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In Their Own Words – ANC Judges Comments

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258 – February, 2024

By Joan Harrigan

After the AKC National Championship, presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Florida on December 16 and 17, 2023 The Canine Chronicle asked the Group and Best In Show judges for their comments. This show is well-known for its recognition of breeders and owner-handlers through its Bred-by-Exhibitor competition and National Own-er-Handled Series finals, as well as its Junior Showmanship finals. Those Best In Show or Finals judges were also asked for their comments.

The Sporting Group

The Sporting Group was the first to be judged. Just the day before, Karolynne McAteer of Pinehurst, North Carolina had been tapped to fulfill the assignment. She wrote that “my recent assignment of judging the Sporting Group at the AKC National Championship was the result of COVID striking Pluis Davern. Regrettably, she was unable to fly east. We held our breath hoping she’d make it in–but on Friday, my name was posted as the replacement judge. It was an honor to be chosen, but filling Pluis Davern’s role and knowing that every sporting breed winner had come hoping to get to her was not something I took lightly. Following my usual protocol, I wanted to read every standard again, but of course did not have them with me, so it was down to the AKC booth to pick up a new set of Sporting standards.

“Entering the arena, and turning to the entrance, I watched 35 sporting dogs enter the ring. It is rare that we see groups where the entire complement of breeds are entered. So, I was off to a great start. One by one, each of the 35 was examined, and mental notes were made, leaning heavily on the dog’s particular purpose in the field and being mindful of the terrain it was bred to cover and the game it should carry. These were, after all, 35 athletes.

“Suddenly the last dog was on the table. Now the real work of the short list began. For me, I walked the line and pulled my 10 favorites. It was never more evident, as I walked down the line, that breeders are the backbone of our sport. As I said in the ring, the breeder who is the backbone, the owner who allowed the dog the journey that got them into my Sporting Group ring, and the talented handlers–be they breeder/handlers, own-er/handlers, or professionals with their teams–enabled each dog to be presented to perfection. Picking 10 meant that I had to excuse 25 lovely breeds.

“Each of the 10 dogs was taken around individually, and as is usually the case, four came to the top, but all of the 10 on my ‘favorites’ list were worthy of where they were. It is not a trite expression when you say, ‘I just did not have enough ribbons.’ It is the absolute truth.

“My four placements all asked to win; the German Shorthaired Pointer asked a little more. All particulars on the four placements are noted below.”

Click here to read the complete article
258 – February, 2024




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  • April 2024