FCI Regulations for Show Judges

Posted in FCI Notices

Further to a decision by the FCI General Committee in Rome, April 2011, herewith the amended version of the FCI Regulations for Show Judges. The amendments are effective as from 01/01/2012


1 General

2 Minimum requirements regarding application, education, examination and nomination as show judge

3 Definition of show judges

4 How to become a judge for additional breeds

5 How to become a group judge

6 How to become an FCI all-breed international Judge

7 How to become an all-breed national Judge

8 General conditions for admission as a show judge

9 General duties of a show judge

10 Travel and insurance arrangements

11 Behaviour

12 Penalties

13 Enforcement dispositions

NB: Terms referring to natural persons are applicable to both genders and numbers


The regulations set forth in the paragraphs 1 through 8 are compulsory for all FCI National Canine Organizations and contract partners and must be considered as MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS of the FCI for any individual to be accepted as a show judge by the national canine organization of the country where he has his legal residence and which is a member of the FCI (hereafter named “FCI National Organization”, shortly “FCI NO”). It is up to each FCI NO to increase and specify the general requirements set by the FCI. However, under no circumstances, may the rules of each country be in conflict with these FCI regulations.


The applications of the candidates wishing to become show judges must be accepted under the official FCI NO regulations of the country where the applicant has his legal residence. It is the responsibility of each FCI NO to provide adequate courses and a satisfactory basic judges training programme for its candidates to get the necessary education, to prepare the necessary examinations and to take care of their official approval as show judges. This education must follow the minimum requirements enclosed in these regulations.

In order to be recognised by the FCI as international show judge, the candidate applying for a very first breed must comply with the following requirements:

a). Must be of legal age.

b). At the time of application to become a candidate for one or more breeds, the applicant must prove that he has previously been a breeder with a registered affix and must have dogs registered with the official studbook of his country or alternatively that he has achieved successful results as a dog exhibitor for at least 5 years or alternatively that he has had active and responsible involvement in the canine activities for a minimum period of 5 years.

c). Must have been on duty at official shows as a ring steward or secretary at least 5 times over a minimum period of one year in order to become knowledgeable about procedure and regulation matters.

d). The candidate must be examined by the official examination committee nominated by his FCI NO and take a written preliminary examination showing sufficient knowledge on the following subjects:

1. Anatomy, morphology and movement of dogs

2. Genetics, health and character

3. Knowledge of the breed standard(s)

4. Behaviour, principles and techniques of judging

5. National show regulations and other additional national rules

6. FCI Show Regulations, these FCI rules for show judges and other additional rules

Once he has undertaken successfully the basic knowledge part, a candidate has to follow a more specific course. This is the first course in which candidates learn how to look at dogs. The course should be given by very experienced judges who have followed a special FCI NO training program.

e). The practical training must allow the candidate to gain a complete knowledge and understanding of the breed(s), of all regulations, as well as procedure in the ring. The practical training consists of the successful completion of an amount of shows where the candidate receives education, subject to having passed the written examination. It is the responsibility of the FCI NO to establish a period of time and the amount of practical training.

f). The education which is to be given to a judge will be done on a breed per breed basis. This “breed by breed” education must be done in countries where some breeds are common and present in reasonable numbers at most shows, but also in countries that are willing to teach more their judges and/or candidate-judges about specific breeds.

g). The practical education must be taken under the supervision of FCI recognised and well-experienced show judges. The candidate has to write reports on the dogs he judged during the education and forward them to the judge who has the responsibility of confirming the candidate judge’s knowledge, and his performance and behaviour to the official committee in charge.

After successful completion of the practical education, the candidate has to take a practical test supervised by the official examination-committee. This examination committee has to provide a written statement about the test and its results.

h). Examination is to be done in theory and practice. Candidates have to judge at least two dogs, no matter what breed. The candidate has to produce a consequent critique with the good and less good points of the outline and movement of the dogs and he must pay attention to the health and welfare of the dog. The critiques are to be discussed with the examiners. Examination will be done by a special commission, appointed by the FCI NO and following the specific rules of the FCI NO. In case the FCI NO has no specific rules then the following procedure applies:

The candidate has to judge and write a critique with qualification and placing as well as the indication of the BOB winner. The candidate has to prove to the examination committee that he:

1. Knows the standard and that he knows how to use it

2. Knows the typical points and faults and knows how to appreciate them or not

3. Knows how to write a critique

4. Knows the history of the breed

5. Knows the character / work / health and problems of the breed

6. Knows about the population of the breed in his country and other countries

7. Knows the difference between similar and related breeds

i). Once approved by his FCI NO and included in its show judges list, a candidate first has to judge over a minimum period of 2 years the breed(s) for which he has been approved in the country where he has his legal residence before he is allowed to accept to judge at FCI shows with CACIB outside the country where he has his legal residence.

j). A judge – or candidate judge – who has been living for more than three years in a country different from the country where he had his legal residence is obliged to take further education and to get his approval for new breeds from the country where he lives at present. This disposition does not apply to International FCI all-breed judges.

k). If a candidate has more than one country of residence, he has to decide under which FCI/NO regime he wants to become a show judge. The FCI office must be informed of his decision. Once a candidate-judge has started his education programme for a particular breed, group, or all breed status, this programme has to be continued with the same regime. In the event that the judge permanently moves to a different FCI country, the FCI judges Regulations state that the judge´s licence is transferred to the new country of residence after three year unless the original country of residence agrees to transfer the licence earlier.

l). If a new breed is recognised by the FCI, a FCI group of FCI all-breed judge is automatically allowed to judge it providing that this breed is in a group which he is qualified to judge.

m). It is the responsibility of each FCI NO as member of the FCI to include in their official list of judges of the FCI only those individuals who have fulfilled the requirements stated above, to keep their list as well as all the information about every judge updated and to forward it to the FCI Office every year. This list must indicate clearly the breeds for which the judge is licensed to give the CACIB, the groups he is licensed to judge and whether or not he is licensed to judge the Best in Show. The FCI Breed Nomenclature must be observed when writing this list


A FCI Breed Judge is a person who has been approved by his own FCI NO to judge one or more breed(s).

A Show Judge of a FCI NO can be:

a) FCI Breed Judge

b) FCI Group Judge

c) FCI All Breed International Judge

d) FCI All Breed National Judge

The FCI NO has to forward to the FCI complete information concerning every judge who is permitted to judge outside the country where he has his legal residence.


Show judges who are already approved to judge one or more breed(s) in any given group and wish to be approved for additional breeds must apply in writing, must take practical education and pass a test on the standard of the breed(s) they are applying to judge additionally. A practical test for said breed(s) is also compulsory.

In the case of an absolute impossibility to provide the dogs of a certain breed for the practical test, the candidate must, as an alternative solution, pass an extensive test on the standard of the breed(s) he is applying to judge. This rule applies only to experienced judges who are adding a new breed or new breeds.


A FCI Group Judge is a person who has been approved by his FCI NO to judge at group level one or more groups of the FCI official groups according to the FCI Nomenclature of Dog Breeds. The group judge’s education has to last a minimum of one year each for the first five groups he applies for. A FCI group judge is approved to award the CACIB to any breed of said group. Once approved, FCI group judges from FCI NO are permitted to judge Best of Group (BOG) competitions at CACIB shows for the group(s) for which they are qualified.

If a breed is transferred to a group for which a judge is not qualified, the judge retains his right to judge the breed in question.

Before a candidate is allowed to study for more than one group, the FCI NO has to evaluate his way of judging. The FCI NO has the right to decide if it wishes to put the breed judge in a specific Group-judge programme or even in an All-breed judge programme.

The FCI KEY groups are the groups 1, 2, 3 and 9.

a). A judge can apply to be educated as a group judge for his first group when he has been a judge for a period of at least four years and he has to be a judge for at least three breeds of that group. During these years he has to judge at least five times the breeds he is approved for. In alternative he has to wait three years after the approval of his first breed, before he can apply to be educated as a group judge.

b). When a candidate is educated in his first group then he has to finish it before he can take education for his second group. This way the education in the first groups can be done group by group.

c). Candidates in the first five groups have to consider that they cannot be educated in more than one group at the same time when they are working within one of the key groups.

d). After he has completed his fifth group a candidate can be educated for more than two groups at the same time

e). The education in the first group lasts a minimum of two years. In further groups the education can be done in one year. FCI Regulations for Show Judges 6

f). The examination of candidates must consist of a practical examination for one breed or for one group of breeds and a theoretical part for this group of breeds.  When having been approved for a certain number of breeds within the same FCI group, it is possible for a Group judge to be approved for other breeds in this group without examination providing he has taken a good education. It is up to the FCI NO to set up the requirements for this special education.

g). After completing his fifth group a candidate can officially apply in writing to his FCI NO to be educated for more groups or even as an all-breed judge.

h). While training for one or more groups a candidate has to continue judging the breeds he has already been approved for.

i). The FCI NO has to inform the FCI about the judge who has become a FCI group judge for his first group.


An FCI All Breed International Judge is a judge who has been approved by his FCI NO to judge all breeds of the FCI recognized groups. Only these judges are approved to officiate at CACIB Shows around the world for all the FCI recognized breeds. The nomination to become an FCI all-breed international judge has to be entirely under the jurisdiction of the concerned FCI NO, paying particular attention to the number of breeds registered in the country in question. However these judges can be made eligible as FCI all-breed international judges only ten years after the approval for their first group. The FCI NO has to consider that a judge can only be an all breed international judge when he has been educated and approved for different breeds in all groups. These breeds are at least a certain amount of breeds that are common in the country where the judge has his legal residence. The information about approval and nomination as an FCI all breed international judge has to be sent to the FCI office.

a). In order for a judge to be educated to become an FCI all-breed international judge, he must have been approved for at least five of the FCI groups.

b). To start his education to become an all-breed judge, at least one of his five groups has to be a KEY Group.

c). It is up to the FCI NO to put forward a candidate to be a Group judge in compliance with the above mentioned rules and procedure.

d). It has to be considered that an FCI all-breed judge has been educated in all ten FCI groups.

e). The period elapsed between the approval of his first FCI group and the approval of his FCI All Breed status has to be at least ten years.

f). Upon FCI request, the FCI NO sends a list of the new FCI all-breed judges to the FCI informing them about the details of their education and the experience of this judge.


An FCI All Breed National Judge is a judge who has been approved by his FCI NO to judge all breeds at national level. This judge is approved to judge all FCI recognized breeds at CACIB shows only in the country where he has his legal residence. However this judge can only be approved to judge all breeds in his own country when he has been approved as a judge for at least five FCI groups. This applies only to FCI NO where the number of dogs entered at shows does not normally exceed 100 (hundred) breeds. The FCI all breed national judge is allowed to officiate outside the country where he has his legal residence only for the breeds for which he is approved by the FCI as group or breed judge and recognised in his own country. The information about approval and nomination as a national all-breed judge has to be sent to the FCI.


Only those judges who are included in the list of show judges of any FCI NO in accordance with previous conditions are allowed to award a CACIB at international shows. The breeds which the judges from FCI contract partners are allowed to judge are clearly listed in the individual contracts signed by the FCI and contract partners. - Judges who have been approved by their FCI NO but have not been judging for a period of 5 years or longer, must take a new practical test before being allowed to judge again. The FCI NO, before granting a new authorization to judge, must verify the capacity of the applicant to judge the breed, or breeds, he had previously been authorized to judge.

- Judges emigrating to a country whose national canine organization (hereafter named “NO”) is not an FCI member or contract partner can, on application to the FCI, remain admitted for the breeds for which they had been licensed in an FCI NO, provided that no disciplinary action is or has been taken against them, that the inviting organizer is informed about it and that the FCI agrees to it accordingly. The FCI Office keeps a corresponding list and issues the authorizations to judge. The FCI has jurisdiction over these judges. Those judges do not have the possibility anymore to take FCI education for further breeds and/or groups.

- Judges emigrating from one country whose NO is member of the FCI to another one remain admitted and should be approved by the FCI NO of the new country where he has his legal residence for the breeds they had been licensed by their former FCI NO, provided that no disciplinary action is or has been taken against them. An application must be sent by these judges to the FCI NO of the new country within a maximum period of 3 years after changing legal residence. This FCI NO will then be responsible for these judges.


At shows in countries whose NO is a member of the FCI, show judges must always follow the valid FCI standards of the breeds they are judging, as long as these are not in conflict with national law. They may not interpret any standard in such a manner to be in conflict with the functional health of a dog. When judging, any show judge has to obey strictly these judges regulations as well as the FCI show regulations and all other rules of FCI. The judges have to prepare for each show by studying the standards and all other important regulations.

Judges must:

- always be thorough and careful in their work;

- judge dogs according to the FCI standard of the specific breed;

- obey the FCI Show Judges Code of commitment to the welfare of pure-bred dogs;

- respect their judges’ colleagues and the exhibitors.


a). Travel arrangements

Judges are free to make private arrangements with show organizations, which may differ from those stated in the Appendix to the Dog Shows and Show Judges Regulations of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. However, when such personal arrangements have not been made, they should expect to be provided with the benefits stated in the appendix. It is advisable that financial arrangements should be laid out in advance in the form of a contract or written agreement between the judge and the show organization and have to be honoured by both parties

b). Insurance

The judge should sign up an insurance contract (flight cancellation, accidents, etc) whenever he is invited to judge abroad. Considering the high number of different possibilities offered in the member countries, the judges is recommended to act as follows:

· The judge who frequently officiates abroad should sign up this insurance contract for the whole year;

· The judge who seldom judges abroad should sign up this insurance contract on a showper- show basis.


1). General

Every show judge of any FCI member organization accomplishes an important duty in the international dog society. His behaviour should therefore be reliable and beyond reproach whether officiating or in his private life.


- A judge should never be late for his judging appointments or leave the show ground before he has completely fulfilled the duties that were assigned to him.

- A judge should not criticise the work of another judge.

- Under no circumstances can a judge solicit appointments to judge.

- A judge is not permitted to consult the catalogue of the show before or during his judging.

- In the ring a judge must behave properly and examine all dogs indiscriminately. He should be soberly and properly dressed, in accordance with the duty to be fulfilled, and should always be correct and urbane.

- A judge cannot smoke in the ring.

- A judge cannot drink alcohol in the ring.

- A judge cannot use a mobile phone in the ring while judging.

- A judge can neither enter a dog nor handle a dog at a show where he is officiating as a judge

- A partner, any member of his immediate family or any person living with the judge in his household may enter and handle any dog of such breed(s), which this judge is not judging on that day of the show.

- The dogs that a judge handles at a CACIB show where he is not acting as a judge must be either bred, owned or co-owned by him, by a partner, by a member of his immediate family or any person living with him in his household.

- A judge may not judge any dog that he has either owned, co-owned, conditioned, kept or sold in the six months preceding the show where he is officiating. The same applies to dogs owned by a partner, a member of his immediate family or any person living with him in his household.

- A judge is not allowed to travel to the shows where he is judging with those exhibitors who are showing under him at those events.

- Under no circumstances should a judge socialise or stay with the exhibitors who will be showing under him. A judge may do so only AFTER his judging appointment is completed.

2. Accepting Assignments

a). An FCI show judge can only judge at events organised by FCI NO or by clubs affiliated to FCI NO. An FCI show judge is not allowed to judge at events not recognised by the FCI unless those events are held by countries which do not come under the FCI jurisdiction (else than member or contract partner). However, in this case, he must get the authorization from the FCI NO of the country where he has his legal residence. All the judges invited to officiate at any event organised by an FCI NO/or by a club affiliated to an FCI NO must get the approval of the FCI NO where they have their legal residence, with exception of the specific clauses indicated at point 3 "permission for judges“

b). Upon receiving an invitation to judge in a country outside the country where he has his legal residence a judge has to make all necessary inquiries to ascertain that the show organization comes under the jurisdiction of the FCI or is organized by an organization recognised by FCI.

c). If the show is organized by a club, the judge must verify that this club is officially recognised by the FCI NO or FCI contract partner of the country where the show is being held.

d). When judging outside the country where he has his legal residence a judge must be fluent in at least one of the four languages of the FCI (English, French, German or Spanish). In case a judge is unable to fulfil this requirement, he is responsible for providing his own interpreter if the show organizer requests it.

e). A judge may under no circumstances agree to judge a breed at any show for which he is not approved by his own national organization. The same applies for judging at Best in Group and Best in Show level.

f). All the judges, including those from countries that are not members of the FCI, must under all circumstances follow the FCI breed standards when they are officiating at FCI sanctioned shows.

g). The judges from countries that are not members of the FCI and judges from FCI associated member countries are only licensed to judge the breeds recognised by their national canine organizations when officiating at FCI international shows.

h). All the judges from countries that are not member of the FCI must fill in the standardised questionnaire issued by the FCI (enclosed) if they are invited to judge at an FCI show. It shall be sent to them by the inviting NO in due time and must be returned signed for approval

i). It is absolutely forbidden for a judge to charge a double reimbursement for any expenses related to a judging assignment. If a judge is found to have claimed a double reimbursement, he will be severely punished by his FCI NO.

3. Permissions for judges

FCI breed judges must have a written permission, issued by their respective canine organization in order to judge at FCI Shows. Only judges who are authorized by their national organization to judge these breeds are allowed to judge dogs. While on assignment, they are obliged to judge strictly and exclusively in accordance with the FCI breed standard that is currently valid.

FCI group judges from federated FCI NO are allowed to judge, without any official authorization from their national canine organization, all the breeds of the groups for which they are qualified as well as Best of Group for the groups for which they are qualified. They can judge the Best in Show competitions provided that the national canine organization and the inviting country approve it and he is approved as a FCI group judge for at least two of the FCI groups.

FCI all breed international judges from federated FCI NO are allowed to judge, without any authorization from their national canine organization, any breed, any competition, including Best of Group and Best in Show. FCI all breed international judges are allowed to judge any breed recognized only at national level, providing that the breed standard is made available to them in due time by the show organizer. The same applies to FCI group judges for the breeds that are in the group the judge is approved for.

At all international FCI shows at least 2/3 of the invited judges on the panel have to be FCI judges (breed-group-all breed) approved by a FCI NO.


1. Any judge violating, in any way, the FCI show regulations and/or the national ones as well as the FCI regulations for show judges falls under the jurisdiction of his FCI NO, which has to penalize the judge in question if the violation has been proven. The FCI NO are obliged to pass a rule which enforces them to penalize any misconduct or any violation from their judges.

2. It must be guaranteed that the judge in question shall be heard, either verbally or in writing. The judge must be given the right to appeal against the decision. No person having been involved in imposing the penalty may be a member of the authority where the appeal is made.

3. The FCI NO should foresee the following penalty options:

a) Settle the case without penalization

b) Issue a warning with or without threatening to ban the judge from judging

c) Banning the person to judge for a certain period of time

d) Cancellation as a judge

e) Refusal or withdrawal of the permission(s) to judge abroad

4. After becoming legally effective, the FCI has to be informed about the decision by its FCI NO.


The Executive Committee of the FCI, especially when parts of these regulations become invalid, may, on its own final decision, take action on changing parts of these regulations in order to ensure the validity of any international event held under FCI rules and to enforce the application of these regulations. The invalidity of one part or parts of these regulations does not force the whole regulations to become invalid. These rules come into force immediately upon approval of the General Committee of the FCI and must be distributed to all FCI members and contract partners.

The English version is the authentic one. These regulations were approved by the FCI General Committee at the meeting in Berlin, on October 31st, 2007. They become effective from January 1st, 2008

The changes in bold and italic characters were approved by the FCI General Committee in Rome, April 2011 and are effective as from 01/01/2012.


1. All normal travel expenses to include real kilometrage (reimbursement to be decided by the  FCI General Committee, a minimum of 0.35 €/km), parking, train, bus, taxi, flight (a reasonably priced economy ticket including a cancellation insurance – if possible - and an option for changeability), as well as meals during travel to the show, incurred by a judge have to be reimbursed immediately on arrival or following whatever previous arrangements made with the organiser. 

2. For judging at World, Section, International and National Shows a judge is allowed to charge, in addition to the above mentioned costs and to cover his small expenses, a “day-fee” of 35 euros (covering all insurance expenses) for each day of judging as well as for each travel day. The English text is the authentic document. The Appendix was approved by the FCI General Committee in Zurich, November 4th 2008.