Interview With Gary Szymczak

  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, active in breeding, exhibiting - Kennel Name: Pa-Gairs
2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs?  
20 yrs. Started upon Drs. orders to get a hobby for an ulcer. Joined an obedience club and trained in obedience and tracking.  Clubs: Shoreline and GSDTC of Chicago (20 yr. member) and the GSDC of America.
3.) How long have you been judging the breed?  
7 yrs.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds?  
I limit my assignments to 3-4 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 (not yet)
7.) Do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties, which do you prefer ?  
No Preference
8.) Do you have a color preference?  
No preference. Re: Blacks - Yes - I find it difficult to pick up their movement
9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain.  
Not important
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible.  
No....But if the handler is rude or doesn't follow my instructions it could effect their placing.
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth?  
Important and not important...in my opinion our breed has other more significant problems, and depends which tooth or teeth are missing
12.) How do you see bites today?  
Good
13.) How do you see strength of ears?  
Good
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years?  
yes...absolutely - we have made great strides in temperament
15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain.  
Good... always room for improvement
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead?  
Yes - I demand it, and fault those who are not shown loose and slow, and no "racing"
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  7 
Side Gait  10  
Temperament  9 
Teeth  3 
Coat  4 
Pasterns, hocks, feet  2 
Pigment  1 
Structure  8 
Shoulder and reach  5 
Attitude  6
18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class  
As a group, individual, twice around loose - loose lead temperament exam...class size should not dictate procedure.  Everyone gets a fair judgment
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...you judge the best dog that day
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller?  
Larger - males.....Smaller  - bitches
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme?  
No - much more extreme years ago
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed?  
Yes and No - as long as it doesn't interfere with the temperament exam, and it's not excessive.
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)?  
No - OFA does not guarantee OFA progeny - Also, its a dog show, you judge the dog, not its hips
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class?  
No...just a portion of the total dog
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement?  
Yes - again its part of the total animal
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  
No
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  
Sundance Kid - he was a total package
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate  
Definitely better - more correct in movement and temperament
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ?  
Not following my instructions and excessive doubling which does not allow seeing the dog loose.
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ?  
Your paying for my opinion, I'm not paying for yours...Be A Sportsman
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ?  
Do not try to intimidate me
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding?  
Love the breed, Love your animal, Love the sport and the rest doesn't really matter.
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  
Educate and respect the breeders, mandates aren't necessary
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 honored to judge and pointed animals that became, GV, Selects Can. GV, and multiple Best in Show winners.
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