Already competing in obedience?

Dog sat down
Yulia Titovets © / The Kennel Club
Competing in obedience is fun for both you and your dog. Shows are held all over the country, giving you the opportunity to compete regularly and meet like-minded people. 

When competing at an event licensed by The Kennel Club, competitors should ensure that their dog is registered correctly and have a good understanding of the Obedience G Regulations booklet (regulation amendments as of 1 January can be found in the back of this booklet).

Obedience awards

There are a number of different awards you can achieve in obedience. Find out more about each below.

Obedience Award of Merit Certificates

These are on offer at a number of shows for competitors in introductory, pre-beginners and beginners classes. Please check with the society to find out if they are on offer.

Obedience Excellent

Registered owner(s) may request the Obedience Excellent Certificate for their dog. This is issued to a dog that has obtained the required amount of points for places gained at open and championship obedience shows. Once achieved, you may enter your dog at shows with the relevant graded title.

Obedience Warrant

An Obedience Warrant will be issued for a dog that has obtained 14 points by winning 1st prizes in novice, class A, class B and/or class C (open), whilst ineligible to compete in championship class C. Once achieved, you may enter your dog at shows with the graded title OW.

Obedience at Crufts

Obedience competitions take place throughout the four days of Crufts, and are held in the ring dedicated to obedience located in Hall 5. Find out more about competing in the finals.

The Obedience Liaison Council

The Obedience Liaison Council enables competitors to communicate with The Kennel Club. The council is a key channel for you to make positive changes to obedience.

What is the Obedience Liaison Council?

The Obedience Liaison Council is made up of 17 regional representatives, elected for a three-year term to act as a channel of communication between obedience societies, competitors, and The Kennel Club. The council was set up to represent grassroots opinion within the discipline at The Kennel Club, and to promote a better understanding among competitors of how The Kennel Club functions. It meets twice per year, and representatives hold area meetings prior to each council meeting to provide a platform for proposals and discussion items to be raised. The meetings also provide feedback from The Kennel Club on recent developments and decisions. 

The council reviews the obedience show regulations and advises The Kennel Club on any changes that may be needed, and is actively involved in strategic planning to enable obedience to continue and flourish. Council proposals can result in fundamental changes in Kennel Club policy and The Kennel Club values the important work the councils do.

Council members are always interested in hearing the views and ideas of competitors, and will be seen competing, stewarding, or judging at many shows during the year. Minutes and agendas for recent and forthcoming council meetings can be found below.

How to become a liaison council representative

Representatives are elected for a period of three years and the current term of office of all The Kennel Club Liaison Council representatives ends on 31 December 2021. 

Representatives are elected by Kennel Club registered societies and clubs which have an active interest in obedience.

Obedience Liaison Council agenda, annexes and minutes
Obedience Liaison Council representatives
Name and email address Area Phone
Dawn Cox



Nigel Slater



Sheilagh Hyde




Debra Lavender


North East

07719 664792

Neil Walton

North East

07958 045056


Kathy Russell


North West


Ray Wakelin

North West   


Michael McCartney


Northern Ireland

02892 622992


Carole Patrick



01387 259783


James McIntosh



01698 860358 

Lillian Turner

South/South West



David Moxon


South/South West

07810 378737


J Le Fevre


South East/East Anglia



Fran Godfrey


South East/East Anglia

07802 768000

Alison Shaw

South East/East Anglia


Jon Farr




07570 350885


Nerys Thomas



07950 588883


Competitors - frequently asked questions

The Kennel Club has reworded the relevant section of the descriptions and explanatory notes for obedience tests. All handlers and judges should be aware of the new wording which came into effect as of 1 January 2017.

These amendments have come about as a result of concerns expressed within the world of canine activities, and particularly obedience, about a small number of dogs which appear to have been taught to hold a position in heelwork which entails the dog effectively walking on its pasterns.

This poses a potential issue with regard to the health and welfare of dogs which must remain paramount in all Kennel Club licensed events. Judges need to be aware that dogs should be balanced, with rear pasterns vertical, and that dogs which do not conform to this standard must be penalised as a major fault.

Learn more

1. Why has it been decided to do this now?

The health and welfare of dogs at Kennel Club licensed shows is always at the heart of the work of the decisions made by the board and its committees. Where The Kennel Club identifies a potential problem which it considers to compromise the health and welfare of a dog, we have an obligation to take action where we can.

2. The press release talks about dogs walking on their pasterns. What does this mean?

This is when a dog walks in a crouched way with its hind legs almost horizontal to the floor and in some cases where the lower part of the hind leg makes contact with the ground, instead of the dog walking with vertical pasterns and upright on its feet.

3. What does “maintaining its natural topline" mean?

The natural topline of a dog is the shape of its back when it is walking naturally. A dog should walk in as natural a manner as possible. The duty of care expected of a judge is that of the experienced competitor, who would be aware of what is normal and therefore should be able to appreciate significant deviation from the norm.

4. This regulation does not have any marks allocated to it, therefore how can it be penalised?

Marks should be deducted from whichever exercise the judge sees the dog not working with a natural topline.

5. How many marks should be deducted?

The Kennel Club does not dictate how many marks should be deducted for any errors in obedience but this should be marked appropriately for a major fault.

6. What can I do if I do not consider a judge is marking correctly in relation to this amended regulation?

Your detailed concerns should be recorded in the show’s incident book.

7. Some dogs work with a high head carriage and with a natural topline but without its back end being close to the ground. Should this be penalised?

No, if the dog is working with a natural topline for its breed or shape, then it should not be penalised. However, if its backend is tucked in whilst walking and its pasterns are not vertical, then this should be marked as a major fault.

8. How will judges view those dogs which are currently competing, and which might be in contravention of this new regulation? Surely there should be some form of transition period to allow for dogs to be retrained?

If a dog is not working in a happy manner with a natural topline at a show after 1 January 2017, this should be penalised by the judge. The health and welfare of dogs competing in all its activity disciplines is of paramount importance to The Kennel Club and therefore it was felt this should be addressed immediately.


The purpose of obreedience is to encourage more breeds to 'have a go' at some of the tests associated with competitive obedience but in a less formal competitive environment.

Obreedience is a team event and showcases the talents of each breed through a series of fun exercises. It's perfect for all ages and abilities.

It mixes the best aspects of obedience with the camaraderie found amongst breed enthusiasts. Each obreedience team must comprise of four handlers and four dogs of the same breed, who take part in two rounds of competition including a round of heelwork performed together as a group, then four set exercises including a retrieve, a 'send to bed', commanding the dog to stop and a scent exercise.

Read more about obreedience on the Crufts website.

Next steps - judging obedience

Once you're comfortable with competing, you might like to start judging. Learn more about becoming an obedience judge.