Dog shows are evaluations of a dog's conformation. Judges compare the dogs conformation with their interpretation of the perfect dog described in the written breed standard. The dogs are also compared against each other and placed from first to fourth.
At dog shows, most of the dogs are competing for points toward their championships. It takes fifteen points including two majors (wins of three, four, or five points at a single show), under two different judges and a point under some third judge, to become a Champion of Record, indicated as Ch before a dog's name. Points are awarded from one to five depending on the breed, the region in which the event takes place, and the number of dogs or bitches actually in competition at a show. Judging is a process of elimination. If you are the one that the Boston Fairy smiles upon, you will be the one that earns the points at that show on that day!
Once you've won your first point, you just cannot stop! It's too addictive, so BEWARE starting to show your Boston!
A competitor who gets more than 50% of the points on each exercise and a total score of 170 or more out of a possible 200 earns a "leg" toward an obedience degree or title. Three legs are required for the title. The Novice level title is called "Companion Dog" or CD, and the CD title is indicated after the dogs name.
Open work introduces such tasks as retrieving a dumbbell, jumping a hurdle and a broad jump. The degree requirements are the same as in Novice work, and a dog that earns the title gets a Companion Dog Excellent or CDX title.
The most advanced level of obedience is Utility work. Scent discrimination and responding to hand signals are among the exercises. The title is Utility Dog or UD. Dogs who have this title can continue to compete and earn an OTCh., Obedience Trial Champion, degree. AKC also has tracking tests, in which the dog must follow a trail by scent. A dog passing such a test earns a TD or Tracking Dog title, or TDX, Tracking Dog Excellent title.
What Is An Obedience Title, Really???
Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain, in record and in memory, for about as long as anything in the world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better.
And though the dog itself doesn't know, or care, that it's achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count. A title says your dogs was intelligent and adaptable and good-natured. It says that your dogs loved you enough to do the things that pleased you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.
And a title says you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with him because he/she was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that in the end your faith was justified.
A title proves your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved and loved greatly in return.
And when that dear, short life if over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of praise in one small set of initials after a name. An obedience title is nothing less than love and respect, given and received and permanently recorded.*
In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.~Edward Hoagland