by Gordon Garrett, B.A., CKC Judge (All-Breeds), GSD Authority
It was one of those shows that limit the entry to 175 dogs, 6 shows in 3 days. One of the first things
I noticed was that they had too many judges. As an ex-judge I know. A judge does not want to judge less than 100 dogs a day.
People watching don’t enjoy either…when in a lot of cases each breed is represented by one or two dogs and in some cases it will be two very good dogs and our latter day judges select the wrong dog. I say the wrong dog but my perspective is based on structure determined by how they move.
A male English Setter went over the female a few times and finally I went over to the handler of the female and asked if they were from the same kennel, and she said no. Then I asked why the other dog kept beating her. She said, “It has a better top line and the female carries her ears flat.” Well actually, yes, the female had a better shoulder assembly determined from ring side by a longer neck and better reach in front, it didn’t have as high a wither but she did have a firm back, better balance, better rear angulation, and more proper movement from the side and coming.
There was a Great Dane there that won the Great Dane breed at Westminster Kennel Club, a couple of beautiful Boxers, a great Doberman Pinscher, really good Newfoundland and a Yorkshire Terrier that had won Best of Breed at the U.S. Yorkshire Terrier National Specialty from the classes. The Yorkie won the Group at this show and the owner let me go over it. It reminded me of the Yorkie from France I had seen in Cuba that moved like a German Shepherd.
At the Group and Best in Show level the animals were excellent. I was unimpressed with the 4 German Shepherds in the show. Shepherds stay away in Ontario. Is it small show rings, judges, or maybe because of the limited entry, or because they only go to specialties?
The CKC has some problems they should be addressing. At the limited entry shows handlers get their entries in early and long before the closing date so there are no more dogs accepted.
The CKC is apparently satisfied because they get their share from six shows of around 170 instead of perhaps 3 shows of 350. This is a way of keeping the hinterland shows going even though they are less competitive and just a place where handlers can bring lesser dogs to finish Championships. The practice has spread; they are hurting their own product. It takes the risk out, shows are downsizing to adapt but it is a sign of diminishing quality.
The present form of permit judging without any feedback on the permit Judge is obviously inadequate. I contend it is a form of the CKC denying their responsibility to the exhibitors of purebred dogs which is to provide capable Judges. That is tantamount to sending an applicant for a drivers license out with a car and without an inspector, and if they arrive back safely, issuing a license.
A video recording of every show, sent into the judges committee and analyzed would move towards improving the quality of our Canadian Judges. As one exhibitor said,” The American judges are much better.”
Is that because of more AKC shows? Bigger entries and more competition?
Or better judges education?
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