AKC Rally is a FUN dog sport created with teamwork in mind. It is a series of obedience exercises printed on signs that are set up in a numbered course format. You and your Ridgeback walk through the course to do the exercises listed on the signs, heeling in between the signs. The course is designed by a judge who stays in the ring with you during your turn. The handler can actually speak to and encourage their dog throughout the course as much as he/she chooses, setting it apart from traditional obedience competitions. AKC Rally was also created to bridge the gap between the AKC Canine Good Citizen title and Competition Obedience and Agility. It is fun for novice pet owners, while also allowing those who are serious about obedience to gain ring experience, and be more competitive in the higher levels of Rally.
AKC Rally offers Novice (RN), Intermediate (RI), Advanced (RA), Excellent (RE), and Master (RM) titling levels with increasing levels of difficulty. Effective June 29 2023, a new optional titling class – Rally Choice (RC) – will be also be offered. A Rally Champion (RACH) title is earned by qualifying in Rally Advanced B, Rally Excellent B, and Rally Master classes on the same day at 20 different trials, with scores of 91 or higher.
The Novice level is performed all on-leash and tests the dog and handler's skills with basic obedience exercises. The Intermediate level serves an optional bridge between Novice and Advanced levels. Just as in Novice, the Intermediate level is still performed all on-leash, but a few more difficult exercises are added. The Advanced level of competition follows the same format as the Intermediate level except the Advanced level will contain a jump, and all exercises are performed off-leash. The Excellent level is also off-leash and adds more exercises of increasing difficulty; this level concludes with a brief sit-stay while the handler retrieves and puts the leash back on the dog. The Master level is performed off-leash with exercises that either reflect traditional obedience skills (e.g. recalls over flat and over jumps) or were created specifically for AKC Rally (e.g. side-by-side 360 degree turns of dog and handler next to each other). The Choice class is similar to the Master but does not include a jump.
To get started in Rally, read the rules available on the AKC website, as well as familiarize yourself with all the Signs. Then find a Rally class near you to begin practicing courses with your Ridgeback!
Beginning in 2022, RRCUS created a pilot program for ranking the top Rally teams. RRCUS members in the Top 5 at the end of the year will be presented awards at the following year's National Specialty Awards Dinner.
Calculations for RRCUS Rally Top 5 Ranking System