“Conformation” is the official name for “dog shows.” While they may seem glamorous, the true purpose of conformation showing is to evaluate breeding stock. The dog’s conformation, the overall appearance and structure, is an indication of the dog’s ability to produce quality purebred puppies, and that is what is being judged in the ring. That is why mixed-breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are not eligible to compete. Many times a new exhibitor will get started in dog shows by finding a mentor, usually the breeder from whom they acquired their puppy. Many AKC clubs also offer handling classes to teach owners how to present their purebred dog to a judge at a dog show.