MDHA Dog Performance Guide
PERFORMANCE CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:
All the AKC Rule Book Links for the various performances listed below are here: AKC Rules and Regulations
In classes that require a handler that handler must be a full bodied handler with all
body parts in the photo frame. Do not cut off heads, etc.
Canine Good Citizen Division
Canine Good Citizen are not competitions, but pass/fail tests. They have some things that are
not included in the other events like accepting a stranger, being
groomed, behaving around another dog, etc. The exercises are performed with the dog on leash wearing either a flat buckled collar or a slip training collar, no pinch collars or gentle leaders are allowed. At no time can the dog show any aggression toward the owner or evaluators and must be under control (no jumping up or pulling on the leash).
Complete Rules are at: CGC
Dogs must wear a collar. The collar may be of a buckle, slip or martingale type. Buckle collars with the buckle made of metal or plastic with or without a tongue must be used. Slip collars of an appropriate single length of leather, fabric or chain with two (2) rings, one (1) on each end are acceptable. Martingale collars may be of any combination of chain, fabric or leather. Collars made of leather, fabric or chain, may be of any color, decorations may be stamped into the leather or fabric. Dog’s name and/or title may not be on the collar. Special training collars (prong or spikes on the inside or outside, electronic collars) or collars that are either too tight or so large that they hang down unreasonably in front of the dogs, are not permitted. There shall not be anything hanging from the collars.
Rally is judged under AKC standard. You will find documentation at AKC Rally
Dog Obedience Leash, Collar and Other Rules for Novice, Open and Utility
SECTION 16 Use of Leash - All dogs shall be kept on leash except when in the obedience ring or exercise ring. Dogs should be brought into the ring and taken out of the ring on leash. Dogs may be kept on leash in the ring when brought in to receive awards, and when waiting in the ring before and after the Group exercises. The leash shall be left on the judge's table or other designated place, between the individual exercises, and during all exercises except the Heel on Leash and Group exercises. The leash must be of fabric or leather and, in the Novice classes, need be only of sufficient length to provide adequate slack in the Heel on Leash exercise.
SECTION 17 Collars - Dogs in the obedience ring must wear a collar. The collar may be of a buckle, slip or martingale type. Buckle collars with the buckle made of metal or plastic with or without a tongue must be used. Slip collars of an appropriate single length of leather, fabric or chain with two (2) rings, one (1) on each end are acceptable. Martingale collars may be of any combination of chain, fabric or leather. Collars made of leather, fabric or chain, may be of any color, decorations may be stamped into the leather or fabric. Dog’s name and/or title may not be on the collar. Special training collars (prong or spikes on the inside or outside, electronic collars) or collars that are either too tight or so large that they hang down unreasonably in front of the dogs, are not permitted. There shall not be anything hanging from the collars.
SECTION 18 Heel Position - The Heel position as used in these Regulations, whether the dog is sitting, standing, lying down, or moving at heel, means that the dog shall be straight in line with the direction in which the handler is facing, at the side of the handler's left leg without crowding, permitting the handler freedom of motion at all times. The area from the dog's head to shoulder shall be in line with the handler's left hip.
Obedience is judged under AKC standard. You will find documentation at AKC Obedience
Novice Obedience Division
- open to all dogs over 6 months old. - CD title awarded when dog has earned 50 points amount of points in any of the Novice Obedience. In Figure 8 entrant should note that either Two People or Two Cones are required by the rules but the photo angle can depict only one cone or one person and still be a legal entry. In Stand For Exam, AKC regulations require the handler to stand (approximately) 6 feet away from the dog during the exam. This does not preclude using a handler during other judged portions of the exercise, nor does it preclude using a judge figure in addition to or instead of a handler figure.
Obedience Open Division
- prerequisite: CD title. open to all dogs over 6 months old. The CDX title will be awarded when dog has earned 150 of points in any of the Open Obedience classes. In Figure 8 entrant should note that either Two People or Two Cones are required by the rules but the photo angle can depict only one cone or one person and still be a legal entry. The recall exercise uses the entire length of the ring. The dog is usually dropped somewhere around the halfway mark of the ring. Considering the minimum ring size of 30 x 40 feet (indoor) or 40 x 50 feet (outdoor), the dropped dog would be approximately 10 to 15 feet (or more) from the handler if used. Other portions of the exercise such as the handler in the picture (the front, finish, or dog moving to these positions may also be entered.
Obedience Utility Division - prerequisite: CDX title. open to all dogs over 6 months old.
The UD title would be awarded when dog has earned 150 points in any of the Utility classes
Tracking is a part of police, military, and search and rescue work. It is also a competitive sport on its own, with all breeds able to participate. Dogs entered in Tracking classes must have correct harness and leash. Background and footing, tracking flags, handler, judge, and/or articles may be helpful but are not required.
Getting started with AKC Tracking Rules
AKC Tracking Rules
Dogs earn points separate from the Performance Championship Title. A TD Title requires 50 points. Upon earning 50 points a TD title maybe added to your photoback and a certificate will be mailed out to you.
All Agility Classes are judged under 3 major agility organizations: AKC, USDAA, and NADAC. Agility entries require an agility obstacle. AKC allows collars at the discretion of the entrant. If you are showing in other organizations (such as USDAA, NADAC, or UKC), be sure to check the organizations’ rules for specific regulations on collars, obstacles, etc. Rules are at: NADAC AKC Agility and for USDAA USDAA and NADAC let any dog compete regardless of pedigree. The basic rules and equipment for each are similar. USDAA & NADAC prohibit collars, AN - Agility Novice title awarded when dog has earned 50 points amount of points in any of the Novice. AI - Agility Intermediate title will be awarded when dog has earned 100 of points in any of the Open Agility classes. AA - Agility Advanced - title will be awarded when dog has earned 150 of points in any of the Open Agility classes. ACH - Agility Champion title will be awarded when dog has earned 150 of points in any of the Open Agility classes.
Basic Obedience Division
Most of the classes are self expanatory. Breed Conformation or Handling (Showmanship)
Class - At real dog shows, they have Handling classes for Juniors that are basically like a showmanship class at a horse show. Entries are required to have a handler doll and need the correct set-up not just a dog standing there. Collar and leash required as well.
Companion Dog Division
Childhood Companion or Lap Dog - Self-explanatory, but needs people in picture.
Companion Service - Dogs helping with chores around the house. Pick up laundry, trash, bring you a beer or soda, turn out the lights; now your dog gets to earn his biscuit.
Backpacking - Hiking with your dog in a leisure activity.
Historical Task or Event - Salukis laying around with King Tut, Mastiffs guarding Ceasar, Irish Wolfhounds hunting wolves, Chows & Pekinese hanging out in the Forbidden City, Malamutes mushing the mail to Anchorage, generic dogs camped out with the Plains tribes, etc.
Movie, Television, Circus, or Other Stage Performance - Your dog stands in as Toto, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Eddie, or dresses up and does circus tricks.
Realistic Tricks and Games - Dog must be shown playing with a prop or "doing" a trick, such as shaking hands, etc.
Service & Working Dog Division
Guard or Police or Military Dog - For dogs actually working for the police or military. Judged under DVG Rules. Must show an eager, intelligent readiness. The correct props are required.
Seeing Eye/Hearing/Therapy/Service - Must have a harness, appropriate props, or be shown assisting a handicapped person.
Search and Rescue - Judged under DVG Rules. Dog must display an active/searching attitude. Outdoor background in rough terrain with props. DVG Documentation
Schutzhund or Ring Sport - Schutzhund (translates as protection dog) is a sport popular in Europe and the US. The breed registries for some of the working dogs in Europe will not let you breed a dog unless it has a working title, and the most common one is the Schutzhund. It consists of a tracking test, obedience test, and protection test all in one day, a three-event-day if you will. Ring sport has similar exercises, except they do not require tracking. Dogs could be doing any of the exercises of the sport. Reference for this class at Schutzhund
Fun & Sport Division
Flyball or Scent Hurdles - judged on rules for
North American Flyball Association
Disc Dog - Entries not following the official rules may be declared as training photos and will not be marked down. A Disc is required to be in the picture. Entries without a disc in the picture will be disqualified. Arena setting and handler are optional but strongly suggested.
The dog has to be off leash. A collar is optional. There are two classes offered, non action dog and action dog. Rules maybe be found at Flying Disc Dog Open (FDDO)
US Disc Dog (USDD)
Water Competitions - Dock Diving, Aqua Launch, Water Rescue, Boat/Net Work - As seen on TV, Dock Diving is becoming a popular event. There are also tests for dogs to do water work that they are bred for. Newfoundlands have water rescue tests, and Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to help fishermen string nets between boats and set out buoys. Dock Dog Page
Transporting - Sledding, Carting, and Weight-Pulling are specific transportation activities. Carting competitions have tests similar to some of the driving events for horses. Sleddog (Mushing) Page Bernese Mountain Dog Club - Carting General Carting Page
Musical Freestyle - Dressage has musical freestyle, and so do dogs. Handlers dress in costume (and sometimes the dogs too) and do a routine to music with a theme. Example: Hat and tails on the handler with bow tie on the dog dancing to New York, New York. Musical Freestyle Page
K9 Dressage - Is canine dressage done in either a 30 FOOT X 60 FOOT or a 40 FOOT X 50 FOOT LETTERED RING. Handler and dog perform set movements and are scored. Dog starts in Novice and moved up to intermediate and then advance. All photo entered in this class show reference to ring size and movement in comment line. K9 Dressage Reference Page
K9 Dressage Reference Page Two
Racing - Calcutta style races seen at fairgrounds and fun shows open to all breeds such as Jack Russel or Border Collies. Entries race usually a straight line from one handler to the second handler with their favorite toy or treat as the prize.
Stock & Ranch Work Division
Livestock Guardian - Must he shown guarding a flock, stock, or herd of animals, poultry, etc. Reference for Livestock Guardian
Herding Tested or Trial - Must show a herding attitude, pose or capability. Outdoor pix with animals required. AHBA rule takes precedence with AKC as a secondary rule. Full name (and level, if appropriate) of test required. Comment line recommended to state which obstacle or element of the course is being depicted
AHBA Herding Web Page
AKC Herding Web Page
AHBA List of Eligible Breeds
AKC List of Eligible Breeds
AKC Herding Trail/Test Rules
Herding Trial Dog classes with levels HTD I, II and III, take place on a standard course. All levels include an outrun, lift, fetch, wear and/or drive, and pen (the pen may be on the fence for the started level, but is free-standing for the higher levels). At the started level, the outrun is short and the handler may accompany the dog and sheep throughout the course. At the intermediate level, the outrun is longer and the handler may accompany the dog only partway through the course. At the advanced level, the outrun is longer, the handler remains at the handler's post until time to pen, and after the pen there is an additional exercise (removing a ribbon from a marked sheep). HTD trials are designed to be held in large fields, but may be held in arenas with special permission.
Herding Ranch Dog classes with levels HRD I, III and III, take place on courses which vary in detail while including specified requirements. Levels are differentiated by such aspects as position of handler, variations in a task or inclusion of an additional task, etc. Exercises include a gather, fetch/drive work, pen work, sorting work (required for the advanced level, optional for other levels), and various elements such as chutes, bridges, holding the sheep in place, etc. HRD trials may use combinations of open fields, arenas and pens.
Herding Capability Test HCT level, the first leg may consist of a basic instinct test in a small arena with the tester allowed to handle the dog. The second leg requires an initial pause, some simple, controlled movement of the stock back and forth across the small arena, a stop, and a recall; for the second leg, the owner or designated handler, not the tester, must handle the dog, although the tester may give advice.
Junior Herding Dog Test JHD test is held in a somewhat larger arena. The dog is handled by the owner or designated handler, although the tester may give advice. There is a simple course through which the stock is taken, consisting of two corner panel obstacles and a free-standing panel obstacle in the center of the arena, ending with the sheep being put into a fence-line pen. The handler may accompany the sheep and dog throughout the course.
Herding Trial Dog (HTD) and Herding Ranch Dog (HRD) titles require two qualifying scores under two different judges. These titles are earned separately both as to type of course and type of stock. Titles may be earned on sheep, goats, ducks, geese, or cattle (except that HRD classes may not utilize ducks), with a small initial after the title indicating the type of stock on which the title was earned. The Herding Capability Test (HCT) and the Junior Herding Dog Test (JHD), both of which are run on a pass/non-pass basis and require two passing runs under different judges. These events are open to all herding breeds. Tests may be held on sheep, goats, ducks, geese, or, with special approval, cattle; unlike the trial titles, legs earned on different types of stock may count toward a single title.
Herding Non Tested Photos to display a dog herding either cattle, sheep, goats, pigs,
or poultry. Never horses. Entry must show appitude for herding but are not under any AHBA or AKC rules.
Dogs competing in herding will also receive a separate title awards: HS Herding-Started Level (50 points), HI Herding-Intermediate Level - (100 points), HX Herding-Advanced Level - (150 points) and for Herding Champion: HCH (250 points) Upon completing each level you may add these letters to your photo back with HCH in front of the name.
Sporting dogs are those that hunt birds: setters, pointers, spaniels, retrievers. Also known as Gun Dogs. Scent hounds and terriers hunt game that is usually considered varmints: Fox, rats, mice, raccoons, rabbits, otters, etc. They find game by using their nose, and either tree the game, or go to ground. This group includes Foxhounds, Coonhounds, Beagles, Harriers, Bassett Hounds, Otter Hounds, as well as most of the tougher terriers such as Jack (Parson) Russells, Cairns, Border Terriers, etc. Sight hounds hunt by using their keen vision and great speed. Afghans, Salukis, Whippets, Greyhounds, belong in this group. Field backgrounds and correct equipment are required in these classes.
Reference for these classes can be found at:
AKC Retriever Hunting Test
AKC Spaniel Hunting Test
AKC Pointers Hunting Test
AKC Lure Coursing
Squirrel Hunting and Tree Feist should be photos
of dogs baying, circling or jumping up on tree
bases after prey they have successfully treed.
Handlers are not required in the photo.
Earth Dog Competition requires entry to
be entering or all the way inside an AKC
approved tunnel. Handlers may be allowed
to pull dog by tail out of tunnel. Class to be
judged under AKC rule. You can find
links to reference for this class on IKC
Go To Ground Digging Natural Setting is
a natural scene class that as no rules. Photo
may show dog digging, entering a natural
burrow or hole in ground or outside of
Prey Hunting Natural Stand Off or Face to Face
is a class for natural scenes of dog and any type
of prey coming to a stand off or the dog recognizing
prey in the distance. No kill scenes or contact
Any Other Earth Hunting Not Listed Above is
of course a class for whatever else does not fit
into the first 4 classes.
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Updated January 2, 2018