National Shiba Club of America

NSCA Top Twenty Invitational

The Event

The National Shiba Club of America Top Twenty Invitational showcases the select group of dogs which have excelled in conformation competition in the previous year to educate exhibitors, breeders and fanciers and to recognize their breeders, owners, trainers and handlers.

In a procedure differing from a regular show, a multi-judge panel evaluates the entrants and completes individual score forms.

The Invitational is held on the day preceding the Breed judging at the NSCA National Specialty. Participants and spectators are asked to respect this event by wearing show/business attire, or (optional) semi-formal dress.


During the previous year, points are awarded equal to the number of dogs defeated by winning Best of Breed at an AKC licensed All-Breed or Specialty show. Eligibility is based on Breed point wins as published in the AKC Awards publication for the period beginning January 1st and ending December 31st. Standings from AKC will be published monthly by in the NSCA Bulletin and on the NSCA Website. All past winners who qualify for the current Top Twenty are eligible to compete. In the event that an eligible dog should die during the period from the determination of eligibility and the time at which invitations to participate are sent, that dog will be eliminated and the list extended to make a full complement of 20 dogs invited to compete. Deceased finalists will be noted in the Top Twenty listing published in the event catalog.

All owners and co-owners of the finalists must be in good standing with the AKC and NSCA, if a member of NSCA, at the time the invitations are extended and at the time of the event. Dogs owned or co-owned by the Top Twenty Subcommittee Chairperson or members of his/her family may show at this event. Subcommittee members who have qualifying dogs will not have input into the selection of judges.

All agree to abide by any and all rules as they may become effective through authorization of the Top Twenty Subcommittee Chair or National Specialty Show Chair as they concern the finalists' participation in the event. Failure to do so may revoke the privilege of future participation, regardless of eligibility.

A finalist will only be allowed to compete if the owner or agent attends the briefing held at least one half hour prior to the event for the purpose of distributing arm bands and explanation of procedures.

Spayed bitches or neutered dogs that have been named among the final Top Twenty Shibas may compete in the event.

Each dog that is entered in the Top Twenty Invitational will receive a special rosette. The streamers will display the entrant’s name, the date and place of the event and the name NSCA Top Twenty Invitational.


The owner of a Top Twenty dog, based on the final standings, will be sent an invitation to participate. The invitation will be addressed to the dog and to the dog’s first registered listed owner.

Invitation packets will contain. 1) Response/entry form; 2) sample catalog pages and specifications; 3) summary of procedures document with sample scoring documents.

The owner must respond by the deadline date(s) indicated, providing required and optional information in format determined by the Top Twenty Subcommittee and/or Show Committee. Electronic submission of biographies, pedigrees and photos is encouraged. An electronic form will be emailed to entrants to facilitate electronic submission.


The Top Twenty winner is selected by a panel of three judges. All judges are nominated and selected by the Top Twenty Subcommittee.

Judge Eligibility and Selection

AKC Multi-breed judge:

Must be approved for Shiba Inus and at least three (3) other breeds and must reside within a 500-mile radius of the event location. Selected judges must have had a Shiba Inu breed assignment, with competition, within the 3 years preceding the event.

NSCA Breeder judge:

The breeder judge must be an NSCA member in good standing; must have been breeding Shibas for a minimum of five (5) years; and have produced at least five (5) conformation champions as published in the AKC Awards. There is no residency restriction on breeder judges. Breeders are the owner(s) or breeder(s) of a Shiba receiving an invitation to compete in the Top Twenty are not eligible.

The NSCA Top Twenty is not subject to AKC rules with regard to judges’ eligibility to participate in other events. A judge of the Top Twenty event may enter other events during the National specialty weekend.

Subcommittee choice:

Must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • be an AKC prospective/provisional Shiba judge who has attended at least one NSCA Judges Education seminar; or be a foreign judge approved to judge Shibas in his/her country of residence eligible for AKC approval as a visiting judge;
  • be a Shiba breeder (NSCA membership not required) who has bred Shibas for a minimum of five (5) years; and has produced at least five (5) conformation champions (may be AKC champions, or champions of record in a registry of the country in which the judge resides);
  • a handler/former handler (with Shiba experience preferred)

There is no residency restriction on subcommittee choice judges.


The following may not judge. Individuals who:

  • judged any Shiba Specialty in the six months preceding the Top Twenty Competition;
  • are scheduled to judge any National Specialty associated events (ex, sweeps, futurity/maturity, parent/host club specialties) in the year which Top Twenty judge nomination are being accepted;
  • are scheduled to judge Shibas at the AKC/Eukanuba Championships in the current year;
  • are scheduled to judge any Shiba Specialty in a six month period following the Top Twenty Competition for which nominations are being considered.

The Top Twenty Subcommittee Chairman or designee will review the nominated judges for eligibility and obvious judging conflicts, prepare and distribute balloting information to the participating Top Twenty Subcommittee members. The Subcommittee or designee will secure the acceptance of the selectees, based on availability.

There is no fee paid to the judges but, it is customary for the judge and a spouse or significant other to be guests of the NSCA at the NSCA National Specialty Awards Banquet. Other meals and one night’s room may also be offered at the discretion of the Top Twenty Subcommittee and Show Chair.

The names of the selected judges will be revealed only to Top Twenty Subcommittee members and others who may require knowledge to carry out their duties in support of the Top Twenty event.

Ring Procedures

All entrants enter the ring in catalog order and are moved twice as a group around the ring. All dogs will then exit.

One examination table will be placed in the ring. Each dog will then be recalled to the ring in catalog order. As each dog enters the ring, it will be announced by armband/catalog number. The dog will enter the ring and pose (free stack).

The dog will then be moved down and back, and in a circle while all the judges watch and score the dog on the elements outlined in Sections I and II of their evaluation forms.

The dog will then be examined on the table by each judge, evaluating and scoring the elements outlined in Sections III and IV of their evaluation forms (see sample). The judge will also assign an Overall Impression score. The dog will then exit the ring

This process will be repeated until all dogs have been evaluated.

As each dog is judged, the stewards will review the evaluation forms for completeness/legibility. Completed sheets will be delivered to a representative of the Top Twenty Subcommittee for safekeeping until results are tabulated.

After all entrants have been individually judged, all entrants will be brought into the ring together a second time. Each judge will mark a separate Bonus score card with his placements of the entrants First through Fourth place. 1st place will receive 5 bonus points; 2nd place will receive 3 bonus points; 3rd place will receive 2 bonus points; 4th place will receive 1 bonus point. Bonus points, as applicable, will be added to the compiled breed standard score during the second phase of the tabulation. This is the only element of judges scoring which directly compares the dogs to one another.

After the judges have completed and turned in their ‘Bonus’ cards to the steward, each dog will be moved around the ring, while the announcer reads information from the dog biography as printed in the catalog. The judges will then present the rosette and the dog will exit the ring.

A photographer will be available for individual photographs immediately following judging.

Tabulating the Scores & Determining the Winner

Phase I of the tabulation may be done at any time, after completion of the event. Phase II of the scoring and identity of the winner will not be determined until just before the NSCA National Specialty Awards Banquet.

Phase I. A member of the Top Twenty Subcommittee will cover the identifying information on each sheet prior to tabulating the scores. Score tabulations are completed anonymously. The scores of the three judges will be added together. Tabulation may be done on computer, or by digital calculator/adding machine, with running tape capability.

NSCA Top Twenty Scoring Summary for Entrants forms will be completed by the Top Twenty Subcommittee, based on the judges evaluation worksheet scores awarded by the judges.(see sample) Scoring Summaries will be collated and placed in envelopes with any other materials to be returned to the entrants. Completed Judges Evaluation Forms will not be given to entrants.

Phase II. No earlier than two hours prior to the NSCA National Specialty Awards Banquet, the Top Twenty Subcommittee will uncover the identifying information on the dog’s evaluation forms and add Judges Bonus Points (as applicable) to the totaled Judge’s Evaluation forms. The three judges’ scores will then be added to determine total Judges Score.

Procedure for Breaking a Tie

  1. The dog receiving the most Judges Bonus placement points will be declared the winner
  2. In the event that the tied dogs received no Judges Bonus points, or remain tied after Judges Bonus is added, the dog with the highest (averaged) Overall Impression score will be declared the winner.


A catalog will be printed for the event. No personal advertising will be allowed in this catalog. Information contained in the catalog will include:

  • A listing of the Top Twenty dogs entered, arranged in catalog order. Determination of catalog order will be by draw carried out by a disinterested third party facilitated by the Top Twenty Subcommittee Chair or designee.
  • A short profile of each judge, (provided at the discretion of the judge)
  • A listing the previous winners, the judges, and the year in which they won.
  • A two-facing page spread of each entrant in the final Top Twenty standings who has paid the required fee.
    • The left-hand page (odd-numbered page) shall have the name of the entrant, the owner(s), breeder(s) and a write-up about that dog furnished by the owner (250 word maximum). The Top Twenty Subcommittee will review the submissions and may request clarification on information submitted.
    • The right-hand page (even-numbered page) shall have a full body, B/W photo of the entrant and a three (3) generation pedigree. The photo shall be submitted camera-ready by the entrant and may measure no larger than 4” (w) x 3.25”(h) when printed.
  • Judging procedures (abbreviated information)
  • An alphabetical list of all the Top Twenty qualifiers, with points listed.

Announcement of the Top Twenty Winner

The winner will be announced, Winner’s Rosette and a trophy presented at the NSCA National Specialty Banquet. If the Top Twenty judge(s) are present, they may comment on the event.

If a photographer is present, photographs of the winner with the judges present may be taken during or following the presentation of the award.

Post-Event Documentation

Following the announcement of the winner at the NSCA National Specialty Awards Banquet, each entrant in the Top Twenty Invitational will receive the Scoring Summary for their entry (given or sent only to the first registered listed owner of each dog or their designated agent). The information in the scoring summaries will not be made public by anyone involved in organizing the event. Publication of details of the individual Scoring Summaries by exhibitors is discouraged.