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New York, NY – The American Kennel Club® Board of Directors has adopted a new Judging Conflict of Interest Policy, effective January 1, 2007.  AKC® believes that it has the best judges in the world and expends millions of dollars a year to administer its judging approval system to ensure that quality remains high.

“AKC judging approval confers a certain status on an individual and with such status comes an enormous responsibility to both AKC and the Sport as governed by AKC,” said President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung.

The policy states, with some notable exceptions, that AKC approved judges should be focused on judging and supporting AKC events.  Approved judges should not have a significant interest in another registry that is in direct conflict with AKC or be judging for another event-giving organization to the possible detriment of events held by AKC member and licensed clubs.

The complete policy is as follows:


No AKC judge may have a significant interest in a dog registry or dog event-giving organization deemed by the AKC Board to be in competition with the American Kennel Club. Significant interest would include, but not be limited to ownership of, employment by, a directorship in, and holding office in.

Any AKC-approved judge, who shall judge a purebred dog event in the U.S. not in accordance with the rules of AKC, which apply to such purebred dog events without the express permission of the AKC, may be disciplined even to the extent of having his or her AKC judging approval revoked.

An AKC-approved judge may judge breeds that are not AKC registrable and/or that they have not been approved for by AKC at non-AKC events. The AKC Board has also given permission for the judging of certain other events based upon the following criteria:

  1. AKC has no comparable events in place.
  2. While AKC has a program in place, AKC judges have officiated at events under the aegis of the other organization for years before the AKC program was initiated.
  3. The type of event is not or would not be perceived as being contrary to the best interest of AKC and the sport of purebred dogs.
  4. The event is a breed or type of breed-specific performance activity.

No AKC approval is needed to judge versatility or performance activities developed by AKC Parent Clubs and sponsored by such clubs.

Events held by the following organizations meet the above criteria, and AKC-approved judges may continue to judge them:

  • American Sighthound Field Association Coursing Events
  • American Working Terrier Association Earthdog Events
  • American Herding Breed Association Events
  • North American Versatility Dog Association Pointing Breed Hunting Tests
  • American Field Pointing Breed Field Trials
  • United Kennel Club Coonhound Events
  • Professional Kennel Club Coonhound Events
  • Any of the various organizations sponsoring Agility Trials

Other activities may be added to this list at the discretion of the AKC Board.

Frequently Asked Questions