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The Birth of Obedience

The following is extracting from Dogs in Canada, "The Canadian Kennel Club 75th Anniversary Souvenir Issue", February 1963, p29.

The year 1932 was vital for dog lovers interested in Obedience - then and now. The first Obedience Trial under CKC rules was held at the CNE show.  The ruless are vastly different from today, as witness part of an article from the October, 1932 Kennel and Bench: "The obedience class made its debut to the fanciers and general public at the 44th International Exhibition at Toronto.  This is the first time that a class of this nature has been held at an All-Breed Dog Show in Canada.  The obedience class proved its merits as a drawing card by the large crowd in attendance.  The ringside could not begin to accomdate the hundreds of people crowded around its four sides to watch the dogs in action.  The upper gallery was crowded and it was observed that people were standing on chairs, benches and up the two stairways in order to get a glimpse of the proceedings.  This was very satisfying to the sponsors of the class, The German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada, who are desirous of having the Obedience Class adopted as a regular feature of all CKC shows." Evidently the CNE thought well of the venue for they scheduled one for 1933.

Please click here to view the Prize lists for CNE 1930 & 1932, courtesy of the CNE Archive.


According to the Canadian Kennel Club Rules and Regulations:


The purpose of obedience trials is to demonstrate the usefulness of the purebred dog as a companion of man, not merely the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring. The basic objective of obedience trials is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that reflects credit on the sport of obedience.

Obedience trials are a sport and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both inside and outside the ring. All contestants in a class are required to perform the same exercises in substantially the same way so that the relative quality of the various performances may be compared and scored.

There are three classes of exercises in Obedience:  Novice, Open and Utility.

Exercises in Novice are: Heel On Leash, Stand for Examination, Heel Free, Recall and the Group Exercises: Sit and Down.  You need to pass three Novice trials with a score of at least 170 out of the 200 points possible to receive a 'leg' on your Companion Dog Title (CD).

Exercises in Open are: Heel Free, Drop On Recall, Retrieve On Flat, Retrieve Over High Jump, Broad Jump and the Group Exercises: Sit and Down. You need to pass three Open trials with a score of at least 170 out of the 200 points possible to receive a 'leg' on your Companion Dog Excellent Title (CDX).

Exercises in Utility are: Seek Back, Scent Discrimination, Signal Exercise, Moving Stand & Examination, Directed Jumping. You need to pass three Utility trials with a score of at least 170 out of the 200 points possible to receive your Utility Dog Title (UD).

Advanced Titles:

Obedience Trial Champion (O.T.Ch)

A dog having achieved the 3 obedience trial titles of C.D., C.D.X. and U.D. is recognized as an Obedience Trial Champion.

Obedience Trial Champion Excellent (O.T.Ch.X)

This title may only be earned after the completion of an O.T.Ch. title. The dog and handler team must qualify in both the Open and Utility Class in the same trial on 5 different occasions after the completion of a Utility title.

Master Obedience Trial Champion (M.O.T.Ch.)

Points for this title may only be accumulated after the completion of an O.T.Ch. Points may be accumulated simultaneously with credits toward the O.T.Ch.X. and Masters title. However, the Masters title will not be awarded until completion of the O.T.Ch.X. title.  A minimum score of 190 in Open or 185 in Utility is needed to obtain points.   One High In Class placement is required in either Open or Utility Class but no minimum score is required.    A total of 40 points is required to earn a Masters title with a minimum of 15 points to be acquired in each Open and Utility classes, the remaining 10 points can be obtained from either class.

Grand Master Obedience Trial Champion (G.M.O.T.Ch.)

This title may only be earned after the completion of Master Obedience Trial Champion title (M.O.T.Ch.). Points for this title may only be accumulated after the completion of the (M.O.T.Ch.).   Dog and handler must achieve a minimum score of 195 points in both Open and Utility classes at the same trial at ten separate trials.  The scores in Open and Utility must be earned under a minimum of ten different judges. Scores may be counted at one time under the same judge or under two different judges.  A High in Trial must be achieved in at least one Open class and one Utility class.


Other Classes:

13.4.3 The Pre-Novice Title (P.C.D.) and Companion Dog Intermediate (C.D.I.) and Novice “C ” are elective classes which are offered for those people who feel the dog requires ring experience and acclimation to the trial situation or would like to earn additional titles. Dogs may be entered in the Novice Intermediate (C.D.I) and/or Novice “C” in addition to any one of the Official Classes or Unofficial Classes.

Unofficial Classes:

Graduate Novice, Graduate Open, Versatility, Brace and Team, Veterans Class


Reprinted with permission

Valerie Brideau