Dog Show Equipment – What Do You Pack?

February 16th, 2010 by Dan

There are over 2,500 dogs in attending the 2010 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and each of these pampered pooches comes with an enormous entourage of equipment! Observing the line of canines file into the back entrance of Madison Square Garden was witnessing owners and handlers struggling to manage all of the items needed to prepare their dogs for their moment in the spotlight. So what do you need to attend a dog show? Here’s a basic list (as different dogs will need different grooming tools depending on their coat type) of what you’d need to haul to a show if you were preparing for the ring!

Bull Terrier

Crate:Crates are a necessity for transporting and keeping a dog safe and feeling secure during showtime. There are many varieties available on the market, but some dog shows do not allow fabric crates to be used. Many handlers prefer wire crates as they provide the best air circulation for the dogs.

Crate Dolly: A crate dolly will help you in transporting your dog and all of your items easily, without straining your back! Bungee cords are used to secure crates onto the dolly.

Dogue De Bordeaux

Crate Pads: You’ll want a soft pad for lining the bottom of your dog’s crate. Keeping a few spares on hand is always a good idea as well!

Crate Fan: The crowded benching areas at dog shows can become stuffy and warm, leaving dogs panting and uncomfortable. Some owners bring along small fans that clip onto the front of the crate to help their dogs cool down and aid in air flow.

English Sheepdog

Grooming Bag or Box: Much like a tool box, it’s best to keep all of the items you’ll need in one place! Fill your kit with brushes, scissors, grooming combs, etc.

Show Lead and Collar: The goal of a show lead and collar is to have them be as unobtrusive as possible – handlers want the judge to notice the dog, not what he’s wearing! Show collars are made of nylon, leather or chain are either martingale type or choke (serpentine or hexagonal). In general, the Toy breeds are the only types to use martingales in the show ring. A thin, snap lead is what you’ll see attached to most collars. It’s not going to take away from the dog at the end of the leash.

Bait: A good handler *can’t* forget the treats! Liver is a common goodie, as it’s easily broken into small pieces, however some dogs prefer steak. Other dogs respond better to toys, but if they squeak they have to only be used when the judge is examining that specific dog!


Exercise Pen: While some dog shows have these set up for dogs to use, others ask you to bring your own. If you aren’t familiar with an x-pen, they’re much like a large, metal playpen for dogs! They let them have a bit of freedom, while still enclosed.

Spray Bottle: A spray bottle of water can be used ringside to hydrate a thirsty dog and also to spray the footpads of a dog to provide traction in the ring. The surface of the floor is often slippery and taking this step can prevent injury to the dog.

Rough Coated Collie

Other Necessities: A handler would be very upset if they forgot their dogs food, bowls, paper towels, shampoos, conditioners, baby wipes and a sheet to put over your dog’s crate to keep him quiet and to discourage curious fingers.

(All photos taken by The Dog Guide staff photographer – Lori Horwedel)

One Response to “Dog Show Equipment – What Do You Pack?”

  1. lizzie Says:

    you should show what all you can use that stuff for i an new to the dog show world and would like to know more that what i do.
    thank you,

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