What Not to Wear in the Dog Show Ring

July 30, 2012

Competition Events

 In my years at dog shows, I have seen some pretty terrible outfits. Really terrible outfits. Putting aside style and fit for now, I’ve outlined what I see as the worst things to wear in the ring. My belief is that we go into the ring as a representative of our dog. Thus, it is important to not upstage your dog, or for your outfit to detract from the larger presentation.

Open toed shoes or heels: if you can manage to run in them, you can easily injure dogs and yourself.Sandals also tend to flap, which can make your dog’s movement look sloppy.sandals at dog shows- no thank you what not to wear to a dog showwhat not to wear to a dog show

Anything that flaps or flows: lots of fabric is distracting! Especially at outdoor shows, the flowing fabric on long skirts and dresses interferes with your dog, and the judge’s ability to judge. Men- this includes you, too.

what not to wear to a dog show

Not suitable for work, or a dog show.

Anything that restricts movement: if you cannot move, how can you expect your dog to? While some toy-dog owners can get away with these tight skirts, most dog showers need to be able to stretch their legs without fear of ripping their skirt.

what not to wear to a dog showHammer pants not acceptable

Skirts with slits: enough said? Skirts with slits look… cheap. Very cheap.

what not to wear to a dog showdog show clothing

The same color as your dog: (Unless you’re trying to hide something.) While simple black or white pants may be perfect for many dog showers, you run the risk of confusing the judge’s eyes if you wear a shade similar to your dog’s color. This is simply a fact of human vision- check out the difference between the silhouettes below.

Why not to wear this to a dog showwhat not to wear to a dog show

Reflective fabric: another optical illusion. The shine of certain fabrics can detract from your dog substantially on the move, and plus- it is harder for the judge to look at your dog without noticing you.

what not to wear to a dog showwhat not to wear to a dog show


Anything “au natural” – women, two words: support garments. There is perhaps nothing more painful to watch than a large-breasted woman running around the ring in an everyday bra. I usually wear a sports bra on top of a “normal” bra. It’s not the most comfortable, but it keeps me from looking like this:


Casual Clothes: I was the steward for judge Charles Trotter, when he made me promise never to enter a ring looking like “that lady.” The lady in question was wearing khakis, sketchers, and a cotton T-shirt. He explained that he was there to judge the dog, but people like that show no respect for the sport, or their own animals. He added that if two dogs were equal, he’d choose the better dressed person.

what not to wear to a dog showwhat not to wear to a dog show


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About BredByBitch

Hello! My name is Dani, and I've been in the "dog world" since I was 8 years old. My mother raises and breeds Irish Wolfhounds, which was my introduction to the show ring. I showed in Junior Showmanship for many years before aging out and getting my first German Wirehaired Pointer. I live in Tucson, AZ with my German Wirehaired Pointer, Luke. Luke is my man, from my first home-bred litter of wires.

View all posts by BredByBitch

11 Responses to “What Not to Wear in the Dog Show Ring”

  1. Juanita Kimbrough Says:

    I enjoyed this page. Please sign me up to receive your news letter.
    Thank you


  2. Fran Scholl Says:

    I saw this on a fb friend’s page. It is absolutely hilarious. But on the other hand sad. Why? We as humans at one time or another lack all commonsence!


  3. Janice Ramos Says:

    Lots of great information and I loved photos.Thank you!


  4. Lauren Says:

    What is your opinion of pant suits on ladies in the ring? I’ve noticed that most ladies tend to prefer skirt suits in the larger shows, but I’m not sure about the appropriateness of tailored pants in other venues. I’m a size 16 and I’d really prefer not to have my thighs rub together while I’m gaiting my dog.


    • Dani Says:

      I think pant suits are a great optio n! Just make sure to wear a color that contrasts with your dog. 🙂

  5. Alec Says:

    So if I’m showing my white dog what is recommended to wear? Its my first show, and I am only 13. But I do want to impress the judges as best I can with how both of us look.


    • Dani Says:

      Hi Alec! I’d reccomend a nice pair of slacks with dress shoes, a dark button-up shirt, and a tie. You’ll look great with a white dog.

  6. vetura pune biznese Says:

    Jillette discussed his weight loss in more detail in episode 158 of his podcast, Penn’s Sunday School. He said that he found himself in the hospital on Halloween 2014 (October 31), because of various complications of being fat. You might remember Season 5, Episode 1 of Penn & Teller’s television show Bullshit!, “Obesity,” in which we learned that the obesity epidemic was “bullshit.” But apparently Jillette has…


  7. Asif Khan Says:

    Lots of great information and I loved photos.Thank you!


  8. Joe Says:

    Any recommendations for a men’s attire for a Vallhund for a regional show? I’m assuming not Khaki pants but grey/black? As a new handler I don’t necessarily want to come off like a pro but want to give my dog all the advantages possible.



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