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UKC Judges

Judging UKC Events

UKC Judges are expected to know and abide by the rules that govern the activities for which they officiate. No person may judge a UKC licensed event unless that person holds a current UKC Judge’s license for the type of activity (event) and breed/class being judged and is in good standing with UKC.

Guiding Principles for UKC Judges

The sport of purebred dogs depends in no small part on its judges. The sport requires its conformation judges to be conversant in the standards of the breeds they evaluate and performance judges to know the rules of their sports. As a judge, or someone seeking to become a judge, you must commit to a lifetime of learning, seeking to improve your knowledge, and understanding of the sport in which you wish to officiate. No person has a greater opportunity or ability to affect a breed and its development than the judge. The daily decisions made by a judge can have an impact on breeding programs for years to come.

Above all, the sport demands that judges comport themselves in a manner consistent with the tenets of the United Kennel Club. UKC judges are expected to be courteous and professional throughout their assignments. Behaving unprofessionally or in a manner that discredits the United Kennel Club will never be tolerated. Your manners, appearance and ring procedures are scrutinized every time you step into the ring.

Judging is about dogs, to be sure, but it is also about people. Every one of us was new to this sport at one time and we are still involved today because of the positive experiences we had in the sport. You are often the first impression of the United Kennel Club to a new exhibitor and it is of utmost importance that you present the organization and yourself as a credible, knowledgeable representative; capable of holding this position. It is your responsibility to ensure to the best of your ability that all exhibitors have a positive experience.

Remember, exhibitors are paying for your professional opinion. Each dog deserves your full attention and a fair evaluation. When explaining your choices or scores to an exhibitor, use breed specific terminology to substantiate your choice or use the official language of the rules if discussing a performance. This will help to instill confidence in the exhibitor that you were knowledgeable enough to make that decision; even if they did not win or qualify that day.
All UKC judges are expected to avoid any situations that may give the appearance of impropriety. If you have concerns that something could be interpreted or viewed as inappropriate, it is best to avoid the situation altogether. A UKC judge’s reputation should be above reproach.

Once you carry a license to judge with the United Kennel Club, your actions will reflect your ability to hold this position. This does not simply pertain to events at which you have been hired to officiate, but in your personal life as well. Your actions on social media and in public forums will also be regarded when determining your fitness to be a UKC judge. Actions that reflect the United Kennel Club, its events or its exhibitors in a negative manner may be subject to disciplinary action.

Judging is a privilege. It is the culmination of years of experience in the sport of dogs. A judge must be thoughtful, knowledgeable, and 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 licensed by the United Kennel Club shall be at the sole discretion of the United Kennel Club.

Code of Ethics

A judge should uphold the integrity of the breed standard or standard of performance. Breed standards are the hallmarks of the breed and carry with them the future of the breed itself as well as its preservation. Rules outlining a qualifying performance are the backbone of a dog’s demonstration of ability. It is the judge’s duty to sustain and promote these values to the best of their ability.

A judge should maintain and enforce high standards of conduct and should personally observe those standards. Deference to judgements depends on the exhibitor’s confidence of the integrity of the judge, this in turn depends on the judge acting with confidence without fear or favor.

A judge should remain accountable for all judgements and allow constructive discourse with exhibitors regarding his or her decisions.

A judge should avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Irresponsible or improper conduct erodes exhibitor confidence. This applies to both professional and personal conduct.

A judge should respect and comply with the rules and tenets of the United Kennel Club, and should act always in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the registry.

A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judgement. A judge should neither lend the prestige of their position to advance their own private interests nor allow others to convey the impression that they are in a position to influence a judge’s decisions.

A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny, and accept freely restrictions that might be burdensome to others who do not hold this position.

A judge should not be a member of any organization that practices discrimination against race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.

A judge must be in good standing with the United Kennel Club at all times and in all circumstances. Involvement or suspected involvement in animal cruelty or dog fighting will carry with it the full weight of disciplinary action from the United Kennel Club.

A judge should diligently execute administrative responsibilities and maintain professional confidence by addressing correspondence in a timely manner with UKC clubs and the United Kennel Club.

Conformation Judge's Application Kit

Purchase the Conformation Judge's Application Kit

Judge's Handbook

Purchase the Judge's Handbook

Judge Applications

Conformation Judge Application (PDF)

Performance Judge Application (PDF)

Nosework Officials Application (PDF)

SPOT Evaluator Application (PDF)

Request for Regular/Senior Status (PDF)

Conformation Apprentice Evaluation and Checklist (PDF)

Conformation Senior Judge Evaluation Form (PDF)

Conformation Apprentice Group Record (PDF)

Steward Volunteer Form (PDF)