Aspiring to Judge at CC level


Judge's training programme

The Kennel Club's training programme for dog show judges has been introduced to meet several needs;

  • to maintain and improve the quality of Kennel Club shows
  • to retain existing exhibitors/competitors and to attract new exhibitors/competitors
  • to ensure that judges have the correct levels of knowledge and experience for the breeds they are to judge
  • to reinforce the importance of health and welfare of breeds in the minds of judges whilst judging
  • to give exhibitors/competitors confidence in their judge
  • to underpin the value of awards gained at Kennel Club licensed shows, particularly the Kennel Club Challenge Certificate and Champion dog award.

This training programme focuses in the main, on those aspiring to award Challenge Certificates for the first time.

Requirements of a Breed Show Judge - First time Challenge Certificate Judges

The Kennel Club requires the following mandatory requirements to have been achieved prior to a person being nominated to award with Challenge Certificates for the very first time.  These aspiring judges are required to:

  • Attend a Seminar on the Requirements of a Dog Show Judge focusing on Kennel Club Regulations and Judging Procedures and pass an exam delivered by an approved Kennel Club Accredited Trainer for Regulations and Judging Procedures. The syllabus is based on Kennel Club Code of Best Practice for Judges (including Guide for Judges & Ring Stewards & Code of Best Practice for the selection of Judges) which is available for download here. Aspiring Judges should also be fully familiar with the health issues surrounding their breed - to learn more access the Health Resource link here.
  • Attend and pass the Points of a Dog assessment conducted by specially trained Conformation and Movement Accredited Trainer. The Points of a Dog Candidate Assessment Form upon which the test is based is available for download here.
  • Attend a seminar on Conformation and Movement  delivered by an approved Kennel Club Accredited Trainer for Conformation and Movement.  The syllabus is based on the  Kennel Club Movement and Conformation Video which can also be purchased through our online shop.
  • To have stewarded 12 days at shows
  • For Gundog Breed Judges Only.  To have attended any Field Trial (FT) or an Open Gundog Test (GWT) for the relevant Sub Group for the Breed.

To find relevant seminars near you use the Training Seminars Diary. Also subscribe to the Kennel Club Academy. This new online learning resources delivers presentations including many of the mandatory elements required in the Kennel Club's established judges training programme. These are all essential pre-learning before attending the official seminars delivered by Accredited Trainers and offer established judges the opportunity to keep up to date on regulations and judging procedures:

  • Points of the Dog Assessment including an opportunity to test your knowledge
  • Requirements of a Dog Show Judge including a mock exam
  • Ring Stewarding including a mock exam
  • Completing the Breed Health Monitoring form
  • As importantly, also featured on the Academy is a variety of breed specific films from breed experts giving their personal observations of the breed (Beagle, Dachshund, Boxer, Scottish Terrier and Chow Chow).  More films will be added to the Academy during the course of this year and in years to come.
  • Subscribe today by clicking here.

Breed clubs, societies and councils will also have their own criteria they expect judges to achieve if they are to be recommended to judge by that club or council. To learn more about what the Kennel Club advises clubs, societies and councils about the formulation of judging lists and how to set the relevant criteria download the Advisory Criteria for Breed Club Judging Lists here.

Clubs, Societies and Councils will also organise Breed Specific Seminars and Judging Competence Assessments from time to time to help aspiring judges develop a detailed knowledge of a breed. The Kennel Club has issued advice to clubs and societies about the best way to run Breed Specific Seminars & Judging Competence Assessments, and what information should be included. The Code of Best Practice for the Running of a Breed Seminar and Judging Competence Assessment can be accessed here. Appendices for this document are available to download via the toolbar on the right hand side of this page. 

Policy For Approval Of First Time Gundog Judges At Championship Shows

For prospective Championship Show Judges of breeds in the Gundog group must attend any field trial or an Open Gundog Working test for the relevant gundog sub-group as part of the Kennel Club mandatory requirement. 

It is stressed that it is an understanding of the nature and manner of the work performed by the dog that is the purpose of the prospective show judge's attendance at a trial or working test, not an examination or critique of the working dogs' structure or appearance.  It is considered important that attendance at a suitable event should give the prospective CC judge ample opportunity to observe dogs working, and to obtain answers to any question which may arise.

The organisers of field trials and working tests are being encouraged to enable prospective CC judges to attend and to derive maximum benefit from their attendance by taking in part in such activities as walking 'in the line' (or, in the case of Setter and Pointer trials, with the judges) where appropriate.

The following guidance notes are offered for prospective CC judges:

  • Judges will need to select a suitable event to attend.  The Field Trials Diary at  and Field Trial Secretaries list, available via, can help with the selection of a field trial.  It should be noted that dates for working gundog events are not fixed as far in advance as dog shows and therefore there may only be a limited number of events to select from at any given time.
  • A list of gundog working tests is available at
  • Judges must inform the trial or test organiser of their intention to attend.
  • Suitable attire for working gundog events should be worn.
  • Observance of the spectators' 'red flag' position must be followed as a safety precaution.
  • There is a need for a basic level of fitness - some field trials in particular can cover difficult terrain.


NB: Judges will be required to obtain a copy of the event's card (programme/catalogue) signed by the event's Chief Steward indicating how long the judge was at the event.  A copy of this document and signature is to be kept in case verification of attendance is required by the Kennel Club Judges Sub-Committee. 

Version suitable for printing

Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2016. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.