What is a CC in dog shows?

Gordon setter in garden image by Doug Stacey from Fotolia.com

The terminology can be confusing when you're new to the sport of conformation dog shows. There are so many acronyms that all have to do with an individual dog's path to championship, and ultimately, every dog owner and handler hopes, a Best in Show at one of the great benched dog shows like Crufts.

CC--challenge certificate--is a title awarded to dogs and bitches at the local and regional championship level in the United Kingdom and Australia. There is no equivalent in the American Kennel Club, which works on a points-earned basis.

What is a Challenge Certificate?

A Challenge Certificate (CC) is a document signed by a dog show judge, stating that the judge thinks your dog has what it takes to be a champion. This means your dog meets the breed standard and can compete not only against his own breed, but against other members of his group (Hound, Working, Gundog, Terrier, Utility, Pastoral and Toy) and even represent his group for Best in Show.

How do I Get a CC?

You earn CCs by winning Best Dog or Best Bitch for your breed at local or regional dog shows. The Kennel Club, the UK's international dog sports hub, monitors awards of CCs to determine which dogs are eligible for champion status, which then qualifies them for national and international shows. Once you have your three CCs, you are qualified to compete for championships within your speciality and against other champions.

What does the CC Mean?

Your dog will need to earn three CCs from three different judges in order to qualify for the title "Champion." Your dog must hold the Champion title to qualify for national shows like Crufts. It sounds easy, but very few dogs achieve Champion status, and then they have a long way to climb before they can be among the 22,000 dogs that compete at Crufts.

What Do I Do?

After earning your third CC at a championship competition, you do nothing--The Kennel Club will automatically mail you your Champion certificate within two to six weeks. The Champion certificate qualifies you for the next level of competition, against other breeds and groups.

What About Foreign Titles?

If you hold titles from other countries, you do not have to earn CCs--you submit photocopies of your title certificates to The Kennel Club, and they transfer them into their system. For example, if you hold Best of Breed or Best of Opposite in any class (different age groups) from the American Kennel Club, it is equivalent to a Challenge Certificate.