Specialty shows may be held several different ways:

Independent – The host breed club (either parent club or regional club) offers a licensed event for conformation judging.   The highest award is Best of Breed (BOB), but at a Specialty show, BOB is also known as Best In Specialty Show (BISS), and this is a very special honor within breed clubs to win. Breed points apply to national breed ranking (every dog defeated is one point).   If the parent club is hosting the show, this is known as the “National” breed show, and it is the highest honor to win in a breed.

Veteran dogs (over 8 years) are eligible to compete for BOB if they are spayed or neutered at an Independent regional specialty show.  This is the ONLY show where this is possible.  In California, the South Coast Vizsla Club has hosted an annual Independent specialty for over 25 years, and is the only club in California to offer this show.

Designated – A Designated specialty show is one that is held as part of an all-breed dog show.  The host all-breed dog club gives permission to the regional breed club to participate, but the all-breed dog club chooses the judge & awards the ribbons, and the BOB winner moves forward to Group judging.   The host Regional breed club will  offer special trophies and prizes to the winners of each class, to the Best of Winners, Best of Opposite Sex, and Best of Breed.  In this case, BOB is also Best in Specialty Show, but breed points are only awarded once.  All-breed points are also awarded if the dog places in the Group.   Entries are limited according to the host all-breed show rules.

Concurrent – A Concurrent specialty show is one that is held on the grounds of an all-breed dog show, but there are two rings for competition.  This is an opportunity for a dog to compete twice in one day, and could earn breed points for national breed ranking twice that day.  An entry must be made for the all-breed show, AND the concurrent show in order to compete twice.

The first competition scheduled is the one hosted by the all-breed dog club which chooses the judge & awards the ribbon for  Best of Breed (BOB).   Breed points are earned, and the winner moves forward to Group judging later in the day.  If the dog places in the Group, then all-breed points are also earned.  The winner does NOT earn the honor of BISS.
The Concurrent specialty show is scheduled for competition after the all-breed judging has been done, and the host Regional breed club chooses the judge and awards the ribbons & trophies.  The winner of the Concurrent specialty show earns Best of Breed (BOB).  This is known as Best In Specialty Show (BISS), and the dog is awarded breed points for national ranking and earns the bragging rights for winning a Specialty show.  The winner does not move forward to Group judging.  Entries are limited to 100, including puppy & veteran sweepstakes and other non-regular classes.

It is possible for a dog to win BOB for the all-breed dog show, and not win the Concurrent specialty show.   It is also possible for the same dog to win BOB, and win BISS.  In this case, the dog will be awarded breed points twice, and will also move forward to the Group judging in the all-breed show.

Evening – An Evening specialty show is held on the grounds of an all-breed show, but it is held after the all-breed Best In Show judging is done.   The host Regional breed club chooses the judge, and provides the trophies & ribbons.   A separate entry is required for the Evening specialty show.

It is possible that the dog who won BOB earlier in the day hosted by the all-breed club does not win at the Evening specialty.  Only the winner of the Evening specialty can lay claim to the BISS title for winning BOB.   It is also possible that the dog who won BOB in the alll-breed show also wins the BISS title in the Evening show.  In this case, breed points are earned twice.

Entries are limited to 50, and no other judging for special attractions like sweepstakes or non-regular classes is allowed.

Supported Entry – A Regional breed club may support an all-breed club with trophies and prizes, but the winner only earns BOB, and does not earn the honor of BISS.  The BOB winner earns breed points, and moves forward to Group judging, and will earn all-breed points if the dog is awarded any Group placements.   Winning a supported entry is an honor, but not quite as much as winning a Specialty show (BISS).

Best In Specialty Show (BISS) is not an official title recognized by the AKC.  It is an honorary title only, that comes with extra special bragging rights.

FAQs about AKC Conformation Dog Shows