higher than those of the Best of Winners, the Best now gets the same higher total.) The judge finishes the breed judging by selecting a Best of Opposite Sex to the Best of Breed/Variety. (A Variety exists when there are two or more varieties of a breed. Such breed divisions are approved by the AKC and may be according to height, weight, color, or hair type.)

At all-breed shows, this process of elimination takes place in every breed. Each Best of Breed/Variety winner then competes against other Best of Breed/Variety winners within its Group (Hound, Sporting, Working, Non-Sporting, Herding, Toy, Terrier). In the Group judging, the judge's job is to pick the dog that most embodies the standard for its breed. Four placements are awarded in each Group, but only the first-place winner remains in competition. Finally, the seven Group winners are brought into the ring and a Best in Show winner is selected.
Counting Points

You have just won your first Winners Class at a dog show. All your hard work has finally paid off, you’re ecstatic...your dog is excited...but now comes the hard part. How many points did Blaze actually earn??

Here is a quick and easy guide to calculating points that doesn’t require an advanced degree in mathematics.

The American Kennel Club requires a dog to obtain a total of 15 points with two major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a champion. The majors must be won under different judges and at least one other judge must award some of the remaining points - so you need to win under at least three different judges.

Class, Winners, and Breed Competition

Class dogs are judged in classes against other dogs of the same sex - open, puppy, bred-by-exhibitor, American-bred, novice - are just a few. Classes can also be divided by age (as in puppy) or color. When the judge awards first place in a class that dog advances to the Winners competition of its sex.

During the Winners competition, the judge re-examines all the dogs that have received first place in the classes and picks an overall winner - Winners Dog for males and Winners Bitch for females. Although you may have beaten several dogs in the classes, championship points are only awarded to Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. No points are awarded for class wins or Reserve Winners.

Your Winners Dog or Winners Bitch can also win points in the Best of Breed competition. Best of Breed consists of dogs that have already received their championship. Winners Dog and Winner Bitch also compete with the champions in Best of Breed. There are three possible awards a dog can win at this level:
Best of Breed - Awarded to the best dog in the Best of Breed competition
Best of Opposite Sex - Awarded to the best dog of the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner
Best of Winners - Awarded to the best dog between Winners Dog and Winners Bitch

Counting Points

Step One: Take Attendance

Count the number of dogs or bitches competing in the regular classes of your dog’s sex - novice, puppy, bred-by-exhibitor, American Bred, and Open classes. Remember to include your dog in the total! Don’t count any dogs that are absent (no shows), disqualified, dismissed, excused, or have awards withheld. These dogs do not count in computing the number of dogs competing for that show. If you did not keep up with the total number of dogs in the regular classes, ask the ring steward or check the posted copies of the judge's book for a count of total dogs before you leave the show.

Tip: Check the posted copies of the judges’ book before you leave the show to make certain your dog was marked as the winner. Mistakes do happen! Also, verify that your dog’s AKC registration number is correct in the catalog. If it is not correct, let the superintendent know before you leave the show. In both cases, it’s easier to make the correction on the day of the show rather than later.

Step Two: Check the Schedule of Points

Compare the number of dogs competing that day to the schedule of points for your dog’s breed and sex located in the show catalog. The schedule is usually listed with the entries for each breed or at the front of the catalog.

If the number of dogs does not match exactly with those listed in the catalog, choose the number of points assigned to the next lowest number.

An example of a point schedule is listed below:

Schedule of Points
1 Point 2 Points 3 Points 4 Points 5 Points
Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches
2 2 4 5 7 8 10 12 15 19

Remember, point schedules vary by show location. If you are not at the show, make certain you get the points schedule for the event region where your dog won. Refer to the Schedule of Points.

Step Three: Calculating Points for Winners Dog or Winners Bitch

Your dog receives the points according to the number of dogs of your dog’s sex competing in the regular classes.

Let’s say that Blaze is awarded Winners Dog. After accounting for absent, disqualified, and excused dogs, you determine that a total of 6 dogs competed in the regular classes. Assuming the point schedule listed above, he receives 2 points.

Now it’s your turn...

Blaze’s sister, Bianca, wins Winners Bitch. Nine bitches competed in the regular classes. How many points did she earn as Winners Bitch?

Answer: 3 points

Winning More Points In the Breed Competition

Your dog can add to the points won in the Winners Class during the Best of Breed competition. If your dog wins:

Best of Breed
Count the total number of dogs in its sex plus the total number of Champions of both sexes entered in the Best of Breed competition to figure the number of points earned.

Best of Opposite Sex
Count the total number of dogs in its sex plus the total number of Champions of its sex entered in the Best of Breed competition to figure the number of points earned.

Best of Winners
This one is a bit different. If your dog is named Best of Winners, he is awarded the highest point level awarded between Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. Let’s say that Blaze beats out his sister, Bianca, for Best of Winners. If you’ll remember Bianca received three points for Winners Bitch and Blaze received only two points for Winners Dog. Since Blaze took Best of Winners, he is awarded three points instead of two and receives one of the majors he needs for his championship.

Now it’s your turn...

Using the point schedule and results listed below, compute the point totals for the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Winners Dog and Best of Winners: I’m A Perfect Hound

Number of Dogs:
Open: 3
Bred-by-Exhibitor: 1
American Bred: 1

Winners Bitch and Best of Opposite Sex: Three Times A Lady

Number of Bitches:
Open: 4
American Bred: 2

Number of Champions:
Dogs: 2
Bitches: 2

Schedule of Points
1 Point 2 Points 3 Points 4 Points 5 Points
Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches Dog Bitches


4 5 7 8 10 12 15 19

Points Awarded To:
I’m A Perfect Hound (Answer: 3)
Three Times A Lady (Answer: 3)

Here’s What Happened...
Prior to the Best of Breed competition, I’m A Perfect Hound and Three Times A Lady had racked up 2 points each. In the Breed competition, Three Times A Lady won Best of Opposite Sex beating two champion bitches in addition to the six bitches competing in the regular classes. This win increased her points to three. Since I’m A Perfect Hound was awarded Best of Winners, he received three points as well (the highest point value awarded between Winners Dog and Winners Bitch).

Verifying Points

It is important to check on your dog’s point totals from time to time. The AKC offers an online service to verify the number of points your dog has accumulated toward a championship. Allow four to six weeks for your dog’s win to be recorded in this system.

Appearing before a dog's name
AFC Amateur Field Champion
CH Champion
CT Champion Tracker
DC Dual Champion (CH & FC)
FC Field Champion (Field Trial/Lure Coursing)
HC Herding Champion
NAFC National Amateur Field Champion
NFC National Field Champion
OTCH Obedience Trial Champion
TC Triple Champion (CH, FC & OTCH)

American Kennel Club


  Conformation Titles and Terms

  • CH - Champion
    In order to obtain a CH the AKC requires that a dog obtain 15 points to achieve an American CH

  • BIS - Best In Show

  • BOB - Best of Breed

  • BOS - Best of Opposite Sex
    The BOB is chosen, then whatever sex that Canine is, all the canines of the Opposite Sex are judged, and the winner of that gets this title.

  • BOW - Best of Winners

  • WD - Winner's Dog
    The winners dog is chosen from the first place winners of the 6 to 9 month puppy dog class, the 9 to 12 month puppy dog class, the 12-18 month class, the American Bred Dog Class, the Bred by Exhibitor Dog class, and the Open Dog class.

    Winners dog and winners bitch are selected from the entries in the regular classes other than the Champions, which compete in the Best of Breed Class. Both the WD and WB then compete against the champions for BOW and BOB and BOS. It is not unusual for the WD or WB to go BOB over the specials although in most cases the judge will select his/her BOB from the champions entered.

  • WB - Winner's Bitch
    Chosen by the same process as the Winner's Dog, but for Bitches.

  • BIF - Best in Futurity (Also BIF-BOS)
    Futurity is a class or classes held at the KCA National Specialty, once a year where the bitch is nominated prior to the birth of her puppies eligible for the Futurity with a final payment being made at the closing of entries for the National. A portion of the monies paid in is paid back to the first, second, third and fourth placers in each age group (same age divisions as Sweepstakes)

    Futurity is always for dogs born in the same period of time (October 15 to October 14 of year before the Futurity). To be eligible for Futurity the Breeder of Record must be a KCA Member (or member of a KCA affiliated club) AND must nominate the litter before or within six months of birth. Then the puppies are individually nominated before the Futurity show itself.

  • Maturity class
    There is also a Maturity class for dogs who were entered in the prior year's futurity.

  • Sweepstakes
    In a sweepstakes, the owner of the dog enters the dog in the sweepstakes as part of the regular show entry. Any dog that is the right age on the date of the sweepstakes is eligible to compete in it. Right age usually means at least 6 months but under 18 months on the day of the show.

  • BISSw - Best in Specialty Sweepstakes (Also BISSw-BOS)
    Sweepstakes are held at Specialties other than the National. It is limited to dogs/bitches under 18 months of age with classes in dogs and bitches of 6 to 9 months, 9 - 12 months, and 12 - 18 months. There are also Veterans Sweepstakes at some Specialty shows. Monies paid in entry fees is divided among the winners and placers in each class.

    For example, there is an Altered Sweepstakes, that end up with two winners: Best Altered Champion of Record and Best Altered Companion. Any dog at least 6 months old and with an akc/ckc/ilp number will be eligible to compete provided they are also neutered.

  • BISS - Best In Specialty Show (Also BISS-BOS)
    A Specialty is a show limited to one particular breed, sponsored by a club recognized by AKC an KCA. Kspecalty dates must be submitted and approved.

  • GR 1 - Group First Place

  • GR 2 - Group Second Place

  • GR 3 - Group Third Place

  • GR 4 - Group Fourth Place

  • HOF - Hall of Fame (USA)

  • CHOF - Canadian Hall of Fame (Canada)

  • ROM - Register of Merit (not an AKC title)
    This has something to do with the number of champions a dog produces

  • ROMX - Register of Merit (not an AKC title)
    This has something to do with the number of champions a dog produces

  • Veteran
    Specialty shows and some all breed shows have a class for Veterans. Usually this is for dogs/bitches 8 years and above, but occasionally 7 years. This can also be broken into 8-10 years, 10-12 years, and 12+ years. It is a way to recognize some of the excellent dogs of the past.

  • Open Class
    The Open class is usually comprised of mature dogs over the age of 18 months who are not eligible for the Bred By Exhibitor Class or do not wish to enter American Bred.

  • ILP number
    This is a designation that one can get for a dog that does not have it's official AKC/CKC papers. You can still register a dog as a certain breed if you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog you are applying for looks enough like the breed standard. See the AKC web page for more details on how to apply for this number. It will allow you to compete in any AKC sanctioned event except for Conformation matches.

  • Dog - Term used for either "Male Canines" or generic for "Canine".

  • Bitch - Term used for "Female Canine"

  • Points - Awards of merit
    The number of points acquired by going WD or WB depends on the number of dogs or bitches entered at that show. You must be either WD or WB to acquire points. Of the 15 points needed for a CH, at least two "majors" must be won. The number of dogs needed to make points varies in different parts of the country.

  • Major - WD or WB consisting of 3, 4, or 5 points acquired at one time.
    A major is when there are three, four or five points available for the WD or WB. This is based on the number of dogs/bitches entered and varies in different regions of the Country as designated by AKC. For instance, if it takes seven dogs to make three points, the WD would receive three points (a major) if all seven showed. The number of dogs and the number of bitches needed often varies in the same location (seven dogs for three points, 8 bitches for three points as an example)


BB or BOB 
DC or Dch 
FC or Fch 
NFC or NFCh 
Amateur Field Champion
American Kennel Club
Agility Excellent 
Best in Show (Conformation)
Best in Sweepstakes
Best of Breed
Companion Dog (1st level Obedience Titles)
Companion Dog Excellent (2nd level obedience title)
Canine Good Citizen
Canadian Kennel Club
Champion (Conformation)
Champion Tracker
Dual Champion (FC + Ch)
Field Champion
Field Dog Hall of Fame (GRCA Award)
High Combined
"High in Trial" or Highest Scoring Dog in Trial
Judges Award of Merit
Junior Hunter
Senior Hunter
Master Hunter
Masters Agility
Novice Agility
National Amateur Field Champion
National Field Trial Champion
Open Agility
Outstanding Dam - GRCA Award
Obedience Dog Hall of Fame - GRCA Award
Outstanding Sire - GRCA Award
Obedience Trial Champion
Show Dog Hall of Fame - GRCA Award
Tracking Dog
Tracking Dog Excellent
Utility Dog
Utility Dog Excellent
Utility Dog Tracker (UD + TD)
Utility Dog Tracker Excellent (UD + TDX)
Versatility Certificate (GRCA Title)
Versatility Excellent Certificate (GRCA Title)
Variable Surface Tracking
Working Certificate (GRCA Title)
Working Certificate Excellent (GRCA Title)
Winners Bitch
Winners Dog
AKC Titles and Abbreviations
From AKC site

The American Kennel Club has many events in which titles are offered.
Dogs who achieve these titles are entitled to have them listed on their
pedigrees  and certificates, and in event catalogs. These titles become
an official part of a dog’s record with the AKC. Listed below are the
various official AKC titles with their abbreviations: 

As a prefix:

  • Conformation 
    • Ch. - Champion 
  • Obedience 
    • NOC - National Obedience Champion 
    • OTCH - Obedience Trial Champion 
  • Tracking 
    • CT - Champion Tracker (TD, TDX and VST) 
  • Agility 
    • MACH - Master Agility Champion 
  • Field Trials 
    • FC - Field Champion 
    • AFC - Amateur Field Champion 
    • NFC - National Field Champion 
    • NAFC - National Amateur Field Champion 
    • NOGDC - National Open Gun Dog Champion 
    • AKC GDSC - AKC Gun Dog Stake Champion 
    • AKC RGDSC - AKC Retrieving Gun Dog Stake Champion 
  • Herding 
    • HC - Herding Champion 
  • Dual 
    • DC - Dual Champion (Ch. and FC) 
  • Triple 
    • TC - Triple Champion ( Ch., FC and OTCH) 
  • Coonhounds 
    • NCH - Nite Champion 
    • GNCH - Grand Nite Champion 
    • SHNCH - Senior Grand Nite Champion 
    • GCH - Senior Champion 
    • SGCH - Senior Grand Champion 
    • GFC - Grand Field Champion 
    • SGFC - Senior Grand Field Champion 
    • WCH - Water Race Champion 
    • GWCH - Water Race Grand Champion 
    • SGWCH - Senior Grand Water Race Champion 

As a suffix:
  • Obedience 
    • CD - Companion Dog 
    • CDX - Companion Dog Excellent 
    • UD - Utility Dog 
    • UDX - Utility Dog Excellent 
    • VCD1 - Versatile Companion Dog 1 
    • VCD2 - Versatile Companion Dog 2 
    • VCD3 - Versatile Companion Dog 3 
    • VCD4 - Versatile Companion Dog 4 
    • VCCH - Versatile Companion Champion 
  • Lure Coursing 
    • JC - Junior Courser 
    • SC - Senior Courser 
    • MC - Master Courser 
  • Tracking 
    • TD - Tracking Dog 
    • TDX - Tracking Dog Excellent 
    • VST - Variable Surface Tracker 
  • Agility 
    • NA - Novice Agility 
    • OA - Open Agility 
    • AX - Agility Excellent 
    • MX - Master Agility Excellent 
    • NAJ - Novice Jumpers with Weaves 
    • OAJ - Open Jumpers with Weaves 
    • AXJ - Excellent Jumpers with Weaves 
    • MXJ - Master Excellent Jumpers with Weaves 
  • Hunting Test 
    • JH - Junior Hunter 
    • SH - Senior Hunter 
    • MH - Master Hunter 
  • Herding Test 
    • HT - Herding Tested 
    • PT - Pre-Trial Tested 
    • HS - Herding Started 
    • HI - Herding Intermediate 
    • HX - Herding Excellent 
  • Lure Coursing
    • JC - Junior Courser 
    • SC - Senior Courser 
    • MC - Master Courser 
  • Earthdog 
    • JE - Junior Earthdog 
    • SE - Senior Earthdog 
    • ME - Master Earthdog


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