Judging Operations Department PO Box 37935 Raleigh, NC 27627-7935

919-816-3589 fax 919-816-4225

www.akc.org Ringside Observations Criterion

Ringside mentoring has been going on since the implementation of the present policy in January 2000.  It has been highly successful and controversy free until its replacement of In Ring Observation opportunity was announced.  Then detractors found a myriad of problems with it and reasons why it would not work.  Ironically ringside mentoring is the most frequently used aspect of mentoring already listed under the mentoring component.

A mentor is an individual with whom a prospective judge has established a long term, ongoing relationship with. He or she may or may not mentor ringside.

A ringside observation may be experienced with an applicant’s long term mentor or a designated ringside mentor.  The ringside mentor may become a long term mentor or not.  Three Ringside Observations will be needed to satisfy this component.


The majority of Additional Breed applications currently considered list ringside mentoring experiences as part of the mentoring process.  They are not disruptive and have been going on hardly noticed.


Host clubs are not obliged to provide space or resources.


Judges may receive one component toward the Additional Breed requirements for Ringside Observations which meet the following criteria:
  • Observer must be approved to judge at least one breed. (This component only applies on Additional Breed applications.  New Breed Provisional Judges may observe ringside, however)
  • Observer may observe with parent club approved mentors or breeders with a minimum of 12 years experience breeding, exhibiting, or judging the breed in conformation.   Observations with mentors not meeting the criteria will not be accepted.(Mentors will be permitted to participate on days they are exhibiting up to the class in which they have an entry. They will not be allowed to participate thereafter except at National or Regional Specialties where formal ringside mentoring is organized by the host club (This is as it has always been).  Mentors will be asked to document their own experience on the Observation Form when they sign it)..
  • There must be adequate entries for the breeds observed. Smaller entries may require more observations. (Two entries of 50 plus dogs observed may satisfy this requirement; whereas three observations of seven or eight dogs meet the requirement but do not accomplish the greater objective.  Sincere effort in the other three components will be expected).
  • Observer and mentor must properly complete an Observation Form which must be submitted with the application for that breed. A minimum of three ringside observations for each breed requested including at least 2 majors. (As stated above, the observation of fewer large entries may satisfy this requirement.  “Large” means 50 or more.  Three “Majors” may satisfy the requirement but are not “Large” entries). .
  • Judges may observe at shows where they are judging. A minimum of three ringside observations for each breed requested including at least 2 majors.
  • Judges may mentor at shows where they are judging.

All additional breed forms available at: www.akc.org/judges/conformation/index.cfm