AKC Facts and Stats

What is Obedience?

  • Demonstrating the usefulness of a dog as a companion to humankind, AKC Obedience is a sport with rules, regulations, judges, conditioning, training, placements and prizes.
  • Dog and handler teams are judged on how closely they match the judge's mental picture of a theoretically perfect performance as they execute a series of specified exercises.
  • Accuracy and precision are essential, but the natural movement of the handler and the willingness and enjoyment of the dog are very important.
  • Helen Whitehouse Walker devised the first obedience "test" in Mt. Kisco, New York in 1933 to show the intelligence of her poodles.
  • The first AKC licensed obedience trial was held in 1936.  200 dogs were entered in 18 trials in that inaugural year.
  • Each level of obedience competition - novice, open, and utility - requires mastering a specific skill set, which increase in difficulty, before advancing to the next level.
  • The Novice Class demonstrates good canine companion skills such as heeling, both with and without a leash, coming when called, standing for a simple physical examination, and staying in both a sit and a down position with a group of dogs.
  • In the Novice Class, dogs earn an AKC Companion Dog (CD) title after receiving a qualifying score under three different judges.
  • The Open Class is more challenging as more exercises are done off leash and retrieving and jumping challenges are added.
  • In the Open Class, dogs earn an AKC Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title after receiving a qualifying score under three different judges.
  • The Utility Class, includes scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises, is the most challenging class.
  • In the Utility Class, dogs earn an AKC Utility Dog (UD) title after receiving qualifying scores from three different judges.
  • Upon completion of the UD title, dogs may earn the Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) when they receive qualifying scores in both Open B and Utility B at 10 separate trials. 
  • The Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) title is often referred to as the "PhD" for dogs, is the highest obedience honor a dog can receive.
  • To obtain an OTCH title, a dog and handler team must earn 100 points by placing first, second, third or fourth in the Open B or Utility B class.   Three first places must also be awarded from the Open B and Utility B classes.
  • A Shetland Sheepdog “Jo’s Xpensif Hobi O’Redfield” holds the most OTCH points earned over a lifetime with 16,711 points!
  • To receive an invitation to the AKC National Obedience Invitational dogs must be the top OTCH and OTCH- pointed dogs in each breed.  Dogs may also qualify to receive an invitation by participating in one of the new Regional Obedience Competitions. 
  • The AKC National Obedience Championship title (NOC) is awarded to one dog each year.
  • Only dogs winning the AKC National Obedience Championship are permitted to have the prestigious NOC letters precede it's name in AKC records.
  • There are eleven NOCs in the thirteen-year history of this event, two dogs having won the award twice.
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