Dalmatian Club Of America

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To showcase excellence in Dalmatians, the DCA sponsors a Top 20 event. This event is a part of the DCA National and is intended to educate and entertain judges, exhibitors, breeders and fanciers. This event provides special recognition to those Dalmatians with the most outstanding records in the show ring during the previous calendar year, together with their breeders, trainers and owners. The event provides a continuing incentive to strive for Dalmatians to excel in structure, movement, temperament and conformation to our written standard.

The event offers all who attend a chance to view the very best Dalmatians in the Country based upon their competitive standings for the previous year. Using the scale of points, each dog is evaluated according to how closely it conforms to the breed standard. This procedure is not available at any AKC show and allows the spectators an opportunity to evaluate the dogs, scoring them at the same time to see how individual views can produce a consensus decision, which can then be compared to their own impressions.


  1. There are no eligibility requirements other than being named among the final Top 20 Dalmatians in conformation competition standing.

  2. The Top 20 invitees are based on point standing in breed (total of Dalmatians defeated) or all-breed (total of dogs defeated) as published by the American Kennel Club, counting on a calendar year basis. Should there be any deceased or past winners in the Top 20 Dalmatians for the previous year, their name(s) will be eliminated and the list extended to make a full complement of 20 Dalmatians eligible from both the breed and all-breed systems. Previous winners and deceased finalists will be noted in the Top 20 List published in the event catalog.

  3. To compete in this event, all owners and co-owners of finalists must be in good standing with the AKC and DCA, if members, at the time the invitations are extended and at the time of the event. All dogs must be eligible at the time of the event to compete at AKC events, with the exception of item 4.

  4. Spayed bitches or neutered dogs who have been named among the final Top 20 Dalmatians may compete in this event.

  5. In order to eliminate any possible perception of impropriety, the following prohibitions will apply:

    1. A person judging any conformation class, including Sweepstakes and Futurity, at the DCA National Specialty Show may not exhibit or have exhibited a dog in the Top 20 that is owned or co-owned by that judge.

    2. A person judging any regular conformation class at a Dalmatian Specialty Show immediately preceding or following the DCA National Specialty Show may not exhibit or have exhibited a dog in the Top 20 that is owned or co-owned by that judge.

    3. No dog that is owned, co-owned, or shown by a member of the Top 20 committee, or a member of their family as defined by AKC rules can compete at the Top 20 event. The dog, if qualified, can be listed in the event catalog and shown for exhibition only.

  6. A finalist will only be allowed to complete if the owner or agent attends the briefing held prior to the event for the purposes of assigning arm band numbers and reviewing the staging of the event.

  7. All participants agree to abide by any and all Rules as may become effective through authorization of the Top 20 Committee and/or the DCA.


  1. Each owner of a Top 20 finalist will be sent an invitation to participate in this event. There is an entry fee to be returned with the entry form and other required information accompanying the invitation.

  2. Invitations to appear for Exhibition Only will be sent to previous winners of the event. The opportunity to purchase a double page of advertising in the Top 20 catalog and/or a ribbon(s) is available for nominal fees.


  1. Each year a catalog is prepared exclusively for the Top 20 event. They are available for sale just prior to the scheduled starting time of the event, during the remainder of the DCA National week, and by mail thereafter, through a designated Top 20 Committee member.

  2. The catalog contains a two-page spread for each competitor, with photograph and text supplied by the dog's owner or agent. The catalog also contains score sheets and judging procedures, a profile of each judge, and a page listing all of the previous winners, the judges, and the year in which they won.


  1. The owner of the winner of the event, if a DCA member, will receive an official DCA Bronze Medallion.

  2. Finalists in attendance will receive a formal rosette. The owner of a deceased finalist will also receive a rosette.

  3. Co-owners and breeders of finalists may also purchase rosettes by ordering from a designated Committee member (advance response is mandatory). The total number of additional rosettes ordered may not exceed the number of listed breeders and co-owners of the finalist.

  4. Previous winners in attendance will receive a rosette.

  5. Finalists responding "No" to the invitation and not in attendance at the event will be noted in the rankings in the catalog.


  1. The Top 20 Event will be held prior to intersex competition of the DCA National Specialty Show.

  2. The Draw for armband numbers and the order of competition will be held at least one-half hour before the beginning of the Top 20 competition.

  3. The winner of the event will be announced at the DCA Annual Awards Banquet by the Top Chairperson or his/her designee.


  1. There will be three (3) judges of the Top 20 event. There will be one judge from each of the following three categories:

      An established Dalmatian breeder who has bred Dalmatians for at least ten (10) years, having produced or shown at least four (4) Champions of Record as published in the AKC Gazette; or is approved by the AKC to judge Dalmatians. The Breeder Judge must not own or co-own either a dog in the Top 20 competition or its sire or its dam. The breeder Judge may not exhibit Dalmatians in any class (including Intersex) at the DCA National Specialty Show and any associated All-breed or Dalmatian Specialty Shows in conjunction with the DCA National Specialty Show.

      A person approved by the AKC to judge Dalmatians and at least one complete group. If the Multi-Breed judge is a Dalmatian breeder, this judge must not own or co-own either a dog in the Top 20 competition or its sire or its dam. The judge may not exhibit as stated in 1-A as stated for the Breeder Judge.

      A professional handler, either active or retired, who meets the requirements for membership in a Professional Handlers' Association (though not necessarily a member). The Handler Judge must have at least five (5) years experience. The Handler Judge must not have shown a Dalmatian for an owner of a dog in the Top 20 competition for two (2) years preceding the event. In addition, the Handler Judge may not handle any dog at the DCA National Specialty Show of associated Dalmatian Specialty Shows that is owned or co-owned by an owner of a Top 20 entrant.

  2. Excluded from judging the event will be the following:

    1. Any person actively serving on the Top 20 Committee.

    2. Any person that has previously judged a DCA Top 20 event in any of the three judging categories.

  3. The Top 20 Committee will select the judges in each of the three judging categories.

  4. Each participating Committee member may nominate up to one or two (1-2) judges in each category and forward the names to the Top 20 Chairman. The Top 20 Chairman, after reviewing the nominated judges for eligibility, will forward the names of the eligible nominees to the Top 20 Committee members. The participating Committee members will respond to the ballot, marked in priority order, to the Top 20 Committee Chairman who will tally the ballots.

  5. The Top 20 Chairman will secure the acceptance of the winning nominees, based upon availability. The names of the winners in each category will be revealed only to Committee members.

  6. It will be the Top 20 Chairperson's responsibility to insure that the judges understand that their election must remain totally confidential.


  1. After all Top 20 competitors are viewed in the ring as a group, each dog will be judged individually. Each dog, as determined in exhibition order assigned by the Top 20 Coordinator, will enter the ring and pose for "First Impression." Judges assign a score of 1-10 (10 being the highest) at this time to be used only in a case of tie points using the breed standard. The dog will then be moved down and back, and in a circle while all three judges watch, and the judges will score the dog for movement. The dog will then be examined and scored completely by the three judges, each judge touching and examining the dog as he/she sees fit. The dog will then circle the ring and exit. This process will be repeated until all dogs have been scored.

  2. All dogs will be scored by each judge using the scale of points as provided in the AKC approved standard for the Dalmatian.

  3. Immediately following the completion of judging, the judges' marked (but not tallied for total scores) sheets will be turned over to an independent and impartial person or persons to be tabulated. The scores for each dog, from each of the three judges, are added together, then divided by three (3) to determine the dog's average score.

  4. The winner will be determined on the basis of the average score of each dog. The score sheets and the identity of the winning dog will be given to the Top 20 Chairperson on the evening of the DCA Awards Banquet.

  5. In the event of a tie, the winner is determined by consulting the First Impression total. The dog with the highest First Impression total is declared the winner. The First Impression score is used ONLY to break a tie, and is not included in tabulating the average score. If there is still a tied score, there will be two (2) winners who shall share the title of Top 20 Winner.

DOG NO.________           FIRST IMPRESSION (1-10)_______


For Evaluation Of Individual Specimen
On The Basis Of The Standard

Category Maximum Points Points Assigned
General Appearance
Size, proportion and substance
Neck, topline, body
Color and markings

Total: 100

FINAL SCORE: _____________
PLEASE NOTE: Final Score is NOT to be tabulated by judges or stewards

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