Obedience Show Classes

by Lynn Mayes

Classes start at Pre-Beginner and end at Championship C and can contain up to 60 dogs: any with over 60 dogs entered are split, so you can get 2 beginner classes and sometimes 4 novice classes etc. You win your way up the classes and must enter the lowest class you are eligible for. You can also enter one higher class. Each class has a set amount of points allocated to each exercise.You lose points if you don’t do the exercise correctly, eg if your dog moves in stays or won’t pick up the retrieve article; in higher classes you also lose points for giving extra commands to your dog.


You need one win or a 3rd place or above in a higher class to win out of this class.


Keeshond Obedience Keeshond Obedience
Photos courtesy of Lee Perry at obedienceuk.com

You walk smartly with your dog on the lead on your left hand side turning and halting where the steward commands you to go. When you stop the dog should sit.

As above but with the dog off the lead.


You leave your dog in a sit or a down, walk away, turn and face it; then call it to sit straight in front of you and send it to heel (sitting on your left hand side) on the stewards commands.

SIT-STAY – 1 minute
You put your dog in sit, walk away on stewards command and wait in sight of the dog.

DOWN-STAY – 2 minutes
As above but dog is lying down.


You need 2 wins in this class or a first place in a higher class to win out.

all as Pre-Beginners

RETRIEVE (any article)
You have your dog by your side, throw the article (provided by you) and send the dog to fetch it. The dog should retrieve the article and present it to you (in front) before going to the heel position on command.

Once you have won out of Beginners you have won out for life; any new dog you work has to start in Novice.


You need 2 wins in this class or a combination of 2 wins in higher classes. eg 1 novice win and 1 Class A win.

all as Pre-Beginners

RETRIEVE (dumbell)

Keeshond Retrieve
Xander presenting his dumbell
Keeshond Retrieve
Rumour in dumbell retrieving action

As for Beginners but the article has to be a Dumbell.

In all the above classes you can talk to encourage your dogs as much as you want, except in the stays: These exercises have a last command, eg “SIT!” and that’s the last time you can talk to them until the Sit-Stay is over.


You need 3 firsts in any combination of A, B and open C classes to win out.
Simultaneous command and signal can be used but only once, eg. you can say hold and point to the dumbell at the same time on retrieve; but you can’t speak to the dog to encourage it to return to you, or keep saying “close” and patting your leg whilst doing heelwork.

As for Pre-Beginners.


You leave your dog and walk away as directed by the steward, then call to heel whilst still walking. Halt on steward’s commands.

RETRIEVE (dumbell)
As Novice

2 minutes with handler in sight

3 minutes with handler out of sight

Squares of cloth are put on the floor. The handler puts their scent on an additional cloth and this is put among the others. 6 cloths in total are used and put in a straight line. The dog finds and retrieves the scented cloth, presents it to the handler and then goes to heel.


3 wins in any combination of B and C are needed to win out of this class.
Only one command or signal can be used.

In normal, slow and fast pace; all changes of pace starting from a halt.

SEND-AWAY (advanced version of recall)
You send the dog to a marker on the stewards command and down the dog when it reaches the marker. You then walk where directed and call the dog to heel on the stewards command whilst still walking.

RETRIEVE (any article)
The article is provided by the judge and is the same for all the dogs in the class.

2 minutes with handler out of sight

5 minutes with handler out of sight

Scent is handlers scent on a cloth but a decoy (cloth with someone else’s scent) is put among the cloths as well. 6 to 10 cloths are used and laid out in any pattern; the same for all dogs in the class.


Open to all dogs. Once you have won out of all the lower classes this is the only class you can enter.
Only one command or signal can be used in exercises.

Changes of pace and multiple turns are allowed. The dog to be left in a stand, sit or down position on stewards command; the handler goes forward without the dog and then picks up the dog (gets it back to heel) when told by the steward.

SEND-AWAY – as Class B

RETRIEVE – as Class B

The dog changes position not less than 10 paces from the handler between sit, stand and down in any order 6 times as commanded by the steward. The dog is not to move excessively forwards or backwards.

The scent is the judges scent on a cloth with a maximum of 2 decoys.
6 to 10 cloths are used in any pattern.

2 minutes with handler out of sight

10 minutes(!) with handler out of sight


To enter this class you have to have won out of Novice, Class A and Class B and won an Open C plus have 3 places in Open C no lower than 3rd under different judges.

all as Open C

To make up an Obedience Champion you have to win 3 Championship Classes not losing more than 15 points out of 300 under 3 different judges. If you win one Championship C class during a year you compete at Crufts in the March following your win.

Yes it’s complicated and hard work, so now you know why I’m thrilled that Rumour has won her way out of Novice.