Procedures, Policies & Protocol

Product Applications:
Dogs should be clean, dry, and free of mats and tangles. Nails should be clipped and/or filed. Ears clean. Sanitary and pads may be clipped prior to competition.

  • Decorative objects such as bows and scarves are not permitted with the exception of acceptable show ring applications such as those that are applied to the Maltese, Yorkie and Shih Tzu.
  • Coloring other than to enhance the natural coat color of the dog is prohibited.
  • Hair extensions such as “Switches” provided they are pf the same coat color of the dog, are permitted but must be applied during the competition time frame.
  • Product such as sprays and styling gels may be applied prior to or during the competition time frame. Hair spray is limited to only “freshening up” once time is called. Re-shaping such as that done on a show poodle headpiece may not be done once time is called.
  • Chalk, such as terrier chalk may be applied prior to or during the competition time frame to aid in hand stripping or enhance the coat color. It is prohibited to apply after time is called.

Check In Procedures:

  • Contestant must pick up their registration packet at the show registration upon arrival to the show.
  • The competition check in station opens 1 hour prior to the contest start time.
  • Contestants must bring their contest entry ticket, signed acceptance of the rules, competition dog and equipment to the contest check in station prior to entering the ring.
  • Contestants may have the pre-contest photos taken and assigned a table or in some instances may have the pre-contest photos taken at their assigned table.
  • Check in station closes 15 minutes prior to the competition start time.
  • Contestants should arrive with their dog at check-in 45 to 60 minutes prior to competition start time.
  • Contestants who have not checked in 15 minutes before contest start time will not be permitted to compete.

Competition Dog Qualification:


  • Dog must be of an age appropriate for completion. Although each dog is individual, the suggested appropriate age is between approximately 1 year and 10 years.
  • Must appear healthy, in good condition and free of infectious disease and parasites.
  • Must not show obvious signs of pregnancy or nursing.
  • Must not show signs of viciousness or aggression.
  • Must not be left unattended.
  • Must be properly crated and cared for with food, water and exercise while on the show premises.
  • Must be leashed when not crated or not being groomed.
  • Must be in compliance with applicable regulations in reference to vaccinations for city and country hosting the competition.



  • Confirm dog entered in the correct class.
  • Confirm sufficient coat growth and evaluate preparation.
  • Confirm time frame by size, breed or technique.
  • Confirm correct division.
  • Determine if pattern is pre-set.
  • Notation of specific information such as, but not limited to: ear infections, missing coat, moles, scars or healing injuries.

Assistance During the Competition

The contestant should notify the ring steward immediately if he/she needs assistance during the competition.

Contest Break

  • See individual show addendums if show requires a mandatory “Contestant Break”.
  • A mandatory break will take place during the competition. The time and length of the break will be announced at the beginning of each class.
  • All contestants and dogs must proceed as a group to the designated break area.
  • Water will be offered for both contestant and dog.
  • Toilet/potty break opportunity available for both contestant and dogs.
  • Assistant may be present to move dogs for groomer inspection or hold them while the groomer uses washroom.
  • Judges are available to hold or move dogs if no assistant is available.
  • Any discussion with regard to dogs or grooming is prohibited and could be construed as coaching which could possibly result in disqualification of offending contestants.
  • A member of the judging team will announce the time to return to the completion area and the group will proceed together.
  • No grooming or styling of any kind is permitted while on the break.
  • An announcement will be made when grooming can resume and the group will resume grooming at the same time.
  • The time of the break is not included in the posted grooming times, it is additional time.

Competition End

  • Contestants should remove hair, tools and equipment from grooming table.
  • A comb should be placed on the table.
  • Contestants may comb their dogs after scissors down, prior to and after judging.
  • Contests may use finishing sprays to freshen up their dog after scissors down, prior to and after judging, but reshaping or styling with hair spray is prohibited.
  • Contestants should stack and present their dog to the judges.


  • The entire judging Team will evaluate profile from outside of the ring.
  • One, two or more members of the Team will evaluate the profile and the technical skills from inside the ring, hands on and report technical findings to the Team members.

Judges will evaluate the following:

  • The overall uniformity of the trim.
  • The overall balance, symmetry and style of the trim.
  • For purebred dogs, the adherence to the acceptable breed profile and standard.
  • For Freestyle classes, the ability of the groomer to create the best possible profile for the dog chosen according to his/her body type, coat and structure.
  • For scissored dogs, the plush overall appearance without scissor marks and proper technique.
  • For hand stripped and carded dogs, the smooth and natural appearance and proper technique.
  • Clipper lines should be clean and free of irritation.
  • The difficulty with regard to the amount of coat removed, whether patter is created or followed, difficulty of the coat type, texture, quality and quantity and how the stylist achieves the ultimate trim.
  • The difficulty with regard to correcting conformation faults and accentuating profile attributes.



Strictly prohibited in the Contest Ring

  • Use of phones, radios and headsets.
  • Standing on tables or chairs.
  • Beverages NOT in spill proof containers.
  • Coaching by anyone, at any time during the competition
    Visual or written instructions.
  • Smoking, Flame devices.

Grooming Equipment

  • Contestant must provide their own equipment including but not limited to: Grooming loops, scissors, clippers, blades, brushes etc.
  • Tables and grooming arms may or may not be provided. See individual show addendums.
  • Hair dryers are not permitted in the grooming area.
  • Holding crates are not permitted in the grooming arena.
  • Flat irons are permitted in the grooming arena.
  • All personal equipment must be removed from the grooming arena after each class.


 Professional image, conduct, skill application

  • Appropriate grooming attire and shoes should be worn at all times.
  • Open toe shoes are NOT permitted.
  • Contestants determined to be dressed inappropriately will not be permitted to compete.
  • Professional manner and attitude must be maintained at all times.
  • Contestants must maintain a safe styling station at all times.
  • Contestants must practice kind and safe handling techniques at all times.
  • Dogs must not be let unattended at any time.
  • Contestants must apply technical skills with safety.
  • Nicks, cuts and clipper burns are considered unsafe technical skill application
    * Judges discretion when determining penalties for the above.
  • Good sportsmanship must be displayed at all times.
  • Professional conduct is also carried into the care and responsibility of you contest dog and the hotel grounds, rooms and property.

Warnings and Disqualifications

Contestants may receive warnings or notifications of unprofessional behavior to include, image, conduct, skill application, unsafe grooming stations, handling etc. a second warning could result in dismissal from the class. A third could result in dismissal from the show.

*Clarification of any issues that may arise that are not covered by the rules will be determined by the judging panel and/or show management.*