AKC obedience had its beginning in the 1930s when Helen Whitehouse Walker and her quality Standard Poodles proved poodles were more than a fancy haircut, they were smart and had character. She devised a series of exercises to showcase their intelligence. In October, 1933 the first “test” was held in New Jersey and was received with great enthusiasm. 1934 the second “test” was held and she sent a letter to the American Kennel Gazette and on March 10, 1936 the American Kennel Club approved the set of Regulations titled Regulations and Standards for Obedience Test Field trials. The first Obedience Test was held in 1936 in New York.
Originally there was only three classes Novice, Open and Utility, to earn the Utility title a dog must also pass a tracking test. Since then, obedience trials have flourished and gained in popularity adding the Obedience Trial Champion and many new classes. The original concept of Helen Whitehouse Walker continues today with the majority of the dogs handled by owners who enjoy training and demonstrating the intelligence and working ability of their house pets and companions. In 2005 Rally was added, these trials demonstrate the team’s ability to navigate a course with a series of signs requiring obedience skills. Rally too has flourished and gained a significant following which started with Novice, Advanced and Excellent and now has Intermediate, Masters and Rally Champion.
Since the beginning of Sun Maid Kennel Club obedience and Rally has been an important part of the show weekend, starting in 1948 without missing a year until the COVID pandemic in 2020. Sun Maid Kennel Club continues to be supportive of these trials being exhibitor friendly, gated matted rings and friendly respected judges