Ratesdownload (1)
Skyscraper 3
Skyscraper 4

Looking Back With Lee – How It Used To Be Done


From the archives of The Canine Chronicle, August, 2013 

By Lee Canalizo

This month I’m looking back, not at persons who made up the interesting fiber of our dog show world, but at the way they arrived at the point in their dog lives that made them a household name in the sport.

Back then, we had no social media. Our form of social media was reaching out to the older, already successful breeders and exhibitors in our area. There was no communication amongst every country in the world as there is now. No Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google… NO NOTHIN’!

We had “Ma Bell” and the U.S. Mail. That’s it! Good or bad, I have my own opinion, we were much more insulated. We sought out our elders, brought the cake and they made the coffee, and we sat at their knee for hours listening, learning, watching old Super 8 movies, and looking at pictures of the “great ones”. We also paid homage to these wise ones at the shows and absorbed all that was available to us ringside or, in some cases, at the benching areas. We did NOT know it all after just a short time in the game.

As newcomers, we did not rely on questioning other newcomers with just a bit more experience than we had to determine if we should enter our puppy, bred-by-exhibitor, youngster, owner-handled class dog, etc. We took the bull by the horns and went to any show we could attend. One made their own decisions based on their “experience” under that judge. Sure, we wanted to win, but we were more concerned with the fact that the judge would find the right dog in the class. Would said judge award from the certain classes? And surprisingly, we knew when we should have won, or not!

In those days, (actually not that very long ago), we knew about most of the judges we planned to show under before we entered. It seems outrageous to me that people are now asking for information about judges who are pillars of a certain breed or the rocks that the dog show foundation is built upon. Again, most of what I see is on Facebook, and I am using my primary breed of Afghan Hounds as an example. These are questions and information that should be attended to at the very beginning of a new dog show endeavor. Good preparation is invaluable. Don’t get me wrong… there are some very commendable things this new age of communication has to offer. Many breeds have serious “Groups” where breed experts feel comfortable sharing their experience and I know many of them have added to a better understanding of where, when and how the Standard intended for certain unique traits to be recognized. But some of the things I see on these groups are just short of defamatory! And most of what is said is often far from accurate with most comments coming from those who might not have fared well under that judge on that day.

As far as all of this talk of mentors is concerned, who are all of these “students” of the breeds? In my opinion, these people are not garnering their knowledge from the “old-timers”. Having a close relationship with a foundation kennel that at one time had five living generations of champions on the property at the time (when mentors and kennel visits were “enriching components to a judging application”), I was told this kennel had only one potential applicant schedule a visit in over 30 years.

Not too long ago, I was judging a major entry in my primary breed, Afghan Hounds, in conjunction with a Specialty weekend. A provisional judge was doing the breed the next day. I had a beautiful young bitch in a minor class that, in every respect, was Afghan to the core. Of course, I gave her WB, BOW, and BOB over BIS winning specials! She was everything you could want in the breed and I was delighted to find such a rare jewel on that day. It would be fair to say that anyone in my breed could have predicted that bitch was not going to be unnoticed. And the specialized handler of her was well aware of same! (FYI: The bitch finished quickly with mostly breeder-judges awarding her major wins).


The next day, the lovely young bitch was overlooked. Far different placements were made throughout basically the same entry. My point here is not that the new judge missed her completely, but the fact that Mike Canalizo (my son) was also in attendance at the show weekend on a busman’s holiday (we are members of the host Specialty Club). He was ringside to watch our breed judged each day, accompanied by another pioneering breeder living in the area. Said new Afghan Hound judge did not find it important or enlightening to seek any of us out to discuss, in a friendly fashion, the breed that between us involved over 150 years of experience! I find this pitiful and inexcusable, in my or any other!

Did I mention that this was a “provisional” judge? Do I need to mention that this person didn’t stay to attend the subsequent Specialty? Do I have to mention that the overall comments on their judging performance were mixed? Yet, I heard through various sources this provisional judge was very concerned that there was no AKC Rep there to do an “evaluation” of their assignment. I might not be a “Rep” but I would bet good money that they wouldn’t like to see any breed placed with bright sun behind them where one has to shade their eyes to view the line, (other shaded areas of the ring were readily available); or one’s rather brisk, heavy-handed approach which had dogs that I previously judged with no incident backing away and reacting in a less than “aristocratic” way. In retrospect, this person may have had the dog show gods smiling on her for not having a Rep ringside!

What does all this have to do with my questioning of the virtues of social media? This new-ish judge had all of these advantages of social media at their fingertips… and I know this how? Because I have seen articles by this person pontificating on how one should find, seek, or connect with “mentors” of a breed?

I guess, sooner or later, I will keep up with the Jones’ and get more integrated with social media and the good side of electronic communication. I do see some advantages for the old guard, who may be decreasing their judging appearances, to incorporate this social media into their schedule. Anyone care to “Facetime” with me on some breeds? That might be possible if I figure out how all of that stuff works. But for now: you are welcome to do it the old-fashioned way… come sit with me and chat about a few things that might make one a better judge of the breeds with which I have experience. You know….maybe it’s not a bad thing to “Look Back” once in awhile…we’re still here!

From the archives of The Canine Chronicle, August, 2013 

Short URL:

Posted by on Oct 6 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Featured, Remembering Our Past?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


  • May 2024