Already competing in heelwork to music?

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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.

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.

Crufts 2020 semi-finals

Crufts HTM and freestyle winners: Lucy Creek and Harriott Skiffle King.

Crufts semi-finals took place at the Sports Connexion, Coventry, on 18 January 2020.

Judges: HTM semi-finals were judged by Kay Laurence, Ali Buck & Alison Davidson; the freestyle semi-finals were judged by Ali Buck, Kay Laurence and Paul Ballard. Crufts Judges: Kath Hardman (Head Judge), Pamela Ruscoe and Dawn Hill (International).

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.

Progression
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 should send a copy of their Heelwork to Music Record Book to the awards department at The Kennel Club with a letter of application.

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

Mrs G Pink

01420 257125

Mr D Ray

01788 561253

Dr V Richardson

01225 864144

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.