Judges at The Kennel Club's licensed agility shows are expected to maintain and abide by the highest standards, adhering to The Kennel Club Agility (H) Regulations and our Judges' Code of Best Practice.
All judges should be appropriately experienced and have suitable temperament, physical fitness and stamina. They must act honestly and impartially and judge in a customary fashion acceptable to competitors. The overall aim of a judge is to provide value for the time, training, effort and money which competitors put into their rounds at the show.
Becoming an agility judge
Before you become an agility judge, you must have sufficient knowledge and experience of agility so that you are able to judge fairly and accurately. Most judges will have already competed in agility for several years and will have assisted as ring managers or on show committees with the running or organisation of agility shows. This provides the prospective judge with vital experience and knowledge of all the elements of running an agility class safely and efficiently.
Before you judge for the first time at a Kennel Club licensed agility show, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have completed and passed an agility judges' examination on The Kennel Club Academy prior to attending a Kennel Club agility judges' seminar. The exam consists of a short multiple-choice question paper based only on the materials hosted on the academy
- You must also have attended an agility judges' seminar and passed the accompanying assessment. The assessment is a straightforward practical assessment of the candidate's judging practice on the same day as the seminar
Registered societies, individuals and other organisations wishing to run seminars on the above subjects should make direct contact with a Kennel Club accredited trainer.
Many judges 'cut their teeth' by judging at club competition nights, inter-club matches or limited agility shows before judging classes at open agility shows. All judging appointments at The Kennel Club's licensed agility competitions must be underpinned by a contract between the society and the judge. Forming a contract requires three stages:
- The society must invite the judge in writing, including the wording required in the agility regulations, and request a written acceptance
- The judge should return a written acceptance of the judging appointment
- The society should then confirm the judging appointment, again in writing
Three-part contracts should always be in place, even for emergency replacement judges. In the event of a judge or society being in breach of their contract, and unable to provide a satisfactory explanation of the breach, the board of The Kennel Club may impose a fine.
The organising society also has an obligation to ensure that anyone invited to judge is competent to fulfill the appointment.
The Kennel Club offers a mentoring scheme for new judges, which pairs an existing championship judge or accredited trainer with new judges who will help them before, during and after the appointment. For more information, please email our Agility (The Kennel Club) team.
Progressing as an agility judge
After judging for a minimum of five years, you may be asked to judge a championship agility class and award Agility Certificates. Championship judging appointments must be approved by The Kennel Club board.
First-time championship judges will need to complete a championship judges' questionnaire to show that they:
- have a minimum of five years' experience of competing at The Kennel Club's licensed agility shows
- have a minimum of five years' experience of judging at The Kennel Club's licensed agility shows
- have judged at a minimum of 10 licensed agility shows over the previous three years, including standard classes in each height category which must include grade 7
- have handled a dog competitively at grade 6 or 7
- have completed and passed an agility judges' examination on The Kennel Club Academy prior to attending a Kennel Club judges' seminar and have attended The Kennel Club's judges' seminar and passed the assessment - this applies regardless of the judge's experience in judging non-championship classes
- or have been approved to judge the agility stakes at Crufts dog show or otherwise approved by the board
Once the judge has been nominated by a show society, they must be assessed while judging a non-championship class at a Kennel Club licensed show. The Kennel Club will arrange for the assessment to take place.
Organisers of championship shows must obtain The Kennel Club's approval of the championship judges they wish to nominate for championship agility classes. Nominations must be received by The Kennel Club from the show society at least nine months before the date of the show, using the official nomination form. All first-time appointments must be applied for at least 18 months before the show date using the agility judges' questionnaire.
Calculating accurate course times
Standard class course time - an appropriate set time for each course shall be calculated by the judge, who shall take into account the course length, the height category of the dogs competing, and the grade or grades of the dogs competing in the relevant class, together with any other relevant factors, e.g. weather.
The course length must be measured by the judge using a commercially available measuring wheel, using the straight line distance between obstacle centres method (regulation H(1)(B)1.a.(4) refers). The judge will then use the course times matrix to arrive at a course time suitable for that class. The set time shall be stated by the judge before judging commences.
Agility judging - frequently asked questions
1. The agility rule states: "Dogs may be disqualified if proven to have been handled in the class by the scheduled judge's spouse or immediate family or resident at the same address." Can you please clarify what is meant by immediate family, when not living at the same address?
This relates to one generation of family members. The press release which was issued in June 2011 states: ''The term 'immediate family' includes a judge's father, mother, daughter, son, brother and/or sister. Step-children, grandparents, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews or cousins are not covered unless the dog they own resides at the same address as the judge.''
2. Can my wife run a dog which is in my ownership on the same day I am judging?
A dog you own cannot compete on the day you are judging except at a limited show in a special class. Please see Regulations. H(1)(D) - Specific regulations for limited agility shows for further information.
Organising an agility seminar
Judging seminars are most usually hosted by registered clubs and societies, but any individual or group is welcome to organise and host a seminar.
The seminar content must be presented by an officially appointed Kennel Club accredited trainer.
Societies, individuals or groups organising a seminar should contact one of the accredited trainers (listed below) to invite them to conduct the seminar and arrange a suitable venue. They can then advertise the seminar to attract sufficient attendees. The organisers charge attendees reasonable fees at their discretion and should arrange for payment of the accredited trainer's expenses with the trainer. Trainers will usually bring relevant literature (such as regulation books, judges' guides and judges' record books) to the seminar for purchase by the candidates - in some cases the cost may be included in the seminar fee.
Agility seminars and accredited trainers
There are a number of resources which you can purchase to help assist you with your judging.
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