Judges Competency Framework – Kennel Club Issues Third Set of Questions and Answers

A number of clubs and individuals have contacted the Kennel Club to seek clarification on various issues concerning the press announcement made about the Judges Competency Framework (JCF) in April 2017. The JCF working party has therefore prepared a third Q&A document to assist accordingly; two previous Q&As were issued in April and July.

General questions

Q. Will there be an opportunity for breed clubs to test the JCF before it is released to the public?

A. There is currently a pilot scheme in place involving 14 breeds which have been asked to test the formats for the breed specific education element of the JCF, with the full scheme rolled out from 2019.

Kennel Club Academy

Q. How will the multiple choice exams be carried out? Is there concern that there may be ‘stand-ins’?

A. Breed-specific multiple choice exams will take place in person at Breed Appreciation Days. The whole system relies upon trust.

Q. What measures will the Kennel Club take to ensure that there is no breach of the Data Protection Act?

A. There will be Data Protection Act compliance.

Q. Will the Academy change the way championship show judges are nominated?

A. It is anticipated that nominations to judge will be made electronically using the Find a Judge system.

Breed Education Coordinator

Q. How will the Breed Education Coordinator (BEC) be chosen?

A. The person will be chosen by the breed club or, in the case of breeds with more than one club, through a consensus of breed clubs. They will not be chosen by the Kennel Club and will remain in the post until the breed club(s) appoints someone else. 

Q. Will there be a description of the role available soon?

A. Details regarding the BEC role will be released following feedback from the pilot scheme breed clubs.


Q. Will mentors be permitted to exhibit and mentor at the same show?

A. Yes, it is permissible. A sensible approach needs to be taken as the mentoring conducted at shows should be for a meaningful length of time.

Q. If there are not enough mentors for a breed with large or small numbers, will there be a Kennel Club appointed mentor?

A. Yes, there will be.

Q. How will the BEC match judges with mentors?

A. It is likely that most mentoring sessions will take place at breed club shows and there are usually potential mentors present at these events. The BEC can take geography into account; for example, if attending the Scottish club show it would not be sensible to ask someone from Sussex to make a special trip. There will also be mentoring days organised by clubs where, as far as possible, a number of mentors will be available with whom candidates can interact.

Q. Will there be repercussions if a breed club does not comply with the JCF?

A. Yes, there may be.

Breed clubs

Q. We understand that breed clubs will be obliged to offer ‘supported entry’ classes at general open shows. Please could you advise how this will be arranged? What made the Kennel Club decide to reintroduce this?

A. A move designed to enhance the open show scene, each breed club will sponsor classes for its breed at a minimum of two general open shows per year. It is hoped that the quality and quantity of exhibits at open shows will increase, especially as the breed club will have suggested the judges and promoted the classes to their membership. The shows which make more effort will be encouraged and are likely to flourish. Breed clubs will have more influence over who judges their breed at general open shows. It will also provide more opportunities for judges to be mentored at the ringside and observed to meet JCF requirements. 

Q. There is concern that there are breed clubs that struggle to cover finances for their seminars. Please could you advise if there will be any ways in which clubs can profit under the new scheme?

A. It is envisaged that ‘breed appreciation days’ will be able to cover their costs. Some clubs are quite innovative and run their seminars alongside their open shows, for example. The Kennel Club will help with the marketing of events through its website and the online Kennel Club Journal. Clubs could seek advice from those that have run profitable and successful events.

Breed-specific assessments

Q. Who will cover the expenses of the handlers and dogs for candidate judges to go over at the assessments?

A. The Kennel Club will pay the expenses.

Q. Will there be a centralised location such as Stoneleigh which will be used as a main assessment centre? Additionally, will the Kennel Club manage the logistics for the day and oversee the assessment process?

A. Stoneleigh is a central location and will be used for many of the assessments. However, they could be held at other venues; in part that will depend upon demand. Yes, the Kennel Club will manage the logistics for the day and oversee the assessment process. All administration associated with assessments will be undertaken by Kennel Club staff.

Q. Is there a minimum number of dogs to be present for the breed assessment?

A. The minimum number is five dogs to be judged. There will be a limit on the number of candidates with the welfare of the dogs in mind. It is possible that multiple sessions on a day could be arranged if there is such a demand.

Student judges

Q. Is every society obliged to have a student judge at their show?

A. No, they may refuse if they wish.

Q. How are student judge appointments coordinated?

A. The BEC will ask a society if they are happy for a student judge to come to their show.

Q. Will student judges have their mentor at each show?

A. Student judges are required to be mentored on at least three occasions and ideally in three different formats, i.e. at a breed mentoring day, while watching the judging of a breed at the ringside with a mentor, and while being a student judge in a ring with an experienced judge. It is not a requirement that student judges are mentored every time they judge, so there will be shows at which they judge but are not mentored.


Q. It would appear that as a Level 5 Judge for a particular group, you would be eligible to register as Level 2 for all breeds in that group. Is that interpretation correct?

A. A Level 5 judge will be able to register as Level 2 for all breeds in that group. However, it is recommended that they attend a breed appreciation day for those breeds. If they wish to progress to Level 3, they will need to undertake the mentoring and observed judging for the breed(s) concerned.

Q. What would constitute a proven interest in breeding and showing? Will the information given be verified?

A. A candidate would need to supply a signed statement outlining their background, e.g. exhibiting, breeding, committee work and assisting with the running of shows and other events. This information will be verified.

Q. Will there be set times and distances between appointments?

A. Other than CC, Group and BIS appointments which are governed by KC Regulations, these will be determined between the judge and society.

Q. Will judges on B or C lists who are progressing towards awarding CCs be able to continue to work towards this achievement or will they have to start again?

A. Yes, they can continue. There will be a transition period when the current and new systems will run alongside one another. Read further information about JCF.

Q. Will there be any change in criteria for judging puppy groups or AV classes at open shows?

A. No, the requirement stays the same.

Judges lists

Q. Are there time constraints on when a judge can go on a judges list?

A. From 1st January 2019, no new person will be able to judge until they have met the Level 1 requirements, which includes a five year involvement. It is quite possible now for a judge not on any list to be faced with a large class at their first appointment, and that could be after only a year in dogs, and without having attended any educational event.

Q. From 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2021, the two systems will be run alongside each other. Does this mean judges can be invited on either system?

A. Yes, the two systems will run alongside each other and shows can invite using either. It is expected that over time there will be a shift to the new system.

Q. In minority breeds, there is concern that with the lack of specific club judging lists, the judges invited will not be particularly interested in the breed. Are you able to offer any advice?

A. There is nothing to stop a breed club from holding a breed-specific seminar now and adding people to their lists. Inviting show societies will still be able to work from breed club lists up until the end of 2021, as well as using the Find a Judge service on the Kennel Club website. Breed clubs could also be proactive by encouraging their preferred judges to ‘transition across’ to the Academy when the time comes.


Q. Will there be specific training for judges prior to judging Import Register classes?

A. Imported Register classes by definition involve the judging of more than one breed. As stated previously, there is no reason why a breed should not have competent judges just because it does not have CCs. Non-CC breeds are also welcome to apply to have a film included on the Kennel Club Academy.

Read further information about JCF.