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So, You Want To Be A UKC Conformation Judge?

In order to initiate the judging approval process, one must complete a Judge Application Form ($25 application fee) and supply a resume of their experience in dogs along with a cover letter requesting consideration. It should be sent to:

United Kennel Club, Inc.
Attn: DED-JUDGE APPLICATION
100 E Kilgore Rd
Kalamazoo MI 49002-5584

UKC Judge application form

Your request will be evaluated and if found to document sufficient experience in the sport, you will be forwarded a UKC Conformation Rulebook and a UKC Judge's Handbook, plus two tests; one on UKC rules and procedures and one on Canine Anatomy. Upon successful completion of these tests, you will receive UKC approval to judge.

The UKC no longer approves judges for individual breed(s). This new policy affords judges demonstrating an ability to judge an opportunity to judge new breeds without first being approved to judge those breeds. The United Kennel Club believes that clubs will make every effort to hire judges that they believe will do a competent and thoughtful job in judging any breed for which they accept a judging assignment. In this way, those persons demonstrating an aptitude for judging can, by virtue of performance, gain judging experience and develop a reputation as an exceptional judge. Conversely, those persons who accept assignments for breeds in which they have no experience or have not studied adequately will quickly diminish their standing as judges if they do a sub-standard job of judging.

The United Kennel Club wants good judging at our events and we believe our exhibitors deserve the same. We believe this system allows the best judges to judge more breeds more often. The United Kennel Club expects judges to accept assignments only for those breeds they feel capable of judging competently. Any judge that consistently accepts assignments in a breed or breeds that he has demonstrated a lack of ability to judge may lose their United Kennel Club judging privileges. Judges are approved to judge at the discretion of the United Kennel Club. Judging is not a right; it is a privilege. We expect prospective judges to acknowledge the gravity of accepting judging assignments in breeds new to them.


Suggested Minimum Requirements for New Judge Applicants

Judging is a privilege. It is the culmination of years of experience in the sport of purebred dogs. No person has greater opportunity or ability to affect a breed and its development than the judge. The daily decisions made in the ring by the judge can have an impact on breeding programs for years to come. A judge must be thoughtful, well-schooled in the breeds they are to judge, mindful of their responsibilities to the breeders and exhibitors who show their dogs to them and accountable to the United Kennel Club for their actions. Approval of an individual to judge at events sanctioned by the United Kennel Club shall be at the sole discretion of the United Kennel Club.

It is the responsibility of the United Kennel Club to ensure that new judges have adequate experience. The United Kennel Club requires that judging applicants have documented their experience in the sport and demonstrated their ability to apply their knowledge in the ring by making fair and reasonable decisions before approving them as regular judges. It is the responsibility of the judging applicant to provide the documentation necessary to substantiate that the applicant possesses adequate experience to be approved as a regular judge by the United Kennel Club. To that end, it is suggested that new judging applicants meet at least two of the following minimum requirements before applying to become judges.

Minimum Requirements for New Judge Applicants

      1. The aspiring judge must document three generations of breeding registered dogs of the same breed. The dogs may be registered with any acceptable registry.
      2. The aspiring judge must document four champions of this breed of which they have been the breeder of record. The aspiring judge must be the owner or co-owner of record of at least two of these champions.
      3. The aspiring judge must document at least ten years of active involvement in the sport.
Other verifiable or documented experience in the sport that the applicant feels is pertinent and useful may be considered in evaluating the qualifications of the applicant to judge. The sum total of the experience and individual merits of the applicant will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.