The sport of conformation is a misunderstood sport by those that
only watch the AKC National Championship or Westminster or any televised dog show.
Conformation is nothing more than judging the best dog in its breed
to perpetuate the strongest lines. This also creates genome
diversity by allowing several judges interpret the standard to what
is presented to them at dog shows.
Conformation Judges must pass a scrutiny of questions about a breed
before they are eligible to be its judge. The nuances not seen as
the judge is "going over" a dog is not appreciated by the
television. Subtleties of the structure that can only be felt by
hand – the strength and balance of the rear as the judge slightly
pushes down on the hips, as an example. In the Ridgeback, the Ridge
is rarely, if ever seen on television and it is its most
The goal of any breeder is to create, in their line, breeding stock
the produces a consistently accurate (to the breeds standard)
litter of dogs. In conformation, judging allows the breeder an opportunity to
present their breeding stock to an educated, unbiased opinion.
I recommend going to a local dog show, see for yourself, ask
questions and most importantly observe the judge in the ring.