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 ? 

I am no longer actively breeding; however, when I did, it was with the kennel name Rollingwood 
2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs? 
Although I got my first GSD in 1963, 1 really started in the breed in 1969 with a dog I received as a Christmas present and named "Baron" - what else? In order to learn to control him, I started obedience lessons with the GSDC of Greater Kansas City. I took Baron through CDX training and then got bit by the show bug and the rest is history. 

I have been a member of the GSDC of GKC, GSDC of Long Island and am currently a member and on the Board of the GSDC of Oregon. I have been affiliated with the GSDCA since 1972 (my dues payment was unfortunately lost in the mail with a subsequent lapse in membership in 1978). 1 am also a member of the American Dog Show Judges and the Northwest Dog Judges Study Group.

3.) How long have you been judging the breed? 
I received my approval to judge GSD in 1978. 
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds? 
Over the years, it has averaged 3-4 GSD assignments a year 
5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows? 
Since I have been keeping the records regarding top winning GSDS, I have the statistics which show that the number of all breed shows has increased approximately 7% while specialty shows have increased approximately 4% over the past 3 years. The number of GSDs being exhibited, however, is slightly lower than 5 years ago although we did hit a 5-year high in 1995 
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 ? 
I really don't have a preference. I also am approved for Keeshonden and Chinese Shar-Pei so I often judge all-breed shows. 
8.) Do you have a color preference? 
I have no color preference. 
a) Would the color of a dog influence your judgment? If yes, how and why? 
No, the color of a dog does not play a part in my overall evaluation. 
b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ? If yes, why? 
No. Blacks, bi-colors and sables sort of fall into the category of "what you see is what you get". Shading and coloring can not hide defects as it sometimes can in a classic black and tan. 
9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain. 
Condition is very Important to me;, however, plush or smooth or out of coat is only a consideration when it gets down to making a decision between two animals. 
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible. 
Not really. Sometimes I will help a novice handler who I think is making a good dog look bad but I'm really not 'judging' that handler. 
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth? 
Our standard says complete dentition is preferred and that any missing teeth other than first premolars is a serious fault Personally, I feel faults of temperament, structure and movement are more serious. 
12.) How do you see bites today? 
I see a lot more level bites than I would like to see. I see a few slightly overshot bites but have not seen a grossly overshot bite for many years. 
13.) How do you see strength of ears? 
Although there are many weak, flapping in the breeze ears, I don't see them as often as I do poor earsets. For a while there, the earset seemed to improve but lately we are getting back to offset, overset, etc. 
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years? 
I think the parent club's stand on temperament has helped improve temperament quite a bit. Since I am known to severely penalize poor temperament, I naturally don't have many exhibited under me. I still, however, both observe as well as judge far too many unsure and shy GSDs. The GSD should be a proud, self-confident animal. We need to remember that a lot of temperament is environmental. Puppies need to be socialized and accustomed to loud noises, strange sounds, etc. You can not expect a dog to live its life in a kennel and then go out into the big world and miraculously not react to things with which he is not familiar. 
15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain. 
I guess I basically answered this question with the last question. If I were to place a label on it, I would have to say "pretty good" - which places it somewhere in between very good and good. 
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead? 
Absolutely!!!! 
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 
Side Gait 
Temperament 
Teeth 
Coat 
Pasterns, hocks, feet 
Pigment 
Structure 
Shoulder and reach 
Attitude 

I am not trying to evade the question, but I feel ranking in order of importance falls into the realm of 'fault judging'. Since there is no such thing as the perfect dog, one has to compare what is in the ring to the mental picture of that perfect dog and pick the ones that come closest. Sometimes it is a matter of which faults are disliked the least! 

The best I can do for you is say that first and foremost, is temperament without mental soundness, the dog is worthless no matter how beautiful he is. I am a strong believer of judging to function. If a GSD can not function as a herding dog, a protection dog, a therapy dog, whatever - again he is worthless. So next has to be balance and structural soundness which encompasses coming and going, pasterns, hocks, feet, structure as well as shoulder and reach. 

Without proper structure, he can not have proper side gait. Bear in mind that side gait is not necessarily the fastest one in the ring - the GSD is not a Greyhound. Many faults coming and going, in hocks, pasterns, etc. manifest themselves in the side gait, Teeth, coat and pigment have already been covered. I feel attitude and good character sort of go hand in hand with temperament 

18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class 
My ring procedure has basically not changed over the years. My first contact with the dog is a loose lead temperament test where I approach the dog in the center of the ring. The dog should not shy away or look like he is about to take off for the next county. He should be alert and confident not looking all over for his owner or acting like a block of salt. 

Then I have the handler stack the dog and I go over it. The dog comes and goes and then gaits around the ring. I take notes on each individual dog. After all my individuals, I pull out those dogs that will be in consideration for a placing. This is done in catalog order if the class is large enough. I then evaluate side gait (loose lead) lead) and place them in order of my preference. 

In a small ring with a large class, I will have the dogs wait outside the ring while I individually go over each dog. Not only is it unfair to the dogs to evaluate them with dogs everywhere in the ring, ringside can not see them. I feel this is a 'show' and spectators have a right to see the animals. 

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, although their might be some merit to placing a caveat that says at least some points have to be won after 12 months of age. Sometimes super puppies do not grow up to be even adequate adults. 
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller? 
Again, this is a question that is not cut and dry. Size would have to be evaluated along with everything else and seldom are two dogs perfectly equal in everything else. For the sake of argument, I will assume I have two totally identical, super, no faults, drop dead gorgeous animals except one is oversize and one is undersize. I would probably go with the undersize one because it should be the more agile of the two. 
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme? 
If you define too extreme, as too long in stifle, I would have to agree. Also, many of the dogs being exhibited today are too long - a byproduct of this exaggerated rear angulation. 
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed? 
I have no problem with double handling as long as it is done discreetly and does not interfere with the way I want to see the dog gait. As far as I'm concerned, there is very little difference between double handling, properly done, and bait or squeakie toys. 
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)? 
I do believe that our selects should be OFA certified. I also think our Selects should be free of VWD, be certified by CERF and have a temperament certificate. Let's throw in a performance title for good measure. You say we basically already have that in our Award of Excellence? Exactly! I feel we can accomplish much more by making our Award of Excellence the ultimate goal to strive for. We need to play up this most prestigious of all our awards so that people will strive for it like today they strive for Select and Register of Merit. 

The conformation part of our National Specialty is simply a dog show with one person giving his/her subjective opinion on how the dogs are performing on that day - nothing more !!!! Placing restrictions on the awarding of prizes will not serve any purpose in my way of thinking, 

24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class? 
Under me, the most balanced dog usually wins the class. 
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement? 
Without a doubt As I said before, without soundness, both mental and physical, a GSD can not function as a true German Shepherd Dog. 
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed? 
I can see no reason to change our standard. 
27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate 
I would like to see AKC allow back-to-back specialties for our regional clubs. If that is not possible, then the parent club should sponsor a regional show in conjunction with the regional club's show. Other breed clubs do this and it gives the regional clubs ”legal" back-to-back 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 
Three dogs come to mind - two of which are bitches. One is Jericho's Miss Monique who was the epitome of style and grace with the most beautiful period of suspension. She just floated around the ring always on an totally loose lead. Another is Covy-Tucker Hill's Jordache. She too was the epitome of style and grace with a super attitude, character and temperament. I watched her career from youngster to Select to granddam and she never changed. Even at 10+ years, she still had beauty and style and still moved with grace. The third is Tannenwald's Igor. This was a male" who looked like a male, moved like a male and acted like a male. I feel any of these three could still win today. 
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate 
I really feel the quality is getting better. The awareness of the need for the GSD to perform as well as look beautiful is the driving force behind this. 
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ? 
Not socializing their animals or ring training them before entering and exhibiting them at a dog show. 
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ? 
Handlers - show the dogs the way I want to see them. Owners - be discreet about your double handling. 
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ? 
Handlers - don't show the dogs racing and charging on a tight lead. Owners - don't moss up your dogs with stupid double handling. 
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding? 
Talk to as many people as you can. Pick everyone's brain. Read as many books, magazines, articles, etc. as you can. Go to as many shows as you can - videotape the shows to study later, especially in slow motion. Join the regional club in your area and go to the meetings. loin the parent club, go to the national specialty, go to board meetings if you can. Go to any seminars that are offered. Study pedigrees. And then form your own opinion and your own ideas. 
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 
We, as judges, are the guardians of this wonderful breed. Breeders will always breed what is winning, It is therefore up to us as judges to set the goals to which they breed. 
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. 
I have been privileged to judge some beautiful dogs - dogs that have gone on to be Grand Victor, Grand Victrix, Select, Register of Merit and AOE. In their own right, they are all one of our greats. 
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Copyright © 1997 - 2006, SpiderWOman 11/17/97