Saturday, April 11, 2015

J -- Judges

I've mentioned before that the purpose of dog shows is to determine how well a dog conforms to the breed standard. That determination is made by officially sanctioned AKC judges. It's not easy to become an AKC judge. To apply prospective judges must:
  • Have shown dogs in conformation shows for at least 12 years.
  • Have bred at least five litters in the breed for which they are applying to judge.
  • Have bred at least four champions in the breed they are applying to judge.
  • Steward at least six AKC dog shows during the three years prior to applying to be a judge.
  • Judge at least six AKC sanctioned matches, sweepstakes or maturity/futurity shows. (These are practice or special shows that run like regular shows but no points towards championship title are giving out.)
  • Watch the AKC video on the breed they are applying for.
  • Attend a seminar at the AKC Basic Judges Institute within two years of applying.
  • Pass written exams on dog anatomy and dog show procedures.
  • Interview with an AKC Field Representative.
  • Complete the AKC new judge application.
Once a person has completed all of the above, he or she becomes a provisional judge and is able to accept judging assignments. At those assignments, provisional judges are graded by an AKC field representative. Full judgeship is finally granted after five successful provisional assignments.

Pretty intense, hunh? I'm sure that dog show judges do their best to pick the dog that is closest to the ideal dog. Unfortunately, no dog is perfect and judges have to make some tough decisions as to which dog to choose. What if the dog has an ideal head but his feet are slightly easty-westy? Is he ranked above the dog that has great a expression but a thin, lackluster coat? Or the one with the beautiful gait but is a little too long?

You can find a lot of judge bashing online. But if you look hard enough, you can also find some helpful information. There are internet groups that rate judges with comments like "likes typey dogs" or "doesn't like sables." The premium always lists who's judging, so it might behoove you to look the judge up before entering a show. Once you've been showing for a while you'll get to know which judge is which.

Another good idea is to create your own spreadsheet. Mine looks like this (but longer):

Kelley's AKC Judge Log
Judge's Name
Date Shown
Show To Again? 
[Name Redacted]
Said Jedi "typey" dog and should do well once we "pull it all together," also said GSDs were her "Heart Breed."
1st place puppy, beat another puppy
[Name Redacted]
Foreign, hard to understand. Jedi and other dogs shied away from her. Rough on dogs during bite exam.
1st place puppy, no other puppies
[Name Redacted]
LOTS of running; ran 2X around ring before exam. Hubby said he heard a snide comment. Took time to look at each dog.
2nd place puppy, only 2 puppies in the class

Who knew that showing a dog was so much work? Not me! -- K

Tomorrow's Topic: Kooky Things Show People Do

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