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IMHO – In My Humble Opinion

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130 – March, 2020

By Elaine Lessig

Patti Widick Neale – AKC Judge

Q: As a long time judge, what inspires your judging?  

First, is the intellectual exercise. Selecting dogs in each class in a large breed entry is like putting pieces of a puzzle together. When the right dogs are assembled at the end in the winners class, or in the final lineup of Best of Breed, a picture of the breed as I understand it is complete. Even with a few missing pieces, the big picture can still be very satisfying.

Next is the joy of interacting with individual dogs, and often, their people. A polished performance is not necessary for me to find the good points on most dogs, but I often make time to help an inexperienced dog or handler to gain confidence and present those few good steps, or that moment of brilliance. Whether or not it puts them in the winners circle on that day, I hope it carries on to the next time in the ring.

Lastly, I love the non-stop learning about the intricacies of each breed’s fine points, whether it is one I’ve judged for years, or one that is newer to me.

Joan Zielinski – AKC Judge

Q: As a long time judge, what inspires your judging?

When a dog comes into my ring and takes my breath away, that’s what inspires me. It’s fairly rare when that happens for there are no perfect dogs, but those who are have that extra sparkle and personality that shows through above their close adherence to their breed standard.

I recently was judging Best in Show. In my ring were lots of good specimens who fit their breed standards very well. Though I was finding it difficult to decide who should be Reserve Best in Show and who would be the ultimate winner for Best, the one I chose as I approached her walking down the line, tilted her head and showed me the most perfect expression. She made the ultimate decision for herself. She had that extra spark that just said, “Choose me!”

I was once in the ring with the late Dr. Jacqueline Hungerland doing an in-ring observation in Poodles, her breed. As we stood in the middle of the ring and looked down the line of class winners, she said quietly to me. “Isn’t it interesting that they just judge themselves? It makes it easy for us.”

I’m inspired by watching judges who command respect as they are gifted with a true eye for finding the right dogs in their rings. They are the ones who teach while they pass judgment by demonstrating that ability to those newer to the wonderful sport of purebred dogs.

Elliot More – AKC Judge

Q: As a long time judge, what inspires your judging?

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130 – March, 2020

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  • April 2020