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, Totana Piper Hill

2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs? 

30 years
Started in obedience competition in 1967.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America; German Shepherd Dog Club of
America Working Dog Association; Greater New Haven German Shepherd Dog
Club; Verien fur Deutsche Schaeferhund in Germany; OG-Wesconn Schutzhund
Club; United Schutzhund Clubs of America.
 
3.) How long have you been judging the breed? 
One and one half years.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds? 
Approximately 3 times per year.
5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows? 
The number of shows remains the same...the entries have declined.
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 prefer a large ring and a large entry regardless of all-breed or
    specialty, but those two conditions rarely occur at all-breed shows.
             a) do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties ?
    Yes
             b) would you judged at both all breeds and specialties
    Huh?  Isn't this question the same as a)

             c) please elaborate on and explain your answers to 7, 7a and 7b.
    I enjoy judging regardless of which type of show it is.  The all-breed shows give me a chance to see what is being exhibited there and how it differs (if at all) from what is being presented in the specialtyshows.  

             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.
    The conditions as stated above certainly are conducive to providing a 'specialty show' at an all-breed show, so yes I would like that.  Kind of having the best of both worlds.
     

8.) Do you have a color preference? 
The only preference I have is for the richer colors regardless of the category.  For instance, I prefer a bi-color to have a richer redish tan than silver or gray.  I prefer blacks to have as little white markings as possible.  I prefer sables to have definite dark nails showing thatthey are not 'washed-out' sables or very light b/t dogs.  

         a) Would the color of a dog influence your judgment?     Not unless it was white, blue or liver.
 
         b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ?
              No.
 

9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain. 
 
The condition of the coat has no bearing on the structure or gait of the animal but sometimes when you have an animal that is too plush or too dry you have to look more carefully to make sure what you are seeing is structure and not hair or lack thereof.
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible. 
Not unless the handler is abusive to either myself or the dog in which case they would be admonished in an appropriate way.   I never determine placements based on the professional or non-professional.  That would be judging the handler and not the dog.  However, it has been my experience that the professional handlers usually present the dogs to the judge in a better manner thus making it harder to distinguish if the dog is really better or the handler is better than the novice.  A good dog will rise to the top despite poor handling and a poor dog will stay at the end despite an excellent handler.
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth? 
That depends on which teeth are missing and how many total are missing. It also depends on the competition.  An excellent specimen should win over a mediocre specimen even if it has a missing tooth.
12.) How do you see bites today? 
 I have judged in some areas of the country that seem to have a lot of level bites.  I rarely see overshot and never undershot or wry.
13.) How do you see strength of ears? 
Ears should only be up as far as I am concerned.  If they are together, or soft or wide-set, it only mars the overall appearance.  They don't herd sheep or catch burglers with their ears.
 
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years? 
I did until I watched the 98 Nationals.  I saw some temperaments that were reminiscent of 10 years ago which made me sad.
15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain. 
It is difficult to really judge temperament in the ring unless it is obviously aggressive or overly shy.  I judge temperament this way...the dog should stand there and let me examine it.  A dog that is really aggressive or shy will begin to show it during the hands-on examination.  I am very lenient with young dogs (as I am with young children...they are in the learning stages).
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead? 
I like a loose lead, but to do it correctly the dog should not be doubled at the time.  This becomes almost impossible to ascertain since some doubling can always occur very discretely and I would not want to punish the dog or handler that does it correctly, therefore I ask for it to determine the looseness of back, but I do not make it the most determining
part of my judging if the dog then goes around with its head down & doesn't look as good because it is not being doubled.
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 5
Side Gait  8
Temperament 10
Teeth 8
Coat 1
Pasterns, hocks, feet 9
Pigment 5
Structure 10
Shoulder and reach 8
Attitude 10
18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class 
I take the whole class around once even if there is only one in the class.  Then I individually examine each dog bringing it into the center of the ring.  Then I take that dog around once or twice.  Then I take the whole group around again if there are two or more dogs. Then I place them.  After this, I may divide the dogs into groups and look at them again until I am certain of 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.  Sometimes the best one you have is the puppy.  I do think, however that our AKC system of awarding points to only one animal per show should be revised.  The judge should be able to determine if, in his/her opinion, more than one animal should be awarded the points.  It is very expensive today to show dogs and entries are declining so rapidly that I
think the system needs some revision to keep people going to the shows.
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller? 
In the case of a male, I prefer a larger male than a smaller male.  In the case of a bitch, it does not matter to me if she is a little smaller or a little larger.  
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme? 
Only our 'specialty show' dogs.  The average pet seems to be pretty 'average'.
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed? 
Yes.  The German Shepherd should show attentiveness to his owner (required for herding or service work).  A dog that could care less about the whereabouts of his master might as well go over to the Basset Hound group.
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)? 
Not until a really positive form of identification for all the dogs of that breed registered in this country is a reality.  When that happens, I would not restrict it to OFA. There are other registries both here and in Canada that should qualify.
 
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class? 
Only if it has all the other qualities as well.  A dog with exceptional front reach that has a really long back and loin, soft pasterns, badfeet and a ring tail would definitely not be my winner.
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement? 
Movement is certainly important and besides character it is probably the best way a judge can evaluate how well the dog can perform its purpose of herding.  The 'total package' is important only when the dog with the best movement has too many 'faults' to be considered the 'best' or is so extreme that they look like another breed. 
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed? 
Under consideration now is not really 'changing' our Standard but making it conform to what is accepted in the rest of the world.  For instance, the height restriction for males has always been 26", however no penalty for oversize was ever enforced.  If we adopt the FCI Standard, oversize by more than 1 cm will be disqualifying.  The same is true of other
disqualifications in the FCI Standard.  Conforming to the FCI Standard will just put more emphasis on certain characteristics.
27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate 
No except as pertains to points awarded which I covered previously.
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 
There is a dog currently on the December 98 Review cover named 'Andre' that I guess typifies the 'ideal' dog that all of us strive for.  He has an AKC Championship, a UDX training degree and works in a service capacity at nursing homes.  I don't know what more a dog could do to prove his/her worth.
 
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate 
I think it is getting better all the time with the exceptin that we must keep a vigil eye on temperament.  For a time in the mid to late 70's the angulation and topline was getting too extreme, but more and more I see dogs finishing that can win in any ring.  The Grand Victrix Best of Breed this year comes pretty close to 'ideal' in all aspects.  Now she just needs
a training degree and hip/elbow certification.
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ? 
The only thing that is really upsetting as a judge is when owners and handlers take their placings personally as if you judged them and afterward do not speak to you or throw insults and inuendos at you.  These people rarely can see the faults in their dogs or the virtues in the winners.
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ? 
Always be as courteous to me as I am to everyone who exhibits under me.  You may disagree with my placings as is your right, but poor sportsmanship occurs more often outside the ring than inside the ring.  It is not easy to be a judge.  It takes courage to do what you think is right. Its pretty easy to just put up the 'big' guys in the breed, but dog shows are made up of more 'little' guys than big guns and pretty
soon you will find yourself judging a pretty diminshed group.
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ? 
Never show abuse toward your dog or to the owner outside the ring.  I am very patient with exhibitors and will allow them time to show me a stubborn or difficult dog. 
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding? 
Yes...stick with it.  Sometimes the elusive win is right around the corner and good things eventually come to those who keep trying.  Sometimes it is easy to think that dog showing is just 'politics' because you don't win, but more often than not you don't yet have the best dog.
 
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 
        It is the ONLY breed as far as I am concerned.  There is nothing   to compare to the pride of owning and being loved by a good GSD.  
        
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 havn't been judging that long but I judged Sel. Ch. Windwalker's LeRoy Brown OFA H&E.  This dog has achieved Select and Best In Show status. He can do it all and hopefully will soon add a training degree to his accomplishments.  He is what the breed is all about.  I have known manygreat dogs, but did not officially judge them.  Some of them were
renowned in the show ring and some were renowned in their home.  

Barbara Woelfel Lopez

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