Grooming Equipment

  • Contestants must provide all of their own equipment, including the grooming table, grooming arm and safety loop, unless provided by show organizer. See individual show rules.

  • Contestants are responsible for providing bathing accommodations for competition dog, unless provided by show organizer. See individual show rules.

  • Flame devices are not permitted in competition ring, prep area or bathing and drying area.

  • Hair dryers are not permitted in competition ring unless stated by show promoter.

  • Holding crates are not permitted in competition ring.

  • Personal grooming tables and equipment must be removed from ring after each class unless stated otherwise by show promoter.


Strictly Prohibited in Competition Ring

  • Use of cell phones, radios and headsets.

  • Smoking in competition ring.

  • Standing on grooming tables.

  • Standing on chairs to groom or style.

  • Beverages NOT in spill proof containers.

  • Coaching by anyone, at any time, during competition, including “Johnnie Break.”

  • Visual or written grooming instructions.


Competitor Policies & Procedures


Competitors have responsibility to keep dogs safe. Competition dogs must be properly crated and cared for, with food and water, when left in secure holding area. Dogs must:

  • Be on safety lead when transported on floor.

  • Be on safety loop when on competition table.

  • Be under control and not left unattended while on grooming table. ·


Professional Image

To promote a professional competition ring, IJA competitor must dress appropriately with

professional grooming attire and shoes. Due to safety issues, no open toe shoes are

permitted. Unprofessional attire would be considered very tight clothing, very short skirts

and no shoes. Contestants who are not dressed appropriately will not be permitted to

enter the IJA competition ring. Contestants who remove their shoes during the

competition or remove clothing, thereby creating an unprofessional image, will be asked

to leave competition ring.


Professional Conduct

Contestants must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. Contestants must use professional language, and exhibit a professional attitude and body language. Using unprofessional language, attitude and body language will be considered unprofessional conduct.


Assistance During the Competition

If competitor needs assistance during competition, competitor must notify ring steward

immediately. Competitor should raise hand to signal ring steward or IJA team. Competitor

must avoid yelling to get attention of ring steward or IJA team.


Mandatory Contest Break - “The Johnnie Break”

  • A fifteen minute mandatory break will take place during competition. Time of break will be announced at beginning of each class.

  • Contestants and dogs must proceed as a group to designated break area.

  • Dogs will be offered water and given a chance to exercise at this time.

  • Contestants can move their own dogs, or have someone else move their dogs in designated area.

  • Contestants may not discuss grooming of their competition dogs with anyone.

  • IJA team member will announce time to return to competition ring and all contestants must proceed to competition ring as a group.

  • Ring master will announce when competition will resume.


Competition End

  • Competitor should remove all hair, equipment and products from grooming table.

  • Comb should be placed on table in front of dog for judge to use during technical evaluation.

  • Competitor may comb dog before and after judging panel has evaluated dog.

  • Competitor should stack dog to present to judge or judging panel.



  • Judges will evaluate competition dogs from inside and outside ring.

  • Judging panel will complete judging 30 minutes after last time frame for class.

  • Ring master will announce when judging is complete to allow contestants and competition dog to relax.

  • When judging is complete, ring master may dismiss contestants and competition dogs from ring until awards ceremony.

  • Contestants and competition dogs must stay ringside.

  • Contestants must return to their table in ring 10 minutes before introduction and awards ceremonies.


Post-Contest Photos

Post-contest photos will be taken at photo station, after technical evaluation has been

completed. Competitor must take photo ID sheet and proceed to photo station after

technical evaluation.


Best in Show Judging

Best in Show Judging may be conducted immediately after contest or at a different time

and location. Contestants who are finalists for Best in Show in each Level must be

present with their competition dogs for final judging to be considered for Best in Show.


Best in Show Awards Ceremony

Best in Show Awards Ceremony may be conducted immediately after contest and final

judging or at a different time and location. Contestants who are finalists for Best in Show

in each Level must be present with their competition dog to receive an award. Award

times are published by show promoter.


Conversations During the Competition

Contestants must refrain from conversing with other contestants during the competition.

Conversations between contestants may be construed as receiving coaching or an attempt to distract other contestants by disrupting their concentration. Contestants may converse after competition is over during judging procedures, however, all contestants should focus on presenting their dogs to judges during judging procedures.


Professional Styling Station

Competitor must maintain a safe and organized styling station for competition dog at all times during the contest. Open scissors left on table, for example, will be considered a safety issue for competition dog and will be considered as unsafe working conditions.


Professional Handling

  • Competitor must practice safe and gentle handling when applying technical skills, such as brushing and handstripping. Aggressively holding the skin on dog and/or aggressive brushing techniques would be considered unsafe handling.

  • Competitor must not leave competition dog unattended on grooming table. A dog jumping or falling off grooming table will be considered unsafe handling.

  • Competitor must take care not to adjust the safety loop too high or attach safety loop incorrectly and place pet in danger. Competitor must not lift dog by his/her tail.

  • Adjusting safety loop too high or too low in an unsafe manner or lifting competition dog by his/her tail will be considered unsafe handling.


Professional Technical Skills Application

Contestants must apply technical skills with safety. Clipper burns, nicks and/or cuts that

are discovered on dog during judging procedures will be considered unsafe technical

application. Competitor may be disqualified from class if his/her competition dog is injured

by unsafe technical skills.


Warnings & Disqualifications

Contestants will receive a warning for their unprofessional image, unprofessional conduct,

unprofessional styling station, unprofessional handling, and/or unprofessional application

of technical skills. A second warning may result in disqualification from class. A third

warning may result in disqualification from entire competition.



An Excellent Sportsman is a competitor who can experience a loss or defeat without

complaint, or victory without gloating, and who treats his/her opponents, judges and

show promoters with fairness, courtesy and respect.


A Poor Sportsman is a competitor who cannot experience losing or defeat without

complaining, blaming others for his/her loss, and who treats his/her competition dog,

opponents, judges and show promoters with disrespect or with rude, belligerent, and/or

derogatory remarks.


Failure to abide by the Excellent Sportsmanship Standard may prevent the competitor

from competing in future IJA Competitions and forfeiture of any IJA Titles.



Contestants must be IJA Competitor Members. IJA Membership fees are paid to IJA.

IJA Sanctioned Competitions are qualification competitions for IJA State, Regional and National Competitions.


Registration for Competition Class

Show promoters post number of tables available for each competition. Registrations

should be made as soon as possible to insure space in contest ring. Registrations must

be received before start of contest. Registrations may not be accepted due to space

availability in ring.


Entry Fees

Entry fees must be paid with registration. Entry fees are paid to Show Promoter. Entry

fees must be paid prior to start of contest.



IJA and IJA Show Promoter encourage communication to create the most professional contest arena worldwide. If you have questions in reference to competition rules, policies and procedures, please contact If you have questions in reference to individual show, payment for individual event, hotel accommodations please contact the individual IJA Show Promoter.



Individual(s) with a formal contest grievance must submit grievance in writing by mail or

by email to IJA Grievance Committee at Grievance must be

submitted by midnight of 7th day after close of competition.

© International Judges Association

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