Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

The Manitowoc County Kennel Club (MCKC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1921 and is a member club of the American Kennel Club (AKC) dedicated to promoting the sport and breeding of purebred dogs. As a club, we strive, at all times, to show good sportsmanship and keep in mind that the good of the breed comes before any personal benefits.

MCKC is the only club in the United States that offers all three facets of the AKC dog world, i.e., Obedience, Conformation, and Field. We also offer Agility and Rally Obedience! Our training facilities include an enclosed building on the north side of Manitowoc, as well as 198 acres of land with 4 training ponds located three miles west of Valders along the Manitowoc River. Both grounds are available to the general membership that satisfies the qualifications for usage.

If you have a love of dogs, the MCKC is for you. You must be sponsored by 2 members in good standing, submit a Membership Application and appropriate fee, attend one of two meetings (when the names are presented) to be voted on by general membership. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday, except July, of every month at our training building. and be voted on by the general membership.
Twenty-five hours is required to obtain training building and field grounds usage. View Our Policies
The American Kennel Club is the oldest purebred dog registry in the US. AKC registered more than 1.2 million purebred dogs and more than 555 thousand litters in its 145 breeds in 1998. The top 10 breeds registered in 2000 were Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Beagle, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, Boxer, and Shih Tzu.
A lot of puppy ads proudly proclaim that their puppies are “AKC” puppies. The initials “AKC” stand for American Kennel Club. The AKC is the leading breed registry in the United States of America. The assumption, often by both the seller and the buyer is that if the puppy is an “AKC” puppy it must be of high quality and healthy. It could be a wrong assumption, as the AKC explains on their web site
Mixed breed dogs make just as good pets and competition dogs as pure-breeds. However, since the American Kennel Club sanctions the Manitowoc County Kennel Club, the competitions it sponsors are limited to purebreds. If you are interested in competing with your mixed breed dog, check out the United Kennel Club. Although you own a mixed breed dog, you may still enjoy being a member of the Manitowoc County Kennel Club, training your dog to be a good companion, and helping with the different events we run.
On the website, under directors, there is a list of all committees and the chairperson to contact if you are interested in any of these areas. They can help answer general questions and provide information on how you can become involved in their specific area. We also encourage attendance at our monthly membership meetings. This is a great way to meet members face-to-face and get involved.
The MCKC offers training in five different facets of the AKC; Obedience, Conformation, Agility, Rally and Field. These classes are held at our training building located at 40 E. Albert Drive in Manitowoc. The second half of the retriever training is held at our training grounds located west of Valders, WI on Quarry road.
The instructors are all volunteers who have been members in good standing for at least one year, have taken a number of classes, and are approved by the MCKC Board. They are able to communicate techniques understandably and show respect for the handler and their dog. Your instructor(s) will provide you with their personal information on orientation night.
A minimum of a Companion Dog (CD) title is required to teach obedience pre-novice, and all trainers are encouraged to attend seminars on dog training.
The minimum requirements for obedience instructing are:

Puppy Kindergarten
MCKC member in good standing for one year. Participated in two Beginners and/or Pre-Novice/Novice sessions. Assisted instructing Puppy Kindergarten for a minimum of three sessions.
Beginner Obedience
Meets all Puppy Kindergarten requirements. Assisted in three beginner classes. Have full knowledge of applicable AKC rules and regulations.
Meets all Beginner requirements. Have at least one CD title on dog in your care.
If you are interested in training, contact the Obedience Chairperson for an application. The MCKC board approves all trainer applications.

Obedience Questions

Puppy Kindergarten (8 week course) – Age 6 wks to 6 mos. See calendar for session schedule and fee. A clear fecal examination record within two weeks of first class and current vaccination record are required. The object of the course is to make a well-mannered pet out of the puppy by socializing him with other people & dogs, teaching him to walk at your left side without pulling, to come when called, and the stay when told.
Beginner Obedience (8 week course) – Ages 6 mos and Up. See calendar for session schedule and fee. A clear fecal examination record within two weeks of first class and current vaccination record are required. This course is designed to help you raise and train an easy to live with companion. The focus is on practical every day living with your dog. Areas covered are walking on a loose leash, come when called, sit, down, and stay with distractions.
Pre-Novice/Novice (8 week course) – Graduate of Beginner Obedience. See calendar for session schedule and fee. A clear fecal examination record within two weeks of first class and current vaccination record are required. Dog training is an ongoing process. This course provides review, further work in basic obedience, and getting started in obedience competition. Dogs will work off leash and must be manageable.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) – Offered per request.

The CGC class is different than a regular Obedience class. It is more of a good manners class for people who just want a “good pet”. It does not require straight sits or fronts and perfect healing position. The dog must pass 10 tests consisting of: Accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking on a loose leash, coming when called, sit and down on command, etc. The dog will receive a CGC certificate from AKC if it passes the evaluation.
Therapy Dog International (TDI) – Testing often offered during the Fox Valley Cluster Show, September

Like the CGC class, this is different than a regular Obedience class. Therapy Dogs visit nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities or institutions basically to provide “emotional support.” It does not require straight sits or fronts and perfect healing position. The dog must pass 10 tests consisting of: Accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking on a loose leash, coming when called, sit and down on command, etc. The dog will receive a TDI certification from Therapy Dog International if it passes the evaluation. The MCKC is not affiliated with TDI.

The first thing you need if you would like to show your dog, whether in Obedience, Conformation, Hunting, Agility, Herding, or any of the many other American Kennel Club events, is an AKC registered dog. If, for whatever reason didn’t get registration papers, if the dog appears to be a purebred representative of an AKC registerable breed you may be able to show your dog in performance events anyway. The AKC grants an “Indefinite Listing Privilege” to such dogs, which must first be 6 months old and neutered. This ILP number will allow you to show your dog in AKC obedience, hunting, herding, agility and earth dog events. You may not show an ILP dog in conformation (‘breed’) classes.

If your dog is a mixed breed, you may find local fun matches or you can register your dog with the United Kennel Club (UKC), which welcomes mixed breeds. Your dog must be registered with the UKC in order to participate in sanctioned events.

Obedience Trials test a dog’s ability to perform a prescribed set of exercises on which it is scored. In each exercise, you must score more than 50% of the possible points (ranging from 20 to 40) and get a total score of at least 170 out of a possible 200. Each time your dog gets that magic 170 qualifying score, he’s gotten a “leg” toward his title. Three legs and your dog has become an Obedience-titled dog!

Yes, there are three levels of competition: Novice, Open, and Utility; each is more difficult than the one before it. You may see levels divided into “A” and “B” at a trial; “A” classes are for beginners whose dogs have never received a title while “B” classes are for more experienced handlers.

The first level, Novice, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog (CD) title. The title actually describes what is expected of your dog: demonstrating the skills required of a good canine companion. The dog will have to heel both on and off leash at different speeds, come when called, stay (still and quietly!) with a group of other dogs when told, and stand for a simple physical exam.
The second level, Open, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title. He must do many of the same exercises as in Novice, but off-leash and for longer periods. Additionally, there are jumping and retrieving tasks.
The final level results in a Utility Dog (UD) title. These are the cream of the crop. In addition to more difficult exercises, the dog also must perform scent discrimination tasks.

Conformation Questions

Dog shows, or “conformation” events, are the signature events of the AKC. They concentrate on the distinctive features of purebred dogs and help to preserve these characteristics by providing a forum at which to evaluate breeding stock.
For each breed the AKC registers, there is a breed standard is a word description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the function for which they were originated. The standard describes the dog’s looks, movement and temperament. Breeders involved with each breed are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed standard. In this respect, dog shows are not unlike cat shows, bird shows, cattle shows, horse shows, etc. In fact, for almost every species bred by man there are competitions among breeders. AKC approved judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the “perfect” dog as described in the breed’s official standard.
Any dog registered with the American Kennel Club that is 6 months or older on the day of the show and of a breed for which classes are offered in the premium list is eligible to be entered at a dog show. Spayed or neutered dogs are not eligible to compete in conformation classes at a dog show, nor are dogs with disqualifying faults as per their breed’s standard.
Classes are sponsored by the club. The classes are usually held on weeknights and will teach you the basics of handling your dog. You may contact the Conformation Chairperson, information may be found under the “Directors” portion of the website.

Field Questions

The part of the club that focuses on training dogs for HUNTING and competition in AKC licensed HUNT TESTS and FIELD TRIALS. The field portion of the club is 95% retriever, but there are a few other breeds represented.
A Hunt Test is essentially a simulated bird hunt designed to evaluate a dogs abilities as a hunting companion. The dogs are judged against a written standard and criteria. Dogs in Hunt Tests DO NOT COMPETE with each other. Your dog will pass or fail based on its own merits. It is important to remember that when it comes to a Hunt Test, first and foremost they are and should be a lot of fun. The second thing to keep in mind is that this is not a real hunt, it is a test simulating a hunt.
The AKC Hunt Test program is one of certification; it seeks to identify and recognize officially those dogs that possess the abilities that enable them to serve as effective personal hunting companions. Certification and Titles are awarded on three levels,
  • Junior Hunter (JH)
  • Senior Hunter (SH)
  • Master Hunter (MH)
Degree certificates are issued to owners and titles are recorded on all AKC registration and pedigree records.
Dogs are evaluated by the judges in several categories to determine their value as a hunting retriever:

  • Marking (memory)
  • Style
  • Perseverance
  • Trainability

Each category is graded on a scale of 1-10 on both land and water. For a dog to pass a test, the dog must receive an average score of at least “5” in each category, as well as an overall score of at least “7”. In addition a dog cannot receive a score of “0” (zero) on any category of the test.

Field Trials are generally three-day events running Fri – Sun. They are highly competitive and, unlike a Hunt Test, the dogs compete against each other and are eliminated in each round or series. The marks are long ranging from 150 yards on the short side to upwards of 450 yards in the early rounds. In a trial you must have a winner and the retrieves are set up to eliminate the weaker dogs. The retrieves get so long that the handlers and gunners at the bird stations wear white coats so the dogs can see them.

For dogs over 6 months of age and not yet two years of age. A good place to get your feet wet. The marks are the easiest of any of the stakes. Generally two marks in a series, a long memory bird 250 plus yards and a shorter go bird 150 yards cover and terrain are moderate. The top four dogs are awarded points. There is no title given for Derby competition.
Dogs over six months are eligible and who have never won first, second, third, or fourth place, or a Judges Award of Merit (JAM) in an Open All-Age, Limited All-Age, or won first second, third or fourth place in an Amateur All-Age stake two first places in Qualifying stakes. This is the intermediate stake between Derby and the Major Stakes.
Amateur All-Stake
Open to dogs over six months of age and handled by nonprofessional trainers only.
Open All-Age
For dogs over six months and handled by either pro or amateur trainers.

The Limited Stakes are open only to dogs who have been placed or awarded a JAM in an Open All-Age or have been placed first or second in a Qualifying, or have been placed or awarded a JAM in an Amateur All-Age stake.

At least 12 dogs must have started the stake for points to be awarded. First place 5 points… Second place 3 points… Third place 1 point… Fourth place .5 points.
AFC Amateur Field Champion Requires 10 points in Open All-Age or Limited All-Age, or 15 points in combination from Open All-Age, Limited All-Age, or Amateur All-Age stakes. The handler can in no way earn part or all of his/her living training and handling dogs.

FC Field Champion The dog must win at least one first place and a total of 10 points combined from the following stakes, Open All-Age, Limited All-Age, or Special All-Age.

NFC National Field Champion: Won in the National Open Championship Field Trial. Eligibility requires the following:

  1. Be winner of the preceding National Championship Stake.
  2. Be winner of preceding National Amateur Championship Stake.
  3. Win a first place and a total of 7 championship points in Open All-Age stakes during the preceding calendar year.

NAFC National Amateur Field Champion: Awarded in the National Amateur Championship Field Trial. Eligibility requires that:

  1. Dog must be winner of preceding National Amateur Stake under an Amateur Handler.
  2. Be winner of the preceding National Amateur Championship Stake.
  3. Win a first place and a total of 7 championship points in Amateur All-Age stakes during the preceding calendar year.

There are a variety of words used in Field training. Here are some of the common terms.

diagonally transversing terrain or entering water other than on perpendicular lines.
the verbal command issued to the dog to direct him away from the handler, OR a directional signal given with the raised arm and hand, directing the dog away from the handler.
high appreciation of feathers, a desirable quality in dogs.
Blind Retrieve (land or water)
any retrieve that the dog doesn’t know the location of the bird or bumper, but the handler does.
an attempt to retrieve without the handler’s command to do so.
a directional hand or voice signal from handler to dog.
Double Mark
two marked-fall retrieves.
a method used to teach the dog he must retrieve on command.
people who throw and shoot birds as marks.
to direct a dog with a gesture from the handler.
acceptable straight path of travel from the handler to a blind retrieve.
Mark, single
a shot flyer, thrown dead bird, or bumper that the dog watches and retrieves; a multiple mark can be double, triple, or quadruple.
a verbal command or hand gesture directing the dog in a lateral direction.
orderly method of searching for game using the nose.
event or contest.
not moving to retrieve until told to do so by the handler.
Whistle Commands
repeated short toots mean “come in”; one long blast means “sit”.

Agility Questions

Agility is a sport in which a dog runs through a timed obstacle course under the guidance of the handler. Agility training strengthens the bond between dog and handler, and provides fun and exercise for both. The sport of agility is one of the fastest rising recreational activities for dogs and owners alike and is available to all dogs, either pure bred or mixed breed. The main requirements for agility are sportsmanlike attitude, and fun for dog and handler alike. There are no elements allowed in this sport that could be harmful to dog, handler, or spectator.
See calendar for session schedule and fee. A clear fecal examination record and current vaccination record are required. Only buckle collars are allowed during class. Dogs must be kept under control at all times. Dogs are kept on lead in between exercises.
Each judge designs a unique course for each event run. The same course is never used twice. When the course has been set up, the handlers gathers for a “judges briefing” where the judge summarizes how the class is judged. The handlers (no dogs) are then permitted to walk the course to familiarize themselves with the layout of the obstacles. Agility dogs run with no color or lead to prevent catching on obstacles. The stopwatch begins when any part of the dog crosses the start line and stops when any part of the dog’s body crosses the finish line. Common course faults include: missing a contact zone, incorrect weave entry, non-completion of an obstacle, off course (taking an obstacle out of sequence), knocking a bar off, leaving the table before the judges count of 5, and exceeding the time allowed for completing the course.

courses must include jumps, all 3 contact obstacles, weave poles, the table, the flexible tunnel and chute. The number of obstacles increases with the level of competition. It demonstrates the overall ability of the dogs to perform all the obstacles.
the object of Gamblers is to successfully complete as many obstacles as possible within a set time allowed in an opening sequence. The obstacles each receive a different point value, common values are jumps, 1 point, tire and tunnels are 2 points, contact 3 points, weave 3 to 5 points. The opening sequence expires with blow of a whistle, at which point the handler has a shorter set time to complete a closing sequence. This final sequence or “gamble” must be done with the handler remaining outside a prescribed area usually outlined with rope or tape and within the time allowed. A minimum number of points are required, in addition to the successful completion of the gamble within time for a leg to be earned.
is composed of jumps, tires, tunnels, and chutes. This game is probably the most popular event by many competitors and spectators alike. It involves excellent handling skills and real teamwork. The pace is fast and furious with twisted flows and potential chances for off course penalties at every turn.