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Alva Rosenberg – Dean of American Dog Judges

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194 – August, 2016

by Amy Fernandez

The moment the first loser stalked out of the first dog show judging qualifications became the central controversy of this sport. Not only has it defied resolution for well over a century, the surrounding furor has never dropped one decibel.

AKC isn’t the only group that has brainstormed this situation to hell and back. Even so, every new requirement, procedural change, or philosophical reinvention frustratingly and predictably yields the same mixed bag of results fueling that perennial debate. Regardless of what breed or what judge is being raked over the coals, those conversations inevitably come around to “the old days” when the sport had some truly great judges. Whatever system AKC was using back then obviously worked a lot better than anything they’re doing now.

Few names come up in that context more frequently than Alva Rosenberg. Dubbed the Dean of American Judges,
anecdotes about his inspiring influence pop up in almost every breed’s history. That is an amazing testament to his talent. Rosenberg’s judging approval process was actually pretty simple and straightforward; buddy up to the AKC president.

He was 18 when he started. A mere ten years later, he was approved by AKC for all breeds. By any reckoning, achieving that level of competence in that amount of time is unfathomable. In reality, Rosenberg had been working on his qualifications way longer than a decade. By his own account, dogs had obsessed him for as long as he could remember.

Like most people, his family had a couple of dogs, but their interest never extended beyond owning a few house pets. He grew up in Brooklyn, and even in the 1890s it was city life. There was nothing in Rosenberg’s background or childhood to explain his dog mania. By the time he was eight, his parents were so sick of it, they took him to Westminster hoping that the overwhelming experience would, in his words, “finally shut him up”. It worked about as well as taking an inveterate gambler to Vegas for the weekend. Back then, shows also operated as dog markets, with prices listed in catalogs alongside the other entry information.

Click here to read the complete article
194 – August, 2016

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Posted by on Jun 30 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.

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  • July 2020