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IMHO – Does Overall Condition Affect Your Decision?

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120 – March 2019


We asked experienced AKC judges two questions about current issues affecting our sport. Here’s what they had to say…


How does the overall condition of an exhibit in your ring affect your decision process while judging?

For me the condition of an exhibit is a critical part of my decision making process. I consider it to be of prime importance, particularly at the higher levels. Recently, I had a beautiful representation of a breed in my ring. This was an exhibit I have rewarded in the past. As I did my examination, I noted that the silky coat that so impressed me only a few months earlier was now without its luster and sparse, too. As I went over the body, I felt the substance that impressed me before was now diminished. Although a lovely dog, on that day its overall condition prevented me from taking that dog to the top.

What changes have you noticed in the way exhibitors currently present their dogs to you?

Styles come and styles go. Too often, I see a coated breed that is meant to be square, but is not. In an attempt to make it appear that way, coat is obviously stripped from the chest, the rear, or both. Another distracting presentation is a handler either standing with the lead held high six feet in front or behind the exhibit. Very recently I have seen coats being ironed which is an insult to the breed. How can I fail to remark on a coat that is meant to have texture? By the time it is blown out with a high velocity dryer, the texture is essentially indistinguishable. A knowledgeable judge observes these faux pas and wonders what the exhibitor was thinking. The best presentation in the ring is that which respects the breed’s standard, especially when a dog does just that as well.


How does the overall condition of an exhibit in your ring affect your decision process while judging?

Of course, it’s a dog SHOW and conditioning is very important. Cleanliness, coat care, muscle-tone are all super important. I am thrilled when I find a dog in lovely condition and equally disgusted to find dogs in poor condition, and I have! I have actually seen dogs with mats ! Hard to believe how anyone could bother to go to the expense of entering a dog and have so little regard for the basics, but this can happen especially when people are building their own majors by dragging “fillers” into the ring.

I think the time it affects my decision in the ring is if it is close. When there are two beautiful German Shorthairs and one is in hard working condition and the other is soft. Similarly, two Irish Setters that are close, and one has a lovely, well-prepared body coat, and the other one is all scraped out, with no hair left, it is conditioning that will win.

Click the link below to read more from AKC JUDGES CONNIE CLARK, RICHARD WILLIAM POWELL, and ELAINE LESSIG.

Click here to read the complete article
120 – March 2019

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Posted by on Mar 15 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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