I'll start at the beginning.
Dog Show 101
When you show your dog, it's separated by sexes. Bitches show against bitches and dogs against dogs. There are several puppy classes you can enter, as well as Novice, Bred By Exhibitor, Amateur Owner Handler, American Bred, Open. Pick the appropriate puppy one, or one where you feel your dog will do best. Sage has gone from American Bred to Open. She's 3 years old now, and I think she fits in the Open class.
So.... The 1st place winners of each of these classes go back in for Winners. The one that is picked for Winners is the one that gets the points towards their championship. That's it. Nobody else. They also pick a Reserve Winners, which is sort of like 1st runner up, or as my breeder calls it - "first loser". It makes you crazy, those stupid purple and white reserve ribbons.
Now it's time for the Best of Breed competition. All the Champions and the Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch compete with each other for Best of Breed. The judge picks Best of Breed. If the BOB is a dog, then the judge will pick a bitch from the rest of the Best of Breed competition to go Best Opposite Sex (and the reverse is true). The judge will also pick Best of Winners from the two that went Winners from the classes. The judge can also award a Select to a dog and a bitch, and that counts towards Grand Championship points, but that's another thing altogether. I have demonstrated this whole thing with shampoo and cologne bottles at work for a friend of mine who can't keep all this stuff straight. "Now this cologne bottle is the Winners Bitch…"
Okay, now the whole point system nightmare.
From the AKC website:
"The American Kennel Club requires a dog to obtain a total of 15 points with two major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a champion. The majors must be won under different judges and at least one other judge must award some of the remaining points – so you need to win under at least three different judges.
That sounds easy enough, but no, LOL.
Each state where you show your dog has different numbers for what constitutes a major. And it is determined each year by the entries in each breed. Every breed has different numbers for a major. For example it only takes 7 Border Collie bitches to make a 3 point major in Oklahoma, but it takes 16 GSD bitches to make that same 3 point major. We consequently hate the BC people (just kidding). That's why, when we win, my friends in other breeds are shocked that our win wasn't a major. It takes a boatload of GSDs to get a major where I live. The show that I'm going to next - Monroe, Louisiana - has 20 bitches entered on that Sunday. In Louisiana, that
is a 5 point major. In Oklahoma, it would be a 4 point major. But it doesn't make any difference - 3, 4, 5 pt majors - you have
to have 2 of them to finish.
Okay, building MAJORS. Argh.
You call everyone you know that has a GSD. You get your handler to call the other handlers and find out where everyone is going. You beg
everyone to go to the same show. This is called "building a major".
Now that everyone is supposedly on board with the plan, you make your entries. Entries close at noon on a Wednesday. You haunt the superintendent's website waiting for the breed counts to come out (usually Fri morning). If the numbers you need are there, then congrats, you have succeeded in building your major. If it is a major on the nose (say you need 16 and there is 16) you hope and pray that everyone shows up. If someone doesn't show up, or their dog gets excused, THAT is breaking a major. And it makes you want to scream "noooooooooooo!!". If you ONLY need majors (like my Sage) and it isn't a major, you just don't go to that show. No sense showing and possibly taking the points from someone else who can use them. Basically you have tossed your entry fees out the window.