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Merino ewes being judged in New South Wales

A livestock show is an event where livestock are exhibited and judged on certain phenotypical breed traits as specified by their respective breed standard. Species of livestock that may be shown include pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, llamas and alpacas.[1] Poultry such as chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and pigeons are also shown competitively.[2]


Showing criteria

The phenotypical traits that are evaluated with all species of livestock are muscle, structural correctness, frame size, style and balance. These certain traits will vary with certain species as well as if the animal is shown for market or for breeding stock. For meat animals, muscling is an important trait. There are several indicators of muscle, mainly being on the top line and rear of the animal. For dairy animals, qualities that improve milk production are vital. For poultry, feathers are important, and traits such as broken or cut feathers are a disqualification. Structural correctness is another trait refers to how well the animals skeleton is put together, more specifically their bone structure.

The animal needs to move with ease and smoothness. Animals should also have proper angles to their pasterns and flex in their joints, should as their hock, knee, and shoulder. Frame is another trait that is looked at when judging livestock. Frame should be decided on whether the animal is long-bodied, tall fronted, and have some internal capacity. An animal that has style and balance is one that holds its head up high when it walks, and is smooth in its overall appearance. The animal should be free of excess fat and should stand with a wide base.

In the unique case of horses, horse shows include not only the conformation judging common to all livestock, but also add performance classes where the animals are either ridden or shown in harness to display their training and underlying athletic ability, manners and temperament.


The show livestock industry has become such a popular thing, that many young people are going to junior colleges and universities to be on the livestock judging teams. Being part of a livestock judging team is helpful with people's about to judge livestock and communicate with others. Many junior colleges and universities are helping students on the livestock judging teams pay for all or part of their education tuition.

Many livestock shows are for 4-H and FFA youth projects. There are also many national and statewide livestock associations that support youth livestock exhibition. The main reason that young people are in these types of organizations is to learn more about the livestock industry and then to hopefully be part of the industry when they grow up.

With this people can realize that livestock shows are a growing and popular industry. Livestock shows are great events for today's youth to have a responsibility and be able to socialize with other young people from all over the country or the world. Livestock shows also give people a competitive edge, with a good cause behind it. The main reason for these livestock shows is to better improve the quality of meat products for the consumers to eat.

United States

There are many different livestock shows all over the United States. Some of the more prestigious livestock shows are; the North American International Livestock Exposition held in Louisville, Kentucky, the American Royal held in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Western Stock Show held in Denver, Colorado, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo held in Houston, Texas. In addition numerous livestock breeds hold shows for junior exhibitors annually.


  1. ^ Ekarius, Carol (2008). Storey's Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle and Pigs. Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781603420365.  
  2. ^ Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781580176675.  


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