The Kennel Club is very proactive at the present time with a number of proposed reforms which affect the show scene, impacting principally on Breed Clubs and Judges, but also on show exhibitors

The Dog Show Promotion Working Party (DSPWP)

The working party was set up by the KC to examine ways and means on how to increase the interest and popularity in shows.

This reported back in mid 2016 with a number of new ideas, two of which have serious implications for Breed Clubs and in particular SBT Breed Clubs. These are:-

1. Breed Club Ch shows cannot clash with General Ch shows (over any part of an extended weekend) unless they are held, either in conjunction with a General or within a 25 miles radius of said General. The KC (via the Working Party) wish to see more Breed Clubs integrating shows with the Generals – the so-called Partnership shows – and they (the KC) want to encourage “Back to Back” shows, either a General/Breed Club arrangement or two Breed Clubs shows held over a weekend. The objective here is to improve entries at all shows.

2.The KC wishes to cease the rotation of allocation of CC’s within breeds where the number of Clubs with CC status exceed the total breed allocation of CC’s and would like to see Clubs merging where possible so that the number of CC’s on offer to Breed Clubs from the KC (14 for Staffords) exactly matches the number of Clubs – given that there are presently 17 Clubs then 3 would have to be swallowed up to achieve this objective.

The KC asked for a response to these “Directives” from Breed clubs and the North West duly replied in early 2017: –

On Point 1. Most of the SBT Breed club Ch shows have back to back arrangements with one (Western) actually in partnership with Bath) and we (as a breed) consider that the objectives of the KC have been largely achieved and has been beneficial with respect to entries.

On Point 2 – the NW favours maintaining the status quo, ie. Stick with the same number of Breed Clubs as now and carry on with the CC rotation – if it’s not broken don’t fix it – we like it as it is.

As of Oct 2018 there has been an ominous silence from the KC on this latter point. (Silences are usually ominous!)

The KC have just introduced (Dec 18th 2017) Champions classes for Breed Club Ch shows (not compulsory to schedule them) effective Jan 1st 2018. Full announcement –

Already two SBT clubs have embraced this – Morecambe Bay & Cumbria SBTC & Notts & Derby SBTC for their 2018 Ch shows – at both these shows only one Champion Dog was entered (not the same one!) with no bitches, so not a lot of enthusiasm for this measure so far, from Stafford exhibitors.

General Canine Society Open Shows

The DSPWP has also been looking at General Canine Society Open shows with emphasis on how to reverse the dwindling entries (or at least the arrest them). Two initiatives have been propounded:-

1. Breed Clubs are to be obliged to work with at least two local Open Shows – “Supported shows” – said support to include perhaps, rosettes, prize money, specials, judges expenses, etc, with Breed Clubs maybe having a say in the choice of judges and the classification to be (possibly) enlarged. These  arrangements to be up and running during 2019.

2.To encourage exhibitors to enter Open shows three new awards are being introduced in 2019:-

The Show Certificate of Excellence (ShCEx) replacing the current ShCM award – effective from 2018.

Open Show Winners title – this is for dogs that have gained their (revised) Junior Warrant and the ShCEx – the title will be OSW and it is intended to put this before the name of the dog, apparently..

Veteran Warrant – points only available at Open shows from AV Veteran Classes..

More on this at the following link:-


New Structure for Judges

The KC is to introduce, from 2019, a radical new structure for the training and classification of show judges – they have called it the Judges Competency Framework (JCF) and this will replace the existing system and at the same time formalise the qualifications and requirements for Judges at the various stages of their development – judges details to be available on the KC web site – The KC Academy and information on individual judges & appointments, etc will also be available again on the KC web site – Find A Judge.

A MAJOR CONCERN – the compilation of Judging Lists and (apparently) the requirement to have judged a specified number of dogs at a specified number of shows in order to progress up the Lists is to be jettisoned.

Judges Competency Framework (JCF) – Salient points

Starts second half of 2019 with full implementation Jan 2022

Judges pay £26/year to register on the Academy.  Note however that as of April 2018 a concession on the annual fee for judges – for Level 4 (CC level) judges who only give CC’s in a single breed  and never intend to judge other breeds at CC level, then the fee reduces from £26 per annum to £10 – as of January 2019 this fee reduces to £0 for judges that Award CC’s in a single breed (applicable to judges that have been approved by the KC to award CC in that single breed by July 2019)

JCF has 8 levels from Entry Level (L0) through to Level 7 (L7) All Breeds/Groups/BIS CC judges and Level 4 covers CC Judges

The following excellent booklet encapsulates the essential elements (published February 2018)

Each Breed appoints a Breed Education Co-ordinator (BEC) to represent all 17 Clubs (in our case) and to allow the KC a point of contact to check progress/potential issues etc and co-ordinate mentoring, matching mentors to judges – this role has now been properly identified (in terms of job description) – follow this link

Appointment of BEC’s by June – training in July, 2018 – the BEC for SBT’s is Helen Reaney.

During  2017 the KC initiated a Pilot Scheme to test out the JCF with 14 breeds and this continues into 2018. The breeds are Afghan Hound, Border Collie, Boxer, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, English Setter, Eurasier, Golden Retriever, Keeshond, Lagotto Romagnolo, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pomeranian, Schipperke, Siberian Husky & Welsh Terrier

Detailed Guide

From Entry Level For people who wish to judge – in order to progress to the first base – Level 1 – you need to:-

1. Register on the JCF Academy and pay up  

2. Do KC Requirements of a Dog Show Judge (was the old Rules & Regs) Seminar in person (C1) – pass/fail (Refresher seminar/exam every 5 years, on-line, this applies to ALL Judges NEW)

3. Do Points of a Dog Seminar (C2) Exam – pass/fail

4. Do Conformation & Movement Seminar (C3)

5. Have completed 6 full days stewarding – NEW (was 12)

6. Prove you have been interested in this breed (5 years min) – documentation required – show entries/Club membership, breeding, etc

7.Complete a KC Critique writing seminar (C6) NEW (on-line), is now available as of March 2018. Note however to access this you will need to register on the Academy and pay your £26, or £10 if you promise to only judge your breed.

Once you’ve completed all these you can then register as a Level 1 judge, providing evidence of each of the above to the KC; the ability to do this has not yet been set up as of October 2018 

Level 1 – equivalent to C listers – this enables you to judge ANY BREED at Open & Limit shows – a maximum of 3 classes (4 if one is a puppy  class)

To progress to Level 2 and judge a specific breed you need to:-

1. Attend a “Breed Appreciation Day” (C4)  arranged by Breed Clubs; this is in two parts – Part 1 is a presentation along the lines of a Breed seminar concentrating on the Breed Standard – you get issued with a certificate of attendance. Note – anyone can participate

2. Part 2 of the Breed Appreciation Day includes a Breed Standard multi choice exam for candidates at Level 1 (and above) and pass (80%).  (C5) NEW

For full details on this follow the link (issued in February 2018) :-

Breed clubs will be required to arrange these Appreciation Days every second year (or at least be involved/collaboration with other Clubs).

3. Take a refresher KC Requirements of a Dog Show Judge exam (if more than 5 years since passing the first one) – the refresher exam is on-line as part of the KC Academy.

Once you’ve completed these you can then register as a Level 2 judge, providing evidence of each of the above to the KC

Level 2 – equivalent to B listers – this entitles you to judge an un-limited number of dogs in that Breed at Open & Limit shows (as well as judging other breeds – up to 3 classes (4 if one is a puppy class) and 4 (5) for Band E breeds)

To progress to Level 3 you need to:-

1. Attend an “Eye For A Dog” assessment (C7) NEW – The purpose of the proposed “Eye For A Dog” seminar/assessment is “to assess the candidate’s ability to recognise salient points of construction and movement in a non-breed specific way, from a selection of nine dogs across all the groups with various sizes and coat types. In addition, the candidate’s approach and professionalism to assessing the nine breeds will be taken into consideration for marking purposes”.

The proposed Assessment works as follows:- candidates are required to examine and assess a mixture of different dogs – 9 in total – and make written comments on various aspects of the dogs including movement, heads, fronts, body and rear quarters. The Assessors “mark” the candidate remarks and award points on how accurate they are relative to the Assessors own reports. In addition there are extra points for identifying the breeds and even knowing whether or not each of the dogs are judged either on the table or the floor. You will need to dress and behave as though you are actually judging a show as there are more points for carrying out your judgments professionally – there will be Observers watching you. Details on all this are available by following this link.

This could all change in light of the first pilot sessions held at Stoneleigh on 24/25th April and is restricted to the 14 breeds participating in the JCF pilot scheme and also judges who are presently passed to judge 70% of any Group.  

As of January 2019 this has now changed: judges wishing to just award CC’s in a single breed will no longer be required to take this Eye For A Dog Assessment. 

2.Attend 3 mentoring sessions NEW – mentors either appointed by KC or recommended by Breed Clubs. Breed Co-ordinator matches mentors to a specific judge. Mentor training?? (Mentoring can be done 4 ways – at ringside when someone else is judging; as a student judge; mentoring days; and when judging yourself – Special awards classes only)

3. Be observed whilst judging (once) at a Breed Club Open/Limit show or a (Breed Club) Supported General Canine Society show (see above General Open Shows)

4. Have owned/bred 3 dogs in the KC Stud Book.

5. Take a refresher KC Requirements of a Dog Show Judge exam (if more than 5 years since passing the last one, on-line)

Having satisfied all this and provided the KC with the evidence, you can then register as a Level 3 judge (Awaiting final assessment)

Level 3 – equivalent to A3 list – this is the same as Level 2 as far as what you are entitled to judge but you are literally waiting to be assessed to achieve Level 4 and be able to award CC’s.

To progress to Level 4 you will need to pass a Breed Competence Assessment session (Hands on – breed specific) (C8) – 5 dogs, 4 assessors (2 breed specialists and 2 non-breed specialists), run by KC. The most recent KC guidelines on this were drawn up in 2012 – the  following KC document, also includes some later content – sr93_-_sr101_code_of_best_practice_breed_seminar_and_annexes – these guidelines are to enable Breed Clubs to organise these events. The JCF stipulates that the KC will be running the Assessments, so we are to expect further documentation in due course.

You need to pass this! (Three passes from the four Assessors is enough). Then register evidence to the KC and apply for status as a Level 4 judge in this breed.

Level 4 – can award CC’s – equivalent to A1 List – made it!

There is a Pilot study going on at the present time (2018) involving a number of breeds (not Staffords) so this lot is not cast in stone and can change in light of the study.

The existing system and the JCF to run in parallel – the transition period until January 1st 2022, then it’s exclusively the JCF and the Academy from then on. By Jan 2024 all existing Championship show Judges passed to give CC’s will have to have taken the refresher course KC Requirements of a Dog Show Judge and will have to do this every 5 years – on-line. 

For anyone who is not totally bored by now (that’s if you’ve got this far) then there is more reading on the JCF by following the link below.


This section will be updated as the KC issues amendments/additions

Update – 3rd March 2018 – Judges Competency Framework booklet (above) and Breed Appreciation Days – see above.

Update – 22nd March 2018 – Eye for a Dog Assessments – see above

Update 16th April 2018 – Annual fee reduced from £26 to £10 for Level 4 judges who only judge a single breed.

Update July 2018 Breed Education Co-ordinator for SBT’s is Helen Reaney

Update 3rd October 2018 – JCF to be “live” in second half of 2019, not January as originally envisaged – all other timings the same.

Update 25th January 2019 – Single breed judges approved to award CC’s by the KC by July 2019 are not required to pay a licence fee to be on the JCF. (can still judge other breeds at Open shows)

Update 25th January 2019 – Single breed judges are not required to take the Eye For A Dog Assessment to go from Level 2 to level 3.