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!
by Joan Weiskopf,
Meet The Judge Columnist
Approved for: All
Terrier Breeds, Giant Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher, Brussels
Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy
Spaniel, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Toy Manchester
Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon,
Pekingese, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle, Pug, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox
Terrier, Yorkshire Terriers, Bulldog, Poodle, JS, Best In Show (BIS), Groups 4 &
5 as of July 2006
TDP: In which judged activity did you first compete?
Obedience, Conformation, or Performance?
TDP: About when was that and with what breed?
DJK: 1973 Miniature Schnauzer
TDP: Did you owner handle or have you
always used handlers?
TDP: Do you have other dogs now and if so, what breed?
DJK: Cavalier King Charles
and Japanese Chins although we're not breeding Chins any
longer. We're still breeding Cavaliers and my original breed
which as I said, was Miniature Schnauzers. I owner handled
them but then I turned professional in that I was a
specialty handler of that breed, much as there are specialty
handlers in poodles or cockers.
TDP: Do you own other animals? If so what?
DJK: A few breeds of cats
and specifically now Cornish Rex. I showed her to her Grand
Champion title and a Best Cat In Show.
TDP: Which do you feel is more important in a breeding
program, the dog or the bitch? Why?
DJK: Bitches because that
is what seemed to be superior in the line I was breeding.
TDP: When considering a breeding, which do you look at
first, pedigree or physical virtues?
DJK: I was breeding one
specific line of Mini-Schnauzers and always was able to look
for and find a match within that family.
TDP: What is the single most important physical
characteristic you look for in a dog?
DJK: Breed type specific
to the standard of that breed. What I might look for in a
Peke would be different than what I would look for in a Toy
Fox Terrier. They have different structure and requirements.
TDP: In what field are/were you employed outside of dogs?
DJK: Pharmaceuticals, I
worked for Glaxo-Smith Kline for 27 years.
TDP: About how long have you been judging?
DJK: Since 1994.
TDP: How many breeds or groups are you currently approved
DJK: Terriers, Toys,
Standard and Giant Schnauzers, Bulldogs, Poodles JR. show
TDP: Do you plan to apply for more breeds/groups?
DJK: I may continue with
the non-sporting group and also herding group.
TDP: Which breed (or group) do you personally enjoy doing
DJK: Of course I enjoy
every breed that I am approved to do because why would I
judge them if I didn't enjoy them? If I had to say, probably
Cavaliers and Schnauzers even a tab bit more because I know
so much more about them. I know so many more of the nuances
of breed type because I bred them for so many years. They
are very dear to my heart, those two breeds. I think the
closer you are to something, the more passionate you are
about doing it.
TDP: What is the most annoying thing exhibitors do?
DJK: Running a dog when it
is not appropriate for the breed.
TDP: What is the most important thing exhibitors should do
in your ring?
DJK: Follow instructions.
TDP: Do you usually fly or drive to your assignments? Which
do you prefer?
DJK: I prefer driving and
fly albeit an unpleasant necessity.
TDP: Have you judged in another country, if so, where and
DJK: England, Schnauzers,
TDP: Have you judged for another registry, if so, which one
and which breeds?
TDP: What is the most inconsiderate thing a kennel club can
do to its judges?
DJK: Leave a judge at the
TDP: What is the nicest thing a kennel club can do for the
DJK: Most clubs are more
TDP: What do you look at first when you turn to assess a
class or group?
DJK: I send them around
looking at type and movement. What you look at first is very
dependant on how you structure your ring and since I bring
them in and send them around first, that ends up being what
I look at first. Side movement and how they hold their type
in side movement, and then what I usually do is go down the
line and look. And one of the things that hits you first is
head type. You naturally start in the front of the dog and
work towards the rear so the first thing that hits you is
TDP: Do you evaluate puppies as puppies or as adults when
DJK: You have to evaluate
them as puppies because that's what they are. You have to
judge them as they are on that day and if they still conform
to the breed standard, they can win. If not, then they have
to go home and grow up and come back and win when they do
conform. In that regard, toy breeds may have a slight
advantage because they generally mature quicker.
TDP: What do you look for in judging breed as opposed to
judging the group:
DJK: I always look for the
same thing, I judge the dogs to their standards.
TDP: What advice would you give aspiring judges?
DJK: Be prepared for lots
of paperwork and keep good records.
TDP: What was your most memorable judging experience:
DJK: I am most proud of
the fact that I have judged the National for all 3
Schnauzers, Minis, Standards, and Giants.
TDP: Thank you for taking time to do this for our readers.