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Maltese Dog Show
                    Maltese dog show
With some dedication, an owner can have a beautiful Maltese show dog.
A Maltese Dog Show

Entering your Maltese into a dog show can be quite fun.

There are some owners who are fiercely competitive; some so much that they will go to very far lengths in order for their dog to win...

However, many owners join a club for fun and the bonding that happens between dog and owner.

Before you jump into showing your Maltese, you will want to know the basics of dog shows.

Some effort and commitment on your part must be present and your Maltese must be ready as well.

The Very Beginning of a Maltese Dog Show

For a Maltese dog show, in order to show your Maltese at official AKC Conformation event, you must have proof that your dog is a purebred Maltese.  You must have papers for your dog to prove this.  Papers should have been given to you when you obtained your dog.

In the United States, if you have a CKS, APRI or other registered dog, you will not be able to enter a Conformation event, but will be able to enter Agility, Obedience and Dancing with Dogs.

If you do not have any papers,  clubs such as the CKC will register your dog if you have photos and witnesses who will state in writing that the dog is a purebred.   The CKC is one club that currently offers this; an owner should call local clubs to find one that will make this exception.   In any cases, the dog must usually be at least 6 months old.

The 4 Different Types of Events

  • Conformation:  To judge a dog on how closely he/she matches the official dog breed standard
  • Agility: Fun events where the dog runs an obstacle course, prompted by the owner/handler's commands
  • Obedience: To judge how well the Maltese listens to commands
  • Dancing with Dogs: A free style event that is very open to any type of "performance" with owner/handler and dog.  Owner/handler and dog move together to chosen music. 

Maltese dogThe Biggest No-No of a Maltese Dog Show

If you are planning on beginning the journey of dog show events, you will want to become familiar with the official breed standard.  One of the most important aspects in Conformation (appearance) events will be the coloring of the dog.  Unfortunately, some unscrupulous owners will resort to foul play!  It is not uncommon for some to use white dye to create a perfect colored coat or black dye to cover any mis-pigment in the paws or nose.  However, any foreign substance is forbidden and if this is discovered by the judges, the dog will be expelled and the owner may be banned from the club for life.

What Will Happen at a Maltese Dog Show:

First,  your dog must be trained.  For Conformation events, you will be standing with your dog and then walking him or her around the arena.  The judges will also be inspecting your dog; usually done on a stand. For this, he or she needs to know:
  • To sit and remain very still
  • To walk nicely and uniformly with you
For Agility events, your dog will run an obstacle course.  These are set up differently depending on the club.  Most will include:
  • Jumps - a dog will jump through hoops
  • Tunnels - a dog will run through open tunnels and also tunnels in which the end of the tunnel opens as they run through
  • See-Saws - a dog must have good balance to run half way up, lean to make the other side lower down and then finish off
  • Hurdles - a dog will leap over hurdles, usually made of wood
  • Tables - during the course, a dog will jump on a table and be commanded by their owner to sit, lay or stay for a certain amount of time and then given the command to finish running the course

For Obedience events,  your Maltese will be judged on a wide variety of commands. Which one is the hardest?  To command your dog to sit and stay, while you walk away...and not have them follow you!

Dancing with Dogs allows you to perform any routine you wish.  The dogs "dance" with their owner.  Jumping, twirling, hopping over the owner and so much more can be done.  It is recommended to watch these events, either on TV or in person to really grasp the idea of how much fun this is and the broad range of movements you can train your dog to do with you.

Where To Start?

The best method of winning dog shows is to begin with Matches.  Matches are unofficial dog shows run by dog clubs in which owners can bring their dogs to compete.  This is a great way of both you and your dog getting used to what happens at shows and what is to be expected.  The Matches mimic official shows and is excellent training for both of you.  Your Maltese will have the opportunity to become accustomed to the ring, the noise, the people and the activities of a show.

This is also a great opportunity for you to meet other Maltese owners and breeders.  You can learn so much by talking to and watching other owners and their dogs.  Being a spectator at official dog shows is highly recommended as well.   You will get a great feel for what actually happens and how others lead their dogs and give commands.

Now What?

Once your dog is well trained and quite used to the environment of dog shows via the Matches, you can then apply to enter your Maltese into a show.  There are over 1000 dog clubs in America alone.  Therefore, you will have plenty of shows to choose from.  Each have their own set of rules.  And importantly, each has a deadline of registration.  Once you find a show that you wish to enter, you will be sent all of the information needed. 

All that is left is to have your Maltese groomed to perfection for a Confirmation event or well trained for an Agility event.  It is recommended to have your dog shaved into a "family" or "puppy cut" for Agility events.  As you enter more shows, you will know what you truly need to pack; however the basic necessities will be:
  • Plenty of food and water for traveling to the show and at the dog event
  • A dog carrier
  • Leash
  • Grooming supplies
  • Toys to keep your Maltese occupied
All that remains is your chance to have fun and for your Maltese to win a ribbon!


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