1. Are you an active
breeder of German Shepherd Dogs? Do you have a kennel name ?
kennel is Asgard Kennel, and has been in existence, first in Michigan and
now in California, for approximately 25 years.
2. How long have you been in
the breed? When and how did you get started ? Are you affiliated
with any clubs ?
I have been in the breed for approximately
30 years. The first German Shepherd I owned was given to me by Tedi
as a gift before we were married. After we were married, we bought
a bitch from a breeder, Wyn-Dean Kennels. She had a health problem
and when we returned her, Hazel Parks replaced her with the second pick
of the litter. We showed that bitch for awhile, and took a few ribbons,
and bred her. She carried the double sable gene, so we had something
in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 sable puppies to get us started in the
I am currently a member of the Riverside-San
Bernardino German Shepherd Dog Club, and the German Shepherd Dog Club of
Long Beach. I have usually remained a member of the German Shepherd
Dog Club of Los Angeles, and the German Shepherd Dog Club of San Gabriel
Valley, but currently I am not a member of that club. I am currently
on the Board of Directors of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, and
have remained a member in excess of 20 years
3. How long have you been judging
.I am limiting my judges' assignments
to two times a year, and having just received my license, have yet to do
my first show. I am committed to one show in 1998 at this time.
4. How many times a year do you
judge German Shepherds?
I assume this question means the number
of shows I have judged at, and therefore, having not received any assignments
yet, am unable to answer this question
5. Over the last 2 years has
the number of shows:
6. Have you ever judged the National
Specialty? If yes, when and what classes ?
7. Do you prefer:
a) do you
judge at both all-breeds and specialties ?
you judged at both all breeds and specialties
elaborate on and explain your answers to 7, 7a and 7b. d)
If you indicated
a preference for Specialty assignments, would you consider doing German
Shepherd Dogs at an all-breed if you were given a large ring, the entry
was supported by a specialty club and the show was on the same
weekend as a nearby specialty or specialty circuit ? Please elaborate.
I am willing to judge at All Breeds
or Specialties. I would prefer a Specialty, as it is that type of
dog which I prefer. If a good quality German Shepherd is shown at
an All Breed, it really makes no difference to me what else surrounds the
ring, be it double handlers or other breeds.
8. Do you have a color preference?
Black and Tan
Black and Red
Black and tan and black and
I have no color preference at all.
I do find that puppies that are sable are very attractive, and I have trouble
not picking them up. However, a good rich color, be it black and
tan, black and red, all black or sable, is equally pleasing to me.
a) Would the color of a dog influence
b) Do you find it harder to judge solid
Yes. It is harder to see a black
unless you are close to it. The color being solid does not let you
see the moving of the muscles and the ligaments. Although that is
not necessary for judging, it is helpful.
9. What importance do you place
on condition of plush versus smooth coat?
I place no emphasis on plush versus
smooth coat, as long as the coat is in good condition. Often a plush
coat is harder to groom out and keep clean, and a smooth coat can often
be an indication of an unhealthy dog. However, if the smooth coat
is shining, and in good condition, it does not make any difference to me.
10. When judging the dog do you
also judge the handler?
Please elaborate if possible.
The popular answer would be to say
"No," but that would not be true. I find that if a top handler is
showing a dog, I take a little harder look at the dog to make sure what
I am seeing is truly there, not what the handler is trying to show me.
If a dog is strung up, I will ask the handler to drop the lead, and if
the dog is traveling at an unusual speed, I may ask that the speed be changed.
I am not judging the handler, but I am a bit more cautious when a top handler
is on the dog.
11. What importance do you place
on missing teeth?
Important and Not Important
I follow the
standard as to missing teeth. I have finished two bitches with a
missing premolar, one of them going twice Select, and Winners Bitch at
the National. Obviously, a missing tooth can be important, if it
is more than two premolars. I would certainly fault a missing tooth,
as the standard calls for it, I would neither discard nor consider that
the only method of judging an animal
12. How do you see bites today?
I usually curl the lips back and look
at the teeth. Generally speaking, bites are better today than they
were in the past, and we very seldom see an undershot dog, perhaps that
is the function of the exhibitors knowing a disqualifying fault.
A rye bite is still a problem, but not a major problem.
13. How do you see strength of
Good and Poor
Ears that are up, and steady are more
pleasant than ones that flop while the dog is in motion. Certainly a weak
ear is to be avoided, but again, is a minor factor of the dog. So
long as the ear is not hanging, it is not a problem in my judging.
14. Do you feel the GSD's temperament
has improved over the past 5
Temperament is one of the major improvements
over the last five years. Ten or fifteen years ago we used to constantly
have to make excuses for our dogs. Many people claimed their dogs
were abused when they were young, and that the temperament was learned,
not inherited. Today, temperament seems to have improved considerably,
although there are still some specific lines and breeders who have ignored
temperament, and it can
be determined. It is difficult
to know the temperament of the dog with a few minutes in the ring.
15. Do you consider temperament
today to be?
Today temperament is strong, and in
many dogs exceptional. There are a few exceptional dogs in temperament,
and a few spooks. The middle range is the standard, and when I am
able to stand in a crowd of 20 or 30 dogs and place my hands on each dog
as I require, I have to believe temperament is always something to be vigilant
about, but nothing to fear.
16. Do you prefer a dog to be
shown on a loose lead?
A dog must be shown at least part of
the time on a loose lead. Although I do not need to see the dog make
20 passes on the loose lead, it is that pass on a loose lead upon which
I will judge the dog. If a handler wants to charge around the ring
with his dog straining and pulling and digging at the end of a tight lead,
he may do so as long as he wants. If he wants that dog placed or
judged, that lead must be dropped, and the dog has to be shown loose.
It would shorten the shows considerably if the handlers would do this from
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
Pasterns, hocks, feet
Shoulder and reach
Coming and going and side gait, 10.
It is a mistake to divide them up and place more emphasis on one than the
other. Faults in movement are faults no matter how they are seen.
Temperament, 10. This is what
makes our dogs a German Shepherd, and is very important.
Teeth, 5, so long as it is not
a serious fault.
Coat, 7, only because it relates to
the overall condition and health of the dog.
Pasterns, hocks, feet, 3. While
these are certainly part of the structure of the dog, if he is able to
perform and move without pain, discomfort or crippling, these are issues
to be left up to the breeder.
Pigment, 6. Although it is more
important than unimportant, pigment is not a factor upon which I would
judge a dog.
Structure, 9. The only reason
I did not say 10 for structure is that I have seen dogs in the past, and
one in particular comes to mind, that had structure that looked very poor
when standing, but in motion was a magnificent, big, easy-going, ground-covering
dog with an iron back and a front reach and rear drive that have yet to
be matched. With that in mind, structure is important, primarily
as to the movement of the dog.
Shoulder and reach, 10. When
I started in this breed, there were very few dogs with a proper shoulder.
Tedi and I have worked hard to breed good shoulders and correct moving
animals. I believe that shoulder and reach is the hardest thing to
get, and I must admit this is probably one of my weaknesses in judging.
A good shoulder will always catch my eye, and it is something that I have
felt strongly about since we began in this breed.
Attitude, 2. I am not concerned
with the attitude in the ring, so long as I can see the structure, movement,
temperament and overall animal. A dog may have a bad day, it may
have a spectacular attitude, but if its structure, temperament and movement
is not correct, it makes no difference. There are some dogs with
a great attitude that spend the entire time in the ring showing off, charging
at the end of the lead, head alert, and very eye catching. This can
be deceiving, and it is not a big priority with me.
18.) Could you briefly describe your
ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs
My ring procedure is to bring the dogs
into the ring and let them take one trip around or possibly two to loosen
up, depending on the age. I then go down each dog and look at the
basic structure, touching the dog.
I will then move the dogs individually
so that they are used to the ring. After moving each dog individually,
I will ask the dog to be brought out to me for a loose-lead temperament
test, and view the dog coming and going, and then take them around individually
again. I will then break into groups of no more than six, and select who
I wish to keep.
After that is completed, I will place
the dogs in the entire class, not just #1-4. It is important to never
lose sight of the end of your class while judging. A dog that may
have not shown you what you are looking for may come on later, and it is
very disappointing for both the exhibitors and the people at ringside to
see a judge who puts four dogs up front and never looks again. No
dog would ever be excused from my ring until they have had a chance to
be viewed again, and on that day, at that time, I may decide that they
are not of sufficient quality to continue to work them, and I would dismiss
those dogs. I will always keep at least five, and usually six dogs
in a ring, before making my placings.
19. Do you think there should
be an age limit in placing points on a dog
(i.e. dogs and bitches under 12 months
No. A dog and bitch should
be judged against the standard. I know there is a problem with the
size, in a younger dog, but I would have no compunction about putting a
dog up that is better in structure and movement, as well as temperament,
just because it is smaller than the open animal. While size is a factor,
as you probably know from my other answers, movement is my primary concern,
probably equal to temperament and structure.
19. If a dog is not exactly
to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller?
Larger. While not necessarily
popular, I find the German Shepherd to be a magnificent animal, able
to do so many functions, and I personally have fallen into the very unfortunate
position of liking a large dog. I find a small dog to be somewhat
offensive, in a breed such as the German Shepherd where its purpose is
a herding animal.
20. Do you think on average
German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme?
No. I am not sure that
the phrase "too extreme" is a phrase that can be used. If a dog is
so extreme that it cannot move properly, or cannot function, or has faults
in movement, then it would be too extreme. An average German Shepherd
is not too extreme, as an average German Shepherd would be between those
dogs that have no angles and are too extreme. For awhile we were
breeding dogs with very extreme top lines, which merely took away the front
reach as they were being bred with a higher wither point which raised
the front of the top line, giving them the extreme top line. The
results were that the dogs did not have the shoulder openings that were
necessary. If a dog is very extreme, but has the proper rear drive,
the correct shoulder opening, an iron back, and moves correctly coming
and going, it cannot be called too extreme.
21. In your opinion should double
handling be allowed?
The key is "should" and the answer
is "yes." The German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog, and
after three or four trips around the ring, can often lose interest.
If double handling is necessary to show me the best in the dog, I see no
problem with it. That being said, double handling is almost always
done wrongly. All double handling should do is to maintain the dog's
interest in its purpose in the ring. It should not be used to distort
the dog, and should only be used sparingly, if at all.
I have had people double handle
a dog while I am standing off in the group awaiting judging, and I have
had people double handle a dog who had just begun to move perfectly on
a loose lead, causing him to break his strike, and distorting his movement.
In my opinion, no one should be allowed to double handle who has not earned
points on a dog while on the end of the lead inside the ring.
22. Should all select dogs, in your
opinion, be OFA (H&E)?
No. I have made this opinion
very clear, both on the internet and at board meetings. While I do
not believe that there is anything wrong with having all Select dogs OFA,
I do not believe OFA should be used as a criteria to be allowed to be shown
as a Select. Our genetic pool is too small as it is. We are
all doing more and more local breeding because of the cost of shipping.
The dogs we breed to are less and less. There is absolutely no correlation
to show that the dogs that go Select have a strong or even a minor impact
on the breed. If you require more and more for a dog to be shown
toward Select, you are going to limit the Select dogs. While we now
have approximately 30 dogs and 30 bitches shown as Selects, if that class
were to be cut down to OFA-certified dogs only, we would get down to 10
or 11 even competing, with one or two being awarded. I want to see
these dogs. Once I have seen them in the ring, I can then inquire
as to their hips and elbow status, and then make a determination for breeding.
OFA is an extremely valuable and important tool, but it is a tool to be
used by the breeder, not the judge. Do not look for what an x-ray
shows, judge with what you see, your knowledge of the standard, and how
close that dog comes to the standard. If the German Shepherd Dog
Club of America changes the standard to include an OFA certification, then
of course, I would change my position. Until that time, I would judge
the dog against the standard, not what is shown on a piece of film, and
not what is shown by a medical test.
23. When making the final selection,
the dog with the most front reach usually wins the class?
No. While I truly love a good
front, I have seen dogs with magnificent shoulders running downhill with
weak backs. The dog with the front reach will not usually win the
class, but the class winner will often have the best shoulder. While
that may sound contradictory, if you view the judging in the shows today,
a dog with a good shoulder is usually the dog with the best overall movement.
24. Do you feel more emphasis
should be put on the total package, and less on movement?
Yes. However, it is hard to
say that the total package does not include good movement. When asked
recently what the biggest problem in the breed today is, I stated the same
thing I said 20 years ago, "Lack of quality."
Some judges will say that a dog is
overall the best dog, but not much of a mover. That is actually a
moronic statement to make. Movement is part of the total package.
Faults and movement, be them coming, going or side gait are serious faults,
and if a dog is beautiful standing, but cannot move, that is a very faulty
25. Do you think the German Shepherd
Dog standard should be changed?
No. The standard is the
standard under which I "signed on" to judge, and is the standard I am willing
to follow. The standard has been changed over the years, and the
most obvious is the exclusion of Whites. Since that's what the standard
calls for, then that is what we must judge on.
If this club, in response to its membership
or the changing or world order, or problems in the breed, decides to change
the standard, then we must do so cautiously and with great concern.
We recently changed the standard to put temperament at the front, I think
that was a good change and will result in even better temperament in the
26. Do you think there should be any
changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please
Yes. The most obvious change
should be back-to-back shows for
Specialties. Specialty clubs
in areas like Reno, Nevada, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Phoenix, and many others,
need this back-to-back showing. We need to allow these clubs to exist,
and many are going out of business, as they lose so much money because
of the small entries. There are other rules that could be changed
and should be changed, but they are so numerous and such personal opinions,
that I will not address them here.
27. 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:
Yes. I have to look at dogs
like Nestles Quik, Bear, Judd, and other dogs. Some of them have
given so much over the years in production of their offspring, not only
do I consider them the ideal German Shepherd, but they are the types of
dogs that I think we should all strive to breed. The ideal German Shepherd
does not actually exist, it is a myth.
It is a myth for us to strive to obtain,
and not one that ever can be obtained. There will never be the perfect
German Shepherd, and that is probably best. If we reach the ideal,
the interest in the sport will probably disappear in that time.
28. Do you feel that in general
the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please
Extremely better. There are those
who say we do not have the dogs we had of yesteryear, and I agree and am
extremely pleased. There was always a star here and there, there
is always in hindsight the great dog, but in reality, the dogs today are
healthier, have better temperament, and are improving all the time.
There is always a problem here and there that shows up, but it is like
selling a car. You forget that the radiator leaked and the transmission
slipped, but it looked so great at 80 miles an hour in the moonlight.
The dogs today are better than ever, they are always improving, and it
is a tribute to the breeders that we have the quality that we do.
29. Do you have a pet peeve about
anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ?
Yes. I do not like people that
keep 30, 40, 50 or 60 dogs at a time. I feel the German Shepherd
needs the personal attention that they deserve, and if denied it, can be
greatly deprived of the happiness they have. I also do not like people
breeding indiscriminate litters to get one or two stars, and disposing
of, culling, or not being responsible for the puppies they breed.
You have to be realistic and understand that while breeding five and six
litters a year may get you a better dog here and there, you are creating
a great problem for the discarded puppies, and this remains my "pet peeve."
30. Do you have any suggestions
for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing
under you ?
Yes. Always be polite to the
other handlers, have a sense of humor, and do not take this too seriously.
This sport is supposed to be for fun and enjoyment. There are people
out there that would "kill for points," and I mean that literally.
Remember to enjoy yourself in the ring, treat your dogs well, try to keep
a smile on your face, and do not get angry.
After all, only two or three people
are going to win at a show, that does not make the rest losers, it just
means they did not win.
31. Do you have any suggestions
for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing
under you ?
Never spit in my face, do not have
your dog attack me, do not bait your dogs with the dog in front of you,
and do not throw food when the show is over. Other than that, and
other than throwing the ribbon in the trash, or beating the dog for not
winning, almost anything else you would want to do in the ring is acceptable
33. Do you have any advice for
people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding?
Listen. Talk to everyone in
the sport, listen to what everyone has to say, and do not be afraid to
discard information even if it comes from the top winning handler or breeder
in the country. You have to make your own way in this sport, and you have
to use intelligence, reason, and understanding. There are people
that will give bad advice just to gain an advantage. Also, remember,
that not everyone in the world is suited to be your friend. Just
because someone is showing German Shepherds does not mean you would want
to go to their home. I remember going to someone's home for dinner,
and watching his wife attack him with a butcher knife, and threaten to
kill him. I realized very quickly, this was probably not the best
person to select as a friend. Pick your friends carefully, do not
be afraid to change your mind, and watch what others are doing.
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 would urge all judges to remember
that courtesy is a two-way street.
Everyone in that ring has paid an
entry, and everyone in that ring, with but a few exceptions, loves their
dog. These are dogs, these are dog shows, and they should be for
the enjoyment of the exhibitors. The judge is there to merely give
his opinion on that day on that dog. It has often been said that
the Grand Victor or Grand Victrix is usually a good dog having a great
day. I think this is true. Remember, just because you may not win
under me or someone else, that is not the true worth of your animal, you
must be your own person and do that which you think is right.
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.
Every day I sit at ringside, I judge
some of the greats. I have not had an assignment at this point, and
therefore I will leave that question to those better versed to answer it.
Remember, if you do not care for a
judge, if you do not agree with that judge's opinion, or if for any reason
you have a different view of the animal, you are right, the judge
is merely giving you his or her opinion on that day. Do not hesitate to
avoid showing under that judge in the future, that's the final way to show
your opinion, and your expertise. You as the exhibitor have paid
for an entry, thereby asking for that opinion. If you are not pleased
with the opinion, use that as guidance for your next entry.