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Judges will use a rating system and provide individual written critiques on each dog. The rating system includes: Excellent (EXC), Very Good (VG), Acceptable (ACC), and Non-Rated (NR). United Kennel Club will provide uniform critique forms for a nominal fee.

Ratings are separate from the usual UKC placements and point allotments. The ratings may be published by the Host Clubs in their individual newsletters.

Ratings are purely the Judge’s opinion of the dog on that day. The rating is given to each animal as it is assessed against the ideal described in the breed standards, not against the other dogs in its class.

Any or all of the ratings may be given in any one class. For example, one class may consist entirely of dogs rated Very Good or Acceptable. Another class may have two Excellents, one Very Good, and one Acceptable. Another class may have every dog rated Excellent.

While awarding placements, the Judge may provide verbal explanations for the order of placement to the exhibitor and/or public, but is not required to do so. At Multi-Breed shows, this practice should only occur if time permits.

Definition of Ratings 

Each rating may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-) to further indicate the
relative quality of the dogs.

Excellent (EXC). While recognizing that no dog is without faults or weaknesses, dogs receiving this rating should be of utmost quality overall and possess many fine attributes according to the UKC breed standard.

Very Good (VG). Dogs receiving this rating may be:

  • Otherwise Excellent dogs in poor condition;

  • Dogs with some fine attributes, but lacking in quality in some area(s);

  • Dogs of good type, construction, and character, but not outstanding; or,

  • Dogs with a major fault which mars an otherwise Excellent specimen.

Dogs rated Very Good may receive a first place award in their class, but it should be noted that this will award
the dog class points for this win. In general only dogs that are rated excellent should receive Championship
points at that show. If the Judge withholds the points, the ribbon, and any award/trophy, are not to be given.

Acceptable (ACC). Dogs receiving this rating may be:

  • Dogs that are adequate, marred by faults, and/or lacking in quality;

  • Dogs that are of incorrect/inadequate type.

Dogs rated Acceptable should not receive a first place ribbon and should not earn points at that show. The ribbon and points should be withheld if it is the only rating given in the class. The Judge may give a single entry in a class second place in a class of one, or withhold all ribbons.

Not Rated (NR). Dogs receiving this rating may be:

  • So lacking in breed type that they appear to be of mixed-breed heritage, and should receive no rating and class placement;

  • Dogs that are excused or disqualified.

A dog rated lower than others in its class cannot place above them. For example, a dog rated Very Good may not receive a third place when a dog rated Excellent is placed fourth in the same class.

While awarding placements, the Judge may provide verbal explanations for the order of the placements to the exhibitors and/or public, but is not required or expected to do so.

Written Critiques

The Judge is encouraged to comment on all portions of the form, but due to time constraints and large entries, they may elect to summarize portions. (Examples: “An exceptional dog in body, angulation and character, whose round eyes detract from an otherwise excellent head piece.” or “A dog of lovely color and character that is otherwise terribly lacking in breed type, particularly in that is long in body, short on leg, and heavy in head.”)

Judges must not be too general to the extent that they provide little information to the exhibitor for
educational purposes, nor information about their own judging. (Example: “Dog has good type and character,
with a nice head.”)

Whenever possible, the Judge should attempt to explain the best and worst features of each dog. For example,
under “Head” on the form, one might write “excellent.” but it would be advisable to include additional details
such as “correct planes, well-chiseled, nice length of muzzle.” Or, instead of just listing “ears” as “OK,” it would
be better stated as “well set, too long.”

The Judge must indicate the rating given to each dog on the area indicated on the Critique Form.

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