As dogs and handlers gain experience and expertise in competitive Obedience, they may qualify out of a class to a more difficult level of competition.
A dog must always be entered in the lowest class for which it is eligible, but may also be entered in one other higher class if available - this need not be the next highest, so a dog can be entered, for instance, in Pre-Beginner and Class B (although this is rarely advisable).
To ensure a fair playing field for less experienced dogs, once a dog has 'won out' of a class it can no longer enter the same class at any future shows. This ensures that dogs with the aptitude and dedication can progress - right up to Championship Class C.
This class is to introduce and support newcomers to Obedience Competition. In this class only incentives in the form of a toy or rewards are allowed to be carried by the handler in the competition ring and may be given to the dog at the end of an exercise or in between exercises. Rewards include food which must be carried in a small closed container during the exercises. The judge will designate an area in the competitive ring where food may be given to the dog by the handler. To compete in the Introductory Class a handler or dog must not have won one Introductory Class or have achieved a 4th place or above in Pre-beginners or in any other class.
To compete in Pre-Beginners a handler or dog must not have won a first place in either Pre-Beginners or Beginners nor gained a third place or above in any other Obedience class (Introductory Class excepted).
To compete in Beginners a handler or dog must not have won a total of two or more First places in Beginners Class or one First place in any other Obedience class (Introductory Class and Pre-Beginners excepted).
This is the class where more experienced handlers will start with a young dog. The dog must not have won two First places in Obedience classes (Introductory Class, Pre-Beginners and Beginners excepted).
Class A is for dogs which have not won three First prizes in Classes A, B and Open Class C in total.
Class B is for dogs that have not won three First prizes in Class B and Open Class C in total.
- Championship Class C at Championship Shows - dogs must have won out of Novice, Class A and Class B and have won Open Class C on one occasion and have been placed not lower than third on three further occasions; all Open Class C places and wins must have been won under different Judges at Kennel Club licensed shows.
- Class C for Open Shows, Premier Shows and Open C Classes held at Championship Shows - open to all dogs.
- Limited Shows - open to all dogs except Obedience Certificate winners and dogs which have obtained any award that counts towards the title of Obedience Champion or the equivalent thereof under the rules of any governing body recognised by the Kennel Club.
Open to all dogs and handlers. Awards to be given to dogs competing in three award categories:
- Pre-Beginners and Beginners
- Novice and Class A
- Class B and Class C.