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Obedience: Judging Resources

Obedience: Judging Requirements

Judges requesting an observation, please send requests to

To qualify as an applicant — you must have:

  1. Personally owned, trained and titled a dog to an AKC Utility Dog (UD) title and a second dog to an AKC Companion Dog (CD) or Preferred Companion Dog (PCD) 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 the relevant class being applied for at AKC sanctioned obedience A or B matches or equivalent non-regular class at an AKC trial a minimum of five (5) times with a total overall minimum of fifty (50) dogs competing.  Apprentice assignments beyond the three (3) required may be used on a one to one basis to replace the above requirements.
  5. Apprenticed under at least three (3) different judges with a total minimum of thirty (30) dogs evaluated overall.
  6. Apprentice judging forms are available here
  7. Actively participated as an assistant trainer or as a trainer in a dog training club or similar organization.
  8. Attended an AKC Obedience seminar within the last three (3) years.
  9. Provide a current passport type photo (headshot) with this application.

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 will be required to pass a verbal and written test.  This test consists of two parts – Part I (open book) is enclosed along with the application.  The answers to these questions are to be returned with your completed application.  The answers to the two questions will be graded either pass or fail.  Part II of the test consists of multiple-choice questions administered by an Obedience Field Representative. The test will cover the Obedience Regulations, Rules Applying to Dog Shows, and Dealing with Misconduct.

Exemptions from some requirements may be made for applicants in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

After passing the test and interview, applications are referred to the next available meeting of the Companion Events Approval Committee for a final determination.  Following review, applicants will receive written notification of the committee’s action.

In compliance with the Obedience Regulations, AKC Obedience judges must attend at least one obedience judges’ seminar presented by AKC staff in every three-year period and will be ineligible to accept assignments if this requirement is not met.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Companion Events Department at (919) 816-3575.  You may also email any questions to

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 Judge.

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 may be made for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.