NYS 4-H Dog Show Dress Code

Approved by NYS 4-H Dog Program Advisory Committee

The purpose for a dress code is to support positive appearances of handlers and to maintain safety in the ring. Judges and 4-H members shall wear suitable attire to maintain a professional appearance. For more information, see the NYS 4-H Youth Development Attire Guide.

Exhibitors should be neat, clean, and well-groomed in appearance. They should wear clothing that is comfortable to handle in and that complements their dog. Clothing should not hinder or detract from the presentation of the dog. Avoid excessive or oversized jewelry or any accessory that will touch or distract a dog.

Acceptable clothing: suits, dress shirts, dresses, skirts, dress shorts, skorts, dress slacks, dressy capri or crop pants, collared blouses, or similar attire. Sleeveless shirts including halter tops and tank tops are not appropriate. Do not wear short skirts, short shorts, spaghetti straps, low cut blouses, or slacks/shorts hanging too low on the waist, clothing with holes or tears in the fabric. Shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and vests with 4-H club or county logos, slogans, dog club names, etc. are not appropriate. If a skirt is worn, care should be taken so that it does not flap in the dog’s face. Sports jackets may be worn, but are not required, especially in warm weather. When wearing a tie, a tie tack should be used to hold the tie close to the shirt so it will not drape over the dog’s back or get in the handler’s way.

Shoes should have non-slip soles and low or no heels. Sneakers, sandals, open-toed shoes, and clogs are not appropriate. Hair that must be continually brushed out of the eyes or that falls over the dog when the handler is stacking is distracting. Long hair should be in a braid, ponytail, bun or clips used to keep it out of the handler’s face.

Youth should practice running and bending over in their show outfits. Practice handling the dog in show clothes. Handlers will be penalized if wearing clothing that is too tight or too revealing. Armbands are worn on the left arm. It is important for the handler to relax, smile and act happy while showing! A pleasant attitude and being a gracious sport will go a long way toward making the handler and his or her dog a winning team.

Exhibitors should be neat, clean, and well-groomed in appearance. A more casual style is acceptable when competing in Obedience than Grooming & Handling. Youth with long hair should tie it back to keep it from interfering with handling or the judge’s view. They should wear clothing that is comfortable to handle in and appropriate for dog shows – not too tight or too revealing. Clothing should not distract, limit or hinder the judge’s view of the dog. Plain T-shirts and dark colored (black or brown) jeans are acceptable in the Obedience ring.

Inappropriate clothing includes shirts, jackets or other apparel with slogans, 4-H club, FFA Chapter, or dog club names, logos, etc., halter tops, tank tops, blue jeans and shorts, sandals, open toed shoes, clogs, and high-heeled shoes.

Same guidelines as Obedience but shirts with county or club identification are allowed.

Shirts with county or club identification, blue jeans and costumes are allowed.

Inappropriate clothing includes halter tops, tank tops, sandals, clogs, high heeled shoes, open toed shoes and clothing that is too tight or too revealing. Clothing should not distract from the performance of the obedience routine or hinder the judges’ view of the dogs.

Sneakers, blue jeans and shorts are acceptable for Rally & Agility because events are typically held outside, rain or shine. Turf shoes are allowed for agility; shoes with cleats are not.

Sleeveless shirts, including tank tops and halter tops, are not appropriate. Shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, etc. with slogans, logos, club names, etc. are not appropriate.

Sandals, clogs, high-heeled shoes, open toed shoes and bare feet are not allowed for safety reasons.

For more information

Contact your local County CCE Association or Brian Aukema at bja14 [at] cornell.edu (bja14[at]cornell[dot]edu).