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What is Obedience

Kennel Club Regulations applicable: G


Nobody is really sure when Obedience first started as an activity. We do know that in 1927 Camberley & District Canine Society held their first show, staging three Obedience Classes which were judged by Lady Kittie Ritson.

In 1931 Mr Edward C Ash wrote “Obedience Classes are held at Crufts show and are always an occasion of considerable interest.” Given that the first Crufts was in 1891 and there was no Obedience it seems logical that the sport started to develop during the 1920’s.

  • In 1936 Obedience was at Crufts again  at the Great Coronation Show, but restricted to GSDs.

  • In 1948 Crufts moved to Olympia and there was an Obedience Class but again restricted to  GSDs.

  • In 1950 the First Kennel Club Obedience Certificates were issued.

  • In 1951 The title of Obedience Champion was introduced and in 1952 there was an Obedience Class at Crufts and in 1953 the first Obedience Competition. Crufts was cancelled in 1954 due to a electricians strike.

  • In 1955 the first official Kennel Club Championships were held and this annual Obedience competition has remained one of the major attractions each year at Crufts ever since.

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As an activity Obedience has a lot going for it and is the foundation of many of the other dog activities which could not exist if handlers could not control their dogs.


It can at first look a little daunting when you realise that there are seven classes to work your way through namely:

  • Introductory

  • Pre-Beginners

  • Beginners

  • Novice

  • Class A

  • Class B

  • Class C


But you can however start competing when your dog is six months old. The only other activity that allows this is Rally. For Agility you have to wait until your dog is 18 months old whilst for HTM it is twelve months and for HTM Freestyle it is 18 months.

Around the country there are well over 200 dog clubs or societies that offer training in Obedience and many hold their own Championship or Open Shows.

It is perhaps slightly complicated by the fact that at Championship Shows the winners of “C” Dog and Bitch competitions qualify to compete at Crufts. There are therefore two categories of C Class competition. Open C and Championship C. To be eligible for entry at Championship Class C dogs must have won out of Novice, Class A and Class B and have won Open Class  C on one occasion and have been placed not lower than third on three further occasions; all Open Class C places and wins must have been won under different Judges at Kennel Club licensed shows.


Each year there are about forty Championship shows around the country and over a hundred open shows. As Championship shows hold open classes as well there are lots of opportunities to compete with your dog.

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