A show is a judged event or display in the hobby of animal fancy or in the occupation of animal husbandry.
Shows usually feature the best specimens of purebred animals in a locality or country. Prestigious shows or those with large purses (prize money) to be won may attract exhibitors from around the world.
In some cases, particularly for horses and dogs, animals may be evaluated in various forms of competition to a performance standard, regardless of breed status. Extensive animal training is usually required prior to competition.
Typically, shows are an opportunity for breeders to feature their best breeding stock, so animals in a show are often entire, that is, the animal has not been spayed or neutered. There are exceptions. Castrated animals are seen in competitions such as those for horses that evaluate athletic performance, or in shows for livestock such as beef cattle that evaluate the "fitting" and quality of an animal intended for meat.
When evaluated on conformation and suitability as breeding stock, animals are first judged within narrow groups categorized by age and sex. The term "Champion" is given in some competitions to the best animal of each sex, sometimes with a "Junior Champion" award given in classes for juvenile animals. (In other cases, the title "Champion" is only bestowed upon animals winning multiple competitions or at specific high-level competitions). Animals of both sexes may compete for the title of Best of Breed, a distinction which can add significant value to a breeder's lines. The top prize in a show, when the Best of Breed winners are judged against one another, is usually titled Best in Show, Best (or Supreme) Exhibit in Show, or Supreme Champion. In performance shows, the highest-placing animals in a given category of competition are often given the title "Champion." The term "Champion" is also used for the highest-placing animals in livestock competition when different breeds do not compete against one another.
Some shows are designated as "All-breed" events, open to multiple breeds of the given animal. Others shows may be breed shows, limited to one or only a few specific breeds of a given animal.
Animals typically "shown" include:
- guinea pigs (often called "cavies" when show animals)
- Agricultural show
- Cat show
- Conformation show (dogs)
- Livestock show
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