Judges FAQs

 Updated 19/02/2018 

The latest FAQs can be found in bold.  


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 Kennel Club Academy with your certificate of having passed, this will allow you to register as a JCF 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 January 2024 to have done this, and the exam can be taken online or at a seminar.

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 Papillons. Your Kennel Club Academy 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?

JCF Level 4 for the CC breed and JCF Level 2 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 JCF 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. The KC may also be able to provide assistance, including at the KC Building at Stoneleigh.

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, it might be worth contacting the host club. 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 six days of stewarding, how does that work?

As long as you have stewarded for six 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.

Why do judges currently on an A3 list register at JCF Level 3 and those on an A2 list can register at JCF Level 4? 

A2 list judges have been evaluated three times by a senior judge and had their nomination approved by the Kennel Club. Were they to receive an invitation to award CCs they could expect to be approved without supplying any further information. Anyone on an A3 list can register at JCF Level 3, provided they meet the current mandatory requirements including having passed RDSJ within 5 years, and they only need pass the breed assessment to move to JCF Level 4. Breed clubs are urged to make full use of the A2 system between now and the end of the transition period.

Do I need to take the online critique seminar?

This is a mandatory requirement for all judges who are not approved to award CCs and will be available on the Kennel Club Academy in 2018. It is not mandatory for judges CCs judges (JCF Level 4) or above but the Kennel Club recommends all judges take the seminar as a refresher to add to their understanding of the importance of meaningful critiques.

Can I take the Multiple Choice Exam if I have not yet passed the basic Kennel Club seminars?

No, you must have completed all the JCF Level 1 requirements before attempting a Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam held with a Breed Appreciation Day. The JCF will introduce a logical sequence of learning and progression.

I have previous taken a critique writing seminar. Can this be used in place of the online critique writing seminar?

The only critique writing seminar which can be used will be the Kennel Club approved seminar once this is available through the Kennel Club Academy.

Why is it no longer required to have a geographical spread of dogs or a minimum number of dogs judged?

Due to low open show entries and judges being ‘held back’ from progressing their judging careers on the basis of the difficultly in achieving numbers required by some breed clubs and geographic spread of judging appointments, the focus has now been placed on the competency of the judge to assess an entry rather than the quantity. The current ‘numbers’ system takes no account of how well or badly the judge has performed, and is currently working against specialist judges. However, there is a new emphasis on requiring the judge to be observed at a club show or breed supported entry show. Breed clubs are unlikely to offer such appointments to judges without judging experience.

I only wish to act as a referee for breed club championship shows, do I need to join the Kennel Club Academy?

No. From 1 January 2022 those who have accepted to act as a referee at a breed club show and have no further wish to judge are not required to join the Kennel Club Academy. For championship shows, breed clubs can appoint anyone who has previously awarded CCs in the breed to undertake this role and KC approval will not be formally required. This applies to referees at breed club shows only and not to judges appointed to award BIS at general, group or sub-group shows (ie not variety breeds such as Dachshunds, Poodles etc).

Why have the number of mandatory stewarding days been reduced down to six days?

The aim of the JCF is to produce competent and professional judges, it is not a steward training programme. The usefulness of judges having some stewarding experience has long been recognised, it helps give the judge a feel for being in the ring, dealing with exhibitor queries, and observing judging techniques and ring management at first hand. It was considered that 12 full days of stewarding was a greater number than is required to meet the objective of developing a competent judge, and after feedback a figure of 6 has been agreed. This is of course the minimum number required.

‘I have taken and passed a multiple choice exam with one of the 14 pilot clubs and also a similar exam on the old system. Which can I count towards my progression as a judge?’

Any exam which has a certificate indicating that a Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam has been successfully passed will count towards the Multiple Choice Exam required to progress to JCF Level 2.

What process will be in place if mentees are not happy with the way in which they are being mentored?

The Kennel Club will take any complaints about mentors, clubs and their method of working, seriously and act accordingly.

By what date do I need to be signed up to Kennel Club Academy?

You are encouraged to join the Kennel Club Academy when it is launched in January 2019 to take advantage of the learning resources included. All judges need to be signed up by 1 January 2022 however, judges are highly recommended to check what they can judge during the transition period (2019-2021) if they are not a Kennel Club Academy member. Any judge currently on a C list will need to be registered at JCF Level 1 or be on a breed club B list to judge that breed from 2019 onwards.

If you have not previously attended a Requirements of a Dog Show Judge exam as you have been awarding CCs prior to the requirement to take this exam, when does your five yearly refresher start?

If you are not applying for approval for an additional breed at CC level you have until 1 January 2024 to take the exam.

As my breed does not have CC status, what is the highest level I can be registered at for JCF?

Level 4. You need to ensure you follow the same requirements as CC breeds for each stage of JCF.

Will variety breeds (ie Dachshunds and Poodles) count as one breed when counting the 30% of breeds required to judge the group?

Yes, they will.

If I take a Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam at a breed club seminar, which is not one of the 14 breeds included in the pilot scheme, can this count towards the necessary Multiple Choice Exam required at JCF Level 2?

Yes, you may use this exam, but ensure that any pass certificate clearly states that you have passed a Multiple Choice Exam and does not just state your attendance at the seminar.

Does membership of the Kennel Club Academy run January to December?

No, this will membership will be renewable on the anniversary of joining.

I am a championship group judge, does that mean I will be registered at JCF Level 2 for all breeds that I don’t give CCs in for that group?

Once you have registered at JCF Level 5 for that group, you will be able to register as JCF Level 2 in the appropriate breeds.

I am on a breed club’s B list as I have judged the required number of dogs but not passed a Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam and/or some of the mandatory Kennel Club seminars. What Level will I be at on JCF?

You would need to register at JCF Level 1 for this breed if you have met all the requirements and once you have completed the necessary seminars and Multiple Choice Exam you can progress to JCF Level 2. However you will still be able to judge the breed during the transition period as you are on a B list.

What evidence will be acceptable for proof of 5 years involvement before judging is permitted?


Evidence can include, but is not restricted to: catalogues, club membership receipts, receipt of dogs purchased, club minutes, stewarding records.


Do handling judges need to have a JCF account to be able to undertake a handling judging appointment?

No. Classes where only the handling is being judged is outside of the JCF remit.


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