Already competing in heelwork to music?

Lady laying on the floor while dog jumps on back © / The Kennel Club

Heelwork to music provides your dog with an opportunity to display its understanding and knowledge of training commands in an impressive choreographed routine.

Competitors taking part in any event licensed by The Kennel Club must familiarise themselves with The Kennel Club rules and regulations beforehand (regulation amendments as of 1 January can be found in the back of this booklet).

Heelwork to music competitions are held all over the country for each of the classes, giving you the opportunity to compete regularly and meet likeminded people.

Heelwork to music competitions

There are numerous heelwork to music competitions held annually by The Kennel Club's societies. Details of these competitions are published in Find a Show.

Heelwork to music at Crufts

One of the highlights of a heelwork to music (HTM) competitor's career is the opportunity to compete in front of an audience of thousands at Crufts.

Each year Crufts hosts the finals of both heelwork to music and freestyle competitions. All advanced level dogs and handlers can qualify for Crufts by entering one or more of a series of qualifying events held throughout the year.

All Crufts qualifying competitions are judged under the appropriate Kennel Club regulations in force at the time of the event. To be eligible to enter these classes, dogs must be eligible to compete in advanced classes. Both the competition organisers and The Kennel Club reserve the right to verify a dog's eligibility to compete.

Crufts also caters for heelwork to music's growing international following by hosting The Kennel Club Crufts international freestyle competition. The competition is open to one competitor from each country, including one from Great Britain.

Heelwork to Music Team GB

Each year The Kennel Club sends competitors to the World Championships or the European Open Championships to represent the UK. Learn more about joining Heelwork to Music Team GB.

Progressing in heelwork to music

Once you have gained more experience in competing, you may want to set your sights on moving into more advanced classes. To progress, you accumulate wins and/or points which are awarded for gaining a 4th place or above in a standard heelwork to music or freestyle class. Points are only awarded when a final score is over the minimum of 18.

Points awarded Progression requirements 
1st place - 10 points Starters -> 14 points and a win or you may elect to progress at 20 points or continue in novice until you gain the win -> Novice
2nd place - 6 points Novice: 16  points and a win or 28 points -> Intermediate

3rd place - 4 points

Intermediate -> 2 wins -> Advanced

4th place - 2 points

After you progress, your points go back to zero

Excellent Awards

When you win out of a class you are entitled to use the initials for that class after your dog's name on entry forms and in catalogues; only the most recent award is used. The initials for heelwork to music are HTM St, HTM N, HTM I and for freestyle the initials used are FS St, FS N, FS I. Gaining at least 24 points at advanced entitles you to use the initials HTM A or FS A.

If a 1st place has been won in starters or novice, or two 1st places at intermediate or advanced, when the required level of points have been gained, the dog will also be awarded an Excellent qualification and can use the title "Ex" after its class title, such as: HTM St Ex.

Points needed

To gain a heelwork to music Excellent Award, the dog must have attained the following:

  • Starters: 14 points in starters including at least one 1st place
  • Novice:16 points in novice including at least one 1st place
  • Intermediate: at least two 1st places in intermediate
  • Advanced: at least two 1st places in advanced

The following points are awarded in all of The Kennel Club's standard classes:

  • 1st place: 10 points
  • 2nd place: 6 points
  • 3rd place: 4 points
  • 4th place: 2 points

The following Excellent Awards can be obtained:

  • Heelwork to music: HTM St Ex, HTM N Ex, HTM I Ex, HTM A Ex
  • Freestyle: FS St Ex, FS N Ex, FS I Ex, FS A Ex
How to claim

Competitors wishing to claim the award to can apply online via the Heelwork to Music Excellent claim form. Please submit your form to the Awards department via this email address. 

Heelwork to Music Warrant Award

A Heelwork to Music or Freestyle Warrant will be issued on application by the registered owner at the time of qualification in respect of a dog that has obtained points in standard classes at premier and open competitions.

The requirements for the three levels of warrant, Bronze, Silver, and Gold are:

Bronze 100 points
Silver 200 points
Gold 400 points

The following titles may be used after the name of the dog on competition entries and in catalogues:

Heelwork to Music
Bronze HTMW(B)
Silver HTMW(S)
Gold HTMW(G)

Bronze FSW(B)
Silver FSW(S)
Gold FSW(G)

Points awarded
Standard heelwork to music OR freestyle classes
Points will be awarded at any level as long as a minimum score of 18 is achieved. Places must have been awarded by the competition organiser.
1st place 20 points
2nd place 19 points
3rd place 18 points
4th place 17 points
5th place 16 points
6th place 15 points
7th place 14 points
8th place 13 points
9th place 12 points
10th place 11 points
5 points will also be awarded to any unplaced routines that have achieved a qualifying score or above.
How to claim
Complete the Heelwork to Music Warrant Claim Form and submit your form to the Awards department via this email address.

Heelwork to music working party

The heelwork to music working party acts as a channel of communication between The Kennel Club and those who compete in heelwork to music. The working party has been set up to represent grassroots opinion within The Kennel Club, and to promote a better understanding among competitors of how The Kennel Club functions. For more information read below.

What is the heelwork to music working party?

The heelwork to music working party is made up of seven members, elected for a three-year term to act as a channel of communication between heelwork to music clubs, competitors, and The Kennel Club. 

The working party will play an essential role in reviewing the regulations for licensed heelwork to music competitions and to advise The Kennel Club on any regulation changes that may be needed.

Heelwork to music working party summary of recommendations

Recommendations by the working party will be submitted to the activities committee and then the board. All approved regulations will be effective from January 1 of the following year. If you wish to obtain a copy of older summary of recommendations, please email your request to The Kennel Club.

Heelwork to music working party
Name and email address  Phone number
Mr R Curtis

01476 577452

Ms A DeRizzio

01253 722923

Mrs K Hardman

07759 909101

Ms K Lyddon

07968 195799

Mrs G Pink

07807 770969

Dr J Joyd


Ms P Ruscoe

01698 251897 

Next steps - judging

Once you have competed, you might like to start judging. Learn more about becoming a heelwork to music judge.