Sequim’s Cornell picked to judge Masters Obedience Championship

Dogs among best in the country

SEQUIM — Sequim resident Christopher Cornell will judge at the seventh-annual Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster on Monday, Jan. 24, held in conjunction with the 146th-annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, event organizers announced.

The iconic dog show is set to return to New York City after the 2021 event was held outdoors at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornell will officiate more than 25 obedience dogs, among the best in the country, during two rounds of competition at Pier 36 on Manhattan’s lower east side. This is his first Westminster judging assignment.

Cornell started in the world of dog obedience in 1976 with an English Setter named Queen. Described as a “wild and energetic puppy,” she was enrolled in a beginner obedience class, where Cornell became interested in obedience. In 1980, Queen became the first English setter to earn the Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) title.

Over the years, Cornell has trained and exhibited English and Irish setters, flat-coated and Labrador retrievers. He has been an evaluator for therapy dogs International since 2003 and supports Guide Dogs for the Blind by raising Labrador puppies through their first year of training.

Cornell said he never tires of officiating at trials and enjoying the thrill of handlers and their dogs reaching their goals. He began judging AKC obedience in 1984 and rally in 2005. The sport of dog obedience demonstrates a handler and a dog’s ability to work as a team. A judge evaluates the team’s performance as they navigate through a set of exercises. Commands can include a combination of sit, stay, jump, retrieve and scent discrimination.

The Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster is a unique event in the sport of obedience in that it consists of two rounds of AKC-approved exercises. One round will contain Open B exercises and the other round will have Utility B exercises. First through fourth placements will be awarded in each round, with the highest scoring team from either round awarded High in Trial.

The Masters Obedience Champion is determined by the combined individual qualifying scores from both rounds. Purebred and mixed breeds are eligible to compete in obedience competitions. The Westminster Kennel Club donates $5,000 to honor the winner of the Masters Obedience Championship to an AKC training club of their choice or to the AKC Humane Fund.

For 2022, Westminster Week returns to Manhattan starting with the Masters Agility Championship on Saturday, Jan. 22, the Masters Obedience Championship on Monday, Jan. 24 and the breed competitions on Monday (Hound and Herding), Tuesday (Toy, Non-Sporting and Terrier) and Wednesday (Sporting and Working), Jan. 24-26 all on Pier 36. The evening Group judging will be held at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25-26.

Live streaming of daytime events and dog show results can be found at

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