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AKC Scent Work: Judges’ Resources

AKC Scent Work: Judges’ Resources

Scent Work Judge’s Seminars

Several training seminars for AKC Scent Work judges have been scheduled. These will satisfy the seminar option for new judge candidates and will count as continuing education for current judges. Any individual may attend–you do not need to be engaged in the judge application process to do so.

Click on the Date to access the informational flyer about that event.





Dates Location Host Club For more information, contact
January 15, 2022 Hampton, VA Merrimac Dog Training Club Diane Payne, 757-879-4288,
January 22, 2022
King, NC Winston Salem Dog Training Club Beryl Parks, 336-655-4127,
February 26, 2022 King, NC Winston Salem Dog Training Club Beryl Parks, 336-655-4127,
March 26, 2022 Spokane Valley, WA Spokane Dog Training Club, Inc Karen Allen, 509-981-8895,
April 25, 2022 Palmer, AK Obedience Training Club of Chugiak Jane Knight, 907-440-9357,
April 30, 2022 Reno, NV Truckee Meadows Dog Training Club Leslie Burnside, 775-721-5412,
June 18, 2022 Car-Dun-Al ODTC Huntley, IL Car-Dun-Al Obedience Training Club Inc Sherry Russo Sherry Russo, 630-507-1579,

September 10, 2022
Entry Form

Camp Eden Wood Eden Prairie, MN

Greater Twin Cities Golden Retriever Club Ava Higginbotham, 612-209-3589,

If your AKC club is interested in hosting a judge’s seminar please e-mail for more information!

For Licensed AKC Scent Work Judges

Forms you may need for trials:

Updates: Judges Guideline: Please see revisions below for the AKC Scent Wok Judge’s Guidelines Changes – Effective immediately.

We have now added the current scent work logo to the Judges Guidelines.

Chapter 3 – Judging The Search:
Timing by the Judge. Clubs must provide an Official Timer for each class. If one is not provided, it is permissible for judges to temporarily time classes themselves. However, each instance that you glance down at the timing device is a moment in which you are not observing the search team. Be aware that this is a potential distraction.

Using the AKC Scent Work Logo

For Individuals Interested in Becoming AKC Scent Work Judges


Active in Scent Work for a minimum of 3 years, either as a sport participant or as a working detection dog handler (volunteer or professional).

No candidate will be approved to be a judge without this minimum, but experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Three years of competing in the sport, without additional enriching experience, may be deemed to be insufficient. If you are concerned that you may not meet the eligibility criteria, please e-mail before beginning work on the additional requirements.


  • Apprenticeship under an authorized “Expert Judge”*†
    • Must shadow an expert judge for at least 1 class in each element, and at least 1 class of Handler Discrimination (Minimum of 5 classes).
    • Must shadow at multiple difficulty levels, through at least Novice and Advanced (Excellent and Master are encouraged).
  • Online Scent Work Judge’s Education Course
  • Scent Work Judge’s Quiz (online)
  • $35 Processing Fee (collected via the cost of the online Scent Work Judge’s Quiz)
  • 10 additional Education Points
*contact for a list of authorized Expert Judges
†for all apprenticeships you must receive the consent of the club hosting the trial

Note: All judges will have to attend an in-person AKC Scent Work judge’s seminar within 2 years of becoming a licensed judge. You may want to go ahead and get this out of the way as you are learning!

Education Points:

  • 8 Points- Attending an AKC-Sanctioned Scent Work Judges seminar
  • 5 Points- Mentorship under an authorized “Expert Judge” (judge candidate may have multiple mentors if desired, but only 1 mentorship can count toward the education points)
  • 4 Points- Titling a dog to an AKC Scent Work Master title (maximum of 4 points can be earned by titling dogs- multiple titled dogs do not earn additional education points)
  • 2 Points- Working as a Hide Steward at a licensed trial (judge candidate may earn up to 6 points from Hide Stewarding, however, each Hide Steward assignment must be under a different judge to earn education points).


Once the above requirements have been satisfied, a completed packet with all required forms must be sent to:

AKC Performance Events- Scent Work Judging
8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC  27617-3390

Processing time for judge applications is approximately 6-8 weeks. Judge candidates should not begin soliciting assignments until after they have been contacted with their judge number.

Application packets that are found to be deficient will be returned to the judge candidate. Once the deficiency is corrected, the entire packet must be resubmitted.

What Happens Next?

Once the application packet is processed and approved, the judge candidate will be an AKC Scent Work Provisional Judge, eligible to judge Novice and Advanced level classes.

To ensure that Provisional Judges have support for their first several judging assignments, individuals licensed provisionally are not able to accept judging assignments unless there is a fully-approved judge on the panel (this means that provisional judges may not accept assignments for which they will be the sole judge.)

Provisional judges must also submit a Search Evaluation Form that discusses the search design and pass rates for each class that they judge.

In order to be elevated from provisional to fully-approved status the judge must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit five positive reviews from separate Trial Chairpersons that they have judged for
  • Submit five positive reviews from separate fully-approved AKC Scent Work Judges with whom they have worked
  • Complete at least 1 assignment judging each element at each difficulty level


Newly Approved Provisional Judge Review Form

Newly Approved Provisional Judge Review Trial Chair Form

Once the above requirements are met, the judge will be granted “Approved” status for the Novice and Advanced levels, and will also be granted “Provisional” status for the higher-level classes (Excellent, Master, and Detective Class). Two positive trial chair reviews and two positive judge reviews (from separate individuals) from provisional judging assignments at higher levels are necessary to be elevated to “Approved” status for Excellent, Master, and the Detective Class.


Provisional Judge Review Form by Full Licensed Judge

Provisional Judge Review Form by Trial Chair

Seminar Requirement

There is a one-time requirement that judges attend an in-person AKC Scent Work Judge’s Seminar within two years of becoming licensed. See above for seminar dates, and check back periodically, as we are constantly adding seminars.