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The Problem with Judges

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84 – April, 2021

By William Given

The majority of owners and exhibitors, including professional handlers, fail I think, to give any consideration to the many problems faced by judges today. Nor do they consider how judges strive to solve these problems. Moreover, many novice judges–having little experience with any of a hundred puzzling problems which might come up–do not know how to respond in certain situations or answer the questions when put to them.

Judging dogs can be a complex decision-making process complicated by a set of unique circumstances. Even all-breed judges with twenty years of experience occasionally encounter situations they have never faced before. He or she may get no lunch or may discover after spending four or five hours standing on concrete that they have no time to take a rest break. The judge may be cold from the chill of the early morning temperature and later roast in the extreme heat of the afternoon. Rain, mud, and even snow can add to the discomfort.

As it can happen in any given breed, the dogs which enter the ring one day are of mediocre or poor quality. Then the judge must struggle to decide which is the best of a sad lot. It is not unusual for an inexperienced exhibitor to ask a judge, “How could you put up a dog with three major faults over my beautiful Boo Boo?”

The problem is not a simple one. Boo Boo has major faults, too, maybe more than the other dog. The trouble is that Boo Boo’s owner either does not see the faults of his dog or he is attempting to minimize them while, at the same time, magnifying those of the other dog. Moreover, the judge is looking for balance. He or she tries to decide which of the dogs before him or her is the best balanced in overall quality, with the best type and that comes closest to the dog described in the breed standard.

Judges cannot ignore it

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84 – April, 2021

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=199451

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