Rally secretary information

Dog walking along beside owner
Yulia Titovets © / The Kennel Club

Rally competitions are licensed by The Kennel Club and run by both registered or listed status clubs and societies. Before running a rally competition, the society must have applied to and been approved by The Kennel Club.

Register as a rally club

The Kennel Club values its clubs and societies. They have a vital role to play in helping as many people understand the importance of the dog in society. Learn more about applying for listed status.

How to run your show

Setting up the show
  • Nominate a competition secretary, competition manager and (optionally) a competition committee
  • Decide on a date, a venue and the classes to be run. Most societies run their competitions in the same week in each year. To avoid date clashes, please use Find a Show
  • Provisionally book the intended venue (for new venues consider venue size, surface, road access and availability of water, power and waste disposal)
  • Obtain a licence: a competition host's initial application to hold an event under these regulations must be received at least six weeks before the proposed date of the competition
  • Confirm the venue and check any conditions of use and cancellation terms
  • Draw up a budget
  • Draw up a provisional ring plan, allocating classes to rings on the basis of estimated numbers of entries
  • Identify suitably qualified and experienced judges for all classes
  • Judges should be invited in writing or email, and asked to accept in writing or email; the club should then confirm the appointment in writing to form a three-part contract
  • Book trophy and rosette suppliers, caterers and veterinary cover
  • Book hired facilities if required, such as skips, toilets, PA system, 'walkie-talkie' radios, tables and chairs, marquees, score tents, fire extinguishers
Selecting a judge

If you are looking for a judge for your competition, please search our Find a Judge database. All judges must be fully conversant with The Kennel Club Rally S Regulations

What administration should I do before the show?
  • Prepare and distribute a competition schedule, incorporating an entry form, using the specimen schedule as a basis 
  • Prepare a risk assessment and develop a safety plan to minimise risks
  • Arrange adequate public liability insurance, the certificate must be displayed at the competition, with The Kennel Club's licence
  • Appoint ring managers and allocate tasks such as parking control, PA system announcers, results processing, prize presentations, ring refreshments and judges' and helpers' lunches, car park checks for hot dogs, signage and equipment management
What are the final preparations?
  • Once entries have closed, finalise the ring plan, splitting classes where numbers of entries make it advisable. Ensure no judge will be scheduled to judge classes for which more dogs have been entered, than have been agreed to be judged
  • Prepare a list of helpers to ensure efficient use of volunteer helpers
  • Confirm numbers of trophies and rosettes, catering and refreshment requirements, ring equipment etc.
What should I do at the show?
  • Ensure copies of the regulations, all entry forms, the competition licence, insurance certificate, awards, judges correspondence and an official Kennel Club incident book are taken to the competition
  • Within seven days, report to The Kennel Club if there were any incidents requiring a report (e.g. biting/aggression incidents, formal objections/complaints, changes of judging arrangements, cancellation or abandonment). Learn more about incidents at events

Please note: The above list gives an idea of general timescales but many individual tasks will be done in a different order from above depending on circumstances.

Laminated rally signs are available to purchase in our online shop. Suppliers of rally sign holders can be found below.

Company Address Contact Product info

Plastic Online

Unit 2 Pioneer Park, Clough Road, Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorks, HU6 7HW Ph: 01482 333 800
Email Plastic Online
Acrylic Angles literature holders (landscape) £87.78 for 25 plus P&P
Rally-O Unit 5 Cocker Street Trading Estate, Blackpool, FY1 2EP Email Rally-O  
Sign Holders Direct Ltd Unit 1, Mile Oak Industrial Estate Oswestry Shropshire SY10 8GA Ph: 01691 654655
Fax: 01691 679769
Email Sign Holders Direct Ltd 
The signs are A4 Landscape Menu Signs

The Kennel Club has no connection to any company listed above and this does not constitute a recommendation.

Downloadable rally signs are also available: 
What should I do if I have to cancel my event/show?

It is important that the society and show services department is informed of a cancellation in writing by completing the cancellation of shows form as soon as this decision is made, giving the reason for the cancellation. It should not be assumed that because the licence application form is not returned to The Kennel Club by the due date, that the show will be removed from the show diary. 

If the cancellation is notified far enough in advance, this could free up a date for use by other clubs and societies, and in other instances it will prevent the office assuming the event is going ahead and therefore sending out unnecessary reminder letters for schedules and/or catalogues. 

Read further information about cancellation of events.

What administration should I do before the show?
Societies are required to consider government advice, including DEFRA, in place at the time when planning an event. It is also worth noting that often advice is different for different parts of the United Kingdom and this needs to be taken into account when planning the event both in relation to the venue and expected participants.
Do I need insurance cover?

One of the main concerns for societies is whether there will be adequate insurance cover. Kennel Club show regulations stipulate that insurance is required – otherwise the show licence is invalid. It is always best to check with the society’s own insurance provider in terms of the amount of and heads of cover. We have partnered with Pet Business Insurance (PBI) to provide specifically designed insurance cover for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability insurance at a competitive price. It is unlikely that any Covid-19-specific insurance will be available but general public liability will be available.

You can contact them on 01284 736874 or visit their website.

A society should make best efforts to ensure that the venue/ground is Covid-19 safe, in line with government advice available at the time (including risk assessments). This will then help in demonstrating that the society has discharged its duty of care to participants and visitors. It is not possible to guarantee a no Covid-19 risk scenario, and there will be an element of assumption of risk by the participant/visitor. The society’s job is to minimise that risk. As always in the context of health and safety, there should be clearly documented instructions and role descriptions defining the clear delegation of responsibilities for the range of health and safety issues at the event.

A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if an exhibitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.


Does my society need insurance cover?

Society committees must ensure that they have adequate cover for all the society's activities. The Kennel Club insurance cover is specifically designed for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability and directors' and officers' liability insurance at a competitive price.

Chief Steward Information
Rally show schedules

The rally regulations specify that shows must issue a schedule which conforms to the current specimen schedule issued by The Kennel Club. The specimen schedule is available below. It's regularly updated to take account of changes to the regulations or policy. Show secretaries are advised to download the most recent version of the specimen schedule before preparing any show schedules.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)
Incidents at events

Anything that occurs at an event that is ‘out of the ordinary’ should be considered an incident and logged in the incident book, even if those involved do not wish to take any action. Learn more about incidents at events.

Risk assessment

Every society must undertake its own individual risk assessment for every event.

Any particular measures or conditions that competitors need to be aware of prior to the event must be included within the schedule.

Officials' meals
Hospitality and catering arrangements for judges, officials and stewards should be reviewed in line with relevant Covid-19 and food safety guidelines. If meals are being served, appropriate PPE should be worn by those serving.

If a judge has been contracted for a future show/event and is no longer willing to officiate due to concerns relating to Covid-19, their age or health, the contract should be cancelled and a new judge appointed. It must be acknowledged that everyone’s circumstances are different and therefore The Kennel Club will not take any action against a judge not fulfilling their appointment in these circumstances.


Written guidance should be sought from the venue hirer regarding any special measures the show committee must undertake during their hiring period.

Rings may need to be spread out more than previously to allow space between the rings for free movement of people and to ensure that those in adjacent rings are not too close to each other.

Indoor venues may need to have more space around rings to ensure there is adequate space and a separate entrance and exit should be encouraged,

Is your proposed venue therefore large enough to accommodate the above and any other special requirements?

Schedule of events
It is not necessary for any activity to schedule a full range of classes and therefore societies should consider carefully which classes/stakes to schedule to ensure the event is of a manageable size, taking into consideration any additional health and safety requirements. A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if a competitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.
Veterinary cover
For those events that do not have on-site veterinary cover, liaison must be undertaken with the on-call veterinary practice to ensure it is able to provide the required cover.

Rally show management courses

Details of the next rally show management seminar will be announced soon. 

The management seminar is a great way to learn more about the management of rally competitions and is open to all. 

The Kennel Club rally competition management seminar is open to anyone but is essential for everyone connected with rally competition administration and organisation. It aims to promote The Kennel Club best practice in organising rally competitions.

Judges' seminars

The trainers listed below have been accredited by The Kennel Club to provide judges' training on rally regulations and judging procedures, as well as course design and practical judging. Clubs, individuals and other organisations wishing to run seminars on the above subject should make direct contact with these accredited trainers.

Rally accredited trainers
Name and email Region Phone number
Rachel Bradley

Rowney Green, Birmingham

01527 591 519
Claire Coughlan

Hampton Coppice, West Midlands

07482 658 258
Rachel Cooper County Antrim   
Sarah Lindsey Rooksbridge, Axbridge  
Becky Collier Plymouth, Devon  
Julia Bodsworth Kingsbury, Tamworth  
Amy Jackson    
Adrian Dornford-Smith County Antrim 028 7965 1979
N J Kirk Carmarthen, Sir Gaerfyrddin 07816 453 141