Planning a Dog Show: The To-Do Lists

by Sarah Burlingame, 2013 Show Chairman

Putting on a dog show is much like planning a wedding: there are many details and decisions to be made that you wouldn’t know about until you are involved in the planning process yourself. Dog shows are even more complicated by the fact that some decisions need to be made years in advance!

It is already December. Our show is still three and a half months away. That may seem like a long time, but this is when the planning and preparations really amp up!


What we’ve already accomplished:

  • Our Judges have been selected, contracted, and approved by AKC.
  • The applications for the show have been sent in and the show and trials have been approved.
  • The first set of updates to the Premium List has been submitted and we have received the first draft back from Onofrio.
  • Trophies have been purchased from local artists.


What we need to do in the near future:

  • Contact our existing vendors to see who will be returning, figure out how much space we’ll have left, then find new vendors if there is space remaining.
  • Finalize the Premium List and resubmit to Onofrio.
  • Contact various contractors and suppliers, such as the show photographers, lunch caterers, the Sheriff’s department, the Fire Department, our parking crew, golf cart suppliers, porta-potty suppliers, etc. to confirm or set up services for the show weekend.
  • Hire ring stewards for the Conformation, Obedience, and Rally rings.


As the show dates gets closer our to-do list will grow…

  • Work with Onofrio to schedule show times after the entries close in early March and finalize the ring layouts.
  • Assign ring stewards to their rings after the show schedule has been finalized.
  • Coordinate Judge Hospitality and transport to and from the airports, hotel, and show grounds.
  • Coordinate ring and club hospitality to take care of our members, judges, and stewards as well as set up the ring tables.
  • Determine what supplies are needed from the club storage unit, purchase additional supplies as needed, and coordinate the transport of the supplies to and from the show grounds.
  • Our Grooming Chairperson will begin received grooming reservations and will assign spaces in our reserved grooming buildings.

These are very short lists of all that it takes to put on a dog show–there is a lot that I haven’t even touched on!


Then finally the show weekend will be here and the real fun will begin! Set-up begins on Friday, the day before the show begins, and typically takes all day–with a very long list of things to do! I have been involved with putting on the PDFC dog show for over 15 years now and it is still amazing to watch an empty building get transformed into a dog show… and then filled with many wonderful examples of over a 150 different breeds!

Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds

If you are interested in being a part of the team that makes this show a reality, consider becoming a member of Peninsula Dog Fanciers’ Club! Contact us for more information! Be sure to check out our Facebook page, too!