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This is an overview of the definitions of the 4 performance levels of CFF competition plus the non-regular class (Veterans) . The four levels are offered in Individual Dog and Multiple Dog Divisions. The Multiple Dog Division includes Team, (two or more handlers each with a single dog), and Brace (one handler with two dogs).

These rules and definitions are subject to change and does not include all regulations for CFF competition. If you plan to enter a CFF competition you are responsible for obtaining the current CFF Regulations for Freestyle Competition and being familiar with them. If you are a member of CFF, you may download the regulations in the member's area of the web site.

If you are not a member, you may order a copy by sending a SASE and check or money order payable to CFF Inc. for $5.00 to:

CFF Inc.
818 Marshall Dr

Painesville OH 44077

To pay by credit card, use our. online payment system, We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards. 

Level I

Level II A / B

Level III

Level IV

Develop interesting combinations of required movements with directional changes and full use of performance space.The dog should be moving forward with drive and energy at all times. In Level I I B choreography may include movements from the higher levels, which will be judged

Develop increasingly complex combinations of movements with greater emphasis on the choreography and training of the dog.

Develop a balanced and inventive routine for the fully trained and supple canine athlete, with
the emphasis on the artistic impression of the choreography.

On-lead (no
dropped lead work)




Level I & Level II A
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 min.
Level II B
Time 1:30 - 3:00 min,

Time: 2:00 - 3:00 minutes

Time: 2:30 - 4:00 minutes

Level II B is for handlers who have previously competed and titled at Level II or higher.    

Required Elements:

  • Right and left side heelwork.
  • Frontwork
  • Pace changes
  • Turns and/or pivots
  • Circles, serpentines or spirals

Required Elements:

  • Right and left side heelwork
  • Frontwork
  • Pace changes
  • Turns and/or pivots
  • Circles, serpentines or spirals
  • Backing
  • Lateral work right and/or left

Required Elements:

  • Right and left side heelwork
  • Frontwork
  • Paces (slow, normal, fast)
  • Turns and pivots
  • Circles, serpentines or spirals
  • Backing
  • Lateral work right and left
  • Distance work

This class is for dogs 7 years or older on the date of the show. The focus of the choreography is to show the dog to his best advantage, maximizing his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses.

The veterans non-regular class will not be judged. Each participating team will receive a medallion and a certificate. An exhibitor in this class must have previously competed at a CFF competition. Once shown in Veterans, a dog may not return to regular individual dog classes at any titling event. The Veterans Class is offered at the discretion of the show organizing committee.

Time: 1:30 – 3:00 minutes

At the discretion of the show organizing committee, handlers may be allowed to enter at any level on a non-compete, or exhibition only, basis. Thisoption will be open only to exhibitors whohave previously competed in a regular class at a CFF show, and will be in adherence with the CFF rules for competition. No score will be given.

- Eligibility

Freestyle is open to all dogs over one (1) year of age, purebred or mixed heritage. Bitches in season may not compete. Exhibitors may enter any level for which they feel qualified, except in Level IV. To compete in Level IV a handler and dog must have previously competed in a CFF competition at Level I, IIA, IIB, or III. Once a dog has placed in a particular level it may continue to compete only in that level or higher levels. Once a dog has titled in a particular level it must move up to the next level. An exception is that, if a team earns a title on the first day of a two day event, they may show on the second day for score and placement. No further title is earned at that level. Level IV dogs may continue to be shown in Level IV. If a team at Level IV receives a score of 80 or better at three separate trials (to include its first score) it will earn the title of Champion Freestyle Dog. The level at which a multiple-dog team competes is determined by the dog on the team with the lowest individual CFF title.

These definitions are goals and the structure within which Freestyle is defined. These definitions describe perfection. To achieve perfection is a rare achievement.

Movement is forward, backward, sideward or around.

Heel Work
Heel work, whether the dog is sitting, standing, lying down or in motion, means that the dog is parallel to either the right or left side of the handler while still permitting freedom of motion at all times. This heel position is the reference point for judging the technical and artistic relationship of the dog’s movement to the handler’s body. Changes from a single steady position (shifts forward or back) may be necessary for some movements to avoid interference between the dog and handler.

There are a variety of turns depending on the direction in which the dog and handler turn relative to each other.

A pivot is a turn in place with the dog in heel position (right or left). Either the handler turns in place or the dog turns in place, pivoting on the forequarters or hindquarters

Front work
The dog, whether stationary or in motion, should be facing the handler, body straight and centered on the handler. The dog should not interfere with the handler and may be any distance from the handler.

The dog moves backward, while the handler may move in any direction or stand still.

Lateral Work
The direction of the movement (right or left) is judged relative to the dog. To be considered lateral work, the dog must be moving to the side, either right or left. Dog's body should remain straight, with the hindquarters directly behind the forequarters. Neither handler nor dog should interfere with the other. Further:

  • The dog may be in heel position or be standing in front position and looking at the handler.
  • The dog may be close to the handler or some distance away from the handler. .
  • The dog may be standing in left or right heel position or facing the handler from the front or facing the handler from either side, i.e. the dog may be at a right angle to the handler

Distance Work
Dog and handler separated by a minimum of six (6) feet.

Pace Changes
A change of pace adds interest and contrast to the performance. Pace changes may be exhibited by the dog during any type of movement. Each pace must be distinct and identifiable. The three moving paces are walking, trotting and running and may be done at different speeds, e.g., slow, moderate and fast or any variation of these.

Variation of Movements
Movement combinations, other than required moves, may be added at any level and are judged in the same manner as required movements. Variations of required movements are limitless and encouraged.





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