Club administration

Dog jumping over jump
Yulia Titovets © / The Kennel Club

The Kennel Club offers clubs the opportunity to register as a club or apply for listed status. Both have separate criteria they need to meet. Find out more below.

Register your club

The Kennel Club registers clubs and societies which can represent particular breeds, disciplines or activities, either on a regional or national basis. These societies must agree to abide by The Kennel Club regulations for registered societies and must be formed with a committee and membership structure.

The Kennel Club registration of canine societies is not mandatory, although it offers many benefits in terms of eligibility to hold licensed events, access to The Kennel Club's information, promotion and safeguarding of standards. There are about 1,800 registered societies registered in the UK holding over 3,000 licensed dog shows a year - a thriving community all dedicated to our primary objective "to promote in every way the general improvement of dogs".

How to apply for registration of title

If you think you would like to begin the process of applying to register your club or society with The Kennel Club the first steps are to collate the information listed below, complete the required paperwork and return this with the current registration of title fee of £100 to The Kennel Club.

The following paperwork should be completed:

  1. Registration of title questionnaire
  2. A list of current members
  3. Details of the society's financial status
  4. A copy of the proposed constitution/rules of the society that must comply with the requirements of the board, see our guide to the formulation of rules of canine, breed and training societies
  5. Support letters from registered societies (if available)
What happens next?

If, after giving initial consideration to the application, the committee decides that it may proceed, it will be advertised in The Kennel Club Journal and subsequently reconsidered together with any objections which may have been received from registered societies.

Applications for registration of title will only be successful if the committee considers that the proposed society will fulfil a function which is not met by any other existing registered society. Applications will be refused if The Kennel Club considers that the area or the breed with which the society is concerned is already adequately catered for or if objections lodged by existing societies are considered valid. It must be stressed that the final decision rests with the board of The Kennel Club.

If your society is already registered but you have a question or if you would like more information about becoming a registered society, please email the society and show services team or call 01296 318 540.

General - frequently asked questions

How is Kennel Club registration achieved?

An application form and questionnaire should be completed. Approval of The Kennel Club Board is required for all club registrations. Existing registered societies are notified of applications via The  Kennel Club Journal, and they may submit objections.

Information and form can be obtained from us via email

Who should be the main contact for the club?

The secretary of the club should ensure that his/her details are up to date for Kennel Club information purposes. If a secretary is not in post, an interim appointment can be made by the committee, or another officer can temporarily act as the club contact.

How is registration with The Kennel Club maintained and monitored?

A maintenance of title (MOT) fee is payable on 1 January each year. Ideally this should be via direct debit.

The club must submit annual returns/declarations to confirm it is operating in accordance with Kennel Club Regulations for registered societies.

How is Kennel Club registration terminated and/or a club closed?

If a club wishes to cease functioning or to de-register, formal proposals must be agreed by members at a general meeting, full detail having been given to members on the meeting notice. The members must also decide on disposal of assets if the club is to cease functioning.

Once the general meeting has confirmed both of the above, a written request for de-registration should be submitted to us.

Club constitution - frequently asked questions

What is a club constitution?

This is the set of rules of the club which should be compiled to comply with Kennel Club C Regulations when the club is applying for Kennel Club registration.

Can changes be made to the constitution?

The constitution and any changes are subject to Kennel Club approval. Once a club is registered, proposed changes to rules must be agreed by members at a general meeting before Kennel Club approval is sought. Any proposed rule changes must be given on the notice of the general meeting so that members are aware in advance.

A template for formulating a club constitution is available from us

Can a club change its title?

A proposed change of title must first receive formal approval by members at a general meeting, then an application can be made to us on the official form, which can be obtained from us.

What is a Code of Ethics?

Code of Ethics is, by definition, a set of guidelines or principles on expected levels of behaviour. They are not necessarily hard and fast rules. In general terms, in order to crystallise the committee’s powers to enforce any form of ethical requirements upon members, a qualifying paragraph within the rules would be required to outline the steps which could be taken. Consequently, members must of course be made fully aware of the existence of such measures. 

Committees - frequently asked questions

How is the committee elected?

The rules of the club must set out the election process and terms of reference. Elections are usually at the Annual General Meeting or beforehand, by balloting of members on candidates.

How are officers elected?

The rules of the club must set out the election process and terms of reference. Elections are usually at the Annual General Meeting or beforehand. Some clubs have a process whereby members elect officers, other clubs specify that the committee makes these appointments.

How does the club fill vacancies for officer or committee positions?

If a mid-term vacancy arises, the committee has the option to co-opt to fill the post temporarily until the next election. At the annual election, the post must be advised to members as a vacancy. Anyone who has been co-opted must step down but may seek nomination for election if eligible.

Can one person hold two positions, e.g. secretary and treasurer?

It is expected that a club will have separate individuals holding the specific officer roles. Each role is distinct and carries different responsibilities. Whilst it is acceptable for a club to allow one person to hold two positions as a short term measure, the club should really aim to have separate people in post. It is appreciated that this is not always possible but the positions should be advertised as vacancies each year so members are aware they can make nominations.

How are committee meetings organised?

Most clubs will have established practices for committee meetings, alongside any formal specifications in the rules of the club. Usually the secretary will convene meetings in consultation with the chairperson. All committee members and officers who are ex officio committee members must be included in the notification.

Can committee meetings be held online?

The committee can agree as to how to hold meetings – in person, online or hybrid. It must ensure that all committee members have the facilities to participate fully, including voting.

What is ‘ex officio’?

This term means ‘by dint of their office’ and allows an officer to be a voting member of the committee, or to attend in a non-voting capacity, depending on the stipulations in the club rules.

What is a committee quorum?

The rules of the club should state the required quorum (number of voting members present) for committee meetings. This should be a fixed number, not a percentage. If the rules do not state the committee quorum, the committee should agree on a quorum requirement for its meetings (usually at least half the total number) and propose an addition to the club rules at the next AGM, to formalise this.

How are minutes of committee meetings managed?

The secretary will usually draft the minutes and seek the chairman’s approval. At the next committee meeting the minutes are subject to formal approval by the committee.

A guidance note on minute writing is available from us.

Can committee minutes be amended?

Any proposed amendments to minutes must be agreed by a majority at a committee meeting. The amendment should then be noted and the minutes updated accordingly.

General meetings - frequently asked questions

What is a general meeting?

All membership organisations must have general meetings. It is a requirement to hold an Annual General Meeting, which must be stated in the club rules. It is also a requirement that the club rules make provision for a Special General Meetings. Some clubs may have other, less formal general meetings of members.

What is the purpose of the Annual General Meeting (AGM)?

The Annual General Meeting must be called in accordance with the rules of the club. It is required annually to process the routine business of the club. Its agenda must include minutes of last meeting, officers’ reports, elections, approval of certified accounts, proposal from committee or by members, and any other business.

What is the purpose of a Special General Meeting (SGM)?

The committee of the club may call an Special General Meeting at any time. An Special General Meeting may also be requisitioned by a given number of members’ signatures (the club rules must specify). Special General Meeting business is for matters which are not routine and outside of normal Annual General Meeting business.

Is there a quorum for a general meeting?

The general meeting quorum should be stated in the club rules. If this is not stated, the committee should propose an addition to the rules for approval by members at the next Annual General Meeting.

Membership - frequently asked questions

How are members enrolled to the club?

Kennel Club Regulations require that societies have in place rules defining the process for membership applications. A committee must jointly agree the acceptance or rejection of a membership application. Such decisions should be recorded in the committee meeting minutes.

Reasons for refusal should not be given to an applicant.

Is a club subject to data protection law?

The club must ensure that it observes the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

Is the club required to keep a Membership list?

We require registered societies to maintain a current list of members’ names and addresses. The list of names must be made available to members and to us.

How are subscriptions managed?

The rules of a registered society should refer to the subscription, the conditions of payment and the status of members failing to pay.

The club must maintain precise records of subscription payments and if possible issue receipts.  Whilst it is not mandatory to issue receipts best practice has indicated that to issue a receipt allows monies to be clearly tracked through a club’s accounts. 

Can membership be cancelled if members do not renew?

The rules of the club may stipulate that members failing to pay by a specific date forfeit their membership and must apply anew.  Or, in circumstances where there has been a practice allowing members to pay later than the due date, this must be applied consistently and may not be altered by the committee without full membership consultation.

Can the committee refuse renewal of membership?

The committee must not refuse renewal of membership. Provided the subscription payment is made by the deadline date, or in accordance with practice, renewal of membership must be granted.

How can membership be removed?

The only means of expulsion is via a vote of members at a Special General Meetings of the club, convened in accordance with the club’s rules and the specific Kennel Club Regulation. There is a detailed procedure which must be carefully followed, as the outcome may be challenged on procedural grounds.

Specific guidance available from us. 

Can the club have different membership categories?

The rules of the club may specify types of membership The terms of reference for each category should be stated. The following is an example list:

  • Single – subscription payable, one named individual, full voting rights
  • Joint – subscription payable, two named individuals at same address, subscription payable, full voting rights
  • Family – subscription payable, one/two adults at the same address, full voting rights; juniors* at the same address, no voting rights
  • Junior – one named individual under 18 years*, no voting rights
  • Honorary – one named individual – subscription and voting rights are not usually associated with this category but clubs can determine this
  • Life – one named individual, voting rights, no subscription payable

*The club would need to have a mechanism to advise holders of family and junior membership of the need to transfer to the appropriate membership category once the age of 18 is reached.

Can junior members vote or serve on committee?

We advise that junior members should have no voting rights and should not be eligible to serve on or make nominations for committee.

Club accounts and financial management - frequently asked questions

Who manages the club’s finances?

The committee is jointly responsible for club management and this includes the financial administration. Whilst there will usually be a treasurer, the committee must ensure that robust systems are in place and regular oversight is maintained.

Who can authorise expenditure?

The committee must mandate officers (at least two) as signatories of club accounts.

How are accounts finalised each year?

The accounts must be independently certified – either by one qualified accountant or by two unqualified individuals who have accountancy experience. The certified accounts must be approved by members at the AGM, having been made available 14 days prior to the meeting.

Is there a ceiling for expenditure?

In some clubs, a ‘ceiling’ figure is in place for committee spending, so that it is clear to all as to the maximum amount that the committee can spend without the approval of the membership. If this is not in place then it might perhaps be wise for the committee to discuss this and make a suitable proposal to a future general meeting of members.

Who is responsible for club property?

The committee has overall responsibility for managing and safeguarding all property, although individuals can be allocated certain items. The important factor is that a current, accurate record of all property and its whereabouts is maintained. When keepership changes, there should be checking and updating of the inventory.

Secretaries' calendar for registered club

Below is a timetable of when information is required by The Kennel Club. 

January

Maintenance of title fee: a fee payable to The Kennel Club for continued registration/affiliation

  • A reminder to societies is published in the October and January editions of The Kennel Club Journal
  • Fees must be paid by 31 January by cheque unless the society has a direct debit arrangement
  • £50 (cash/cheque or single card payment)
  • £45 (direct debit)
  • £20 (cash/cheque or single card payment) - only for branches or ringcraft societies 
  • £18 (direct debit)- only for branches or ringcraft societies
  • Societies are responsible for the payment arriving at The Kennel Club by 31 January
  • In the event of any change to the society's account details, the direct debit should be re-confirmed
  • Societies with branches must pay their branch fees at the same time
July

Annual returns: information required confirming the society is operating in accordance with The Kennel Club regulations

  • Reminders for annual returns are published in the January and July editions of The Kennel Club Journal
  • Annual returns must be submitted by 31 July and must include the following information:
    • A list of current officers and committee members with their contact details
    • A copy of the annual statement of accounts certified in accordance with the rules of the society and approved at the last annual general meeting of the society
    • A copy of the current constitution/rules, highlighting any proposed amendments for which approval from The Kennel Club is required
    • The number of members of the society as at the end of the society's financial year
    • A declaration of matches held in the previous year and details of those proposed in the following year. Permission from The Kennel Club is not required to hold matches
    • Societies with branches must also submit a list of registered branches, together with contact details of the secretary and chairman of each branch
    • Judges' list and code of ethics (a requirement for breed clubs only)

Note: health declarations are no longer part of the annual health returns process. It is the role of the breed health co-ordinators who are now responsible for submitting an annual health report each year to The Kennel Club. Please email our health team if you have any further questions.

Agricultural and municipal societies

  • A list of current officers and committee members of the canine section with their addresses and telephone numbers
  • A copy of the annual statement of accounts of the canine section
  • A copy of the current constitution/rules of the canine section, highlighting any proposed amendments for which permission from The Kennel Club is required

Field trial societies HPR levy fee

Societies that have permission to run open hunt, point and retrieve (HPR) stakes have to pay a levy of £30 towards the HPR championship. The deadline for the levy payment is at the end of July.

September

Field trial societies Spaniel levy fee

Societies that have permission to run open cocker spaniel or open any variety spaniel (except for Spaniel [Cocker]) stakes (or both) have to pay a levy towards the Cocker Spaniel and the Any Variety Spaniel (except Spaniel [Cocker]) Championships.

If a society has permission to run open Cocker Spaniel stakes the levy fee is £50. If a society has permission to run open any variety Spaniel (except for Spaniel [Cocker]) stakes the levy fee is £75. If a society runs both stakes the levy fee is £125. The deadline for the levy payment is at the end of September.

November

Applications for championship status: applications are printed two years ahead in the November edition of The Kennel Club Journal.

Listed status

The concept of a listed status club was originally considered for the discipline of agility but following its successful implementation, it was considered that the format would also be of benefit to other Kennel Club disciplines.

Listed status allows those who do not want to undergo the full requirements of running a registered society to run shows licensed by The Kennel Club. It is now available for those who wish to run agility, canicross, heelwork to music, obedience, rally competitions or ringcraft training.

Previously, many unaffiliated clubs and groups 'borrowed' licences from registered clubs to run shows, however there was little recourse for competitors should something happen. In general, The Kennel Club would prefer a show to be licensed, rather than not. This safeguards and provides support to all those involved at a show, whether they are competing, organising or judging.

What is listed status?

Listed status is a type of registration with The Kennel Club for groups or individuals, that enables them to hold training and Kennel Club licensed shows/competitions without the requirements that a fully registered club must adhere to.

By becoming a listed status club, your club will receive support with competition administration and club management as well as having access to a wealth of information on every conceivable dog matter.

Benefits of gaining listed status
  • Association with The Kennel Club's brand
  • Publicity through The Kennel Club's database, enquiries and website
  • Minimal club administration i.e. no need to submit annual accounts, list of club members, or have a committee structure
  • Access to The Kennel Club's services and free advice from the office
  • Compliance to the relevant discipline's code of conduct as well as The Kennel Club Code of Conduct
  • Eligibility to hold open shows/competitions
  • Annual certificate of being a listed status club
How to apply for listed status?

Listed status options

There are a number of different routes to listed status. Read further information about how to apply for listed status and the benefits of doing so.

Listed status club for training purposes
  • Association with The Kennel Club brand
  • Publicity through The Kennel Club's database, enquiries and website
  • Minimal club administration i.e. no need to submit annual accounts, list of club members, or have a committee structure
  • Access to The Kennel Club's services and free advice from the office
  • Compliance to the relevant discipline's code of conduct as well as The Kennel Club Code of Conduct
  • Eligibility to hold open shows/competitions
  • Annual certificate of being a listed status club
Listed status club to hold training
  • A statement outlining the club's commitment to canine welfare which is to be signed and dated by the applicant
  • Third party liability insurance, a copy of the certificate to be submitted to The Kennel Club
  • First aid provisions, in line with the size and number of expected attendees
  • Two supporting references; the first letter confirming the applicant(s) training experience written and signed by an experienced dog trainer i.e. Kennel Club championship judge from relevant discipline (obedience for rally/heelwork to music) or trainer/instructor accredited by The Kennel Club for relevant discipline
  • The second letter must be submitted by a local dog warden/environmental health officer to confirm the safety and suitability of the premises/ground(s) being used for the purposes of dog training
  • Joining fee (detailed below)
Listed status club for training purposes and to be able to hold licensed competitions/shows
  • A statement outlining the club's commitment to canine welfare which is to be signed and dated by the applicant
  • Third party liability insurance, a copy of the certificate to be submitted to The Kennel Club
  • First aid provisions, in line with the size and number of expected attendees
  • Two supporting references; the first letter confirming the applicant(s) training experience written and signed by an experienced dog trainer i.e.:
    • Kennel Club championship judge from relevant discipline (obedience for rally/heelwork to music) or trainer/instructor accredited by The Kennel Club for relevant discipline
    • The second letter must be submitted by a local dog warden/environmental health officer to confirm the safety and suitability of the premises/ground(s) being used for the purposes of dog training
  • A show management profile and risk assessment to show evidence of suitability to hold an event licensed by The Kennel Club. This must also include a reference from an experienced/established committee member from a fully registered club
  • Joining fee
  • Completed listed status club application form
Licence fees
  • Annual renewal: £51 (£48 direct debit)
  • Additional discipline / renewal of additional discipline: £15

Discipline

Type of show / competition

Listed status club

Obedience

Limited

£25

Obedience

Open

£60

Heelwork to Music 

Open

£60

Heelwork to Music 

Premier

N/A

Agility

Limited

£25

Agility

Open

£60

Rally

Open

 
Listed status - frequently asked questions

1. How can payment be made for becoming a listed status club and for annual renewal?

Through direct debit or cheque initially, but payment for annual renewal would be by direct debit only.

2. What needs to be submitted on an annual basis to The Kennel Club?

  • A statement outlining the club's commitment to canine welfare which is to be signed and dated by the applicant
  • A copy of the third party liability insurance certificate
  • Renewal fee (payable by direct debit)

3. When is the annual renewal date for submissions and payment?

Each year from the date the listed status club was registered.

4. How many guarantors need to be present at a listed status club show?

The minimum requirement will be the one person as named on the licence.

5. Is there a limit on the number of shows a listed status club or fully registered club may hold?

No, but if there is a significant detrimental effect on the show calendar as a whole, then the Board will reserve the right to review the number of licences issued to a particular show organiser.

6. Will The Kennel Club regulate the cost of entry fees?

No, the KC has never regulated the cost of entry fees.

7. How do we manage entry forms?

Entry forms must be completed for all dogs entered, including those entered on the day. They must be retained by the show organisers for 12 months from the date of the show and forwarded to The Kennel Club on request.

8. When is the closing date and can entries be accepted on the day of the show?

The closing date for entries to classes at shows must be at least 14 days before the date of the show. Entries from competitors claiming that missing entries have been correctly posted must be accepted on the day of the show as per the regulations.

9. Who can apply to have a listed status club?

Any club, group or individual.

10. Do you need a committee structure?

No.

11. Will The Kennel Club reduce its governance of fully registered clubs? 

No, we are of the view that the current stipulations are the minimum necessary requirement to safeguard a club's membership.

12. Will I/we be inspected by The Kennel Club? 

No, the reference submitted by a local dog warden/environmental health officer to confirm the safety and suitability of the premises/ground(s) being used for the purposes of dog training, will be the only inspection of the training venue. If you plan to hold a show, field officers will be sent as is the standard procedure for all shows licensed by The Kennel Club.

13. Why are heelwork to music (HTM) shows that hold Kennel Club qualifiers called 'premier'? 

A similar premier type of show already exists in showing and agility and it would be in keeping with current range of shows The Kennel Club has to offer. 

14. There are two different types of HTM shows - what do these entail and what are the differences? 

  • Premier HTM shows:
    This is a new name for shows that have qualifying heats for any of The Kennel Club's major events. This could be for Crufts or any future Kennel Club qualifying event. Organisers can schedule their choice of official categories and classes. Societies running premier shows will be fully registered organisations only. 
     
  • Open HTM shows:
    Organisers can schedule their choice of official categories and classes, except for qualifying heats for any of The Kennel Club's major events. Societies running open HTM shows will be fully registered organisations or the new listed status club.