A conformation show is an exhibition-style completion in which individuals in a species of domestic animal are judged against other members of the species. dog, cat and horse shows are among the best known.
These shows sometimes draw negative criticism because of a perceived emphasis on appearance rather than ability, particularly in the world of dogs.
Some people use the term "bench show" interchangeably with "conformation show", but technically this is not correct. At a benched show, animals are assigned to specific areas, or "benches", and they and their handlers are required to remain in or near the benching area for the duration of the show. So all benched shows are conformational, but not all conformational shows are "benched".
Bench shows began to decline in popularity in the mid-20th Century, probably due to space limitations for the animals, and ever-increasing demands on handlers' time in a changing society.  Today, these types of shows are rare. A well-known example of a benched show is the championship dog show at the Sydney Royal Easter Show run by the Royal Agricultural Society.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of the Dog.