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JUDGING TO THE BREED STANDARD

Joseph Byer, Jr., Research Editor

 

This small addition to Kennel Club judging contracts can promote judging in adherence to the breed standard and preserve features of purebred type.

 

Breed StandardThe educational requirements to become an AKC judge would benefit purebred dogs if to raise the bar of educational excellence in a couple of areas.

 

It is a generally accepted academic principle that exams are a teaching tool. Judges are given a quiz on the breed’s standard as part of the AKC’s requirements to be approved. It is a 25-question test that does not touch on all requirements, not even some of the fundamental ones and it is an open book quiz.

 

If the test the American Kennel Club is administering to its judging applicants is lacking in breed fundamentals, we can then understand why the results produced by their judges are also seriously compromised in both quality and breed excellence. Here are some random examples.

 

The Rottweiler Standard describes a docked tail and yet the test given to judge the breed contains ZERO questions about tails. Consequently 8 Rottweilers with long tails have earned a Championship.

 

Alaskan Malamutes with level toplines are being awarded because they are magnificent looking, BUT a sloping topline is one of the three essential things needed to retain their individual characteristics.

 

The Spinone standard emphasizes that it is a “head” breed and yet the test does not emphasize the head? Is this why there are many Spinone being shown and finished with bad heads?

 

The Doberman Pinscher is a cropped and docked breed yet not one breed test question mentions this fact. Notably the Doberman is the only cropped breed with NO description of a dropped ear in the Breed Standard yet judges are putting up uncropped Dobermans

 

In Cardigan Welsh Corgis, judges may penalize a high tail carriage by confusing that with a high tail set which the Standard deems a serious fault. Should the test questions make this distinction?

 

Breeders are dismayed that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are being awarded with coats that have been “played with”, i.e. stripping out undercoat, back-brushing and use of thickening agents. Coat is an important breed characteristic.

 

Conversely, some judges are eliminating Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever exhibits just because the tail lacks a white tip but this is NOT a requirement in the breed standard! There are two judging test questions that fail to make clear the standard’s statements on tail color.

 

The Schipperkes Standard states that either a level or scissors bite is acceptable yet there are judges disregarding this when judging the breed. A possible reason may be the AKC test; the only applicable test question is about a slightly overshot bite.

 

All Parent Clubs need to redouble their efforts to educate judges properly and combine it with our next step in order to be as proactive as possible.

 

Let me suggest that breed club show chairs have completely missed the boat by not tightening up their contracts with clauses to protect the Breed Standard requirements. Breed clubs are responsible for the protection and preservation of their breed so they should work with show giving member and host clubs to ensure the continuance of a standard-conforming purebred dog.

 

With all the attorneys as AKC judges and dog club members you would think sound legal practices would be followed, after all isn’t “Contracts 101” the first year of law school?

 

The contract between judges and clubs covers transportation, food, travel and the judge’s fee but most overlook the most important, underlying reason for all of exhibiting; the promulgation of the breed standard.

 

The judge’s contract does not in any way dictate how the judge is to perform but every kennel club should properly exercise its right and duty to preserve breed type.

TheJudgesPlace.com EST 2005 Feb 2015 R1172203 http://www.thejudgesplace.com/Judges-education/Judging-To-Standard_J.Byer-152.asp

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