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Judging Misconduct (July 1998 Board meeting)


When an alleged incident of misconduct involving a judge arises at, or in connection with, an AKC event, the following guidelines should be followed by the Field Staff:

  • All complaints against a judge at an event which involve deviation from standard judging procedure and responsibilities will be reported to the Field Representative and handled internally by the AKC. (procedures follow)

  • All complaints against a judge at an event, which involves action allegedly prejudicial to the sport of purebred dogs and the AKC, will be reported to the chairperson of the Events Committee to be handled, if deemed appropriate, by the Events Committee.

  • The AKC office should be informed as soon as possible of any incidents referred to the Events Committee.

Internal Procedures for the Handling of Complaints

Concerning Judges' Alleged Misconduct

  • The complaint is investigated by the Director or head of the applicable department. Working within the department's normal guidelines additional information is gathered relative to the complaint and a written notice of the complaint is mailed to the accused giving ample time for a response.

  • If the matter requires investigation beyond the ability and resources of the department, the head of the applicable department will refer the matter to the President with a request for permission to obtain assistance from outside the department to do the necessary investigative work.

  • If the President concurs, direction will be given as to which other departments or employees are to assist in the investigation process, as well as the extent of that involvement.

  • A complete review is conducted to determine if the complaint has been substantiated.

  • If the department determines disciplinary action is warranted, the accused individual is notified in writing of the allegations and recommendation. The Staff's recommendation (to include a penalty and precedence, if available) is then presented to the Board for adjudication.

  • If the Board concurs with the Staff's recommendation, the accused individual is notified in writing of the Board's action. The accused individual has 30 days from the date of the Board's letter to file an appeal with the Judging Operations, Performance or Companion Events Department.

  • If an appeal is filed, the Director or head of the applicable schedules a meeting with the Board Review Committee. The accused individual may; 1) attend in person or via conference call for a 30-minute presentation; 2) make a written appeal with pertinent additional information. The BRC reviews all material submitted and may concur with the recommended disciplinary action, amend the disciplinary action, or may recommend all disciplinary action be overturned. Any recommendation by the BRC requires the approval of the full Board.

  • This concludes the appeal process.

  • The accused individual is notified in writing of the decision.

  • Suspension/fine is published in the AKC Gazette.

Judges’ Temporary Referral Policy (November 2010 Board Meeting)


When an AKC-approved judge is charged by a government entity with cruelty, inhumane treatment of animals, or similar offense involving inhumane or cruel treatment of dogs, or charged by a government entity with any crime involving moral turpitude, especially as it concerns dog-related activities, AKC may temporarily place the judge on referral, which would have the effect of temporarily holding the judge’s approval to judge or accept assignments in abeyance. The purpose of this procedure is to prevent the judge from judging or from accepting assignments to judge while the charges are pending. If and when the charges are resolved and AKC’s inquiry into the matter determines that no action will be taken by the AKC to cause a suspension of judging privileges, the temporary judging referral will be removed.


Judging Conflict of Interest (May 2006 Board Meeting, amended Jan 2007)


No AKC judge may have a significant interest in a dog registry or dog event-governing organization deemed by the AKC Board to be in competition with The American Kennel Club. Significant interest would include, but not be limited to ownership of, employment by, a directorship in, and holding office in.


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