Judges FAQs

 Updated 15/04/2019 



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

All UK judges at all JCF Levels will need to hold a KC judges licence. The standard price for this is £26 per year. There is a concessionary rate of £10, which is available to single breed judges at JCF Level 4 (who are approved to award CCs after 1 July 2019).

For established single breed CC judges, approved to award CCs by 1 July 2019, these judges are eligible for a free of charge judging licence for the duration of their judging career.

All licenced judges will have automatic membership of the Kennel Club Academy (KCA) and the Judges Education Bundle. There are a number of benefits, including access to a series of high-quality educational films and other material.

Through the KCA judges will be able to take any mandatory online exams. In some countries, judges pay as much as £50 per year to be listed, with no benefits beyond appearing on the official list.

Please note that access to the Judges Education Bundle is currently free of charge until the JCF judging licences are available during the second half of 2019.

Will all judges be expected to undertake the Requirements of a Dog Show Judge (RDSJ) seminar?

Yes, every judge must take the RDSJ exam every five years. Existing CC judges and those who have already passed the RDSJ will have the choice of attending a RDSJ seminar and taking the exam there, or may take the online RDSJ exam. New judges who are required to take the RDSJ exam are required to take this initial exam at a seminar conducted by a KC Accredited Trainer. 

Will there be set times and distances between judging appointments?

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

I award CCs in a breed and understand that if I become a licenced judge once the JCF system is live in 2020 I will be registered as a JCF Level 4 judge. I also understand that when this happens I will be able to be registered as a JCF Level 1 Judge for all breeds if I wish. However I have never completed any of the requirements for judges at JCF Level 1 as these were put into place after I was approved to award CCs. If I want to progress for another breed at JCF Level 2 onwards, do I have to do all of the Level 1 requirements to do so, or just the RDSJ every 5 years?

As an existing CC judge, once registered at JCF Level 4 for the relevant breed(s) you will be registered at JCF Level 1 for all other breeds you are interested in judging. You are not required to undertake any of the Level 1 requirements, apart from taking the RDSJ exam every 5 years. The KC also recommends that you view the Critique Writing seminar and take the subsequent exam.


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 knowledge, 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. The exam can be taken online via the KC Academy or at a seminar conducted by a KC Accredited Trainer.

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

Yes. It is quite possible that you will be a CC judge (JCF Level 4), say, in Afghan Hounds while at the same time you are a championship show gundog group judge (JCF Level 5) and open show judge of Papillons (JCF Level 2 or 3). Your JCF 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 the online facility is available, 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.

There is a film on stewarding available on the KC Academy and stewards are recommended to view this.

Do I need to take the online critique writing seminar?

This is a mandatory requirement for all judges who are not already approved to award CCs and is available on the Kennel Club Academy. It is not mandatory for existing 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 being able to attempt 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 previously 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 as part of JCF requirements will be the Kennel Club produced seminar which is only available through the online 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, the focus has now been placed on the competency of the judge to assess an entry rather than the quantity of dogs judged. The current ‘numbers’ system takes no account of how well or badly the judge has performed, does not ensure that more than a handful of dogs are judged at a show, and is currently working against specialist judges. To progress to JCF Level 3 the judge will need to be observed, and deemed competent at a club show, a breed supported entry show or a Championship Show appointment without CCs. Breed clubs are unlikely to offer such appointments to judges without confidence in their ability to judge their breed.

I only wish to act as a referee for breed club championship shows, do I need to have a judging licence?

No. From 1 January 2022 those whose who only wish to officiate as a referee at a breed club show and have no further wish to judge are not required to be licenced as a judge by the Kennel Club. For their 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 single breed club shows only and not to judges appointed to award BIS at general, group shows or sub-group shows (ie not variety breeds such as Dachshunds, Poodles etc).

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

The aim of the JCF is to produce competent and professional judges, it is not a ring steward’s 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 have a KC judges licence?

You are encouraged obtain your KC judges licence when JCF goes live in 2019 to take advantage of the learning resources available and ensure you are listed on the KC Find A Judge system. All existing judges need to be signed up by 1 January 2022. However, judges are highly recommended to check what they can judge in 2020 and 2021 if they are not a Kennel Club licenced judge. Any judge currently on a C list will need to be registered at JCF Level 1 or above, or be on a breed club B list to judge that breed from 1 January 2020 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.

Does the KC judges licence run January to December?

No, this will be renewable on the anniversary of payment.

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 JCF Level will I be at?

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.


Can I undertake an appointment at a breed club show, a breed supported entry show or a Championship Show appointment without CCs and use any of them as an observation opportunity if I have not successfully had my 3 mentoring sessions ‘signed off’?


You may undertake the appointment but will only be able to use it as your observation opportunity if you have successfully passed the 3 mentoring sessions. Observations cannot be backdated.

Are breed clubs/breed councils able to determine what figure a ‘meaningful entry’ constitutes for a show where a judge is to be observed?


The BEC in conjunction with the breed clubs is expected to use common sense to determine this. The entry needs to be large enough for the observer to determine if in their opinion the judge is competent to judge the breed.

What is the last date I can undertake an appointment on the current judging system and without being a Kennel Club licenced judge?


31 December 2021 is the last date an appointment can be undertaken on the current system. All CC judging nominations and judging appointments from 1 January 2022 must be under JCF rules. 

How will the Kennel Club use the judging licence fee to further invest in judge education?


The fee will be used to cover the cost of maintaining and updating the IT and staff who will help to run the JCF system. There is no intention that the fee will make money for the Kennel Club.

Will the JCF change the way judges are nominated for CC appointments?

Yes, for all CC, Group and BIS appointments for shows from 1 January 2022 championship show societies will nominate their judges via a self-service system from data held on the KC website. Full information and guidance will be made available

I am a judge who is registered at JCF Level 4 for a non-CC breed, can I judge Not Separately Classified, AV classes, Groups and Best in Show at Open Shows?

Yes you can, it may also allow you to judge that breed abroad, subject to the rules of the local Kennel Club.

Are breeds with more than one variety classed as more than one breed when it comes to the judging licence fee?

Yes. If you are approved to award more than one set of CCs you cannot be designated as a single breed judge and are required to pay for a £26 judging licence. 

If I am currently a single breed CC judge and if I choose to judge other breeds, at what stage do I need to pay £26 as opposed to £10 for my judge’s licence?


At the time you apply to register under JCF you can choose which rate you wish to pay. A judge registering at JCF Level 4 at the concessionary rate will only be listed for that breed on ‘Find A Judge’. If you wish to be registered at any levels for any other breeds you will need to pay the full £26 fee.

What JCF Level should I register at for a breed I have a JDP Credit for?

JCF Level 3. You are not required to undertake the mentoring and observation stages for this breed.

My breeds does not have Challenge Certificates, am I eligible for the £10 licence fee?

Yes. Once you have reached JCF Level 4 for that breed and do not wish to judge any other breed above Level 1 you are eligible to take advantage of the £10 licence fee. Please note that the free of charge licence fee is not available for breeds without CCs.

 I am currently on a breed club A3 judging list. When can I make use of the JCF 'grandfather' rights? Judges will only be able to self-submit a questionnaire between 1 Jan 2021 and 31 Dec 2021

What is the benefit of using the A2 route rather than using the 'grandfathering' rights option?


The 'grandfathering' route cannot be used until 1 Jan 2021 for 12 months. Therefore the A2 route will progress a judge to JCF Level 4 sooner.

To qualify to judge a Championship Show Group under JCF, how many breeds are judges required to have awarded CCs in?

Judges are required to have awarded CCs in 30% of the breeds within that group. The required number of breeds as of March 2019 are as follows:

Gundog - 9 breeds
Hound - 6 breeds
Pastoral - 6 breeds
Terrier - 7 breeds
Toy - 6 breeds
Utility - 5 breeds
Working - 5 breeds
Please note: Judges who have qualified as a Group Judge under the current system will still be able continue to judge the respective Group if the register for a judging licence. Breeds with varieties (ie Dachshunds, Poodles, Fox Terriers, Chihuahuas German Spitz etc) are counted as ONE breed.


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