How Do Ex-Handlers Judge Dogs

Do Former Handlers Judge Differently?



Unexpected questions might be disconcerting to some people but Judges are expected to think on their feet.  Almost without exception, our questions elicit delightful spontaneity. Today's Provisional may be tomorrow's All Rounder so we asked a cross section of successful ii Pro Handlers who have become judges...


Do You See Dogs The Same As You Did As A Handler?



 (Oregon - All Sporting, Hound, Non-Sporting, and Toy Groups, BIS)

“No, I don’t look at the dogs as I did as a handler. I used to look at a dog as a winning dog but in a different light. As a professional handler what I did, I read the standard on that dog to learn something about the breed before I really got into it. But what happens is most handlers want a dog to win regardless of whether it’s correct or not. They want a winner. As a judge, when I go in the ring, I try to find the most quality dog to the standard and when I say to the standard, it is my knowledge of what the standard says and my knowledge from input on that breed over the years and experience plays a big part in judging dogs. (he paused thoughtfully) Because you can learn just from the standards, but you also got to have some kind of understanding to go by also. More than what just the standard says it should be.”



 (Tennessee - most Working Breeds) “No, I don’t think I look at dogs just the same way as I did as a handler because as a handler, I looked at them from the perspective of just what the good and bad points were and then what I could to do to present that dog to it’s best advantage. As a judge, I’m going to have to know the good and find the bad points to base a decision on.”




 (North Carolina - All Breeds)

 “Yes, I believe I look at them the same way because I was always judging dogs as a handler with the thought in mind was I able to buy it for a client? or was it a dog I really liked? I looked at it as the same way as I do now which is type first, overall appearance second, and movement third. No, to me, there was no difference. I was always very aware of the dog’s quality. I said “Thank you Ma’am” or “Thank you Sir”, and sometimes I felt like saying “Yes I agree with you”, but I only got paid to show them well, (she laughed) I didn’t necessarily have to like them.”



(Florida -Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting Groups)

 “Yes, I think that when you are a handler, you are judging your dogs, meaning the quality of the exhibit you bring in the ring. That’s your job. I think as a judge you’re judging the quality of the exhibit standing in front of you, once again, because that’s your job. I think it’s the same thing. As a handler, it’s of course, your job to make the judge think it looks better (I heard the smile in her voice) or at least, as good as it can be. But I still think you look at them with the same eye, you should, to be a good handler or a good judge.”


If you were a handler and judge more than one breed or know someone we should call for an update, CLICK HERE.

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The Ring Steward says "You can now go back to the Center Ring Section!"The Ring Steward says "You can now go back to the Judges View From The Center Ring!"  We invite you to learn how the Judges view the sport and the dogs.  Dog Show Judges share their judging expertise, backgrounds, and opinions in exclusive interviews and comments.


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