Conformation competition is the oldest form of competition and has been the mainstay of dog shows.
Conformation is a careful comparison of the dogs in the ring against the standard of the breed. Conformation is an important part of any breeding program, this is how breeders may “measure” their Cairns. (http://www.akc.org/breeds/cairn_terrier/breed_standards.cfm to view the Cairn Terrier standards). Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which they were originated. Conformation shows are controlled by the AKC and awards earned are presented by AKC to honor all accomplishments for the dog and their owner/breeder. Awards are given based on a point system, giving dogs and owners an opportunity to become a team, to work towards titles placed on the dog. Grooming is a huge aspect of owning a “show” Cairn, one needs to acquire the skill to produce a well-groomed dog, most frequently turning to experienced breeders to mentor beginners. Along with that comes the training of the Cairn to make him feel comfortable with being touched and examined and having the confidence to “strut” his stuff in the ring, which is an attribute of the sassy Cairn Terrier!
If you are interested in purchasing a Cairn, a great way to start is to attend and observe a conformation show to see the Cairns and meet their breeders. Please see our “Breeder Page” for a list of Breeders in the area.
Here is a link to view upcoming shows in the U.S.: http://www.akc.org/dog_shows_trials/conformation/index.cfm.
Here is a like to view the rules of conformation: http://www.akc.org/rules
Points Schedule: http://www.akc.org/events/conformation/point_schedule.cfm