Conduct at Kennel Club licensed events and on social media

The Kennel Club Board and the Disciplinary Committee have endorsed the introduction of further regulatory support to help ensure all those taking part in or attending licensed events behave in a responsible and a respectful manner.

It is the responsibility of all participants to uphold the core values of courtesy and respect surrounding canine activities. Alongside this, those same values ought to be in play on social media in the context of comments and opinions being expressed about participants at Kennel Club licensed events. This new measure introduces a system for issuing yellow and red cards in response to unacceptable behaviour at Kennel Club licensed events and on social media (in the context of licensed events).

The issue of a yellow card in response to unacceptable conduct will indicate that should there be a further incident and / or repetition of a complaint on a similar issue, then the yellow card will escalate to a red card status.

A red card status will result in an automatic fixed period of 60/90 days for refusal of entry and attending Kennel Club licensed events – and such period will be aligned with any relevant competition or event season.

After the expiry of that fixed period, there may then be a further required period of expected behaviour before the red card warning status is reverted to yellow card and then ultimately the card status removed.

In the event that several or cumulative yellow or red cards are issued to an individual, then there may be further consideration under Kennel Club Rule A11, with wide ranging penalties and long-term disqualifications.

The Kennel Club enforces its regulations to ensure the good order of licensed events and in support of all participants, organisers, volunteers, officials including judges and competitors/exhibitors. Disciplinary measures must be proportionate, and an escalation process is in place for conduct complaints to find that proportionate level of reaction.

Said Helen Kerfoot, Chief Operations Officer (Canine Activities and Events);

“Everyone involved in canine activities is responsible for promoting, supporting and nurturing the activities for the benefit of dogs and their owners. Canine activities and licensed competitions can engender a competitive spirit and this needs to be embraced in a positive way. When social media is used to criticise shows, events, judges or other exhibitors, especially with inappropriate language or tone, it can cause distress and it is important that everyone should feel safe and be able to take part in their chosen canine activity in a positive and welcoming environment. We all share a desire to safeguard and promote the future of our sport and thus we must recognise that good conduct is key – whether at an event or via online comment.

“Kennel Club licensed events need to be supportive and encouraging, particularly for younger participants. Those successful and experienced in their breeding and showing activities can help to foster and encourage that environment. Safeguarding applies to everyone – so that a licensed event is welcoming, inclusive and a safe place to be. It is important that everyone thinks about their actions and comments and
the impact they can have on others – for the benefit of the future of canine activities.”


Further to The Kennel Club Board meeting on 20 September, the below has been agreed:
The following amendment will be added to the penalties provisions in Kennel Club Regulations; F(1)34 G40 H28 I20 J14 L30 R12 & S30; Effective Date 1 November 2023


Additional note to be added to the Penalties provisions (as highlighted) in Kennel Club Regulations F (1) 34 G40 H28 I20 J14 L30 R12 & S30;

The Board shall have power to impose any of the following penalties upon any person for any breach of Kennel Club Regulations subject to a right of appeal, notice of intention of which must be lodged within 14 days from the date on which the decision is given and subject to the prescribed appeals process as shall be determined by the Board from time to time;
a. Warn
b. Censure/Reprimand
c. Apology directive (Conduct Regulation or the Control of Dog Regulation)
d. Fine
e. Award disqualified
f. A dog’s registration record may be marked ‘incident recorded’
g. A dog’s registration record may be endorsed ‘not eligible for entry in any event held under Kennel Club Rules and Regulations, nor any unlicensed event recognised by The Kennel Club

‘For complaints of conduct whether at a licensed event or on social media, in addition to a warning issued – a short term fixed period of refusal of entry/attendance at Kennel Club licensed events may also be imposed in accordance with procedures to be published from time to time to implement this regulation.’

In the event of any fine not being paid, or non compliance with any apology directive issued within the time stipulated by the Board, then that person may, at the discretion of the Board, be dealt with as if a complaint under Kennel Club Rule A11 had been lodged and proved to the satisfaction of the Board.

An additional amendment to the Kennel Club Code of Conduct has also been included;

‘Where any participant criticises licensed events, show/event organisers and judges, other exhibitors or their dogs in inappropriate, hurtful or excessive ways on social media this will be reviewed under the conduct regulation for the respective licensed canine activity and in particular the use of the Yellow/Red card measures where appropriate.’