CKC Rules for Conformation Judges

Table of Contents

1. Interpretation

1.1 Definitions

2. General

3. Judges Entering & Handling Dogs

4. Conduct

5. Breed Standards

6. Assignments

6.1 Reporting for Assignments

6.2 Soliciting Assignments

6.3 Time & Distance

6.4 Commitment

6.5 Illness

6.6 Start of Judging

6.7 Assembling the Class

6.8 Checking Armbands

6.9 Rate of Judging

6.10 Change of Handler

6.11 Split Classes

6.12 Late Arrivals

7. Ring Control

8. Judging the Dogs

9. Placements

9.1 Placement Order

9.2 Instructions to Handlers

9.3 Placements When Dogs are Moving

9.4 Placements When Dogs are Standing Still

9.5 Making the Award

9.6 Awarding Best in Show and Best Puppy

10. Winners & Reserve Winners

11. Withholding

12. Re-Judging

13. Class Considered Judged

14. Disqualifying and Excusing Dogs

15. Weighing & Measuring

16. Rules & Breed Standard Conflict

17. Shy/Vicious Dogs

18. Judges Book

19. Amendments


1. Official Measuring of Dogs


1.1 Definitions

"Board" means the elected Board of Directors of The Canadian Kennel Club;

"breeder" means the person owning or leasing the dam at the time of breeding;

"CKC" means the Canadian Kennel Club;

"Club" means the Canadian Kennel Club;

"companion show" means a series of accompanying shows, all breed or specialty, being held consecutively by the same or different club on the same venue/grounds;

"complainant" means any person who has laid a charge or complaint against another person, partnership, company or organization relative to contravention of the By-laws or the rules, regulations. Procedures and policies of the Club;

"conformation" means the form & structure, make and shape; arrangement of the parts in conformance with breed standard demands;

"conformation show" means a competitive exhibition of dogs at which the dogs are judged in accordance with an established standard of perfection for each breed;

"C.S.R." means the Conformation Show Rules and Regulations;

"debar" means that a person is prohibited from participating an any competition or other activities directed, sanctioned, sponsored or authorized by the Club if held under its auspices or under any of its rules or regulations, to the extent and subject to terms imposed in any particular case;

"deprive of privileges" means that a non-member is deprived of all privileges accorded to non-members of the Club, including the use of the Head Office;

"dog" means a purebred dog of either sex, unless context otherwise implies a male purebred dog;

"exhibitor" means the owner or handler who enters a dog at a show;

"expel" means termination of membership in the Club and depriving the person so expelled from all privileges of the Club;

"handler" means the person who handles a dog in the conformation show;

"Head Office" means the office at which the business of the Club is carried out on a regular and ongoing basis;

"immediate family" means spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents and significant other;

"non-resident" means a person whose primary place of residence is not located in Canada;

"owner" means the owner or owners as stated on the registration certificate of the dog;

"resident" means a person whose principal residence is located in Canada and shall include members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Diplomatic Corps who are stationed outside the country on a temporary basis, as required by their respective duties.

Whenever the context requires, the singular shall include the plural, and the masculine shall include the feminine and vice-versa.


2.1 A judge shall conduct himself in accordance with the rules as outlined herein.

2.2 A judge is expected to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of the rules, Conformation Rules and Regulations. All pertinent CKC rules, regulations, policy & procedures, with particular emphasis being placed on conformation Rules & Regulations and CKC Breed Standards.

2.3 The judge must be physically & mentally capable of performing the functions necessary for the judging of dogs in accordance with the CKC rules.

2.4 A judge shall not judge any dog he has owned, used at stud, conditioned, handled, sold or held under lease or boarded in the 6 month period preceding an assignment.

2.5 In cases where a judge, or any member of the judge's household, is employing the services of a handler, the judge shall not judge any dog shown by that handler during the period of employment and for a period of six months following termination of such employment. For the purpose of these rules, the term handler shall also include members of the handler's household, & any employee or business partners of the handler. A judge shall excuse any dog which enters the ring in violation of this rule.

2.6 No person shall act as a show official (Show Superintendent, Show Secretary, Ring Steward) while he or any member of his immediate family is acting as an officiating judge at the same show. This does not pertain to sweepstakes judges (C.S.R. 9.1.6).

2.7 A judge must project a proper image while judging. Professional business attire must be worn at all times. Neckties must be properly secured. Footwear should be in good condition as well as being appropriate, sensible & comfortable for the conditions.


3.1 A judge shall not enter or handle a dog at any show held in conjunction with a companion show on the same venue/show grounds. This applies to shows before and after the judge's assignment and shall include all breed & specialty shows.

3.2 A judge shall not transfer or lease a dog to someone for the purpose of permitting the dog to be exhibited at shows or companion shows where the judge is officiating.

3.3 A person who has established eligibility to judge one or more breeds at shows may, while such eligibility remains in effect, only handle dogs which are owned or co-owned by the judge; or owned or co-owned by a member of his immediate family (C.S.R. 6.2.2).


4.1 Since most judges entered the fancy as breeders and exhibitors, it is natural that they would wish to continue these activities after they have been licensed to judge. Therefore; while the CKC recognizes that breeding, exhibiting, & judging are not mutually exclusive activities they wish to remind judges that they must not only do what is right and proper but they must be seen as doing what is right and proper. Any action or conduct which, leaves the impression of a judge's conduct being compromised, must therefore be avoided.

4.2 The general conduct of a judge on the show site both in and out of the ring must be beyond reproach. Casual remarks or actions can be misconstrued & should be avoided at all times.

4.3 Prior to a judge having completed the assignment, he shall not act as a spectator for those breeds that he will be judging at an all breed or specialty show held in conjunction with a companion show at the same venue.

4.4 When officiating at a show, a judge shall not:

a) Visit the grooming or exercise area until after the completion of the entire assignment for that club;

b) Be in possession of a catalogue until the completion of the assignment;

c) Discuss the merits of the dogs with the stewards, attendants, exhibitors or spectators (C.S.R. 6.3.9);

d) Converse at length with those who may be exhibiting under him;

e) Address handlers in the ring by name;

f) Act as the official photographer on any day at the venue where he will be officiating; and

g) Hold, have control of, or groom a dog anywhere in the venue.

4.5 Almost without exception, a judge's comments to handlers should be limited to instructions on positioning or gaiting of the dogs or inquiries with respect to the dog's age.

4.6 A judge shall not hold, have control of, or groom a dog anywhere within the venue when the dog is not wholly owned or co-owned by the judge; or wholly or co-owned by a member of his immediate family.

4.7 A judge shall not travel to or from the show or share accommodations with anyone exhibiting dogs at the show where the judge is officiating.

4.8 When attending social functions organized by the event-giving club where exhibitors are present, a judge is expected to exercise particular discretion.


5.1 Breed knowledge is the most important factor in judging, therefore a judge must have current knowledge of the CKC Breed Standards. Decisions must be based on Breed Standards criteria and not based on personal preferences.

5.2 A judge shall demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the breeds being judged. This knowledge may be acquired by breeding, observing, reading, attending seminars & visiting kennel & breeders.


6.1 Reporting for Assignments

A judge officiating at a show must report to the Show Secretary at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time for the assignment (C.S.R. 6.3.1).

6.2 Soliciting Assignments

6.2.1 Solicitation of assignments is prohibited under any circumstance. Any club or individual receiving such a solicitation must immediately notify Head Office in writing.

6.2.2 The Discipline Committee of the CKC shall have the authority to take such action, as it deems fit upon receipt of a report of such occurrence.

6.2.3 Listing in Dogs in Canada magazine or any other official CKC publication shall not be deemed as solicitation on the part of the judge.

6.3 Time & Distance

When accepting judging assignments the time and distance requirements as stated in the C.S.R. 6.1 must be adhered to.

6.4 Commitment

Upon accepting an assignment, a judge is committing himself to the show-giving club for the entire day & shall not expect the club to accommodate travel plans involving late arrival or early departure.

6.5 Illness

Should a judge be unable to fulfill his assignment due to illness or any other circumstances beyond his control, the judge shall immediately notify the club in person, followed immediately by a written confirmation sent to the club and the CKC.

6.6 Start of Judging

Judging shall commence at the time stated on the judging schedule and not before. Where group judging is to follow the judging of the breeds in that group, the club is obligated to allow sufficient time before the start of the next class (C.S.R. 14.1.5).

6.7 Checking Armbands

A judge shall determine if all the dogs are present in every class by comparing the armband numbers with the numbers indicated in the judging book. This shall be done for all levels of competition.

6.8 Absent Dogs

The judge is responsible for marking all absent dogs in the judge's book.

6.9 Rate of Judging

a) A judge is expected to judge at a rate of not less than 20 nor more than 25 dogs per hour at the breed level (C.S.R. 5.4.1); and

b) A judge shall not judge more than 175 dogs at the breed level in a single day. This includes dogs entered in stakes, non-regular classes and specialty shows held on the same day (C.S.R. 5.4.2).

6.10 Change of Handlers

A change of handlers is permitted at the discretion of the judge.

6.11 Split Classes

To accommodate proper examination and gaiting of large entries in small rings, a judge may split the classes.

6.12 Late Arrivals

Acceptance of late arrivals is at the discretion of the judge; however, no late arrivals will be permitted to enter the class once the judge has individually examined and gaited all dogs.


7.1 Judge's Authority

a) The judge is in charge of the ring and shall maintain proper control of the ring while using sound judging procedures. Judges shall be thoughtful and considerate to the exhibitor and his dog; and

b) In accordance with CKC rules, all exhibitors, handlers and ring stewards present within a ring are subject to the judge's authority.

7.2 Double Handling

As per CKC rules, double handling is disallowed. Any judge who witnesses double handling may take the following summary action:

a) Announce to ringside that double handling will not be tolerated; and

b) At the judge's discretion, excuse the dog for the day.


8.1 All dogs shall be individually examined in the same systematic manner. Judges shall:

a) Approach all dogs calmly, with gentleness, and make no sudden or surprising gestures;

b) Begin the examination with the mouth and head, and systematically work down the neck;

c) Teeth and testicles must be part of the examination in all classes including specials;

d) In order to determine soundness, a judge shall not forcibly raise and drop front or hindquarters or apply excessive pressure to the hocks;

e) For the judge's protection when examining a dog, a judge must not kneel in front of or behind the dog; and

f) A dog shall not be approached from the rear for the initial examination.

8.2 Dentition

If the dentition of a dog under examination is not automatically shown by the exhibitor, the judge will be permitted to open the dog's mouth (C.S.R. 6.3.8).

8.3 Gaiting

In all classes dogs are to be gaited individually and collectively in a consistent pattern. Matting, when available must be utilized for gaiting.

a) At winners/reserve, re-gaiting is optional at the judge's discretion;

b) At breed level, all dogs are individually and collectively gaited;

c) At group level, all dogs are individually and collectively gaited; and

d) At general specials, all dogs are individually and collectively gaited.

8.4 Judging the Group

When judging the group, all dogs that have not been examined by the judge on that day must be examined.

8.5 General Specials

At general specials, the judge must individually examine all dogs as pe Section 8.1.

8.6 Examining on the Table

When examining breeds that are customarily examined on a table, the judge may place a maximum of 2 dogs on the table at the same time. In the case of re-examination, a dog that was previously examined on the table must be re-examined on the table. This applies to all levels of competition.

8.7 Group or Class

When eliminating dogs from further competition, a judge shall retain a minimum of six dogs for future consideration.


9.1 Placement Order

When awarding Best of Breed, the following order shall be followed:

a) Best of Breed;

b) Best of Opposite Sex; and

c) Best of Winners.

9.2 Instructions to Handlers

When a judge decides on the placements, the instructions to the handlers must be absolutely clear.

9.3 Placements When Dogs are Moving

Placements are not to be indicated while the dogs are moving unless the dogs have been put in the placement order

9.4 Placements When Dogs are Standing Still

It is not necessary to align the dogs in placement order when the dogs are standing still.

9.5 Making the Award

Once instructed on the placement order by the judge, the handlers will line-up with their dogs in front of the appropriate placards numbered 1 to 4. The judge in the ring will then:

a) check the armband numbers;

b) mark the judge's book; and

c) hand out ribbons and/or prizes. (C.S.R. 6.3.18)

9.6 Awarding Best in Show and Best Puppy

When awarding Best in Show and Best Puppy, the judge will:

a) Mark the book before indicating the winner, the dogs may not be moved after this; or

b) Indicate the winner on the move and then mark the book.


10.1 The winners and reserve winners are 2 separate classes, unless the winner comes from a class of one.

10.2 Re-gaiting in these classes shall be kept to a minimum and limited to the dogs which are in contention.

10.3 The judge's book shall be marked and the ribbons and/or prizes awarded to the winner prior to judging the reserve winner unless reserve is automatic.


11.1 A judge's decision shall be final in all cases affecting the merits of the dogs. Full discretionary power is given to the judge to withhold any award or prize for want of merit. The awarding of a first prize in any class shall not obligate the judge to award Winners or higher awards if he feels that such an award should be withheld. Where a judge has withheld a first place in any class for want of merit, the dogs in that class immediately become ineligible for further awards at that show (C.S.R. 6.3.14).

11.2 Awards may be withheld at any level of competition, the reason for such action must be stated in the judge's book, and initialed by the judge who will clearly and diplomatically explain his decision to the handler involved.


12.1 After a class has been judged in accordance with the Conformation Show Rules & Regulations it shall not be re-judged (C.S.R. 6.3.15).


13.1 A class is considered judged when the judge has indicated his placements.


14.1 The judge shall examine each dog, & movement must be checked for lameness & soundness.

14.2 Each dog must be examined for disqualifications in the breed standard as well as violations of Section 16 of the Conformation Show Rules & Regulations.

14.3 Any dog presented to the judge which calls for a disqualification under the breed standard must be disqualified.

14.4 When a dog has been disqualified or excused, the reason for such action must be clearly stated in the judge's book and initialed by the judge (C.S.R. 16.1.3 & 16.2.4).

14.5 A judge must check all male dogs for 2 normal testicles located in the scrotum regardless of the number of judges who have examined the dog on that day.

14.6 A dog entered in Specials Only shall be identified by gender in the judge's book and if incorrectly entered and substantiated by the Show Secretary or Superintendent, shall be excused from the ring by the judge (C.S.R. 3,2,1 [ii]).


Judges must be familiar with the procedure and regulations regarding weighing and measuring (Appendix 1).

15.1 A judge shall have the right to measure in the ring and weigh or have weighed by the Superintendent, any dog whose breed standard indicates height or weight as a disqualification. The decision of the Show Superintendent reported to the judge shall be final in the determination of the weight. The decision of the judge shall be final in the determination of all disqualifications (C.S.R. 6.4.1).

15.2 A dog whose breed standard does not call for a weigt or height disqualification shall not be measured or weighed.

15.3 A dog which does not meet the height and weight standard as stated in the breed standard must be disqualified.


16.1 In case of a conflict between the Breed Standard and the Conformation Show Rules & Regulations, the Conformation Show Rules & Regulations shall take precedence.


17.1 Any dog that in the opinion of the judge menaces, threatens or exhibits signs that it will not allow examination in the normal way must either be excused or disqualified as per Section 16 of the Conformation Show Rules & Regulations.

18. Judge's Book

18.1 All absentees will be marked by the judge.

18.2 Only the judge is allowed to mark his book which can not be changed by the judge after the closing of the show (C.S.R. 6.3.16).

18.3 A clerical error in the judge's book may be corrected by Head Office after consultation with the judge (C.S.R. 6.3.16).

18.4 At the end of the assignment, the judge should ensure that his book is properly completed by checking the following:

a) That the judge's book is properly signed by the officiating judge;

b) That the judge has initialed any changes; and

c) That the starting and finishing times of the assignment are clearly indicated.

18.5 In the regular classes, the placements are to be marked 1, 2, 3, 4 opposite the armband number in the judge's book.

18.6 In recording the Winners, Reserve Winners, Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex, the armband numbers of the winning dogs must be written on the appropriate lines.

18.7 The judge is responsible to ensure that the judge's book is properly and correctly marked. Errors and omissions on the part of the judge may only be corrected by the judge.

18.8 Any errors or omissions on the part of the Show Secretary must be corrected by the Show Secretary and initialed by the Show Secretary.

18.9 The Show Secretary and Superintendent may make notations in the judge's book.


19.1 These rules are subject to amendment by the Board.

19.2 Amendments to the rules may be proposed by a person, association, club representative, group or body by presenting such proposal to the Board for its considerations. In such circumstances, the Board will forward the proposal to the Event Officiating Committee for its consideration and input, prior to the Board making its final decision.

19.3 Any amendments to these rules shall be approved by a simple majority vote of the Board.

19.4 The effective date of any approved amendment shall be set by the Board.

19.5 Upon the Board making its final decision with respect to any amendment to these rules, the membership shall be advised by placing a notice in the Official Section as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible.