The Australian Championship Title.

To gain the title of Australian Champion a dog, which must be registered with the Australian National Kennel Council, must gain a total of 100 points, of which 25 of these points must be gained after the age of twelve months.  To gain the title of Australian Grand Champion, a total of 1,000 points is required.


Allocation of points

Points are allocated for exhibits six months of age and over, and a challenge certificate is awarded to each of the Best Dog and Best Bitch in breed judging.  The challenge consists of a standard 5 points plus one point for every dog (or bitch) entered in the breed (except Baby Puppies).  Therefore, 5 dogs (including your own) gives a 10 pt challenge to the winning dog.  5 bitches shown gives a 10 pt challenge to the winning bitch.  The challenge dog and bitch are decided from the winners of the classes.  Separate classes are provided for dogs and bitches.

Classes are:
Baby Puppy (3-6 months)
Minor puppy (6-9 months)
Puppy (9-12 months)
Junior (9-18 months)
Intermediate (18 months-3 years)
State Bred (any age)
Australian Bred (any age)
Open (any age)

There are no separate classes for Champions or Grand Champions - they are entered in their appropriate age class.

Best of Breed is selected from the Challenge Dog and Challenge Bitch.  Best of Breed receives more points to cover the other dogs in the breed it has beaten. (for example, 5 dogs and 5 bitches exhibited, Best of Breed gets the standard 5 points plus 10 points so receives a 15 point Best of Breed Challenge.)  So, Best of Breed (for example, Challenge Dog) takes home a 15 point Best of Breed Challenge and the Challenge Bitch takes home a 10 point Challenge.

Best of Breed competes in the Toy Group Specials.  Best Exhibit in Group receives 25 points towards a title.  The maximum any dog can be awarded at any show is 25 points.  If it should happen (at some small country shows it does) that there are less than 20 dogs in the whole of the Toy Group - say only 15 dogs exhibited in the Group - then Best Exhibit in Group would receive the standard 5 points plus 15 points making a total of 20 points.

To gain the 100 points required for a Champion title in Australia, and the 1,000 points required for a Grand Champion title in Australia, in popular breeds, where exhibit numbers are high, such as the Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and many others, a dog can be awarded 25 points at breed level possibly without ever going Best of Breed.  Four shows will see that dog gain its Australian Champion title.

In breeds where numbers are low, such as Yorkshire Terriers, to gain an Australian Championship title takes a lot longer.  In the case of low number breeds, to be able to gain awards at Best Exhibit in Group level means more points and a quicker road to the title.

To gain 1,000 for the Grand Champion title can take a considerable time for these low number breeds, so to achieve a Best Exhibit In Group award and Best in Show in the low number breeds certainly proves the worthiness of the dog.


The Show System

A further aspect of Australian dog shows is that the breed class winners compete against each other in the Group for Best Minor Puppy in Group, Best Puppy in Group, Best Junior in Group, etc.  These awards do not bring any points, but just the ability to proceed to Best Minor Puppy in Show judging, Best Puppy in Show judging etc., where the best of each Class in Group compete against one another.  The Breed Class winners are decided at breed level judging at which time run offs are conducted - baby puppy dog against baby puppy bitch, and so on through the classes.  Of course, if Best of Breed comes from, for example, the Open class, then that dog is Best Open of Breed and can go on to compete for Best Open in Group, but it can be eliminated if the Best Exhibit in Group comes from the Open class.

Shows in Australia mostly operate on the runner-up system -  that is, Best of Breed, Runner up to Best of Breed, Best Exhibit in Group, Runner up to Best Exhibit in Group, Best in Show, Runner up Best in Show.  Occasionally the Group/Show 1-4 system is used, with Baby Puppy and Puppy in Group/Show awards, but with no further Class in Group/Show awards.

In breed judging, when the judge awards the challenge, they then select the "Reserve" dog/bitch.  If, for example, the bitch gets Best of Breed, the Reserve Challenge bitch returns to the ring in a run off with the Challenge Dog for Runner up Best of Breed.  Sometimes the Runner up Best of Breed goes to the Reserve Challenge and not to the other challenge winner.  Reserve challenge winners do not receive any points.  If the Best of Breed is awarded Best Exhibit in Group, the Runner up Best of Breed returns to the ring for the judging of Runner up Best Exhibit in Group.

In Australia there are 7 Groups - Toy, Terriers, Gundogs, Hounds, Working, Utility and Non-Sporting,

The above applies to All Breeds Championship Shows.  Total show entries at major centres can be anywhere from 800 to 1500, with much lower entries at some country shows.  The Toy Group entries can be from 100 - 250 at major centres.   Some States of Australia have bigger and more shows than others. Each year we have Royal Shows held in major capital cities.  These can attract entries of up to 5,000, and are run over a period of 7-10 days.


Specialty and Group Shows

The above title points system also applies, in part, to Specialty Shows.  Breed Specialty Shows give points to challenge dog and challenge bitch and Best Exhibit in Show will receive points for all the dogs beaten - up to a maximum of 25 points.  Therefore, in a large Specialty Show with, say, 200 entries, the maximum points awarded would be 25 for dog and 25 for bitch.  Best Exhibit in Show will not receive any extra points.  However, as far as Yorkies go, there is only one Specialty Club in Australia and they have 2 shows each year with entries as low as 15 or even less sometimes.occasionally more.

Then there are Group shows - e.g. Toy Dog Club Championship Shows.  There are a number of these held throughout Australia each year with some entries up to almost 500.  Again, points are awarded at breed level and then at In Show level, if applicable, but not more than 25 points.


Travelling to shows and major events

Each State of Australia has its own Canine Association, with a National body - the Australian National Kennel Council.  All dogs are registered within their own State, with a National database maintained.  Exhibitors and breeders are required to be members of their own State Canine Association.

The State Canine Associations approve shows as organized by affiliated clubs within their own State.  Some States have an extensive country show circuit, and clusters are held at holiday times - particularly the Easter holiday period.  In some States shows are mainly held on the central dog showground owned and maintained by their Canine Association, whilst in other States there can be two or three shows held in various parts of the State on any weekend.

Travel by exhibitors to attend shows interstate is quite common, and also time consuming. Travel 2-3 hours or more to a country show within your own State is often undertaken.

Each year there are several "Royal Shows" held throughout Australia and many exhibitors go from State to State exhibiting their dogs.  These shows are connected with Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Societies in each capital city of the States of Australia.  The dog shows attached to these Royal Shows are prestigious and to win at breed level is a great achievement, but to go on to win at Group or Show level is a greatly sought after by all exhibitors.

It is interesting to note that these Royal Shows include competition in many areas - all different kinds of pet animals, floral art, vegetables and fruit, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, birds, fish, art and craft, and lots more, and they are also a showcase for commercial enterprise - cars, furniture, holidays, homewares, etc, and a venue for exposure of volunteer and humanities organizations, with the accompanying sideshow entertainment similar to that found at the Country Fair.

Public interest is huge at these Royal Shows, and with thousands of people visiting each day, many of them visit the dog show arena which gives the opportunity for breeders, owners and exhibitors to talk to the general public about their breed.  There is also an Obedience and Agility competition held.



In Australia dogs are generally owner handled.  There are many young and promising junior handlers growing through the dog showing world, and junior handler competition is very strong.  There are also some exceptionally talented professional handlers within the dog showing community, and many of them acquire beautiful top winning dogs from overseas to campaign to their Australian Championship title before returning them to their country of origin.  However, the professional handler system found in America does not exist in Australia.


Importation of Dogs into Australia

There are extensive requirements put in place by the Australian Quarantine Service which apply to the importation of dogs into Australia from overseas.  Dependant upon which country the dog is imported from, there are various requirements for veterinary certification and vaccinations at differing periods of time before the dog will be allowed into Australia.  Upon arrival, the dog is immediately placed into quarantine at one of several Quarantine Stations around the country, and are required to stay there for at least 30 nights, sometimes longer depending on the country of origin.

Before the process of importation begins, it is necessary for the importer to make application to do so, and then will be given instructions as to what is required under Quarantine rules.  A booking has to be made for accommodation at the Quarantine station at this time.


Exporting dogs overseas from Australia

Export of dogs to overseas countries from Australia is reliant on the procedures required by the importing country.  Some countries do not have any requirements or quarantine and dogs can go straight to their new owners.

It is possible to export a dog to an overseas country, and then re-import that dog (as in cases where dogs are exported to be shown in another country and then returned to Australia).  However, importation procedures are required when the dog is returned, including vet checks and vaccinations in the country in which the dog is, and a stay in quarantine upon arrival in Australia.

It is interesting to visit the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service website at where there is extensive information on the rules, regulations and requirements for importing and exporting dogs.

So it is not easy for our dogs in Australia to compete on the world dog show scene, particularly mature Yorkshire Terriers who require constant care and attention to grooming, which is very difficult to achieve in a quarantine situation.


Showing dogs in Australia is a popular pastime and hobby for many people.  Dogs are mostly owner handled.  Yorkshire Terriers are a minority breed in Australia, but have been seen in the show ring since the commencement of dog shows in the late 1800's.   To increase and improve the gene pool, many have been imported from United Kingdom, and in later years from Europe, Canada and America.  The future for Yorkshire Terriers in Australia is looking very promising with more numbers being shown in recent years.


Written by Libby Eatts - Buidhe Yorkshire Terriers & Golden Retrievers