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The Kennel Club has added a new course outlining the principles of critique writing to its online education resource, the Kennel Club Academy. This news will be welcomed by those judges seeking guidance in the wake of the recent announcement that a critique on all first and second prize winners at open and championship shows must be written by judges from 2018 onwards.

The new course takes the form of a PowerPoint presentation, with commentary given by Kennel Club Training Board Chairman Gerald King, and will prove instructional and accessible, being available to view by Academy subscribers at their convenience and as many times as they wish.

Under the Judges Competency Framework (JCF), the Kennel Club’s new system of judge education and approval which begins next year, it will be necessary for aspiring judges to undertake the critique writing course and take the corresponding multiple choice exam before they can achieve JCF Level 1 and judge at open shows. A pass mark of 80 per cent must be achieved.

This new course covers the necessities of why judges write critiques, the Kennel Club regulations governing critiques, and how to construct a meaningful critique. Handy tips are also given on how to make useful notes in the show ring.

The Kennel Club Academy, launched at Crufts in 2016 and led by the Kennel Club Training Board, is an online learning resource for judges, breeders and KCAI members. It provides consistent and high quality standards of education and training in every area of Kennel Club activity.

The Kennel Club Academy also has a developing library of breed-specific lectures, with the long term aim to cover every breed recognised by the Kennel Club. Currently there are nine breed films online, including one on the Italian Greyhound released recently, with more due to be added in the coming months.

Some learning resources hosted on the Academy are free of charge and include the Ring Procedures at Licenced Shows (German Shepherd Dog Education Programme), Breeder Education and Brachycephalic Breed Health and Research Learning Resource.

Gerald King said: “The critique writing resource is an exciting development which will be a valuable learning aid going forward. We recommend that all judges view the material, as continuing development for judges is very much a feature of the new Judges Competency Framework which has been designed to make judge education relevant in the modern era. Online learning will be a feature of judge education from now on, with the Kennel Club Academy taking advantage of twenty-first century technology.”

The Kennel Club Academy costs just £26 for one year’s access to all of the Judges Education resources, including new resources which the Kennel Club will continue to add over the next few months as the launch date for the JCF draws nearer. Please visit

The Kennel Club Academy will have a presence at Crufts 2018. Please visit the main Kennel Club stand in hall 3 for information on the critique writing resource and other online judging courses and how to become a Kennel Club Academy member. A booklet on the JCF will also be available free of charge.

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson/Editor

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson/Editor