National Canine Association



Click on an individual topic to view it, or scroll down to see them all. Included in this section are the NCA philosophy on the following topics:


The National Canine Association (NCA) will conduct Dog Show Events in a manner that will include the more desirable aspects of the present conformation competition while eliminating most aspects that the majority of owner exhibitors/professional handlers, judges, event-giving clubs and rare breed clubs believe need improving. In addition, the NCA will support the Purebred Rescue Dog and Mixed Breed Canine Companion participation as part of our approved events.

The NCA is presently incorporated as a “for profit” Chapter S corporation. The goal is that within five (5) years the NCA will go public and be owned by the members and participants within the Sport.

Addressing the concerns of each of the above elements of the Sport:

Owner Exhibitors/Professional Handlers

One of the primary concerns of the average owner handler is that it can be extremely difficult to win at Group and Best in Show levels. In their minds, the top-winning 4% or 5% of the individuals (usually professional handlers) in the Sport have a distinct advantage in competition with them. The NCA understands that the perception is generally correct; that individuals who are financially able to purchase a top dog, hire a top professional handler and literally spend thousands of dollars advertising the dog, do indeed have a very real and distinct advantage. This, of course, in no way reflects adversely on the professional handlers, the dogs or the individuals who have the financial means to do this. In the Sport today, this small percentage of owners and professional handlers are often subject to adverse comments. The criticism is unjust and unfounded; nonetheless, it is a very real negative aspect of the Sport.

One of the national kennel clubs attempted to solve this problem by not allowing the professional handlers to exhibit at their shows. The NCA’s philosophy is quite different. We feel that the professional handlers, the owners who employ them and the top specimens they exhibit are a very important part of the Dog Game. We do not want to discourage the professional handlers in any way from competing. Nor do we want to discourage the individuals who have the financial means to employ the professionals to compete at our shows. Quite the contrary, we will encourage these individuals to participate. The professional handlers play a very important role in the Sport. They do indeed have some of the top specimens in their breeds, and the professionals do an outstanding job of presenting their dogs. At the shows, beginners can learn various techniques, both in grooming and handling, from observing the professionals at work. Most handlers have a great attitude for the Sport and go out of their way to impart their knowledge and expertise to the owner exhibitors. (For the record, we are fully cognizant of the fact that a small percentage of owner exhibitors are indeed capable of competing equally with the professionals. These nationally recognized breeders and owner handlers may, and are encouraged to, voluntarily compete with the professional handlers although under the NCA definition, they may still be non-professionals.)

The NCA addresses this disparity between the owner exhibitors and the professional handlers by providing “Two Tier Competition”. The owner exhibitors (Non-Professional Tier) will compete among themselves at all levels from breed classes to Winners, Best of Breed, Group and Best in

Show. Professional handlers (Professional Tier) will also compete only among themselves at all levels. NCA’s Rules and Regulations will, however, provide for competition between the top owner exhibitor (non-professional) and top professional handler at each level from Winners Dog/Bitch to Group and Best in Show.


The NCA believes our judges play a vital role in the success of our events. We feel it is essential that our judges have a working knowledge of the rules governing the show events as well as extensive knowledge of the breed(s) applied for. The NCA believes the average person meeting the initial requirements to judge is capable of achieving Group and multiple Group status in a reasonable amount of time. Having said this, it is axiomatic that, as in all professions, there will be a wide range of competency. The approval process will be simple and straightforward and above all, fairly administered. We believe in the old adage, “The cream will rise to the top.” Judges, by their actions and demeanor, will establish their reputation through the years. The NCA firmly believes (as in every profession) peers should evaluate peers. The individuals within the NCA responsible for evaluating and approving judges will themselves have been judging a minimum of twenty (20) years. NCA’s policy is to assist and help judges in every way possible and to treat them with respect and fairness and as an important and equal member of the NCA team.

NCA Affiliated Canine Associations

The NCA recognizes the requirements for central control by a governing body to provide a registry as well as uniform rules and regulations. At the same time, the NCA believes the affiliated partners and associations should have an input as to the details of how their events are put on. Most all-breed clubs believe their primary purpose is to put on dog shows involving different forms of recognized competition within the Sport. Activities such as education and rescue work should be on a voluntary basis. The NCA believes the vast majority of the people in the Sport are fully capable of doing what needs to be done in the way of community projects and education such as helping with rescue work and other areas. Most clubs resent being directed to do what they would otherwise do voluntarily. Indeed, being ordered to participate takes away a good bit of the satisfaction that humans customarily enjoy by volunteering their services and time.

Rare Breeds

There is a growing interest in the rare breeds being exhibited throughout the world in recent years. The NCA will provide a venue for the rare breeds to compete for national titles. This Group competition is in no way intended to compete with the excellent rare breed shows put on throughout the country by the dedicated and true pioneers and advocates of the rare breeds. Indeed, if it were not for the hard work and efforts of these dedicated individuals, the progress, acceptance of and increase in popularity of the rare breeds would not have gained acceptance in the world of purebred dogs. The Sport owes this select small group of individuals our gratitude. As an adjunct to the approved breeds, the NCA offers a RARE BREED GROUP for all recognized rare breeds listed in Attachment B. This will, for the first time, provide rare breeds an opportunity to gain championship and other titles through national all-breed events. Competition will be within the respective breeds with breed winners as outlined and detailed in Chapter 5. Both the Non-Professional and Professional Best of Breed winners in each breed will advance to Group, and Group winners will advance to Best in Show. The NCA’s ground- breaking format will guarantee that we will have a rare breed representative in every Best in Show line up for both the Non-Professional and Professional tiers.

Many individuals have asked about the recognition of their particular rare breed pointing out that other registries have recognized them. The deciding factor on when a rare breed will no longer compete in the Rare Breed Group and be placed into one of the other NCA Groups and competing therein will be contingent on the consistent increased number of entries at NCA all-breed events and a request from the parent club for an approval of recognition to be placed in one of the other Groups by the NCA. All rare breeds will compete among themselves in their respective breed at breed level. The major change at NCA events for rare breeds will be, rather than compete in the regular Groups in competition with the better known and larger entry breeds, the rare breeds will compete among themselves in the Rare Breed Group (GROUP VIII). This provision will afford rare breeds the additional opportunity to gain championship points by Group placing’ 1st through 4th. The NCA believes this unique procedure will provide a very desirable venue for the rare breeds and further provide exposure and enhance the knowledge of other dog fanciers of these rare breeds.

Purebred Companion Dogs

The NCA believes all dogs are created equal. The NCA has established competition at its events for the Purebred Companion Dog. The two (2) categories for the purebred companion dog are:

  1. PUREBRED RESCUE DOGS – The NCA believes the individuals who own rescue dogs deserve special recognition and accommodations to meet their desire to participate in NCA events. The NCA has established a special registry and competition for these purebred dogs.
  2. PUREBRED DOGS WHO CANNOT BE SHOWN IN THE REGULAR CLASSES – There are a number of reasons why a properly registered purebred dog cannot be shown in the regular classes for competition. Additionally, an owner may realize that their particular dog is not up to competing in the regular show classes.

At NCA events, a special class for these purebred rescue dogs is established as the Purebred Companion Dog Class to include both dogs and bitches. Normally, there will be one class; however, if the number of entries within the Purebred Companion Dog class warrant, this class will be separated by Group. When classes for these dogs are separated by Group, the Group winners will then compete for Best in Show Purebred Companion Dog. No championship points will be awarded; however, points for a “Recognition of Achievement” certificate will be awarded to those purebred companion dogs fulfilling the requirements listed in Chapter 5, Section 5.

Mixed Breed Canine Companions

The NCA believes the Sport has unknowingly erred by ostracizing a large segment of the dog lovers throughout the country, and indeed the world. We make reference to the millions of mixed breed canine pets owned, loved and cared for by individuals from all walks of life and all ages. These canine companions are loved and cherished by their owners to the same extent as today’s purebred breeders and dog show exhibitors love and cherish their show dogs. By keeping pet owners at a distance, we have no platform from which to communicate with them. The NCA believes it would be prudent to bring this segment of the dog lovers into the world of the registered pure breeds and rare breeds. The NCA encourages affiliated associations to invite pet owners to NCA events and to provide a show ring devoted to special classes for canine companions similar to the various events held throughout the country at the local malls and fairs. The big difference at NCA events is that pet owners will be surrounded by purebreds and rare breeds whose owners will be available to talk to and visit with. In all likelihood, their next dog would be a purebred. Through positive experiences and exposure to the show world, we can educate the pet owners rather than have the more radical elements of the animal society address them. Examples of the fun classes could be: the dog with the most coat, curliest coat, healthiest coat; the dog with the curliest tail, longest tail, bushiest tail; the dog with the best movement; the dog that performs the most interesting single trick or service. Ribbons and/or merchant-sponsored prizes should be awarded for these classes. The NCA encourages a “finals” event for Best Mixed Breed Canine Companion. This class need not be judged by an approved NCA judge; rather, it is encouraged to have a local well-known person to adjudicate this class, i.e. a local TV news or weather announcer or sports figure, etc.

Public Appeal

The NCA strongly encourages junior showmanship, obedience, flyball, freestyle, agility, utility, herding demonstrations or other events that might prove interesting and entertaining for the general public. The NCA will compile and furnish a list of suggested events and formats for the consideration of local canine associations. These events will be incorporated into NCA’s Rules and Regulations as they are promulgated.


Affiliated Canine Associations — Any organization approved by the NCA to hold NCA events.

NCA Sanctioned Event — Any event approved by the NCA at which NCA championship points or other titles are awarded. Competitions may be held by NCA affiliated associations or by the NCA itself.

Non-Professional Handler — An Non-Professional is an individual who has NOT been paid in any manner to actually handle or act as agent for any dog or has NOT been listed as a handler or agent; however, they may be reimbursed for expenses only for handling a dog. In keeping with the true spirit and intent of NCA’s two-tier system, any non-professional handler, due to their prominence and years of experience in the breed, may elect to enter and compete in the professional classes and are encouraged to do so.

Professional Handler — A Professional handler is an individual who has, in the past, or is currently accepting a fee for handling or acting as agent for any dog, including dogs owned, co-owned or bred by them. Being reimbursed partially, or in full, for expenses only encountered in handling a dog for a family member, friend or associate does not constitute being a professional handler. ALL APPROVED JUDGES IN ANY KENNEL CLUB OR REGISTRY WHO EXHIBIT DOGS MUST EXHIBIT IN THE PROFESSIONAL TIER.

Recognized Registry — Any national or international kennel club, canine association or rare breed association or club that has been recognized by the NCA. See Attachment A.

Registration — The recording of a dog into the official registry of the NCA.

NCA Title — Any championship title, certificate of outstanding merit or any other certificate of achievement awarded by the NCA to a dog.

Event Announcement — The official announcement of an NCA event.

Event Schedule — The official program and schedule of an NCA event.

Event Catalog — The official detailed listing of the event including the event’s schedule officials and entrants.

Owner — The individual listed on the NCA registration papers as the owner of the dog.

Limited Registration — A purebred dog which may NOT be bred or ever registered as a sire or dam for an NCA registered litter.

Purebred Companion Dog — Comprised of two (2) categories of purebred dogs:

    1. Purebred Rescue Dogs (see definition “n” below)
    2. Purebred Dogs eligible for purebred dog registration, but are either not up to or are ineligible to be exhibited in the regular classes.

Purebred Rescue Dog — Purebred dogs ineligible for purebred dog registration due to unknown parentage or other reasons.

Mixed Breed Canine Companion — A dog registered with the NCA as a mixed breed (non-pure) dog.