Close Visit the newly redesigned AKC.org website by clicking here.

AKC National Owner-Handled Series

Judging Procedures for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series

Determining Exhibitor Eligibility

The first step in judging the AKC National Owner-Handled Series is determining exhibitor eligibility. Follow these tips to properly make the eligibility determination:

  • Exhibitors must declare their dog AKC National Owner-Handled Series eligible at the time of entry using the check box on the entry form.
  • The handler must be an owner of record according to the AKC’s records as of the date of the show.
  • Dogs declared eligible will be identified by an asterisk or other representative mark in the steward’s book and in the show catalog.
  • Professional handlers, household members and current assistants to professional handlers may not exhibit. A current assistant is defined as anyone employed by a professional handler on a full-time basis, or, assisting a professional handler at the show or any show during the cluster/weekend.
  • Dogs must be handled by an owner-handler eligible for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series throughout the breed level competition for the regular show. This includes the class competition and subsequent competition in the breed ring. Additionally, dogs must be handled by an eligible owner-handler for all AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition.
  • The Owner-Handled Best of Breed will be selected from the eligible dogs that competed in the Best of Breed/Variety competition for the regular show. This includes Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, and the undefeated winners of the non-regular classes. This excludes all dogs defeated during class and winners competition for the regular show.

Determining Best of Breed/Variety

Breed judging for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series is conducted following Best of Breed judging in each breed ring. All dogs in the BOB competition (including WD & WB) will stay in the ring after the judge makes their placements in BOB competition. The ring steward will ask all professional handlers, household members of and current assistants to a professional handler, and any exhibitor that did not indicate on their entry that they were eligible for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series to leave the ring and then the judge will then select the Owner-Handled Best of Breed.   A dog being “cut” or otherwise “defeated” in the Best of Breed ring remains eligible to compete in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series.  The Owner-Handled Best of Breed will be selected from the eligible exhibits based on the program guidelines and procedures.

Judging of the breed/variety for the regular show may determine the dog that is awarded Owner-Handled Best of Breed.   Please follow these guidelines:

  • If the Best of Breed/Variety winner of the regular show is eligible for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition, it will also be awarded Owner-Handled Best of Breed.  In this case the dog will be eligible to compete in group competition for the regular show and group competition for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series.
  • If the regular show Best of Breed/Variety winner is not eligible for AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition and the regular show Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed/Variety is eligible, the regular show Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed/Variety will compete against the eligible exhibits of the other sex to determine Owner-Handled Best of Breed.
  • If neither the Best of Breed nor the Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed/Variety from the regular show is eligible for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition and both the Select Dog and Select Bitch are eligible, the judge is to choose Owner-Handled Best of Breed from the Selects and any eligible Winners Dog or Winners Bitch.
  • If one of the Selects from the regular show is eligible for AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition, excuse all eligible champions and non-regular class winners of the same sex and then choose Owner-Handled Best of Breed from the remaining eligible dogs of the opposite sex including the eligible Winners.
  • If the regular show Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed, Select Dog & Select Bitch are not eligible, the judge may choose any eligible dog who competed in Best of Breed including Winners Dog or Winners Bitch as the Owner-Handled Best of Breed.

If no dog remaining in the ring is eligible for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition, Owner-Handled Best of Breed will not be awarded and the breed/variety will not be represented in group competition for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series.

Group and Best in Show Competition

Some guidelines for judging Group and Best in Show competition for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series:

  • Eligibility should be checked before each level of AKC National Owner-Handled Series competition. In the Group and Best in Show competition, special attention must be paid to the requirement that dogs must be handled throughout the competition by an eligible owner. 
  • Group judging for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series may take place in separate rings from regular group judging. It is recommended that the group judging for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series begin at least thirty minutes prior to regular group judging.  Judging may be adjusted to prevent any delays or interference with the regular group judging.
  • Judging for the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Best in Show may take place prior to or after regular Best in Show judging.