Dog shows originated in the 19th century as a means to evaluate breeding stock.
Each breed has a standard developed by committed fanciers in conjunction with the American Kennel Club. There are now 180 breeds in the AKC registry. Developed over time to articulate the key qualities for which each breed has been bred, these hallmarks have become the basis of showing dogs as we now know it. The AKC website outlines the conformation process in which a dog moves from the puppy classes at 6 months to becoming a champion and beyond.
Then as now, when a judge steps into the ring, he/she is looking to assess the attributes of each dog against the Breed Standard, not against the others present that day. The judge has to have in their "mind's eye" the silhouette, movement and attitude described in the standard in order to select which dog in the ring embodies these qualities on that particular day.
The Clumber Spaniel Club of America encourages all new fanciers to acquaint themselves with the conformation process. Even though one might not be inspired to exhibit one’s dog, we do truly believe that all Clumbers are champions at heart.