The American Kennel Club (the largest and most widely-accepted purebred dog registry in the United States) authorizes hundreds of breed and all-breed club shows every year. These events provide licensed judges who are familiar with the standard for each breed. Breeders show their dogs to these judges and are therefore able to evaluate what they are producing in their breeding programs.
Far from a "beauty contest," the conformation show requires that the judge examine and consider carefully all things about each entry. For example: bone structure, head shape, teeth, bite, tail set, and movement (from both front and rear and from the side) must meet the breed standard as closely as possible.
Also important is the "ring presence" or "attitude" presented by the dog while in the ring and on the exam table. In general, a breeder who succeeds at the shows understands that her breeding program is "going in the right direction." No dog is "perfect" and Miniature Schnauzer breeders always have something in each line that can be improved.
AKC conformation showing assists all breeders in maintaining the breed standard and keeping the breed "conformed" to its original look and purpose as much as possible. This is what helps breeders keep a Mini Schnauzer looking like a Mini Schnauzer instead of a Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, or Norfolk Terrier! This is also the reason clubs encourage the public to buy from club members. Individual breeders who do not show their dogs and who are not familiar with the breed standard generally end up with puppies that do not grow up as animals truly representative of the breed.
AKC's website provides a number of helpful articles for those who may be interested in learning to show their purebred dogs in conformation events. Please see some links to those pages at left.
CSMSC member Alice Gough's held a class on "The Miniature Schnauzer Breed Standard" using both puppies and adult dogs as examples.