Starting Out

Am I Eligible? 

To be eligible to compete in obedience, tracking, agility or rally trials, a dog must be:

  • Registered with the AKC.

  • Enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners program. The AKC Canine Partners program is for anyone who has a dog they want to enter AKC events with. This program allows mixed-breed dogs or dogs ineligible for AKC registration to compete in AKC events such as obedience, rally, and agility. Tracking is not available for Canine Partners at this time. The dogs must be spayed or neutered in order to compete. For more information about the AKC Canine Partners program you can visit the AKC Canine Parnters page or if you have any questions, you can email akccaninepartners@akc.org

  • Enrolled in the PAL (Purebred Alternative Listing)/ ILP program. Dogs of any breed recognized by the AKC that do not have registration papers or known parents may qualify for a Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP). PAL/ILP dogs may participate in certain AKC events, such as obedience, agility, tracking, rally and many performance events. Photos are required to prove the dog is a registerable breed. The dog must be spayed or neutered. For more information about the PAL/ILP program, visit the PAL/ILP section on the AKC web site, or e-mail questions to PAL@akc.org.

  • Be a member of a Foundation Stock Service® (FSS) recorded breed.

  • At least 6 months old.

Visit The Fun Zone to learn how you can get started in AKC Events with your Bulldog!

Although you cannot enter trials before your dog is 6 months old, you can begin training for them.  The best way to start is to join a local dog-training club. A list of clubs is available at www.akc.org. Local clubs frequently offer training classes for all different types of competition. Even if competition is not your ultimate goal, the relationship that training forms between you and your dog will be very rewarding. Local clubs also have “fun matches,” where you and your dog can test your skills in the ring.

Training and handling your dog in any Companion Event is an exceptional and enjoyable experience. From your first attempted trial to earning your first AKC title, you and your dog will develop a bond. Training classes offer the best hands-on way to practice for the ring, and watching exhibitors at actual trials will gain you expertise. These events bring many hours of fun for you and your dog. You will make lots of friends in the sport, and you and your dog will take pleasure in your new hobby for many years to come.

Tips for the First Time Exhibitor

•   Register your dog with the AKC.

•   Make sure that your dog is current on all inoculations and health check-ups.

•   Visit the AKC website to find a training club.

•   Attend training classes with your dog.

•   Become familiar with the AKC Regulations.

•   Attend a trial and become familiar with procedures.

•   Don't be afraid to ask questions from experienced exhibitors.