Pose Guide

Pose Guide

I know, I know...why a Petz show pose guide? Aren't there other pose guides out there? Well, yes, but now that I've successfully shown at least one of every breed (P5 breeds included) to SGCh, I thought my opinions might come in handy.

And on that thought, please remember that these are just that--opinions. Different judges have different tastes. Don't take my words as gospel, by any means. Use them to help find a show plan that works for you. :)

With one major exception, I'll mostly be talking about purebreds here. For mixed breeds, you'll obviously have to mix and match the relevant bits to your pet--a calico with an alley cat tail and meezer legs will have to take those bits and pieces into consideration when posing and showing.


Here is what you're looking for in a catz show pose! The eyes should be facing the camera, with a level head. The front legs should be even, with as little of the leg in the back showing as possible. The tail should curve towards the body, not away.

If you're new to showing, I would highly recommend starting with catz. They are much easier to pose than dogz. All catz will do the show pose, and most of them will generally be much quicker to go into a pose than dogz. That said, some breeds are a little trickier than others, so I'll be going through each breed in their order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest.

B&W Shorthairs, Maine Coons, Persians, Russian Blues, and Tabbies

I'm grouping these five breeds together because this is about as easy as it gets, folks. If you're a beginner, showing any of these breeds is a great way to start. They'll all pose pretty regularly with repeated camera snaps, their body types are pretty well-proportioned, and they'll always pose with consistent eyelids--MCs and tabbies with wide open eyes, RBs with even lids, persians with relaxed lids, and B&Ws with confident, slightly "angry" lids. The only one of these that might be a little tricky is persians--it can sometimes be hard to tell how well aligned they are with their fat legs and feet, and their extra-fluffy tail can sometimes be hard to tell if it's got an optimal curve or not. To judge the poofy tail curves, I usually look at the top line of black pixels on the tail--if the tail curve is good, the pixel line should be in a very slight curve as well.

The other five original PFMagic breeds all have their own individual quirks when posing, so I'll be going through them one by one, easiest to hardest.

Chinchilla Persians

Chinchis are actually almost as easy as the first five. The main reason why I rate them as just a little harder is because when they go into a show pose, they won't go into it right away. Most catz will jump back and then immediately pose, but chinchis will jump back, blink at you for a second or two, and then pose. It's something that you'll have to keep in mind when snapping pictures, otherwise you might miss when they finally do pose! Homer here has very nice, even eyelids, but chinchis have a habit of posing with the relaxed eyelids like regular persians--sometimes so relaxed that they cover up half the eye! Try to make sure as much of the eye is visible as possible. Chinchi bodies also often look like they're angled back a bit when they're actually aligned correctly--it's just something about their little legs and plump bodies, I suppose!


I love calicoes. They're my favorite catz breed. They're got fun personalities, and when snapping pics of them they like to pose a lot. But they can be tricky, and I wouldn't recommend starting out with one until you've gotten your feet wet a bit. The main frustration with them is their eyelids. Calicoes often pose with uneven eyelids. Eagle's Wings here has eyelids that are sort of even, but you can still tell they're off a little bit. As a judge, I do fault uneven eyelids on a calico, because it is quite possible to get them even. Do you see Star, the first cat at the beginning of this guide? He has a calico face and personality, and his eyelids are almost entirely even! It is certainly possible to get even lids on a calico, it just often takes a lot of tries to get right. I wouldn't dissuade you from showing a catz with eyelids anything less than even, by any means, but my personal policy as a judge is if two catz have similar alignments but one has uneven lids and the other doesn't, I'll place the uneven-lidded cat lower every time.

Calico legs are also somewhat tricky. Even when they're correctly aligned, a bit of the back leg will usually be seen by the heel. There's no way to get around this, that's just how calico feet are built.

And finally, their tails. I know it might not look like Eagle's Wings' tail is curved very well, but that's actually about as curved as calico tails get. The top 1/3 or so of the tail just doesn't like to curve.

Again: I love calicoes. I love showing them, and I love seeing them in shows. Just be prepared to have to deal with their special considerations when posing them. :)

Alley Catz

I debated for awhile whether to list alley catz or siamese as easier than the other. The only reason alleys won out is because I believe that they are technically able to pose with the method used for the the previous breeds, the "snap pictures until they go into a pose" method. I've never gotten this method to work with my alleys, though; they just hiss and growl at the camera. I've always had to use the "out the door" method, which is also a necessity for the next two breeds (it can be used for any catz breed, though). For this method, put the carrying case to the far left-hand side of the screen, then let the cat out and move your cursor to the right to make the cat follow it. Catz will always do an action after coming out of the door, and all catz will every so often go into a pose. You'll just have to guide them into perfect alignment. This does take a few tries to master, though (and again, the cat won't do it every time they come out). When alley catz do pose like this, their eyelids are almost always straight, although I have seen some with angry eyelids before (even angrier than B&Ws!).

On top of all of that, alley catz are just all kinds of awkward. They come with tails of different levels of kinkiness, and as you can see none of them really curve at all. Their ears and eyes are obviously never going to be even. And half of their whiskers always go haywire.

With that all said, if you do manage to get a good pic out of an alley, as a judge I take into consideration the relative difficulty of posing each breed (and I know other judges do too), so all else being equal, I'll place an alley higher than a RB. :)


Like I said, I have heard that alley catz will go into a show pose every once in a while when snapping pics. Meezers, however, don't. They'll do some of their special "stretch" poses, but not a show pose. As you can see, though, meezers are in fact capable of doing a show pose--you'll just need to use the "out the door" method on them. I've found that they often pose with relaxed lids that aren't always exactly even (although nowhere near to the extent that calico unevenness can get).

Meezers, and meezer mixies, can also be a pain because of their very thin legs that make even the slightest bit out of alignment look jarring. If you're showing a meezer you have to make absolutely sure that they're as well-aligned as possible.

The good thing about meezers is that they always have a very nice tail curve. So good job on that, meezers. Too bad you think you're too good to pose normally in most circumstances. ;)

Orange Shorthairs

The hardest catz breed to pose. Poor oshies are scared of everything, including the camera. Snapping pics won't get you anywhere; they'll just cower. There are two methods to getting an oshie to pose: the out the door method and the perfume method. I've already covered the OTD method, so let's cover the perfume method. To get a catz to pose this way, have them well aligned facing the LEFT, then spray them with the love potion or perfume. They'll jump, spin around, and then go into a pose. Technically, all catz will do this. So why am I only mentioning it here? Because all catz, no matter what breed, will pose with scared/worried eyes after being sprayed with the perfume. I have seen some show guides that say these eyelids are acceptable, but to me, they are ONLY acceptable on an oshie or oshie personality mix. I personally always fault the worried eyelids unless they're on an oshie. This is why I always make sure to mention if I'm showing a mixie with an oshie personality but a face that doesn't match. I think it's a good idea to do that with other breeds that don't "match" their face in mixies too, especially calicoes.

Personally, I actually rarely use the perfume method, even on oshies. I've found that I can get good poses out of them with the OTD method. My oshies have also always done very well in shows, probably because most judges know how tough they are to pose. So if you're looking for a fun challenge in your showing career, don't overlook your oshies! They may be nervous but they can make excellent show catz, if you take your time with them. :)

The P5 Breeds

Not everyone has P5 or the breeds with the game, which is why I have these breeds separate, but truth be told, they should actually all go up with the first five breeds. Like them, they pose readily and easily just with rapid camera clicking. And if you're having trouble with the tail curve, desert lynxes and Japanese bobtails are great because they don't have tails at all! The trickiest one of this group is probably the JB, since like the meezer it has skinny legs, but at least unlike meezers JBs will pose without having to deal with the OTD method, although with eyelids like a B&W. Scottish folds pose with eyes wide open, and the rest all have nice, even eyelids.


Dogz are a pain in the butt to pose. In the time it takes me to get one good show pose out of a dogz, I can usually get about three or four (at least) out of catz. Dogz have a tendency to cower, do tricks, jump out of alignment (especially frustrating after you've taken so much time getting them into perfect alignment...) But obviously, people love their dogz as much as their catz, so dogz shows are just as popular! There are two different dogz show poses, although they're technically both part of the same pose. When a dogz (finally) goes into pose, it'll first puff its chest out and look straight at the camera (the first pic, known as the "dali pose"), and then turn its head and hold it up at varying angles and heights (the second pic, the "dane pose" or "profile pose"). Many years ago, both poses were usually judged together, but when I started judging dogz shows I held different shows for each pose, and that's how it's usually done now.

(Did... I start this trend? O_O)

The only real difference between the poses is the head position. Otherwise, the tail should be curved over the body as much as possible, the chest should be puffed out a bit, and the legs/feet should be as even as possible. I was taught to pose/judge by aligning the back toes, but I think some people go by the front toes now. Whichever you choose, make sure they're as close as possible, with only a few pixels at most in difference.

And now, here's where this delves into very strong subjectivity. The reason I have always had separate shows for each pose is because, in most cases, I vastly prefer the dane/profile pose over the dali pose. I knew that if I judged them both together, I would probably rank the profile pics higher than the dali pics, even if the dali pics were posed better. So when I get into the breed specifics, please remember that this is only my opinion, and that any dog can do both poses. I just, well, like the look of one better than the other in most breeds lol.


This is a tough breed. I definitely wouldn't recommend starting with this one. In my experience, they aren't really fond of posing... and in my opinion, they look absolutely horrendous in a dali pose. So me being me, I always have to get a dane pose out of them, which takes even more work. Q here doesn't have the best pose, but if I remember correctly this was after quite a long while of trying, and I figured it was good enough. He did get SGCh eventually, so I suppose it was lol


Chihuahuas are one of the few non-dalmatian dogz that I think look good in dali pose. I also find chis fairly easy to pose. Now, take this with a grain of salt, because most other show pose guides I've seen say that chis are a tough breed and not for beginners, so if you disagree with me, well, I seem to be the one going against the grain here lol. But in all seriousness, I like chis a lot. I don't usually bother trying to get a dane pose out of them, but as you can see with my mixed breed Fantastic as seen in the middle (try to contain your jealousy, I know), they can pull off a dane pose too (although it might look better on bigger dogz like him than smaller breeds). The only thing about doing a dane pose that I would caution is aligning the ears. The third dog, Artery, isn't a chi but has chi ears and is in a dane pose, and while they could be better aligned, they're not too bad, and she did very very well in the show ring with this pose. Just take care to align the chi ears in a dane pose if you go that route.


In general, I think the dachshund face looks better in a dane pose, but I've seen some in dali pose and they look fine, too. I'd say it's your call with which pose you choose. As far as ease of posing go, I don't think they're the easiest, nor do I think they're the hardest. Their super short legs make alignment pretty easy, though... or at least I think so.


Hey, they call it the dali pose for a reason. :) Dalis, obviously, pull this pose off very well. And seeing as when posing, a dog will always go into a perfect dali pose (as long as alignment is good) but will not always follow that with a perfect dane pose, dalis are the perfect dogz when you're just starting showing. When I judge dali poses, after looking at alignment I make sure the eyes are aligned (sometimes dalis' eyes are off by a pixel) and their noses. I like to look for a "heart-shaped" nose with one pixel missing from the center, but other judges prefer the noses with a flat line all the way across. Either way, just try to make sure the nose is even. (This is also one of the last things I look at, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.)

And, while Alternate here is a mixed breed, I'm including her to show that dalis can also do dane poses and do them well. Since getting a good dane pose can be like pulling teeth sometimes, I'd personally recommend to not waste your time trying, but if you do happen to get a good one like Alternate's here, then go for it. :)

Great Danes

And there's a reason why they call it the dane pose! :) In my shows I usually call this a profile pose, however, because I don't want to give people the impression that only danes should do this pose--like I said, I prefer it on most breeds, but danes even more so. Again, this is just my opinion, but I think danes look horrible in dali pose. Their faces aren't even, their eyes aren't even, they just look stupid. I'd definitely recommend trying for a dane pose. Now, when dogz go from the dali pose to the dane pose, they won't always be looking straight ahead, unfortunately, so this can sometimes take many many many many tries. When the head is even, you should see as little of the far eye and ear as possible. I also personally prefer the head to be held higher up, with the muzzle at at least an even level, and preferably higher, but some judges prefer it lower, and at any rate I look at alignment before that, so the height of the muzzle effectively acts as a "tie-breaker" in my shows, and again, I wouldn't worry too much about it when you're posing your dogz.

Also, I've found that danes, along with dalis, are the dogz that seem to be the most willing to pose. Sure, they still goof around and jump out of alignment fairly often, but I find that I spend less time on them than with other breeds. So they're a nice starter breed if you're new to showing dogz, too. :)


This is another breed that I would recommend not showing in dali pose--while they don't like as bad as bulldogs or danes, they still don't look very good. At least, that's my opinion. The problem with labs is that they seem to get spooked by the camera way more than other breeds... maybe that's just my labs, I don't know, but for seeming to be such a straightforward breed I've found them surprisingly difficult to pose. They do look excellent in a dane pose, though, so at least you get a nice satisfaction for a job well done when you finally get it. :)


I was intimidated by mutts for the longest time. They have the same quirk as calicoes--they like to pose with uneven eyelids. For that reason, I'd recommend showing them in a dane pose, since you can only see one eye in that pose. However, I'm including a mixed breed, Crumpet, who unexpectedly gave me a fantastic dali pose and did very well in the show ring with it. If you can manage to get a dali pose with relatively even eyelids, I think mutts can look just as good in either pose, truthfully.


This is the one major exception to my purebreds approach that I mentioned earlier. Purebred poodles, and mixies with poodle personalities, simply will not do a "normal" dogz pose. They're not programed to do it. I've written a guide to poodle posing on RKC, which you can check out if you want specifics on that. In this guide, I'll be covering mixed breeds with poodle heads but non-poodle personalities who are thus capable of doing "normal" shows.

In general, I think the poodle snout looks equally good in dali or dane poses. Poodle ears are the tricky thing, though. In a dali pose they jut out kind of awkwardly, and in a dane pose they flare up so badly that they often obscure the dog's eyes. If you're showing anything with poodle ears, just accept that they're going to look awkward no matter which pose you choose lol. Other than that, again, it's really your call as to what pose looks best. Take into account the other parts of your poodle mixie, and make sure the toes are aligned no matter what you choose.


This is another one that I prefer in profile, but I think it looks alright in dali, too. Not a whole lot to say about scotties; just make sure they're well aligned and that their heads are even, whichever pose you choose!


I'm showing both Cumberland (bobtail) and Rufus (long tail) to show the differences in tail, but to be honest with you, I don't think Cumberland's pose is very good. He was one of the first dogz I showed, and I posed him in P5 (ugh). Rufus definitely has a better expression and posture. I think sheepdogs are pretty straightforward. I've read that they're also considered a tough breed by some, and while I don't think they're the easiest, I don't think they're the toughest either. They don't look too great in dali pose. Sheepdog ears in particular look kind of ridiculous in a dali pose.

The P5 Breeds

German Shepherds

This. This is the hardest breed. Even when they're aligned, they don't look aligned. And their ears swivel together which makes them look downright ridiculous in a dali pose. I think there are versions of the file out there that fix the ears and legs, but the file I use only fixes the coloring inheriting (calico-patched dogz? really?) as far as I know. But, well, I'm stubborn, and wanted to get at least one of EVERY breed to SGCh. Jesaja here looks a little awkward, but this is honestly about as good as you can get for a German shepherd. Her feet could be more aligned by a pixel or to, but that's about it. I'd only recommend showing one of these if it's a beloved dogz of yours that you really want to show off, or if you're like me and want a "complete set" lol

Golden Retrievers

Basically just a fluffy lab. This can kind of make them look like they have no neck, so I'd recommend aiming for a higher snout angle.

Jack Russel Terriers

I was pleasantly surprised to get a good dali pose out of Phylis here, and she did very well in shows, so this is one of the other breeds that I think looks pretty good in a dali pose. I've seen them in dane poses too and they look good there, too, so go for whichever one you like best. I'd like to see more of these guys in shows, they make really nice show dogz. :)


Papillons are very similar to chihuahuas, and since I like posing chis in dali poses, papillons are no different! I find them pretty easy, too. Although what with their similarity to chis, and chis apparently being a tough breed for most, papillons could very well be a tough breed for most people too, for all I know lol.


Okay... I guess I'm kind of cheating on this one because I don't use the Ubisoft pug file, I use the file from Anystar--although it was hexed off of the Ubisoft pug, it obviously changed a lot about the file. The Ubisoft one looks like it was heavily based off of the bulldog, so my guess is that it looks much better in dane than dali. This file does too, for the record, and also none of mine seem to like posing much. It could just be me, though. Zod, the mixie, shows how a pug mixie bred with the fixed Ubisoft pug file from Reverie looks in profile pose.