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2020 AKC National Championship Judging Panel Now Available

The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2020 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 2020.

The 2020 event will showcase the top national and international canine athletes and will also include popular attractions such as the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes and the NADD/AKC Dock Diving National Championship. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational and AKC Obedience Classic, with junior events in each sport.

Leading the charge as Best in Show judge for the 2020 National Championship is Mr. James A. Moses of Wentzville, MO and Patricia M. Cruz of Coram, NY will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show. The judges for the National Owner-Handled Series Finals and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled to have such an incredible roster of judges this year, with Jim and Pat heading the panel,” said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung. “The 2020 event is sure to be an exciting competition.”

Judges for the seven variety groups and the Miscellaneous Classes at the AKC National Championship are: 

SPORTING – Mr. Jon R. Cole – Nashville, TN

HOUND – Mr. Douglas Johnson – Bloomington, IN

WORKING – Dr. Thomas Davies – Brimfield, MA

TERRIER – Mr. Elliot B. Weiss – Novelty, OH

TOY – Mrs. Rosalind Kramer – Charlottesville, VA

NON-SPORTING – Mr. Robin L. Stansell – Clayton, NC

HERDING – Mr. William C. Stebbins – Port St. Lucie, FL

MISCELLANEOUS CLASSES – Mr. Johan Becerra-Hernandez – San Juan, PR

BEST JUNIOR HANDLER – Mr. Clifford Steele – Carmel, NY

JUNIOR PRELIMS – Ms. Adrienne Hill and Ms. Kellie Dahlberg

Judges for the seven Bred-by-Exhibitor variety groups are:

SPORTING – Mr. Michael Faulkner – Center Cross, VA

HOUND – Ms. Pamela Bruce – Welland, ON, Canada

WORKING – Mrs. Sheila DiNardo – West Hartford, CT

TERRIER – Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III – Crowley, TX

TOY – Mr. David J. Kirkland – Sanford, NC

NON-SPORTING – Mrs. Jacqueline L. Stacy – Chapel Hill, NC

HERDING – Ms. Janina K. Laurin – Danbury, CT



Sporting Group:                                                 Breed Assignments:

Mr. Jamie Hubbard                                         Barbets, Brittanys, Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), Setters (Irish Red and White), Wirehaired Vizslas

Mr. Sam Houston McDonald                          Spaniels (English Springer), Spaniels (Irish Water)

Ms. Corinne Miklos                                         Pointers (German Shorthaired), Pointers (German Wirehaired), Spaniels (Welsh Springer), Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Mrs. Sheila Polk                                              Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay), Spaniels (Clumber)


Mr. William P. Shelton                                     Pointers, Setters (English, Gordon & Irish)

Ms. Elizabeth Sweigart                                   Lagotti Romagnoli, Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes, Retrievers (Curly Coated), Retrievers (Flat Coated), Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (Field), Spaniels (Sussex), Spinoni Italiani, Weimaraners

Ms. Shirley Fippin                                           Retrievers (Golden)


Mr. Elliott B. Weiss                                          Spaniels (Cocker – all varieties), Spaniels (English Cocker)

Ms. Lisa E. Weiss                                           Retrievers (Labrador)


Hound Group:                                          Breed Assignments:


Mr. Johan Becerra-Hernandez                      Basenjis, Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Borzois, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Otterhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos

Mr. James Donahue                                       Afghan Hounds

Ms. Grace M. Fritz                                         Whippets

Mr. D. Scott Pfeil                                             Azawakhs, Cirnechi dell’Etna, Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Sloughis

Mrs. Sheila Polk                                              Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Mr. Richard L. Reynolds                                 American English Coonhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, Foxhound (American), Foxhound (English), Greyhounds, Harriers, Irish Wolfhounds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Plott Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds

Ms. Sherrill C. Snyder                                     Dachshunds (all varieties)

Mr. Elliott B. Weiss                                          Beagles (both varieties), Scottish Deerhounds


WORKING GROUP:                                      Breed Assignments:

Mr. Edd Bivin                                                   Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Bullmastiffs, Saint Bernards

Mr. Rick Gschwender                                    Akitas, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chinooks, Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Tibetan Mastiffs

Mr. Milan Lint                                                   Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs

Mr. Brian Meyer                                              Boerboels, Komondorok, Rottweilers

Ms. Helene Nietsch                                        Dogues de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers, Mastiffs, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Standard Schnauzers

Mr. William P. Shelton                                     Doberman Pinschers, German Pinschers, Samoyeds

Dr. Geno Sisneros                                          Kuvaszok

Mr. Robin Stansell                                           Black Russian Terriers

Mr. William C. Stebbins                                   Boxers, Cane Corsos, Dogos Argentinos, Giant Schnauzers

TERRIER GROUP:                                        Breed Assignments:

Ms. Kathi Brown                                              American Hairless Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Russell Terriers

Mrs. Connie H. Clark                                      Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Bull Terriers (colored & white), Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Skye Terriers

Mr. Jon R. Cole                                               American Staffordshire Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Mrs. Cindy Meyer                                           Manchester Terriers (Standard), Miniature Schnauzers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Mr. Richard W. Powell                                    Airedale Terriers, Fox Terriers (Smooth), Fox Terriers (Wire), Lakeland Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers


TOY GROUP:                                                Breed Assignments:

Mrs. Tammy K. Jackson                                Brussels Griffons, Chinese Cresteds, Shih Tzus, Toy Fox Terriers

Mr. Douglas Johnson                                     Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Mr. Desmond J. Murphy                                 Poodles (Toy)

Mr. Richard W. Powell                                    Affenpinschers, Toy Manchester Terriers, Silky Terriers

Mr. Johnny R. Shoemaker                             Havanese, Maltese, Pekingese, Yorkshire

Dr. Geno Sisneros                                          Toy Spaniels (both varieties), Japanese Chins, Miniature Pinschers, Papillons, Pomeranians

Mrs. Jacqueline L. Stacy                                Chihuahuas (both varieties), Italian Greyhounds, Pugs

NON-SPORTING GROUP:                           Breed Assignments:

Mr. James Dalton                                           French Bulldogs

Ms. Grace M. Fritz                                         Löwchens, Shiba Inus, Tibetan Spaniels

Mr. Desmond J. Murphy                                 Bulldogs, Poodles (Miniature & Standard)

Ms. Helene Nietsch                                        American Eskimo Dogs, Chinese Shar-Pei, Dalmatians, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Norwegian Lundehunds, Schipperkes

Mrs. Sheila Polk                                              Xoloitzcuintli

Mr. Timothy S. Robbins                                  Bichon Frises, Boston Terriers, Chow Chows, Coton de Tulear, Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers


HERDING GROUP:                                       Breed Assignments:


Mr. Thomas Coen                                           Belgian Lakenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norwegian Buhunds, Pyrenean Shepherds

Mr. Michael Faulkner                                      Australian Shepherds

Mr. Rick Gschwender                                    Finnish Lapphunds, Old English Sheepdogs

Mr. David J. Kirkland                                      Bearded Collies, Border Collies, Collies (both varieties), Shetland Sheepdogs

Mr. Sam Houston McDonald                          Berger Picards, Pulik, Pumik, Spanish Water Dogs

Mr. Brian Meyer                                              Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs

Ms. Sheree W. Moses                                    Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Miniature American Shepherds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Swedish Vallhunds

Mr. William P. Shelton                                     Australian Cattle Dogs, Beaucerons

*Panel subject to final approval.

About Best in Show judge James A. Moses:

James A. Moses, of Wentsville, Missouri, has been involved with dogs all of his life. His mother bred Miniature Poodles from which Mr. Moses won his very first Best in Show. His father gave him his first dog, a German Shepherd Dog, when he was 9 years old. Mr. Moses finished his first champion by the age of 13, and by 19 handled the number-one dog, all breeds, in Canada. He has handled dogs to over 1,000 Bests in Show.

Over the years, Mr. Moses has been honored to have won some very notable shows, including the AKC Centennial show and the Westminster Kennel Club with Ch. Covy Tucker Hill’s Manhattan. He has handled four dogs in the “100 Club” including the number-one dog of all time, Ch. Altana’s Mystique (275 BIS and 30 BISS). Mr. Moses has handled many other breeds to best in show and specialty wins. In 1999, he was inducted to the Dog Show Hall of Fame.

In addition to handling, Mr. Moses has been the top Herding Group winner with several German Shepherd Dogs he has bred under the Kaleef prefix. The past few years have seen several Kaleef dogs take the Grand Victor honors at the Canadian and U.S. German Shepherd Dog nationals. Mr. Moses’s next chapter in dogs is judging, which he says, “he is thoroughly enjoying.” His love of dogs and the sport has been the focus of his adult life. Mr. Moses is also an avid sportsman and outdoorsman and enjoys balancing breeding, judging, and retirement.

About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Patricia Cruz:

Patricia M. Cruz, of Coram, New York, has been part of the dog world for more than 55 years and currently serves as delegate for the Heart of the Plains Kennel Club. She is a former AKC Field Representative, a member of the Afghan Hound Club of America, and Afghan Hound Club of Long Island. She is also an internationally experienced judge for over 40 years as well as one of the founders of the Owner Handler Association. She has served as an officer and on the Board of the Ladies Kennel Association America and the Riverhead Kennel Club. She has been on the American Kennel Club Board of Directors since 2012, and presently serves as Vice Chair of the Board.

Professionally, Patricia is a journalist and Board member of the Dog Writers Association of America. She is the former president of a civilian employee union in one of the largest police departments on the east coast and secretary of a county-wide union representing over 10,000 employees. She also served as sales manager and marketing consultant for radio stations in the number one market in U.S.

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