The following is an attempt to improve communication between the judges of our breed, and the people who show under them.  

1.) Are you an active breeder of German Shepherd Dogs? Do you have a kennel name ?  

Yes, I breed about two litters every three years. My kennel name is Caretti.
2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs?  
I was given a non registered shepherd my senior year in college. (1975). A couple of years later, I bought a Zeus of Fran-Jo grandson as a pet from a couple who was showing . Their dogs, and the show pictures sparked my interest. I received my first "Review" in November of 77, joined the GSDC of Jackson, MS., and the parent club in 78. My foundation bitch was a Sirocco daughter, bred by Gail Sprock.
3.) How long have you been judging the breed?  
I've been judging since 1993.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds?  
3 to 4 times per year.
5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows?  
Increased
6.) Have you ever judged the National Specialty? If yes, when and what classes ?  
No
7.) Do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties, which do you prefer ?  
    Specialties. I've judged at both. I enjoy showing and judging at both all breed and specialties. However, like many folks, I would rather show and or judge in a large grass ring, which usually is at a specialty.
8.) Do you have a color preference?  
No preference 
a. No, color would not influence my judging 
b. I feel it takes more concentration to judge solid blacks.
9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain.  
A plush coated dog is certainly more easy to look at, but if the smooth coated one was the better animal, it would win.
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible.  
No. Sometimes I overlook the handler to get the best dog!
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth?  
The standard states that any missing tooth other than a #1 premolar is a serious fault. It also says that faults of gait and temperament are considered very serious. If judging dogs equal or near equal in gait and temperament, a missing tooth other than a #1 premolar would weigh in the decision.
12.) How do you see bites today?  
Overall, very good.
13.) How do you see strength of ears?  
Good, especially compared to 10-12 years ago. I do feel, however, that a good number of animals have ears that are wide, or ears that are fairly tall, and that we have just become used to looking at them.
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years?  
Yes. Either temperament has improved, or socialization and training has improved. Maybe all three have. Perhaps, I'm idealistic, but I think that the loose lead temperament test has been a factor.
15.) How do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain.  
Very good.
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead?  
I want to see a dog on a loose lead some, but not necessarily all of the time. I prefer them to be shown at a moderate speed, and for the handler to give me a loose lead at least on the lap that I specifically request it. Many times, dogs shown on a tight lead at a fast speed will distort their toplines and restrict their fronts....... An outreaching sidegait is good, but an outreaching sidegait that is fluid is better. Two dogs with similar backs, front and rear angulation, and proportions may differ in fluidity due to things such as ligamentation, musculature, conditioning, AND the way they are handled.
17.) How would you rate the following in sequence of importance? (On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). 
Coming and going 8 
Side Gait 10  
Temperament 10 
Teeth 7 
Coat 6 
Pasterns, hocks, feet 7 
Pigment 7 
Structure 10 
Shoulder and reach (I consider this a part of side gait.) 
Attitude 8
18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class  
After checking armbands, I divide the class up if necessary, and have the groups go around a couple of times to loosen up. I then do individuals, which includes a loose lead temperament test first, then a teeth and testicles (if males) check, down and back, and a solo trip around the ring. I have them go around again, and arrange them in the order I like them. I proceed with each group in the same manner . I then go back to each group, have it go around, then separate the dogs I am considering from the ones I am not. I let the second group go around again to make sure I've not overlooked any I should be keeping, then dismiss the group. I then work the "keepers", and figure out the placements....... Certain things I do or don't do as a judge are a result of my being a breeder/exhibitor. For example, I make a concerted effort to enable puppies to have a positive experience the the ring........I don't make a "show" of my reasons for not having a dog higher up in placements, unless I feel it is absolutely necessary......In a group of "keepers" of a large class, I pull out and arrange only the top four or five......In winners, I work the entire class, leaving them in the original order. I then pull out and work the dogs I'll be considering for the points, without rearranging the others.
19.) Do you think there should be an age limit in placing points on a dog (i.e. dogs and bitches under 12 months of age)?  
No. Sometimes the best animal shown on a particular day is a puppy. I do think, however, that requiring a dog to be at least a year for one of his majors is worthy of discussion.
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller?  
I would not fault a dog for size unless he/she was very large or very small.
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme?  
On average, no.
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed?  
Yes and No. I have double handled with the best of them, so" yes", I think it should be allowed. AKC says it is against the rules, so my answer is "no"! Actually, I don't have a problem with it at specialties as long its not overdone. I don't mind it at all breeds as long as other breeds and or the AKC rep are not disturbed. From personal experience, I know this can be done!
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)?  
No, not that I don't think OFA is important. I just don't see how it can work as long as our National is an AKC event, where the best of breed class cannot be a conditional one. What the title of "select" means or should mean is at the center of this controversy. Perhaps we should have a national discussion to decide on a meaning, and how to implement it.
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class?  
Not necessarily. Front reach is important, but only a part of the dog's movement, and a part of the total dog.
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement?  
The total package includes type, temperament, AND movement. All three are essential.
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed?  
No.
27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate  
Yes. I feel strongly that AKC should allow back to back specialty shows.
28.) Is there a dog, whether alive now or not, who to you typifies most closely the "ideal" German Shepherd Dog ? If yes, please explain and give details  
Mystique typifies the ideal GSD in my opinion. Her gorgeous breed type and outstanding movement enabled her to win top awards in both specialty and all breed shows. I was privileged to give her BOB at my first provisional. Not a very tough call!
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate  
Better, especially when compared to the late 70's/early 80's.
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ?  
This isn't really a pet peeve, but, I am surprised at the number of dogs I have seen with teeth that are covered with tartar. I'd like to hand out knuckle bones along with the ribbons!
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ?  
Be a good sport. Treat the judge, other exhibitors, and the dogs with respect. Bring dogs to me that are clean and in good condition....not overweight (obviously), but not skin and bones with a fluffed up coat either. Neither condition is ideal.
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ?  
Never assume that a smile and a southern accent means easily intimidated! 
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding?  
Listen and learn from people who have been successful, but then learn to make decisions yourself. Learn from your mistakes...everyone makes them, but some make them over and over.....Have fun! There are wonderful friends to be made and kept for a lifetime.....Remember the words of Ed Barritt (one of my favorite quotes)..... "It's a dog show, not a liver transplant!"
34.) Is there anything else you would like to say about judging or about the German Shepherd breed today ? If so, please feel free to say it here  
I learned at my first provisional that it is much easier to judge a show from ringside, sitting in a lawn chair, sipping a Diet Coke! Judging is work!........but a labor of love. On the flip side, there is plenty of work involved doing everything needed just to walk in the ring with a showdog. This too is a labor of love..............Judging this breed that we all love is a great responsibility. It must be done keeping the TOTAL dog in mind, and according to the standard, rather than personal preference.
35.) Have you ever judged one the of the greats? If so, can you give a rundown of this dog for the people who have not had the privilege to even see it.  
As I stated above, I had the privilege of judging Mystique, one of the all time "great ones".
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Copyright © 1997, SpiderWoman 01/24/98