AKC® Obedience Judging Requirements and Approval Process

Judges requesting an observation, please send requests to cejdgobs@akc.org.

To qualify as an applicant – you must have:

  1. Personally owned, trained and titled a dog to an AKC Utility Dog (UD) title and at least one other dog to an AKC Companion Dog (CD) title;
  2. Been active in the sport a minimum of six (6) consecutive years;
  3. Acted as a steward in Novice/Open/Utility class (depending upon class applying for) at AKC member or licensed trials a minimum of ten (10) times;
  4. Have judged at AKC sanctioned obedience A or B matches a minimum of five (5) times. Judging a non-regular class at an AKC trial with a minimum of ten (10) dogs competing may substitute on a one to one basis to replace the match requirement. Apprentice assignments beyond the three (3) required may be used on a one to one basis to replace the match requirement.
  5. Apprentice judged under three (3) judges with a minimum of ten (10) dogs in each class. The apprentice judging form can be found here. Apprenticing is for prospective judges only and is to be done at the level they are eligible to apply for.
  6. Actively participated as an assistant trainer or as a trainer in a dog training club or similar organization;
  7. Attended an AKC obedience seminar within the last three (3) years.

To apply as a Provisional Judge:

Forward completed application, questionnaire and Part I (open book test consisting of two questions) to the Companion Events Department, PO Box 900068, Raleigh, NC 27675-9068 to begin the approval process.

The application, questionnaire and Part I may be found here.

Provisional Approval:

All applicants are required to pass a written test consisting of multiple-choice questions, followed by a personal interview with one of the Obedience/Rally Field Representatives. The Companion Events Department will schedule a mutually convenient obedience trial where the test and interview may be held with the applicant and representative.

Applications are reviewed at the first available monthly meeting of the Judges Approval Committee for final determination. Following review, applicants will receive written notification of the Committee's action. If approved, the applicant's name will be published on the Secretary's Page of the first available issue of the GAZETTE as a Provisional Obedience Judge and the judge may then accept judging assignments for the class approved.

Provisional judges must judge a minimum of ten (10) assignments and have judged a minimum of one hundred and fifty (150) dogs prior to applying for regular status. In addition, two (2) satisfactory observations must be completed, with the second observation being done within one year prior to the request for regular status. (Note: Assignment is defined as judging for one (1) event/trial/show. A provisional and regular status judge may judge several classes at one (1) event/trial/show and will only receive credit for one assignment.)

It is helpful for the provisional judge to inform Companion Events when judging assignments are accepted, for ease in scheduling the observation. (Note: Assignment is defined as judging for one (1) event/trial/show. A provisional and regular status judge may judge several classes at one (1) event/trail/show and will only receive credit for one assignment.)

Regular Approval:

Upon completion of the requirements as a provisional judge, the applicant may apply for regular status as well as for provisional status for the next class level.

The Companion Events staff will review the request for regular status. In some cases, additional assignments or observations may be requested with approval delayed until the completion of same. In others, however, approval will be granted and the judge's name will be published on the Secretary's Page of the first available issue of the GAZETTE as Provisional Obedience Judging Completed.

Overview of Procedures:

  1. Complete requirements for Novice
  2. Send in applications and Part I test
  3. Take written test and interview with Field Rep
  4. Name published as provisional judge
  5. Judge a minimum of ten (10) classes, with a minimum of one-hundred and fifty (150) dogs, and observed two (2) times by an AKC Obedience Field Representative
  6. Request regular status
  7. Complete requirements for Open
  8. Follow procedures 2 through 8
  9. Complete requirements for Utility
  10. Follow procedures 2 through 7

Exceptions to the above requirements will be made for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Exceptions would be based on applicants from these areas having completed a minimum of seven (7) assignments, with a minimum of one hundred (100) dogs judged and two (2) satisfactory observations from an AKC Field Representative.