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.