Interview With Kay Reamensnyder

  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...BEDKAR
2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs?  
19 years. I had GSD in the late 60's.  Got my first GSD from Grant Mann...she was a Troll v. Richterbach granddaughter. Also had the pleasure of getting to know Helen Hess (Hessian Kennels)..in fact, we still correspond at Christmas. I am currently a member of the GSDCA, GSDC of OR, GSDC of Greater. Eugene, GSDCC and Aust. Shep Club of America.  I also belong to Greater Clark Co. K.C. and two judges groups.
3.) How long have you been judging the breed?  
About 4 years.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds?  
About 5 ..I had to pass on two assignments this year because of time and distance restraints.
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 ?  
No preference
8.) Do you have a color preference?  
I have a soft spot for sables, personally, but I do not let that dictate my judging.
9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain.  
Not important....As long as it is the proper "double " coat, clean and in good condition, "tight" and "plush" is not important.  I tend to be a little more forgiving on coats with bitches..they have a little more to deal with than the boys.
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible.  
I try not to. There are just times that a novice handler really fouls up a good dog.  I try to give them the benefit of a doubt and a little extra time, but if the dog is presented poorly, there's just not much you can do.  Its pretty hard to award a class to a dog that is either slinking or galloping around the ring or one that you just can't examine.
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth?  
Important....Certainly, missing teeth must be considered.  But, having had the chance to judge some other breeds, I must say that GSD, in general, have better dentition than most.  I would be more inclined to worry about bites, depth of muzzle and jaw, crooked or missing incisors, etc.  I certainly would place a dog with a missing tooth and a beautiful front over a dog with full dentition and a faulty front.
12.) How do you see bites today?  
Good...most bites I see are fairly good.  I think we should stick with the expectation of a scissors bite and never change the standard to make level bites allowable.  I recently judged an entry of Australian Shepherds and every male had a level bite.  ASCA will not accept that but the AKC did, and I think Australian Shepherds are going to pay the price for that decision.
13.) How do you see strength of ears?  
Good...most ears are pretty good.  I'm sort of a "bug" about ears.  They are very important part of the shepherd "expression" and a good deal of our standard deals with the nobility of the shepherd.  Its interesting that GSD are not considered a head breed but 3 of our 6 disqualifying involve the head.  Anyway, as much as I love a beautiful head and ear set, the over all structure and ability to move must take precedent.
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years?  
Yes.  I see more dogs doing well with loose lead exams.  This might also be a good place to mention baiting and double handling.  Don't fool yourself, you can't hide poor temperament with either.  When I do an individual exam, I do not want the dog baited.  I am more impressed with the dog that will make eye contact with me and stand with confidence.
15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain.  
Good for the most part.  I would like to see a little more independence from the owner outside the ring and a little more interaction between dog and handler.
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead?  
YES.....YES......YES......YES.   This dog is a working dog.  The shepherd is a "movable" fence.  It's job is to hold a flock on site.  It's gait should be ground covering with an economy of energy..it has to be able to move all day. Some of the thrashing around I see in the ring these days would scare the flock off in nothing flat.
17.) How would you rate the following in sequence of importance? (On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest).  
There is no way to assign importance to each of these features and any judge that did so would be a poor judge, indeed. Structure incorporates most of these features ...coming and going, side gait, pasterns, hocks, feet, shoulder and reach are all important parts of "structure".  A dog lacking in correctness in any of these aspects will be lacking in structure..they are all important.  A dog can be close to perfection in structure but if he can not stand his ground with confidence,  he is faulty. A dog can be fearless and full of self confidence, but if he cannot move, he is faulty.
18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class  
If class size permits, I will move all the dogs together.  If the ring is smaller or the class is larger, I will split the class and move only as many dogs as the ring will comfortably accommodate.  On the individual exam, I want the dog to come into me on a loose lead and not be baited.  I want to be able to move towards the dog and have it stand its ground and I do not appreciate a handler trying to get soft temperament past me by running the dog up on me.  I have no problems with baiting when I am looking at the general lineup.  As for double handing...learn to do it well and do is discretely...or don't do it at all.  When you mess up, your dog pays for it.
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)?  
I have no qualms about putting up a puppy if it is the best thing in the ring, in my estimation.  I judge the dog by what it is on that day and not on what it might be in the future.  If people have problems with puppies taking points, then maybe we should try European judging and not have puppies compete with adults..create junior championships.
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller?  
I believe extremes should be penalized.  However, size should not be the primary consideration if the dog uses himself well.  I don't care if a male is smaller, as long as he looks like a male and I don't care if a bitch is  larger, as long as she looks like a bitch...but if I can't identify the sex without checking , then you've got a problem.
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme?  
    No
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed?  
Yes and No**** Everybody double handles, and not just GSD owners.  All I ask is that you do so without disrupting the performance of your  dog or distracting the other dogs and handlers in the ring.  I know it can be done..not that I ever doubled, myself.
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)?  
Most certainly.  Actually, I think any dog competing for GV or  SELECT, should have a championship, be OFA certified and have a performance  title.  These awards set these dogs and bitches apart...they should qualities and abilities that set them apart (and not just one persons opinion).
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class?  
Only if his rear-end can keep up.
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement?  
Yes*****  If the total package isn't important, why bother keeping it in the standard.  A moving machine without intelligence, confidence and beauty is a bad thought, indeed.  I feel that prioritizing any aspect will eventually end up in a change of the conformation of the breed.  If movement is your only concern, then just delete all other paragraphs in the standard.  Then maybe cropped or hanging ears would be OK..as long as the dog "moved".  And coat shouldn't make any difference..maybe we should have smooth and rough coated varieties..as long as they can "move".  And while we're at it,  color shouldn't make any difference..so lets have white dogs..as long as they can move.  Then we could grow them a little larger and double register them as Great Pyrenees..as long as they could move.  Please...I love great movement, but I love what the GSD is..the total dog.
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed?  
Not at all.
27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate  
Possibly a class for neutered animals.
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  
As in all things, times changes our perception of what is ideal.  In the late 60's, I would have answered GV Ch. Hessian's Vogue..she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I also had the pleasure of watching Jimmy Moses show Lance back in those days, and he was quite a departure from the standard at the time.  I guess I would have to say that in modern times, I personally see Jordache and Krystal as being ideal in movement, structure and beauty.  As the standard says, there is quality that is difficult to define but unmistakable when present.
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate  
    Actually, I am impressed on how the rears have cleaned up..it really is possible to have super side gait and be clean coming and going...and you don't have to go like a bat out of hell to do it.
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ?  
Please..be careful with the doubling..sometimes you really end up making the dog look worse.
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ?  
Bring the dog in clean and groomed (and I mean bathed, nails trimmed, etc.)  Trust your dog..you must think he has some shot at being a champion or you wouldn't be there.  I want to see the teeth without having to wrestle with the dog.  I would rather see interaction between handler and dog rather than a dog frantically trying to find its owner.
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ?  
I am not particularly fond of untrained adults..if they're being shown, I expect them to act like show dogs.  Of course, I make exception for puppies but I expect adults to know how to gait and how to stand for examination.  If your dog is unruly and is difficult to see, then you are wasting your money and my time.
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding?  
Go to a lot of shows,  visit a lot of kennels and ask alot of questions....then  buy a dog and have a go at it.  You'll end up learning like the rest of us.
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  
Just that I think this is the greatest breed on earth and that I'm proud to be a part of it, whether breeding, exhibiting or judging.
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.  
NO..haven't been judging long enough.
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