What is AKC Obedience?

  • Demonstrating the usefulness of a dog as a companion to humankind, AKC Obedience is a sport with rules, regulations, judges, conditioning, training, placements and prizes.
  • Dog and handler teams are judged on how closely they match the judge’s mental picture of a theoretically perfect performance as they execute a series of specified exercises.
  • Accuracy and precision are essential, but the natural movement of the handler and the willingness and enjoyment of the dog are very important.
  • Helen Whitehouse Walker devised the first obedience “test” in Mt. Kisco, New York in 1933 to show the intelligence of her poodles.
  • The first AKC licensed obedience trial was held in 1936 with approximately 200 entries in 18 trials.
  • Each level of obedience competition – novice, open, and utility – requires mastering a specific skill set, which increase in difficulty, before advancing to the next level.
  • Novice Class demonstrates good canine companion skills such as heeling, both with and without a leash, coming when called, standing for a simple physical examination, and staying in both a sit and a down position with a group of dogs.
  • In the Novice Class, dogs earn an AKC Companion Dog (CD) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.
  • The Open Class is more challenging as more exercises are done off leash and retrieving and jumping challenges are added.
  • In the Open Class, dogs earn an AKC Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.
  • The Utility Class, which includes scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises, is the most challenging class.
  • In the Utility Class, dogs earn an AKC Utility Dog (UD) title after receiving three qualifying scores from two different judges.
  • Upon completion of the UD title, dogs may earn the Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) by receiving 10 passing scores in both Open B and Utility B at the same show.
  • In October of 2004, numeric designations were added to the UDX.  The highest UDX title to date is a UDX71, OTCH Jo’s Xpensif Hobi O’Redfield UDX71 MX MXJ
  • The Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) title is often referred to as the “PhD” for dogs, is the highest obedience honor a dog can receive.
  • To obtain an OTCH title, a dog and handler team must receive 100 points by placing first, second, third or fourth in the Open B or Utility B classes and a first place in Utility B and/or Open B three times.
  • To compete in the AKC National Obedience Invitational dogs must be the top OTCH and OTCH-pointed dogs in each breed.
  • The AKC National Obedience Championship title (NOC) is awarded to one dog each year.
  • Only dogs winning the AKC National Obedience Championship are permitted to have the prestigious NOC letters precede its name in AKC records.
  • There are 14 NOCs in the seventeen-year history of this event 3 dogs having won the award twice.