Rosemarie (Rose) O'Hara
by Gini Addamo, Meet The Judge Columnist
Approved for: RNov, RAdv, RExc, Many Herding, Sporting and a few other breeds.
As we look around ringside and note the vigor and health of elder judges, we should count our blessings that we are a part of showing dogs. There's much we
can learn from those senior judges who remain involved and engaged. Dogs do keep us healthy!
TDP: In which judged activity did you first compete? Obedience, Conformation, or Performance?
TDP: About when was that and with what breed?
1980 with a Sable Shetland Sheepdog.
TDP: Did you owner handle or have you always used handlers?
RAO: I have
always handled my own dogs in Obedience and Performance and very
occasionally used a friend (usually the dog’s breeder or sire’s owner in the
case of one of my pups and they handled the dog without being paid, and I’ve
done the same for other friends) to handle in conformation but mainly showed
my own dogs.
TDP: What is/was your primary breed and how long were you involved?
started out showing Irish Setters, but quickly moved to Shetland
Sheepdogs for many, many years and for the past 10 years, Australian
Shepherds. There has usually also been a rescue dog of some kind as a
permanent resident. Formerly that dog was our beloved chocolate Lab, Quik,
now it’s my husband’s rescue Min Pin, China.
TDP: In what single area has that breed most improved?
Shetland Sheepdogs have NOT improved, and Aussies didn’t particularly need
to, they simply need to maintain what they have always been---an attractive
working dog of great versatility.
TDP: What is the biggest problem you see in the breed today?
Shetland Sheepdogs, it’s temperament and in Australian Shepherds it’s health
issues, specifically Epilepsy.
TDP: Do you have a “personal” dog now and if so, what breed?
RAO: Yes, I
have six “personal dogs”, five are Aussies, four of my own breeding, and one
rescue Min Pin girl who claims my husband. They are all loved equally and
TDP: Do you own other animals? If so, what?
don’t have other animals at the moment but would love to add a miniature
TDP: Do you think the purebred dog is better today than it was 20 years ago? Why
RAO: If it
is, it is because more people are more interested in performance sports, and
that requires a good temperament and excellent structure as well as good
TDP: Which do you feel is more important in a breeding program, the dog or the
are equally important!
TDP: When considering a breeding, which do you look at first, pedigree or
RAO: I look
at pedigree to ensure that I am not crossing too closely into lines that are
already present, but would never make a decision based solely on
TDP: What is the single most important physical characteristic you look for in a
Overall type and structure. The whole picture has to be there. I don’t just
look at one part, it’s how they function together that counts.
TDP: In what field are/were you employed outside of dogs?
OUTSIDE of dogs---NOPE. My husband has always been generous enough to help
me follow my dream of ALWAYS being about the dogs outside of my own family.
I’ve been involved mostly as a trainer and for several years (because I had
a strong curiosity) I worked as a vet tech, too.
Never made a lot of money at
it, but that wasn’t the goal. Making a difference and
learning were the goals, and we sacrificed whenever necessary so that I
could do just that.
TDP: About how long have you been judging?
Conformation since 1993, Obedience since 1990, Rally since 2005.
TDP: How many breeds,
groups, or classes
are you currently approved for?
levels obedience; all levels Rally; in conformation, I do most of the
herding breeds, most of the hunting/sporting breeds, many of the guardian
breeds, and a few toy breeds, a few terriers, and of the “big 3” at the
moment I am only approved to judge APBT’s, but intend to add the other two.
TDP: Do you plan to apply for more breeds/groups?
TDP: Which breed (or group) do you personally enjoy doing the most?
TDP: What is the most annoying thing exhibitors do?
stewards search for them to start the class.
TDP: What is the most important thing exhibitors shoulddo in your ring?
RAO: Have a loose lead.
TDP: Do you usually fly or drive to your assignments? Which do you prefer?
RAO: I do
both. I don’t think I have a preference. <G> I’m pretty patient about
TDP: Have you judged in another country, if so, where and which breeds?
and I don’t think I am aimed that way. Very time consuming and since I still
very actively compete with my own dogs in several sports, I would prefer to
be able to continue to do that.
TDP: Have you judged for another registry, if so, which one and which breeds?
and some Rare Breed Associations. I enjoy the challenge of learning a rare
breed and getting it right.
TDP: What is the most inconsiderate thing a kennel club can do to its judges?
give them a reliable contact person they can actually REACH while they are
traveling and not making sure they are met at the airport.
TDP: What is the nicest thing a kennel club can do for the judges?
RAO: Provide the above and be friendly and welcoming.
TDP: What do you look at first when you turn to assess a class or group?
TDP: Do you evaluate puppies as puppies or as adults when selecting winners?
That is difficult to quantify. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t at least
take into consideration to some degree the fact that they are puppies. But I
only let it weigh into the final decision if EVERYTHING else is equal
between the puppy and the adult. If everything is equal, I will award the
adult because I am sure that the promise has been fulfilled in the adult and
is not yet fulfilled completely in the puppy. Otherwise, each dog is
evaluated as they stand before right then. If the puppy is good enough to
beat the adult as he is that day, then he deserves the win and gets it from
TDP: Are you a Delegate. If so, does your club instruct or do you vote on your
TDP: Are you comfortable with Breed Take-Away and the Reps new authority in that
would be, yes.
TDP: What advice would you give aspiring judges?
to read and understand standards, REALLY understand them and the proper use
of the terms in them. Many standards have terms in them that it is very
obvious that the breeders don’t understand because there are breeds with
terms like “a well laid back shoulder” and you almost never SEE a “well laid
back shoulder” in that breed! Either the breeders don’t understand that
term, or someone who wrote the standard didn’t understand what it meant,
because they aren’t producing dogs that have that trait to any desirable
degree and judges are rewarding it without comment. EVERYONE who breeds
should take the time and make the effort to learn what their standard’s
terms really mean and this applies double or triple to judges! Breeders rely
on the judge to help guide their efforts by rewarding the best traits in the
ring. If you can’t do that properly, you damage the breed, sometimes
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