Announcement: Fit for Function - Challenge Certificate

Judges for Gundog Breeds


As part of its ongoing commitment to the Fit For Function: Fit For Life campaign, the Kennel Club has announced a new requirement for Gundog judges prior to their approval to award KC Challenge Certificates (CCs) for the first time.   

For questionnaires received on or after 1st January 2011, the provisions for the approval of show judges for each breed in the Gundog group will include a mandatory requirement that he/she attend a Kennel Club Field Trial at Open Stake level, or an Open Gundog Working Test for the relevant gundog sub-group, before being considered to award Kennel Club Challenge Certificates for the first time.   (If a judge moves on to award CCs in more than one sub-group then it is preferable but not compulsory that acceptable events for the relevant additional sub-groups should be attended. Also, for judges already approved to award CCs to a Gundog breed and who have not attended an acceptable event, it is recommended, though not compulsory, that the judge attend such an event before moving on to judge further Gundog breeds.)  

Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club, commented, "This is a very important step forward in the Kennel Club's commitment to the health and welfare of dogs through the Fit for Function: Fit for Life campaign. It is aimed at ensuring that show judges in the Gundog group have a clear understanding of a breed's function and are able to use this understanding to interpret Breed Standards in the show ring. This should ensure that only fit and healthy dogs are rewarded. I also hope that it will help lead to a lessening of some of the exaggerated features that occasionally appear even in some gundog breeds."  

As well as supporting the Fit For Function: Fit For Life campaign by giving judges an insight into the work which gundogs carry out, this initiative is in line with two of the Kennel Club's key objectives: recognising the importance of canine health and welfare, and encouraging the development of all those concerned with dogs through education and training.  

The Kennel Club wishes to ensure that Gundog judges at shows fully understand the link between the working function of a breed and its construction and fitness, and that they judge dogs according to whether they are healthy and fit for function, as well as adherence to the Kennel Club Breed Standard. In the case of Gundogs, all breed standards now draw attention not only to health and welfare but also to ‘the dog's ability to perform its traditional work'.  

In addition to the new requirement as detailed above, prospective show judges may also find it advantageous to attend a tutorial or display run by those with experience in the sub-group concerned, and/or to view a training video for the breed in question where such is available.  


It is stressed that it is an understanding of the nature and manner of the work performed by the dog that is the object of the prospective show judge's attendance at a Trial or Test, not an examination or critique of the working dogs' structure or appearance. It is considered important that attendance at an acceptable event should give the prospective CC judge ample opportunity to observe dogs working, and to obtain answers to any question which may arise.  

The organisers of Field Trials and Working Tests are being encouraged to enable the prospective CC judge to derive maximum benefit from his/her attendance by, for example, walking ‘in the line' (or, in the case of Setter and Pointer Trials, with the judges) where appropriate.   The following guidance notes are offered for prospective CC judges;  

  • Judges will need to select a suitable event to attend. The Field Trials Diary - - and Field Trial Secretaries list - via - are available on the Kennel Club website to help with the selection of a Field Trial. It should be noted that dates for working gundog events are not fixed as far in advance as dog shows and therefore there may only be a limited number of events to select from at any given time.
  • Working Tests are not advertised as they do not need a KC licence. However in the meantime local breed clubs may be able to provide details of local tests. A list of Gundog Working Tests to be held next year will be available on the KC website early in 2010.
  • Judges must inform the Trial or Test organiser of their intention to attend.
  • Etiquette
    • Suitable attire for working gundog events should be worn.
    • Observance of the spectators' ‘red flag' position must be followed as a safety precaution.
    • There is a need for a basic level of fitness - some field trials in particular can cover difficult terrain.

Judges will be required to obtain a copy of the event's card (programme/catalogue) signed by the event's Chief Steward indicating how long the judge was at the event. A copy of this document and signature is to be kept in case verification of attendance is required by the Kennel Club's Judges Sub-Committee. There will be an additional requirement on the Kennel Club's CC Questionnaire which judges will be required to complete. Updated questionnaires will soon be available from the Canine Activities Department. 

Any gundog breed questionnaire received on or after 1st January 2011 which does not include details of the Trial or Test attended will be returned to the show society.   ENDS

24th August 2009 [269.09] For further press information, images or interview requests please contact: The Kennel Club Press Office 020 7518 1008



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