Code of Best Practice for Mentoring

The Kennel Club has recently published it’s C of BP for Mentoring. Like everything the KC does now it’s a formidable document. Below, just for interest, are three pages of it. In total there are 22 so far more than can be put on here. If you are at all interested in becoming a mentor you certainly need to read it in total….at least three times as it has some possibly surprising elements. The Mentoring Complaints Procedure needs a read as the Mentee will be required to complete a Candidate Evaluation Form giving their views on the mentoring process. There are ten sections to this so you need to be prepared as to what you will be evaluated on.

This blog tries really hard to behave itself, and we believe 99% of the time we do, but all this really does have to be commented on. Just what are the Kennel Club playing at? Note that all the time it is up to you to be totally up to date with everything the KC brings out and it’s always on the internet these days. What are you supposed to do if you aren’t on the internet? What are you supposed to do if you aren’t too internet savvy or live somewhere with poor connectivity? What happens if you work full time, then have the dogs to look after and maybe a family as well? How are you supposed to have the time to keep up to date on everything the KC throws out now? And to be totally blunt the views of the candidate will have “equal validity” to those of the mentors and that they will always be asked to comment…… there anything more guaranteed to possibly get old scores settled? Hopefully we’re just being old cynics


In setting this Code of Best Practice for Mentoring the Kennel Club wishes to ensure that Judges are aware of the process of securing a Breed Mentor, what this entails and that Breed Mentors are able to meet the needs of judges in their educational progress. Mentoring forms an important part of a judge’s learning to be competent to judge a breed. However, the judge still needs to develop their judging skills through practical experience of being a judge at all types of shows.

This document should be read in conjunction with its subsequent appendices and must be adhered to as far as possible, in order to meet the Kennel Club requirements for Judging Levels, exceptional circumstances permitting. For more information on the Judges Competency Framework (JCF) and Judging Levels please refer to the JCF link on the ‘Judges Education’ page on the Kennel Club website Individuals reading this Code of Best Practice (and its appendices) are reminded to ensure that they hold the most up to date copy. Please refer to the ‘Judges Education’ Page on the Kennel Club website for more information – or seek guidance from the Office, as necessary


1.1. Mentoring is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with a wealth of experience and someone who wants to learn.

1.2. In the context of the Judges Competency Framework (JCF), mentoring is a learning and development experience where a Mentee is assisted by a breed Mentor in developing breed specific skills and knowledge.


2.1. To educate judges of the breed and provide them with the information to make informed decisions to preserve and safeguard the breed.

2.2. To review and evaluate the Mentee’s knowledge and interpretation of the relevant breed standard and breed specific judging issues.


3.1. Primary Objectives: To provide an opportunity for judges to expand on the knowledge they have acquired following attendance at a Breed Appreciation Day,

subsequently passing the Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam for the respective breed and their subsequent experience of judging the relevant breed.To provide opportunities for judges to undergo a minimum of three mentoring sessions which will contribute to the requirements necessary to progress from JCF Level 2 to JCF Level 3. Please refer to for more information.

3.2. Secondary Objectives:To empower individuals to take control of their learning opportunities and ensure that all Kennel Club licenced judges are provided with the opportunity for ‘Continuous Personal Development’ (CPD) thereby enhancing the quality of UK judges.To outline the Kennel Club expectations, reinforce good practice, and encourage careful planning and organising.


In order to be eligible to undertake a mentoring session, Mentees must; Have attended a Breed Appreciation Day and passed the subsequent Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam for the respective breed.

Be registered at JCF Level 2 for the respective breed.

Please note: Judges who meet ALL OF the JCF Level 2 criteria before the JCF system is available online during the second half of 2019, may undergo mentoring.


5.1. Individuals eligible to act as a Mentor for their breed must meet the following criteria:

Someone who already awards Challenge Certificates (CCs) in that breed (if CCs are available for the breed) OR A judge who is currently active or has retired from judging and has the regard of the breed clubs OR Judges with recognised and current experience in a breed, but who may not have owned the breed OR A respected breeder/handler who does not judge, or has yet to attain JCF Level 4 themselves, but has achieved success within the breed AND Has good listening skills, who are able to respond to Mentee’s questions accurately AND Are able and confident to impart knowledge and provide constructive feedback to mentees. Please note: There is no requirement for Mentors to have an active JCF judging licence.

5.2. Persons wishing to be considered as a Breed Mentor should contact their Breed Education Co-ordinator (BEC) in the first instance.

5.3. A central list of Breed Mentors will be complied by a breed club/council or clubs and held by the Breed Education Co-ordinator (BEC) who will submit the list, including any amendments, to the Education and Training Team for its records. This list will also be available online will be updated by the Education and Training Team upon notification by the BEC from 2019.

5.4. Breed clubs should confirm with Breed Mentors which of the four mentoring scenarios (listed under ‘Organisation of Mentoringbelow) that they wish to participate in. Mentors can choose not to be a Mentor for some of the scenarios if they wish.


The responsibilities of a Breed Mentor include:

6.1 Agreeing how best to conduct the mentoring activity to best meet the needs of the Mentee, in line with Kennel Club requirements and guidance.

6.2 Encouraging the Mentee to express and discuss their ideas, concerns and understanding of the breed.

6.3 Encouraging the Mentee to play an active part in the session, and use questions to encourage the Mentee to demonstrate their knowledge.

6.4 Helping Mentees to review their progress and set realistic and practical options to realise their goals.

6.5 Helping Mentees to reflect on and learn from things that did not turn out as expected.

6.6 Taking due care and consideration when providing feedback to Mentees.Feedback should be constructive.

6.7 Referring Mentees to other sources of information, advice or further support where appropriate.

6.8 Encouraging Mentees to take responsibility for their own decisions, plans and actions, and to encourage CPD.


Kennel Club alter JCF-£10 single breed & it’s now a licence

Judges who award CCs in a single breed and do not aspire to judge any further breeds at any level will pay only £10 for a yearly judging licence under the Judges Competency Framework (JCF), the Kennel Club has announced.

This latest move has come about following extensive feedback received by the Kennel Club over the last year at Question Time events and JCF question and answer sessions led by Kennel Club committee members and staff. Previously, it had been announced that all judges under the JCF would have to join the Kennel Club Academy at the annual fee of £26, irrespective of the number of breeds they judge or aspire to judge. Under the latest plan, a new licensing scheme is to be introduced for all UK judges.

A single-breed CC judge paying the £10 licence fee who later decides that they wish to judge more than one breed must apply to the Kennel Club to pay the higher tariff. In both cases, full access to the growing range of educational resources available online via the Kennel Club Academy will be a benefit given at no extra cost to licensed judges.  This will include the opportunity to take and pass the Requirements of a Dog Show Judge exam every five years.

The Board has been able to make this announcement following a change in how the IT system for the JCF will be developed. In January, the Board agreed to invest in a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to replace the existing databases and the IT for the JCF will become part of this project, thereby offering significant savings in terms of both set up and running costs, with upgrades being easier to implement. Both systems will enable Kennel Club services to become more modern and customer focussed.

During the many question and answer sessions, concerns had been expressed about the potential loss of single-breed CC judges from the show scene when the JCF eventually begins, which is why the Kennel Club is pleased to now be in a position to offer the £10 concession rate to these judges. Their knowledge and experience represent a very important part of the British pedigree dog scene which is vital to the future development of breeds and the next generation of judges.

The online JCF system is now due to go live in the second half of 2019 instead of in January. Breed clubs are still able to hold their educational events as soon as they have appointed their breed education co-ordinators and the results of any seminars held under the new code of best practice will be accepted under the JCF criteria as well as mentoring and observations held after the breed education co-ordinator meeting in July.

As a consequence of combining the two IT projects, the previously announced requirement that all those starting out on their judging career must be licensed at JCF Level 1 or above by 1st January 2019 has been put back to 1st January 2020.  This is a positive benefit for judges and provides a longer lead time for show societies which wish to appoint new judges.

Simon Luxmoore, Kennel Club Chairman, said: “The Kennel Club is aware that there has been much comment in some quarters about the idea of all judges paying a £26 fee, which is why, following the merging of the CRM IT and JCF projects, we are pleased to be able to pass on the estimated cost saving. The feedback also referred consistently to the introduction of the £26 cost of a licence to judge and therefore it was agreed to introduce this concept going forward as many seemed to be accepting of this.

“The merging of these projects will mean that the transition period will not begin for the JCF until 2020, but that does not mean that preparations are not going ahead as planned as far as the JCF is concerned. A good number of breed appreciation days have already been held and many more are planned. Breed clubs are appointing their breed education co-ordinators and are keen to move this project forward. All of that can continue. With positive feedback received, and the ‘Eye for a Dog’ assessments this April being fully subscribed, this will ensure that we are in a very good position when the JCF IT system finally goes live.”

Updated FAQs for the Judges Competency Framework can be accessed at

Kennel Club Unveils Open Show Reforms

Kennel Club Unveils Open Show Reforms

In the biggest shake-up to the open show scene for more than a generation, the Kennel Club has announced new measures to increase interest in this important and essential side of dog showing through the introduction of three new awards. In addition, the qualifications for the Junior Warrant award and the criteria for premier open shows have been changed to encourage more entries and give confidence to show organisers to schedule more classes and more breeds.
The three new awards, being introduced in 2019, are the Show Certificate of Excellence, Open Show Winners title and Veteran Warrant.
These changes have all come about as a result of extensive consultation between the Kennel Club and show societies, exhibitors, judges and other interested parties, which began with the formation of the Dog Show Promotion Working Party four years ago and continued throughout its work.
Mark Cocozza, chairman of the working party, said: “With these reforms, we want people to look at the wider picture. Regulations have been relaxed, eligibility for awards expanded and simplified and the awards and titles are now available throughout a dog’s showing career, all with the aim of encouraging more exhibitors at open shows. The Kennel Club can put the infrastructure in place, but in the final analysis, the success of a show very much depends upon the willingness of the society to put on a good event and upon exhibitors supporting it.
“These enhancements to the show scene follow on from previously announced initiatives including the relaxation of the ‘beaten dog’ regulation, the allowing of judges not on B lists to judge 4(6) classes of a breed at open shows provided a puppy class is scheduled, and the requirement for breed clubs to work with general open show societies to schedule classes where input on the choice of judge will be offered. We are hopeful that these initiatives will make exhibiting at open shows a much more attractive prospect in the coming years.”
The Kennel Club has further announced that the winner of Best Imported Register will be eligible to compete in the group at open and championship shows and, in a move designed to encourage novice exhibitors, the Kennel Club is to sponsor a Special Beginner Group competition, for a two-year trial, at participating general and group championship shows as of 2018.
The Junior Warrant will offer more points from more classes to improve opportunities for numerically smaller breeds to gain their JW title. There will be more points to be won at open shows but fewer dogs to beat to gain the point, and exhibitors can begin working towards the new-style Junior Warrant as of 2018 with any puppy born on or after 1st July 2017.
In a further change, the Show Certificate of Merit is to be replaced by the new Show Certificate of Excellence (ShCEx), with points only available at open shows and the new award to be opened up to Imported Register breeds.
A new title will be introduced – Open Show Winners title (OSW) for dogs which have gained the revised JW and the new ShCEx. The title will be added to the front of the dog’s name on its Kennel Club record. This is a further measure to encourage open show entries.
Another warrant title will be made available – the Veteran Warrant (VW) for dogs from 7 years of age with points only available at open shows from AV Veteran Classes.
The JW, ShCEx and VW titles provide opportunities for dogs to have a longer career at open shows and for exhibitors to enter additional dogs and particularly their more mature ones.
These three new awards will add to the array of prestigious awards already on offer at Kennel Club shows, and the Kennel Club is confident they will act as added incentive for exhibitors to enter their dogs at such events.
In a further move, general canine societies can now choose whether to schedule a Premier Open Show without having to achieve the established five class average. The show must be run on the group system and schedule 50 per cent or more of the recognised breeds in each group. Dogs placed 1st to 4th in the group and 1st to 4th in the puppy group will all qualify for Crufts. This along with the recently announced requirement for breed clubs to sponsor classes will provide more opportunities for exhibitors to qualify for Crufts and more opportunities for judges to gain valuable hands-on experience.
Kennel Club Show Regulations have been changed, with effect from 1st January 2018, to formalise the current suspensions to allow dogs to be entered into variety classes without having to have been exhibited in a breed class. These changes also include allowing dogs declared Best of Breed, Best Any Variety Not Separately Classified but beaten in variety classes to challenge for the group and best in show, and similarly beaten puppies may challenge for the puppy group and best puppy in show.
The Best Puppy regulations have been simplified and are now the same for open and championship shows. Up to now there were different eligibility regulations at these types of show. The eligibility for Best in Show at open shows not judged on the group system is now the same as at shows judged on the group system – only dogs declared best of breed and best AVNSC are eligible to compete for best in show.
The working party has also changed the Best in Group regulation to allow dogs declared Best Imported Register to compete in the relevant group and/or Best in Show competition at both open and championship shows. This is an improvement for these breeds which will no longer have to be satisfied with a mere lap of honour in the group ring.
Mark Cocozza said: “This open show shake-up represents the change which people have been telling us they wanted throughout a lengthy consultation process. Now the changes have been announced, we very much hope that everyone will work together to use these innovations to revitalise entries at open shows. We also hope that show societies, working alongside breed clubs, will provide the opportunities for exhibitors to work towards these new titles and awards and that exhibitors will increase their support for open shows.
“We have amended awards, brought in new ones and tried to be as inclusive as possible; for example, by allowing the Imported Register breeds to be able to work towards gaining the new ShCEx title and allowing points to be gained from variety classes at open shows. This in turn will give judges the opportunity to learn about the numerically smaller breeds while at the same time giving the breeds themselves valuable exposure. We are also hopeful that show societies will be encouraged to schedule more classes for breeds such as these.
“But these changes will only be effective in improving the open show scene if everyone works together. The Kennel Club can provide the tools for the holding of successful shows, but unless the shows are well supported by the exhibitors and well run by the show societies, the reality may be rather different.
“The breed clubs also have a part to play in this whole process – by encouraging show societies to give their breed a judge of their choosing and an attractive classification and by publicising the show to their membership. Together we can all make a difference if the drive to succeed is truly there. These changes are aimed at making open shows as thriving as they were in previous decades.”
A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the Show Certificate of Excellence, Junior Warrant, Veteran Warrant and Open Show Winners title can be found at…/already-involved…/dog-show-awards.
FAQs relating to Premier Open Shows can be found at…/show-ad…/faqs-premier-open-shows/.
FAQs relating to the Unbeaten Dog rule can be found at…/avstakes-classes-beaten-dog-rul…/.
A dedicated email address has been set up for any enquiries on these reforms –


Well the strapline is “Keeping Glen of Imaal People up to date”

So we thought we’d bring something to attention and it may be worth filing in favourites for future reference.

The Government is looking at new regulations for dog breeding (this has been covered before) but the Kennel Club has prepared their own document. It’s quite long and pushes the ABS but it DOES need reading!

This needs A LOT of reading!

The Kennel Club has just radically altered the judging system. On first reading a lot makes sense but it also raises a lot of questions and each person reading will probably find some more. Take time to go through it because even if you have no intention of judging it will affect the people you show your Glen of Imaal Terrier to get their opinion.

The Judges Competency Framework will be launched in January 2019, run alongside the current system for a three-year transition period, and be fully operational from January 2022. This education will involve mentoring and ringside observation by breed experts and be supported by a network of Breed Education Coordinators who will help facilitate learning. More information about this role will be released in the coming months.

For some time now the Kennel Club has indicated that the way dog show judges are educated needs to change. It is generally accepted that change is necessary due to a range of deficiencies in the current process – problems for show societies identifying available and competent judges, open shows being poorly supported, and lack of seminar opportunities and transparency in the approval processes. The Judges Working Party changes introduced as far back as 1999 were a step in the right direction as far as formalising training for established judges was concerned, but now the time has come to make changes of a more far-reaching nature – changes which involve every level of judge.

The new Framework will provide a logical sequence of learning, practising, peer observation and examination and will cater for all judges at every level – it outlines a judge’s career path providing clear criteria for each stage. Each level will also confirm judging privileges, again making it clear to the judge and the show society who is eligible to judge which breed, and the number and the type of classes which may be judged.

The Kennel Club’s established online Find A Judge facility will be extended to provide lists of all eligible judges across all breeds and for all types of show.

The Framework will be administered through the Kennel Club’s modern online education platform – The Kennel Club Academy ( The Academy is easy to access, available 24 hours a day and requires only a small annual subscription. As far as possible this provides for an efficient and ‘paperless’ way for judges to record their experience on their personal KC Academy page whether this be judging appointments or details of seminars attended, breed assessments passed and other education undertaken.

All judges will be required to remain up to date with their general dog show knowledge with a mandatory online exam to be passed every five years.

Breed clubs will remain responsible for providing breed-specific education, and the Framework will also require judges to undergo mentoring and ringside observation. Breed clubs will be required to support this activity and to work with the Kennel Club to facilitate organising breed-specific assessments.

A small pilot scheme involving clubs from all seven groups and all five Stud Book bands will run from the summer of 2017, which will enable the Kennel Club to make any refinements to its proposals before the Framework comes fully into force.

Breed clubs will no longer be required to maintain judging lists as the Kennel Club will be publishing lists of judges, across all breeds and all levels of show, via its online Find A Judge facility.

The Framework starts at entry level, before a person steps into the ring for their very first appointment, and goes all the way through to the rare position of an all-breeds judge – seven levels in all. Judges can remain at any one of the levels if they so wish and can also be at different levels dependent on their knowledge and experience of a range of different breeds at any given time.

The requirement for judges to wait to be nominated to award CCs will no longer be applicable, as they will be listed as a championship show judge as soon as they have undertaken all the required education and assessment. This will open up what many see as a bottleneck preventing many suitably knowledgeable judges from awarding CCs.

These changes to the judges education and approval system are all about raising standards of judging across all levels, starting with the person who is thinking of taking their first few tentative steps towards becoming a judge of their own breed at open shows, right through to the vastly experienced breeder who has attained the status of an all-breeds judge at championship show level.

Society is changing and these changes reflect this situation. The dog show scene has changed dramatically over the last 40 years or so. Whereas in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was relatively easy for aspiring judges to accumulate numbers as a part of learning their craft at open shows where entries were plentiful, the reality is this is no longer the case, which has made learning more difficult.

The Kennel Club was very mindful of this fact when it developed this new system, as it was keen to take modern lifestyles into account – dog shows these days compete with so many other pastimes for our attention and people work longer hours. A system which promotes efficiency while at the same time encouraging quality learning – based not on the number of dogs judged but on the judge demonstrating their competency to their peers – has to be very good news indeed for anyone who wishes either to become a dog judge or to progress further up the judging ladder.

Taken out of context, the previous two paragraphs could easily be misconstrued to mean that the Kennel Club has given up on general canine open shows, but nothing could be further from the truth. There have already been some initiatives announced emerging from the Dog Show Promotion working party. Further initiatives will be announced over the coming months, some of which have been designed to fit hand-in-glove with the Framework’s system of mentoring and observed judging at open shows, which will no doubt ensure that these events remain absolutely essential in the education and progression of breed show judges in the UK.

Further details of the Judges Competency Framework, including the press announcement and a list of FAQs, can be found on the Kennel Club website at

There is no question that the education of breed show judges is entering a new chapter in this country, one which I am sure will succeed if we – the Kennel Club, breed clubs, open show societies, breeders, exhibitors and judges – all work together in our common aim of making our pastime better and securing its continuance for future generations of dog show enthusiasts.