Established in 2006 as Top 20. The first Top 20 Competition was held at the GSMDCA National Specialty at Purina Farms, MO.

Click here to see the impressive list of Top 20 winners!

*** DOWNLOADABLE*** GSMDCA Top 20 Rules, Guidelines/Suggestions ***VERSION***



Qualified entrants are the AKC reported and ranked GSMD dogs and bitches 1 through 20 based on total GSMD breed points from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year immediately preceding the National Specialty where the Top 20 event will be held.  Each qualified dog or bitch is eligible to enter the Top 20 competition at the subsequent NS, as long as all owners of the qualifying dog or bitch are in good standing with the GSMDCA, whether a member or not, at the time entries close – approximately 8 weeks prior to the Top 20 event. All owners, including non-members, must remain in good standing through the time of the event in order to compete in the Top 20 event.

Invitations will be sent by the Top 20 Committee to the primary owner of the qualifying dogs and bitches approximately 3 months prior to the event, but, not before the statistics are published by the AKC.

Top 20 Committee:

The Top 20 Committee will be appointed by the NS Committee Chair. No owner of a qualified dog or bitch may participate in the selection of the secret judges for the year the dog/bitch qualifies, but, may serve on the Top 20 Committee. Committee should be 3-5 people, if possible.

The committee is responsible for verifying qualified entrants, issuing invitations, collecting information and creating the event program, securing the replica Winners trophy, purchasing the People’s Choice trophy, assuring the ribbons are ordered with all required information through the NS ribbon point person, organizing and running the event, and managing expenses within approved budget.

The NS Committee will be responsible for selecting and securing the site for the Top 20 competition and coordinating with the site for set up, bar and food.


Per “National Specialty Judges Selection Criteria” document: “… Top 20 judges are exempt [from regular conformation judge selection process of NS] and are selected (and kept secret) by the Top 20 committee.”

Judging is to be done by three judges selected by the Top 20 committee (or others as designated by the NS Committee Chair if all Top 20 committee members have a conflict due to ownership of a qualifying dog). The identity of the judging panel will be kept confidential until the event. The three judges are picked as follows:

  1. Breeder: An established Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breeder who has been breeding at least 10 years and has produced at least 10 champions.
  2. AKC Multi-breed judge: Approved to judge Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and preferably at least one full group, preferably the Working Group.
  3. Handler: A professional handler (past or present) who has experience showing Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and meets the requirements for membership (though not necessarily a member) in a professional handlers association.

Trophies and Ribbons


Each entrant receives a qualifier ribbon. Ribbons are, for example, 28+”, 5 streamer black and white rosettes with National Specialty logo on the button.  Center streamer is printed with Event name, GSMDCA name, date and location; full registered name is printed on streamer to right of center; TOP 20 Qualifier is printed on streamer to left of center. This is meant as an example and directionally the preference of the Club.

Top 20 Winner:

From “Standing Rules of the Board of Directors”:

Section I. Awards Paragraph 1. “… Winners shall have custody until requested to engrave the names of the winning dog and owner thereon, clean and ship item to the Specialty Chair prior to the next specialty as requested by the National Specialty Trophy Chair. The cost of engraving and ground shipping perpetual trophies will be reimbursed by the GSMDCA. Winners are to replace any challenge trophies lost, damaged or destroyed while in their possession. If the winner(s) do not wish to assume responsibility for the challenge trophy, they may request that the GSMDCA engrave and forward said trophy to the subsequent year’s National Specialty Chair.”

Section I. Awards Paragraph 1c. Top Twenty Traveling Trophy—a large loving cup on a solid walnut handmade base engraved with a GSMD head–known as the Diane Engelking Memorial Trophy, at National Specialties where the event is offered.  The trophy kept in the possession of the winner until it is awarded at a subsequent Top Twenty Twenty event. At the time of the subsequent events, a smaller version of the trophy will be provided to the former winner for permanent possession.  The creation of the trophy is not intended to require a Top Twenty Event at any given National Specialty. Initiated in 2007 at the Purina Farms, Missouri National Specialty. (Established February 2007).”

Ribbon for the Top 20 winner is, for example, a 28+” 5 streamer, red, white and blue ribbon. Center ribbon imprinted with Top 20 Winner, GSMDCA National Specialty, Date, Location.

People’s Choice Award:

People’s Choice Award is an optional component of the Top 20 Event.  Organizers need to do their best to assure fairness and confidentiality in voting.  Attendees at the Event vote by secret ballot during and immediately following the judging of the entrants for their top choice entrant.  Each person present may vote once for their choice. Ballots are collected and put in a sealed envelope. People responsible for tallying results will count ballots and report People’s Choice winner along with Top 20 Winner at the Awards Banquet.  No one else will be told the results prior to the announcement at the Banquet.

People’s Choice winner will receive a trophy, chosen by the Top 20 Committee. Historical choices have included engraved silver frame, vase.  Ribbon is, for example, a 28+” 5 streamer, burgundy and white rosette with GSMDCA logo button, People’s Choice Award, GSMDCA Top 20 Event, location and date on center ribbon.


All judging sheets and ballots will be destroyed after tabulations are complete. No judging sheets will be shared with anyone, including the entrants.

Entry requirements:

Fees to enter Top 20 are suggested to be $115 for GSMDCA members and $165 for GSMDCA non-members (the fees may be revised, but, non-member fees should be $50 more than member fees). At least one owner of qualifying dog must be a full member of the GSMDCA for the year in which qualification was earned, as well as at the time entries close, in order to be eligible for the member fee.

Entry fee entitles entrant to 2-page ad in Event Program created by the Top 20 Committee to include pedigree, picture, bio and health clearances (if desired), one copy of the Event Program, Qualifier ribbon and participation in the Top 20 Competition at the National Specialty.

Entry requires completed entry form and

  • Full payment of fee
  • List of titles with backup documentation for any titles listed (in order to be included in dog’s name in program)
  • A 3 to 5-Generation Pedigree – electronic version preferred
  • An 8” x 10” SHOW Photograph of your dog, preferably an email copy of a HIGH quality scan (300DPI required)
  • 200 word (or less) bio of the entrant
  • List of current health clearances (optional if you want them listed in the program)


Deadline to enter (all materials and fee received) is determined by the Top 20 Committee and approximately 6 weeks prior to the start of the NS to allow time to create and print the event program.

[go to next page for event guidelines and suggestions]

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