Competing in Young Kennel Club obedience competitions

YKC obedience handler
There are various obedience competitions held throughout the UK each year, a full list that can qualify you for Crufts can be found below. For further information on these shows you can find out more on Find a Show.

Crufts 2022

Find out more about results and and critiques from this years show below.
Results
Young Kennel Club Obedience overview report by judge Sue Garner

It was a great pleasure to judge these classes at Crufts.  The majority of competitors and dogs coped amazingly well with the noise and general Crufts’s atmosphere.  I really must thank all the YKC staff and volunteers for making sure the day ran smoothly and relaxed.

All three classes took place o the same day, commencing with High Flyers, followed by Basic and finally Novice.  The standard of handler and dog teams was impressive, although I did have great sympathy for a small number of dogs that found the event a little overwhelming, but applaud your handlers for getting the very best rom their dog under these testing circumstances.

I really must say a huge thank you to me team, Rita who stewarded everyone through their test, staying close enough to each handler so they could hear her above the background noise and yet being aware not to distract the dog.  Lilian kept the collecting ring organised and helped each competitor to prepare for the turn.  Jenny kept all the scores up together.

Although there had been less opportunity for YKC members to qualify for Crufts, those that did handled the who day brilliantly even when the small number of dogs struggled to cope with the noise in the hall and the general Crufts atmosphere.

These are our future competitors so I sincerely hope they are enthused to continue to compete in obedience ad maybe even enter classes at Open show level.

Young Kennel Club Obedience Basic class report by judge Sue Garner

6 to 11 years

1st Ellie Welch with Fernwills Kimberley 'Kim' (Retriever Lab).  Very Well done on this super win.  Kim happy to stay alongside in heelwork and gave excellent response in the recall but a bit laid back in the play.

2nd Pippa Patten with Tuess Guss 'Guss' (Labrador X Retriever).  Lovely attitude to the examination and play, which Guss didn’t want to finish.  Happy in the heelwork, but could do with tightening things up a little.  Recall good on the second call.

12 to 17 years

1st Chloe Jearum-Boyce with Pocket Rocket Bella 'Bella' (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle).  This was a worthy win for this pair.  Super play and examination, excellent recall, and well-handled heelwork.  Congratulations.

2nd Ellie Beach with Westlodge Elvira 'Elsa' (Rottweiler).  Not far behind the winner, well controlled play and a good recall and examination.  Heelwork settled down to give this placing.  Well done!

3rd Ashleigh Ward with Maximillion Gold Digger 'Max' (Jack Russell Terrier).  Heelwork a little wide and the lead going tight at times but overall, good.  This place was gained by totally cooperative examination, good recall and happy play.

4th Ellie Beach with Amotol Country Charm 'Izzy' (Cocker Spaniel).  Wow, great play exercise and super recall, but heelwork is a little inconsistent so where most points were lost.

5th Bobbie Lee with Master of Illusion JW 'Stanley' (BC).  Strong play, and clear examination.  A lovely recall but missing the present was a shame.  Heelwork was a little variable.

6th Grace Rutherford with Potbelli Keep on Dreaming 'Elsie' (Pug).  Poor Elsie was not impressed with the Astro Turf, so unfortunately was not going to sit on it!  Still Grace gave it good go.  The recall was good, even without the sits and she enjoyed the play.

18 to 24 years

1st Geogia Brown with Mweenish Perri Menisci 'Perri' (Cocker Spaniel).  Absolutely brilliant!  Well worthy of winning.  Clear play, examination and recall, with a great setup and overall heelwork picture.  Congratulations.

2nd Isobel West with Kinsridge Sky of the West 'Sky' (Norfolk Terrier).  Won a run off for this place.  Clear examination and recall, good play.  Happy and attentive heelwork on a close par with the winner.

3rd Elle Garwood with Wilstone Rhaegar Ice N'Fire 'Rhaegar' (BC).  This dog loves his work which is a very good standard.  A little noisy on set up but settled well with little to mark.

4th Paige Jepson with Jeplong Fire Cracker 'Pepper' (BC).  Great heelwork, fast and straight recall and good examination, but a little loss on the play for not releasing the toy.

5th Genevieve Barrett with Ivormyth Touch the Moon 'Buzz' (Miniature America Shepherd).  Buzz is quite playful which caused a loss of some points, but his enthusiasm is lovely to see.  Took a little time to settle in the heelwork but then presented a nice picture.

6th Lisa Griffiths with Tilemarsh Ickle Pickle 'Rosie' (WSD).  Rose really struggled with the atmosphere and noise.  Lisa did a good job getting the result she did.  I’m sure working in a quieter venue would give a very different picture.

Young Kennel Club Obedience Novice class report by judge Sue Garner

The standard of work went up a significant level for this class.  Impressive. 

12 to 17 years

1st Abbie Spink with Staffordwill Radebe 'Buddy' (Staffordshire Bull Terrier).  Well worthy of this win with an excellent recall, retrieve and play exercise.  Heelwork although perhaps a little wide was reasonably consistent.  Congratulations.

2nd Bobbie Lee with Jakey of Zeldonis 'Jakey' (Dalmatian x BC).  Only fractionally behind the winner, with similar faults, just got a little distracted in the retrieve.

3rd Ellie Beach with Werstlodge Elvira 'Elsa' (Rottweiler).  A really good play exercise and recall.  Present in the retrieve was expensive.  Heelwork started well but Elsa struggled a little in heel free.

4th Keeley Hurton with Keeley's Little Miss Me 'Missy' (WSD).  Missy was another who seemed to struggle with the atmosphere and so was distracted at time.  Keely did very well to urge her on to complete the test.

5th Bobbie Lee with Arrodare an Emotion 'Sketch' (BC).  All was going really well until the retrieve when Sketch needed some help to complete the exercise.  I’m sure this was just a blip caused by the environment of Crufts.

6th Ashleigh Ward with Maximillion Gold Digger 'Max' (Jack Russell Terrier).  Max tried so hard to work with Ashleigh but was just so tired from a day at Crufts.  He started well and showed just what he’s capable of doing.  It really is a lot for the dogs to cope with.

18 to 24 years

1st Isobel West with Raynechaser Luna Eclipse (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever).  Wow!  Isobel and Eclipse simply smashed it!  Great work with very little to mark.  Many congratulations and very best of luck for the future.

2nd Matthew Elmer with Yonie Cissy at Remile 'Purdie' (BC).  Well so close but just pipped at the post here.  Drawn first in the class and certainly set the standard for all others to achieve.  Lovely handling that will reap its rewards.

3rd Paige Jepson with Jeplong Step on a Stone 'Pebbles' (BC).  Another accomplished round with only minor errors in heel on lead, better heel free.  Clear recall and retrieve.  Minimal loss on the play exercise.

4th Matthew Elmer with Zama Tess at Remle 'Tess' (WSD).  Excellent plat, recall and retrieve, loss of position on turns was the point loser in heelwork, but showing great promise.

5th Lara Pavitt with Rushbottom Robbie O'Roselia ' Bobbie' (Australian Shepherd).  Clear Recall and retrieve, but unsettled in heel on lead but improved for heel free.  Play needs more engagement from Bobbie.

6th Charlotte Carlisle-Martin with Jeplong Dee for Dawg 'Deefa' (BC).  A lot of promise here but ‘work in progress’ that I’m sure will improve with more work.  Errors in all exercises, but nothing that cannot be addressed.

Young Kennel Club Obedience High Flyers class report by judge Sue Garner

Here there were only two of the three entrants present.  Both dogs had superb heelwork, accurate, and generally consistent with only minor errors.  Both executed the recall and retrieve very well.  However, both made serious errors on sendaway and scent.  However, I can see the real potential they have and am sure they didn’t demonstrate their true worth on this occasion.

1st Josie Baldwin with Chase Your Dreams 'Chase' (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever)

2nd Isobel West with Wakaduze Wi Mimbe at Raynechaser 'Luna' (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever)

Crufts 2023

We host three obedience competition finals at Crufts. To qualify for this final, members must compete in Young Kennel Club Obedience classes held at appointed licensed shows throughout the year. Obedience qualifiers run from the 1 January to the 31 December for the following year’s Crufts.

Rules for Young Kennel Club Obedience at Crufts 2023

Classes
There are three (3) different classes for members to enter:
  • Basic
  • Novice
  • High Flyers
When entering classes, you should enter the lowest class you can, for example, if you have a new dog who has done very little obedience before, don’t enter them in High Flyers.

Obedience classes start with you on the maximum possible marks, you will lose marks for each mistake. The competitor with the highest total marks at the end of the competition wins.
Handlers
Young Kennel Club Members age categories will usually be split as follows:
  • 6-11 Years
    (Handlers 6 years and up to, but not including 12th birthday)
  • 12-17 Years
    (Handlers 12 years and up to, but not including 18th birthday)
  • 18 –24 Years
    (Handlers 18 years and up to, but not including 25th birthday)
The age groups will compete together in each class, but are awarded prizes separately.

A member should enter the age category they will be on the day of the qualifier. If a member moves age category after qualifying for Crufts, the Young Kennel Club office will put you into the new age category.

You are not allowed to reveal either your identity or your dog’s. This includes name badges or telling someone. The only way to identify you should be your Ring number that you must wear. If requested for by the judge or ring steward, a handler may (at their choice) disclose their name and dog's pet name for possible show report use. It is common practice in obedience to ask this.

After the commencement of judging the responsibility for dogs being brought to the ring to compete is entirely the competitors. (Make sure you are not late!!)
In all tests the left side of a handler will be regarded as the "working side" unless:
  • The handler suffers from a physical disability and has the Judge's permission to work the dog on the right hand side, or
  • To enter a Young Kennel Club competition, the handler must be a fully paid, up to date member of the Young Kennel Club on the date of the qualifier and Crufts (if they have successfully qualified)
Dogs
  • All competing dogs must be six (6) calendar months of age or over on the day of competition
  • Dogs must be registered with the Kennel Club when entering Kennel Club licenced shows
  • Dogs can either be registered on the breed register or the activity register
  • Dogs may be any breed or crossbreed
  • Food shall not be carried by the handler or given to a dog in the ring
  • Toys may not be carried in the ring. Where an exercise would require a toy, check with the judge or steward on how to obtain the toy
Judging criteria
  • The judge will set the course for the competitors to complete
  • If either the dog or handler withdraws from competition after the closing of entries then both dog and handler are withdrawn from that class
  • No substitute of dog or handler may take place
  • Any dog which is not presented for stay or scent exercises when called for testing will be considered to have withdrawn from the class
  • There is no limit on the number of dogs a Young Kennel Club member can work
  • Practice Rounds are not permitted
Qualifcation for Crufts
  • To Qualify for Crufts, members must gain points by being placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in YKC Obedience qualifying events. There will be a 1st – 2nd – 3rd for each age group in each class
  • To qualify for Crufts, members must reach 30 points for the year in a class
  • You cannot combine points from different classes (i.e. 15 points in basic and 15 points in novice will not combine to 30 points)
  • To gain any points towards Crufts qualification, the handler and dog must complete all exercises in the class. Withdrawing or failing to complete any one of the exercises means you cannot be given a place or rosette, and you will not accumulate any points for Crufts Qualification
Points are gained by the following:
  • 1st place: 30 points
  • 2nd place: 15 points
  • 3rd place: 10 points
All points are reset to zero (0) on 1st January of each year. No points are carried over from previous years.

The points gained are for the dog and handler combination. If you score points with two different dogs, they are not combined. Similarly, if either a dog or handler cannot compete at Crufts, neither can be substituted and the qualification place is forfeited.

Make sure you do not confuse the points gained for getting places in classes with the points for exercises below. If in any doubt, if you have a 1st, 2nd or 3rd rosette you will probably have scored points towards Crufts Qualification. Make sure you check the Young Kennel Club website for an up-to-date total of your points.
Basic obedience

For dogs that have NOT won:

  • 2 or more first prizes in a Young Kennel Club Obedience class or;
  • 1 or more first prize in any standard Obedience class (Introductory Class doesn’t count) held at a Kennel Club Licensed Open or Championship Obedience Show
PLEASE BE AWARE - Winning 1 x Young Kennel Club Basic and 1 x Young Kennel Club Novice class means you will be ineligible to compete in the basic competition at Crufts.

Points and definitions are as follows: 

10 points - play with or motivate your dog
  • The handler can choose to do this at the start or the end of the test. A silent toy may be used in this exercise
  • Competitors must not distract other dogs when rewarding their dog with a toy or play
  • Play should be under the handler’s control and if it involves articles, the dog should give up the toy readily
  • No play fighting is allowed, and any play should be safe for the dog. You cannot use a formal exercise as a reward
  • Any form of aggression will be penalised
10 points heel on lead
  • The dog should be sitting straight at the handler’s left side. On command the handler should walk briskly with the dog at heel
  • The dog’s shoulder should be approximately level with and reasonably close to the handler’s leg at all times when the handler is walking
  • The lead should be slack at all times
  • On the command to turn, the handler should turn smartly in the direction indicated and the dog should keep its position at the handler’s side
  • On the command ‘Halt’ the handler should halt immediately and the dog should sit straight at the handler’s side
  • Touching or using the lead to correct or improve your dog’s heelwork will be penalised
  • HEELWORK ROUNDS / TURNS PERMITTED:
    Large Circle (Clockwise or Anticlockwise)
    Straight line
    90° Left (Left Turn)
    90° Right (Right Turn)

10 points recall with finish

  • Recall off lead from the sit or down position at handler’s choice
  • The dog should be recalled by handler when stationary and facing the dog, the judge or steward will indicate when you should call for your dog
  • The Dog should return quickly but under control to the handler, sit in front, go to heel – when instructed by the judge or steward
10 points examination of the dog (handler to show judge)
  • The handler should show the judge the dog’s mouth, teeth, eyes, ears, tail, feet and run their hand under the dog’s stomach
  • The judge will not touch the dog but may position themselves close by to observe
  • The steward may prompt the handler as to which part of the dog’s body is required
Total 40 points 
Novice obedience
For dogs that have NOT won:
  • 4 or more first prizes in a Young Kennel Club obedience class or;
  • 2 or more first prizes in any novice obedience class or above held at a Kennel Club Licensed Open or Championship Obedience Show
10 points play with or motivate your dog
  • The handler can choose to do this at the start or the end of the test. A silent toy may be used in this exercise
  • Competitors must not distract other dogs when rewarding their dog with a toy or play
  • Play should be under the handler’s control and if it involves articles, the dog should give up the toy readily
  • No play fighting is allowed, and any play should be safe for the dog. You cannot use a formal exercise as a reward
  • Any form of aggression will be penalised
20 points heel on lead
  • The dog should be sitting straight at the handler’s left side. On command the handler should walk briskly with the dog at heel
  • The dog’s shoulder should be approximately level with and reasonably close to the handler’s leg at all times when the handler is walking
  • The lead should be slack at all times
  • On the command to turn, the handler should turn smartly in the direction indicated and the dog should keep its position at the handler’s side
  • On the command ‘Halt’ the handler should halt immediately and the dog should sit straight at the handler’s side
  • Touching or using the lead to correct or improve your dog’s heelwork will be penalised
  • Turning manoeuvres must not be coupled together
  • The handler and the dog must be allowed several paces if required to turn again
  • HEELWORK ROUNDS / TURNS PERMITTED:
    90° Left (Left Turn)
    90° Right (Right Turn)
    180° Right (About Turn)
    Diagonal turn right (Diagonal Right Turn)
20 points heel free (heelwork off lead)
  • The dog must be off the lead throughout this test
  • The test must be carried out in the same manner as heel on lead and with the same restriction on turns
10 points recall with finish
  • Recall off lead from the sit or down position at handler’s choice
  • The dog should be recalled by handler when stationary and facing the dog, the judge or steward will indicate when you should call for your dog
  • The Dog should return quickly but under control to the handler, sit in front, go to heel – when instructed by the judge or steward
20 points retrieve own article with finish
  • At the start of the exercise the dog should be sitting at the handler’s side
  • When the steward instructs, the handler must throw the article in the direction indicated
  • The dog isn’t allowed to move until the handler is instructed to send it to retrieve the article
  • The dog should move out promptly at a smart pace to collect the article cleanly
  • It should return with the article at a smart pace and sit straight in front of the handler
  • On command the handler should take the article from the dog. On further command the dog should be sent to heel
  • The Article is at the handlers choice which can include dumbbell
Total 80 points
High Flyers Obedience
Open to all dogs except dogs qualified to work in Championship Class C.

The High Flyers obedience test will be broken into the following seven sections:

10 points play with or motivate your dog
  • The handler can choose to do this at the start or the end of the test. A silent toy may be used in this exercise
  • Competitors must not distract other dogs when rewarding their dog with a toy or play
  • Play should be under the handler’s control and if it involves articles, the dog should give up the toy readily
  • No play fighting is allowed, and any play should be safe for the dog. You cannot use a formal exercise as a reward
  • Any form of aggression will be penalised
40 points heel free (with commands) at normal, slow and fast paces by choice of the judge
  • The dog should be sitting straight at the handler’s left side. On command the handler should walk briskly with the dog at heel
  • The dog’s shoulder should be approximately level with and reasonably close to the handler’s leg at all times when the handler is walking
  • The dog shall be off lead throughout
  • On the command to turn, the handler should turn smartly in the direction indicated and the dog should keep its position at the handler’s side
  • On the command ‘Halt’ the handler should halt immediately and the dog should sit straight at the handler’s side
  • Touching or using the lead to correct or improve your dog’s heelwork will be penalised
  • Turning manoeuvres must not be coupled together
  • The handler and the dog must be allowed several paces if required to turn again
  • HEELWORK ROUNDS / TURNS PERMITTED:
    Slow and Normal Pace:
    90° Left (Left Turn)
    90° Right (Right Turn)
    180° Left (Left About Turn)
    180° Right (About Turn)
    Diagonal turn right (Diagonal Right Turn)
    Diagonal turn left (Diagonal Left Turn)
    Medium / large circles and Arcs

    Fast Pace
    Same as Slow and normal pace except for:
    NO diagonal turns
    NO 180° Left (Left About Turn)
25 points sendaway and drop (simultaneous command and signal applies)
  • Handler to send dog to an area indicated by the judge
  • Handler to drop dog in designated area
  • Handler to walk up to the dog and release on stewards command. This concludes the exercise
  • Simultaneous command and signal applies (the handler may give the dog’s name AND one command AND one hand signal to send the dog)
  • This exercise can be done independently of the “A Recall” exercise
15 points a recall (with commands)
  • This exercise can be done independently of the send away exercise where desired by the judge. If this exercise follows the send away exercise, the dog must be released in between
  • Handler to set up the dog in the sit or down position on the handler’s left hand side (Handlers choice)
  • On command, the handler should walk away from the dog. Upon further instruction, while the handler is walking away from the dog, the handler should call the dog into the heel position and continue until instructed to stop
30 points retrieve article (provided by the judge) (with commands)
  • The article will be provided by the judge
  • At the start of the exercise the dog should be sitting at the handler’s side
  • When the steward instructs, the handler must throw the article in the direction indicated
  • The dog isn’t allowed to move until the handler is instructed to send it to retrieve the article
  • The dog should move out promptly at a smart pace to collect the article cleanly
  • It should return with the article at a smart pace and sit straight in front of the handler
  • On command the handler should take the article from the dog. On further command the dog should be sent to heel
30 points scent (handlers scent on cloth) Test formed of six cloths arranged in a straight line in any direction. No Extra commands allowed whilst the dog is over the scent area. A Line marking the scent area will be drawn by the judge.
  • Before the scent exercise commences, the judge will mark a line designating the scent area, Commands may be given EXCEPT when the dog is in the designated scent area
  • The cloth used will be selected by the handler and the handler will carry this into the ring. It will then be placed on a tray which the steward with then use to place amongst the other cloths (in a position of the judges choice). Note the judge will mark a line designating the scent area
  • Cloths must be placed in position by a steward and must be at least 1m (3ft) and not more than 1.6m (5ft) apart
  • The method of taking scent is at the handler’s discretion
  • Any cloth which is fouled in any way e.g. mouthed must be replaced with a fresh cloth. At the commencement of the test the dog must be brought to a designated point
  • The dog must be facing away from the cloths while the scented cloth is placed in position
  • When the cloths have been placed, the handler must give the dog scent, stand up straight and send the dog on command from the judge or steward to find the correct cloth
  • The dog, on finding the correct cloth must then complete the test as for the Retrieve Test. Limiting the time for this test is at the Judge’s discretion
  • There will be no decoy cloths
Total 150 points

Qualifying heats for Crufts 2023

Show name and address Dates
Warlingham Dog Training Club
Warlingham RFC, Limpsfield Road, CR6 9RB
21 May 2022
North West Kent
Ayleford Bulls Rugby Club, ME20 7QZ
24 July 2022
Wakefield DTC
West Yorkshire Sports & Social Club, WF2 6ER
28-28 August 2022
Worcester Dog Training Club 
Ashdown Farm, WR11 7EL
28 August 2022
Lichfield and District Dog training society
Statfold Barn, B79 0BU
4 September 2022