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Since this article was originally written in 2007, a few things have changed. AKC has added more titles in Obedience and Agility. They have also allowed mixed breed dogs to compete in Companion Events. Although the article is a little dated, we feel as though the information still has pertinence today. Complete listing of the titles can be found on different organization's web sites.


At our annual award’s dinner we recognize owners and their dogs who have earned titles in 2006. MOTC also holds yearly Obedience and Rally trials where dogs can earn qualifying scores, otherwise known as legs, towards titles. Have you ever wondered what the classes are and what all those letters mean? For example, Brianne’s name is U-AgII Brendael Heirloom Treasure CD RN AX AXJ CGC.

At MOTC we primarily recognize titles earned at American Kennel Club (AKC) events. Many other obedience and agility organizations offer events which can add to those titles, or letters, you see behind a dog’s name. One organization worth mentioning is the United Kennel Club (UKC). UKC is not nearly as large as AKC which has some advantages. Because the atmosphere is more relaxed, it can be a good place for a novice exhibitor to start showing their dog. This organization also allows mixed breed dogs to compete at their events.

Before we get to the titles, you need a basic understanding of the classes and how the dog can earn those titles. MOTC members most often show in Obedience, Rally, and Agility. Each of these three events is separate and dogs can show in one event, two events, or even all three events. Dogs can also be at different levels in each event. At the first three levels of all three events, the dog will have to receive three qualifying scores to earn her title before progressing on to the next more difficult level. For example the dog will have to complete her CD before the CDX, her CDX before the UD, etc. Once the dog reaches the fourth level, she will be required to earn more than three qualifying scores to receive these more advanced titles. The most advanced titles will require the dog to compete in two classes, AND qualify in both classes multiple times before earning the titles. This can indeed be a difficult task so you do not see as many dogs earning titles at the top levels. When a dog does earn one of the more difficult titles, it is cause for celebration!

Obedience is the oldest of the three events and the most structured. Obedience has three classes beginning with Novice, progressing to Open, and then Utility. Rally, the newest sport, begins with Novice, followed by Advanced, and then Excellent. Agility begins with Novice, followed by Open, and then Excellent. However, from this point forward agility is a little different, okay a lot different! To begin with, there are two (soon to be three) separate competitions in Agility – Standard and Jumpers with Weaves. Until you get to the fifth level these competitions have separate titles. To complicate things, agility has two “tracks” – regular and Preferred. Basically, in the Preferred classes your dog competes in the same classes at a lower jump height and is allowed extra time. This is great for those dogs who don’t have the speed and swiftness of a Border Collie for example or for the older dog who needs to jump in a lower jump height. So in reality, there are four separate titling competitions in Agility. To confuse you even further, all three events have each class divided into an “A” class and a “B” class. In general, “A” classes are for either inexperienced handlers or dogs without a title in that class. The “B” classes are for dogs with titles working on the more advanced fourth and fifth levels. 

Now back to deciphering Brianne’s name. All UKC titles begin with the letter “U” which makes them easy to identify. They also always appear at the front of the dog’s name. U-AGII means that she has her UKC Agility level 2 title. The letters following Brianne’s name are AKC titles. Other than the championships, all AKC titles follow the dog’s name. CD is the first level Obedience title – “Companion Dog”, RN is the first level Rally title – “Rally Novice”, AX is the third level Agility Standard title – “Agility Excellent”, AXJ is the third level Agility Jumpers title – “Agility Excellent Jumper”, and CGC is the designation for having passed her “Canine Good Citizenship”. Now that you have the Key, deciphering those titles is a breeze.
Here are the AKC obedience, rally, and agility titles you will hear people talking about or see appearing in the dog’s names. The titles are listed in ascending order. AKC titles are also offered for conformation, herding, lure coursing, earth dog, and field events. AKC and the other organizations will have a complete listing of the titles on the corresponding web sites.



Companion Dog

Standard Standard Preferred


Companion Dog Excellent


Novice Agility


Novice Agility Preferred


Utility Dog


Open Agility


Open Agility Preferred


Utility Dog Excellent
(competes in both Open and Utility)


Agility Excellent


Agility Excellent Preferred


Obedience Trial Champion
(competes in both Open and Utility)


Master Agility Excellent


Master Agility Excellent Preferred

RALLY Jumpers with Weaves Jumpers with Weaves Preferred


Rally Novice


Novice Agility Jumper


Novice Agility Jumper Preferred


Rally Advanced


Open Agility Jumper


Open Agility Jumper Preferred


Rally Excellent


Agility Excellent Jumper


Agility Excellent Jumper Preferred


Rally Advanced Excellent
(competes in both Advanced and Excellent)


Master Agility Jumper


Master Agility Excellent Jumper Preferred


Master Agility Champion
(competes in both Standard and Jumpers)


Preferred Agility Excellent
(competes in both Standard Preferred and Jumpers Preferred)



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Updated July 2013