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, our 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 breed.

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 the breed?

.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:

N/A

6. Have you ever judged the National Specialty? If yes, when and what classes ?
NO

7.  Do you prefer:
  Specialties
  All-Breeds
  No Preference
  No Answer

     a) do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties ?
     b) would you judged at both all breeds and specialties
     c) please 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
  All Black
  Sable
  Bi-color
  Black and tan and black and red
  No preference

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 your judgment?

NO

b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ?

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?
  Important
  Not important
  Both
  No answer

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?
  Yes
  No
  No answer
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?
  Very important
  Important
  Not important
  Important and Not Important
  No Answer

     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?
  Very good
  Good
  Poor
  No answer

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 ears?
  Very good
  Good
  Poor
  Good and Poor
  No answer

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
years?
 

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?
  Excellent
  Very good
  Good
  Fair
  Poor
  No Answer

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?
  Yes
  No
  No answer

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 the beginning.

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

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 large class 

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 of age)?
 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 animal.
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 future.

26. Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate:

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 elaborate:

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 to me.
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.
 

Back to Judges 
Copyright © 1997 - 2006, SpiderWOman Last Updated - 11/17/97