Dog Conformation: The Working Dog Group

Learn more about the Working Group’s history, its top dogs, how the breeds are handled in the ring and much more.

Dogs in the Working Group can perform many duties, including rescuing, sledding, guarding and aiding police officers. They are naturally protective of their homes and territories and are affectionate toward their owners, making them great guard dogs and companions. The dogs in this group are strong and intelligent. The Boxer and Doberman Pinscher breeds have taken the Top Dog spot in the Working Group more than the other Working Group breeds. From 1956 to 2011, Boxers have taken the Top Dog in the Working Group 15 times and the Doberman Pinscher 14 times.


Top Working Dogs

Top Dogs of the Working Group from the present back to the year 2000. For more information about a specific dog (if it is available), click on its name.

2013: Portuguese Water Dog GCh. Claircreek Impression De Matisse (also top dog of 2013)
2012: Doberman Pinscher GCh. Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici
2011: Boxer GCh. Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream
2010: Boxer GCh. Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream
2009: Doberman Pinscher Ch. Alure Blazing Star Alisaton
2008: Giant Schnauzer Ch. Galilee’s Pure of Spirit
2007: Akita Ch. Redwitch Reason to Believe
2006: Boxer Ch. Bayview Some Like It Hot
2005: Boxer Ch. Brookwood’s Mystic Warrior
2004: Boxer Ch. Brookwood’s Mystic Warrior
2003: Doberman Pinscher Ch. Blue Chip Purple Reign
2002: Doberman Pinscher Ch. Marienburg’s Repo Man
2001: Standard Schnauzer Ch. Charisma Jailhouse Rock
2000: Boxer Ch. Storybook’s Rip It Up

See a breed list with the National Breed Clubs for the Working Group. Click to continue>>

See the Working Group Top Sires and Dams of 2011. Click to continue>>

See upcoming All-Breed and Group Shows so you can see the Working Group breeds in action. Click to continue>>



Westminster Best in Show Winners

2004 Westminster Winner. Newfoundland Ch. Darbydale’s All Rise Pouch Cove ‘Josh’ was Best in Show in 2004 at the 128th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Here is what Best in Show judge Burton J. Yamada said about Josh: “’Josh’ was magnificent this year. Last year he faded in the BIS ring and was passed over. This year was a different story, as he glided around the ring, poised to perfection and actually asked for the win. The usually placid and easygoing dog seemed to just catch fire. In response to the crowd cheering for him, on the last inspection, he pulled himself up like a stallion and looked me straight in the eye. He was not about to be passed over again. Then on the individual go-around he barked and announced to the crowd and the other dogs that he was here to win. He owned the arena. He could win on his perfect conformation and movement alone, but that was a magnificent performance that’ll remember the rest of my life as that of the consummate show dog.”

Josh bested more than 2,600 other dogs and six challenging Group 1 winners to get Best in Show. Group 1 winners included Sussex Spaniel Ch. Three D Grinchy Glee in the Sporting Group; Ibizan Hound Ch. Luxor’s Playmate Of The Year in the Hound Group; Norfolk Terrier Ch. Cracknor Cause Celebre in the Terrier Group; Pekingese Ch. Yakee Leaving Me Breathless At Franshaw in the Toy Group; Standard Poodle Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto On Fifth in the Non-Sporting Group; and Pembroke Welsh Corgi Ch. Hum’nbird Keepin Up’Pearances in the Herding Group.


Grooming Trends Over the Decades

Whenever conformation judges gather to discuss how dog shows have changed over the decades, it doesn’t take long before the subject of “today’s overgroomed dogs” takes center stage. Flip through the magazines of the 1960s and ’70s, and the show photos speak volumes: Whatever the breed, we see sparser head and leg furnishings, a less tailored look and little evidence of the “P” word (product).

So what’s happened? Are exhibitors and handlers feeling less constrained by the individual edicts of breed standards and eager to put their artistry on display? Are judges more accepting of a generic (big coat, big movement, big everything) show dog? Is it the smorgasbord of shampoos, lotions and potions available for purchase at dog-show vendors and online? Probably a combination of all three.

We asked breeders, judges, professional handlers and owner-exhibitors for their take on the grooming changes they’ve witnessed firsthand in the Working Group. Read More>>


Watch Working Group Breeds in the Ring

Watch the breed judging at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Click on a Working Group Breed to proceed to the video.

Alaskan Malamute
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Black Russian Terrier
Cane Corso
Doberman Pinscher
Dogue de Bordeaux
German Pinscher
Giant Schnauzer
Great Dane
Great Pyrenees
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Neapolitan Mastiff
Portuguese Water Dog
Saint Bernard
Siberian Husky
Standard Schnauzer
Tibetan Mastiff

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