Judges Competency Framework FAQs



What will it cost me to be a listed judge under the new system?

You will need to join the Kennel Club Academy, which costs £26 per year. There are a number of benefits including access to a series of high-quality educational films and other material. Being a member will allow you to take any mandatory online exams at no charge.  In some countries, judges pay as much as £50 per year to be listed, with no benefits beyond appearing on the official list.  If you take a judging exam on the Kennel Club Academy, think of the seminar attendance fees you will be saving, to say nothing of petrol expenses.

I have taken breed club judging assessments  and passed them in the past.  Will these count towards making progress under the new system?

Yes.  Simply make sure you update your details for the specific breed on the KC Academy, this will allow you to register as a Level 2 judge in that breed

Why do I need to take a Kennel Club Requirements of a Dog Show Judge exam every five years?

It is a way of demonstrating that you have refreshed your learning, and are up to date with show regulations, policies and procedures.  Revision is never a bad idea. However, if you are already a CC judge and you are not going to apply for any new CC breeds you have until 1.1.2024 to have done this, and the exam can be taken online.

Is it possible to be listed on the KC website as a judge at different levels all at the same time?

Yes.  It is quite possible that you will be a CC judge, say, in Afghan Hounds while at the same time you are a championship show gundog group judge and open show judge of Papillon’s.  Your KCA account will show your status for each breed and this information will be reflected on Find a Judge on the KC website.

I am a CC judge but also on the B list for another breed, which level should I be on for each breed?

 L4 for the CC breed and L2 for the other breed provided you meet the new requirements. You will be able to judge the B list breed during the transition stage, although it is advisable to register as a Level 2 as soon as you can, as this information will be available to show secretaries.


I have no access to internet. How am I going to use the online resources?


Computers are now available to use in many public places, including libraries. You could make use of a computer belonging to a family member or friend.

I attended a judging seminar a few years ago but cannot find my certificate to prove that I took the exam and passed.  What should I do?

It is absolutely essential that proof of seminar attendance and exams undertaken is provided.  If you cannot provide this, you will need to go to another seminar and take the relevant exam again.

Regarding the requirement for Aspiring Judges to undertake four days of stewarding, how does that work?

As long as you have stewarded for four FULL days at shows, you will be meeting this requirement.  It is not enough to steward for part of a day – you must steward for the FULL day and provide proof that you have done this.


Breed clubs

How many Breed Education Coordinators (BECs) will each breed have?

Ideally one.  This 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.

What does a BEC role cover?

Details regarding this role will be released in due course

Will the breed clubs supply mentors and observers?

Yes.  More details about these roles will be issued in due course, but obviously they must be breed experts who will undertake these roles.

How often will breed clubs have to hold breed-specific seminars?

It would be expected that such educational activity would be in line with demand, but as a minimum every 2 years, either by each club or clubs combined.

Will we be expected to pay expenses for observers and assessors?

Yes, well-run education seminars are often a good way for breed clubs to raise funds and these in turn could be used to pay such expenses.

What if the breed club is so small that it doesn’t have the personnel to run seminars and offer mentoring and/or observers

If this is the case the Kennel Club will provide this BEC service to the Breed club for a period of 2 years, (there will be a fee associated with this) during this 2 year period the Kennel Club will expect the club to  take measures to increase their capabilities, to deliver the necessary functions.


It could be that the Breed club approaches another BEC and engage their services to meet their obligations. The BEC is not tied to just one breed, if they wish to represent multiple breeds they may do so.


Will the breed clubs still run breed assessments?

No. These will all be run by the KC, to ensure that there is a standard approach. However, breed clubs will be asked to assist in organising the event by suggesting breed assessors and arranging for dogs to be present for the assessment.

Will breed clubs still have a role in educating their judges?

The breed clubs will continue to have a duty to educate their future judges. They are essential to the process and their contribution will be valued. They will still be able to run seminars.

When judges are transitioning from level 3 to level 4, the documentation states that assessors will be appointed by the Kennel Club, but will breed clubs be able to put forward any names?

Breed clubs will be asked to put forward names of suitable people.


Show societies

We have already appointed our open show judges for 2019. Will they need to be a Level 2 Judge by the time of our show?

The newly-announced Judges Framework will run alongside the traditional judging list system from 2019-2021. As long as your appointed judges are on a B list for those judging more than three classes of a breed (more than five classes for a Band E breed) or are a Level 2 judge under the JCF, they will be eligible to judge at your show.  If they are not on a B list or above, a judge will need to be a Level 1 Judge, and this requirement starts 1.1.19

Do we need to consult the breed clubs about judges appointed for ‘supported entry classes’ at our show or is it solely up to the general society?

The Kennel Club very much wishes to encourage general societies and breed clubs to work together. It will be to your mutual benefit to encourage a larger entry for the judge to go over, thus contributing to their education while at the same time increasing competition which will enhance the overall experience for the exhibitor.

Will we need to be choosing only judges from Level 2 and above for our open shows from 2022 onwards?

Yes, for more than three classes of a breed (more than five classes for a Band E breed).  If fewer classes, then they must be at least a Level 1 judge. You can check a judge’s eligibility on the Kennel Club’s Find A Judge facility on the KC website.

Is our society obliged to put on classes for breeds which wish to support an entry?

No, but obviously it makes sense to schedule classes for breeds which want them and which may attract good entries! 



What if I do not want a student judge to go over my dog when I am exhibiting?

There is no obligation on your part to allow a student judge to go over your dog.  Please simply inform the steward who will work with the judge to select a different dog for the student judge to go over.

Isn’t it a bit confusing having all judges listed in one place on various lists at different levels?

Not at all.  On the contrary, you can check a judge’s eligibility on the Kennel Club’s Find A Judge facility on the KC website, which is a much more transparent system than the traditional one. You will also be able to see when the judge’s previous appointments.

Can I be an observer at a show and exhibit at the same event?

No. You cannot exhibit under the judge you are observing. However you will be able to exhibit under any other judges at the show, although you must ensure you are able to commit the require time to your observation.

Is it possible to exhibit under a judge for whom I have previously acted as mentor?



 Kennel Club Academy

How will those without access to a computer be accommodated? Will there be support for those who are not computer literate?

There are many opportunities to gain access to a computer such as through friends or family and through your local library. There will be a help desk and opportunities at events at the Kennel Club Building at Stoneleigh and at other events. There have also been opportunities at Crufts each year since its launch that judges have been able to sign up to accounts. 

There are breeds that have not yet been given CC status. Please could you let us know whether there will be a facility to include this information on the Kennel Club Academy?

There is no reason why a breed without CCs could not work towards having a breed-specific film on the Academy. Just because a breed does not have CCs does not mean the people who judge it should not be competent. Judges will be able to include details of their experience on the Academy across all breeds whether the breed has been allocated championship status or not. It is important for open show societies and for those selecting judges for non CC classes at championship shows to know who is eligible at levels 1 and 2 to judge these breeds.


Breed Education Coordinator

What role do you envisage the Breed Education Coordinator (BEC) playing in the JCF?

It is hoped that there will be a BEC for each individual breed. The BEC will pair aspiring judges with mentors and provide additional support to them.

What training and support will the Kennel Club and breed clubs provide?

The Kennel Club will provide each BEC with all of the information required to carry out their role and offer practical support and assistance when required.



How will mentors be chosen? Will there be a description of their duties available?

Breed clubs will compile a list of suitable people for their breed. The BEC will match up judges to mentors.

What format will the mentoring session take?

It is envisaged that the majority of the mentoring will take place at shows.

Will there be an evaluation form for the mentor?

There will be a feedback form for evaluation.

Does the Kennel Club envisage that there will be mentors for each breed?

Yes, the mentors will be compiled from breed clubs.

To whom will it fall to provide the mentor’s expenses?

Any expenses paid to mentors will be responsibility of the breed club.



Is it necessary to have the support of three of the four assessors to progress to the next level?



Student Judges

What was the reasoning behind student judges? Is this successfully completed in any other countries?

The student judge system at dog shows works very well in other countries.

Will allowances for time be made for student judges?

It is not necessary for every student judge to go over every dog. It depends upon the size of the entry.


Will exhibitors have the opportunity to refuse a student judge to go over their dog?

The Kennel Club very much hopes that exhibitors will want to play their part in the education of judges.  However, they are not obliged to do this and can refuse if they so wish.



How do judges establish which level they transition to?

They need to refer to the transition table to see where their education thus far fits them in. It can be accessed on the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/1128983/jcf_transition_table_from_judges_lists_to_jcf_levels.pdf

There does not appear to be a requirement to have a significant geographical spread?

There is no longer a requirement for a geographical spread, as the JCF concentrates on a candidate’s judging ability rather than where they have judged

Will there be an option to request to attend a Gundog Open Working Test?

There is no change planned from the existing requirement.

Will producing a critique still form a part of the JCF? Will there be a seminar on this?

There will be a critique writing seminar online.

At present, if a judge gives CCs in three or more breeds, they no longer have to complete the breed specific seminar exam. If, during the transition period, they complete the assessment, will that qualify them for level 2?

The requirement is to have passed a multiple choice exam. Before 2022 any breed assessment pass can be used for this.


Breed Specialists

The JCF’s focus is properly educating judges; however, there is no mention of numbers required for each breed. Could you please let us know whether the Kennel Club is concerned that it may be losing valuable breed knowledge that breed specialists have?

The JCF is designed with the breed specialist in mind.

The JCF means that exhibitors will have judges who have a great understanding of their breed and what is expected of them as a judge. Will they still be expected to undertake the Requirements of a Dog Show Judge (RDSJ) seminar?

Yes, every judge must take the RDSJ exam every five years.


Will the new route to becoming a judge mean that you are a specialist in every breed?

No, it does not.



Judges Lists

Are breed clubs permitted to maintain their judges lists?

If a club wishes to, it can. However, judges will only be able to judge in line with their level achieved in the JCF. Clubs can list only those on the Kennel Club Academy and on the Find a Judge facility on the Kennel Club website.

Will the breed clubs be permitted to keep their own judges list based on the understanding that it will be supervised by the Kennel Club?

There will be one judges list per breed available online. It will be the most efficient way to maintain the list and allows all show societies to see who is able to judge a breed and at what level.

We wish to nominate a judge for our 2022 show. How are we able to check a judge’s eligibility before inviting him for the appointment?

We recommend strongly that societies do not select judges too far in advance. If a show wants to select a judge for a show beyond 2019, prior to that judge having registered with the Academy and been transitioned over, the inviting society should ask the judge to confirm that they will be an Academy member prior to the show society issuing its final part of the judges contract. During the three-year transition period (2019-2021) a judge can alternatively be appointed from the relevant breed club list. No appointments can be carried out on or after 1st January 2022 where a judge is not listed on the Find a Judge facility, at the appropriate level, at the time of the show.



How will the Kennel Club use the £26 subscription fee to further invest in judge education?

In developing new seminars and information for the judge to rely upon and in running the system, including the cost of maintaining and updating the IT and staff who will help to run the Academy.

If the subscription is not renewed, does the judge remain eligible for any appointments they have approved?

No, they must remain an active member of the Academy.



Will the Find a Judge online facility give details of previous and future appointments?

Yes, it will.

Is it the hope that this will encourage exhibitors to enter open shows?

Yes, it is the hope that having judges who have a well-rounded knowledge of their breed will encourage more people to show at open shows.


General Questions

What was the inspiration behind the idea to develop the JCF?

To develop a logical sequence of training and developing judges and to develop a scheme that ensured new CC judges were competent in the breeds they wanted to judge.

More information

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