Judging rally

Dog sat down with owner walking round dog
Yulia Titovets © / The Kennel Club

Judges at rally competitions licensed by The Kennel Club are expected to maintain and abide by the highest standards, judging in accordance with The Kennel Club's Rally Regulations and behaving in accordance with the appropriate Kennel Club Code of Best Practice.

Judges should maintain a record of all judging appointments, and The Kennel Club's Judges' Record Book is useful for this purpose.

Becoming a rally judge

Before you become a rally judge you must have sufficient knowledge and experience of rally so that you are able to judge fairly and accurately. Most judges will have already competed in rally for some time and it would be useful to have assisted with the running or organisation of a rally show. This experience provides the prospective judge with vital experience and knowledge of all the elements of running a rally class safely and efficiently.

The Kennel Club provides useful publications to assist with judging appointments that includes the Guide for Rally Judges.

You can purchase the Rally S Rules and Regulations from our online shop or download a pdf version of the Rally S Regulations. Any amendments made to the rally rules and regulations will be highlighted alongside the regulations.

First appointments

Before you judge for the first time at a rally show licensed by The Kennel Club, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have attended one of The Kennel Club's rally regulations and judging procedure seminars and passed the regulations and judging procedure examination. The exam is held at the end of the seminar day and consists of a short multiple-choice question paper based only on the material covered during the day at the seminar
  • You must also have attended a rally course design and practical judging seminar
Rally seminars and accredited trainers

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 to invite them to conduct the seminar and arrange a suitable venue. Details of upcoming rally regulations and judging procedure seminars can be found in the seminar diary, or you can contact an accredited trainer for further information.


Before judging a level 1 or level 2 class at a rally competition a judge must have:

  • handled a dog and achieved the level title for the level which they are judging
  • acted as a scribe steward for a complete standard rally class on at least two occasions with two different judges
  • attended a Kennel Club rally regulations and judging procedure seminar and passed the regulations and judging procedure examination
  • attended a Kennel Club rally practical judging seminar

A judge's first two appointments must be restricted to level 1 or level 2.

It is necessary to meet further criteria to judge levels 3-6, which are detailed in the rally regulations.

The next two appointments may be at level 3. Before judging level 4, a judge must have undertaken two appointments at level 3.

Before judging level 5, a judge must have undertaken two appointments at level 4.

Before judging level 6, a judge must have carried out two appointments at level 5.

Judges must ensure that they have scribed at every level they intend to judge.

A judge may not judge more than 50 dogs per day.

Judges at a rally competition must not enter for competition a dog which is recorded in their sole ownership, or handle a dog at the competition at which they are judging. A dog recorded in part ownership with the judge may be entered for competition in any part of a class other than the part which the judge is judging.

All judging appointments at Kennel Club licensed rally shows must be underpinned by a contract between the society and the judge. Forming a contract requires three stages:

  1. The society must invite the judge in writing, including the wording required in the rally regulations, and request a written acceptance
  2. The judge should return a written acceptance of the judging appointment
  3. 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.

Every judge is to provide scoresheets for their use. If you judge regularly, you are encouraged to source your own judging equipment.

Additional resources

There are a number of resources available to assist you with your judging. 

Purchase the publications you need from our online shop:

Learn more with these free resources: