Winners And Reserve Winners

Exhibitors who place second in their classes need to remain at ringside for Reserve judging.

If your dog comes in second to the dog who goes on to win overall first place (aka Winners), he/she may still have a chance at winning Reserve. Apple Tree House/Photodisc/Thinkstock


I recently entered my first dog show. My puppy was 7 months old at the time so was entered in the 6 to 9 months puppy dog class. We placed second out of six dogs so we were happy with how he did. When we left the ring to head for our car, the steward stopped us and said we had to stay in case “we were needed for Reserve.” What does this mean?


When all the classes of each sex have been judged, all those that have placed first return to the ring to compete for Winners Dog (male) and Winners Bitch (female). These are the best male and the best female in the opinion of the judge that day, and each can earn from one to a maximum of five points toward their championship.

After Winners is selected, the dog that went second to that dog in its class comes back to the ring and competes with the remaining first-place class winners for Reserve Winners Dog and Bitch. No points are awarded for Reserve but you do get a ribbon and are considered the runner up.

Also, if for any reason the American Kennel Club determines that the Winners Dog or Winners Bitch was not eligible, the championship points would go to the Reserve winner. Therefore, exhibitors who place second in their classes need to remain at ringside in case the dog that beat them goes Winners and they are needed back in the ring for Reserve.

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