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 ?  

I am no longer considered an "active" breeder.  I might breed a litter now and then, but right now I am not active.  I have bred in the past under the name of  Bellemere/Jonlyn.  I have, you could kinda' say, "I''ve hung up the leash" because of traveling to judge, and time for my other vice, Golf.
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 (now you are going to know how old I am <G>) for about 35 years (I was very young when I got my first shepherd <G>).  I got started by getting an Obedience dog and trained him to CDX.  I then got another dog for OB and got her CD.  Then I met a professional handler who got me involved.  He used me as an apprentice (being a "slave"), and I got to go into the ring to handle.  I then became interested in handling and was an AKC licensed handler, and a member of the PHA (Professional Handlers Assoc.) until the time I became a judge.  In my day, you had to be licensed by the AKC, show drawings, photos of your facilities, and fill out a 10-page resume. I was affiliated with and started the Southern New Jersey German Shepherd Dog club and was Show Chairman and Secretary of Boardwalk Kennel Club for 25 years. I am an honorary member of Boardwalk K.C. and at the present time, do not belong to any Club, except the Parent Club.  I make my home between my kennel in New Jersey (in the summer) and my home in Florida (in the winter). 
3.) How long have you been judging the breed?  
I have been judging the breed for about 11 years.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds?  
I try to keep my schedule of judging specialties to about 3 a year.  I feel that is fair to exhibitors so they don't get "PeggyLee'd out."  I also do not judge in the same area all the time and not within 6 months of any area.
5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows?  
I think the number of shows is about the same, unless you mean have the entries increased, decreased, etc.  If you mean entries, I do feel they have decreased tremendously.  When I first start  out in dogs, and was a handler, you needed 80 or more bitches for 5 pts.  Majors had to be at least 50 or 60.  So you can see how they have declined over the years.  We also had many handlers at the time; now they are down to a handful. 
6.) Have you ever judged the National Specialty? If yes, when and what classes ?  
No, and never want to.
7.) Do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties, which do you prefer ?  
    I love doing Specialties, so you might say they are my preference, but since I do two other breeds (Cairn Terriers & Bichon Frises) I like doing all-breeds also. The only thing I prefer at All-Breeds is that they provide me with a large enough ring so I can gait my dogs.
As I said, I do want a large ring; it would be nice to be supported by a specialty club and the same weekend as a specialty or circuit, but these are not necessary items for me.  If they like me, they will come.  A lot of German Shepherd people see that a shepherd judge is doing the all-breeds and will show to that judge because some need just minor points to finish.
8.) Do you have a color preference?  
I have no color preference.
a. Never would a color influence my judging, unless it was white
b. I don't find it difficult to judge solid blacks.
9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain.  
I like plush coats, but smooth coats don't bother me.  Now adays, with the Air Force blow dryers . . . so many can look plushier.
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible.  
Never do I judge the handler . . . only in Jr. Handling.  If I see a handler is detrimental to gaiting, etc. the dog, I might try to help.
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth?  
I think missing teeth are very important.
12.) How do you see bites today?  
I see bites as "Good" today.
13.) How do you see strength of ears?  
I see strength of ears as "good" today.
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years?  
I feel temperament has improved over the past 5 yrs.  I see very few in my ring.  Although people say I have a "gentle hand," bad temperament does not get by me.
15.) How do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain.  
I consider temperament today to be Very Good, at least in my experience of judging.
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead?  
I certainly prefer to see a dog shown on a loose lead and ask the handlers to "slow down and show me a loose leash at least once."
17.) How would you rate the following in sequence of importance? (On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). 
I love side gait and think it is important, because it includes structure, shoulder and reach, so give it a 10, combined.  Temperament, coming & going, teeth, attitude, pigment, coat, pasterns, hocks, feet, I guess in that order.  It is difficult to put them in order of preference, because you must look for all the good points in the overall dog, not his faults.
18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class  
If I have a large class, I bring them all in, check them in with the steward, then divide them no more than 6 at a time, or preferably 4.  I am one that cannot look at a whole ring full of dogs and try to evaluate them.  Then I take the first group, gait them around twice, or more if I need it.  I set them aside in the ring, then I gait the next group.  While doing this, I try to pick out the dogs I like in that group, and keep them in mind.  Then I send everyone out of the ring and start individuals on the first group.  I then place that group to where I want them and ask them to stand in that order.  I then bring the next group in, and do the same.  I bring all the groups in and place the ones I like into a group of, say "keepers."  I then gait the remaining in case I missed something.  I will then excuse them and concentrate on the ones I have. In small classes, I judge the whole class, naturally.
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, judge the dog as you see it today, no matter what the age, or class.  No one can predict the outcome of any dog you give points to.  A judge with a good eye, can see if that puppy is a good one.
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller?  
I don't care about size, providing the male is not bitchy and the bitch is not doggy.  Although I prefer a doggy bitch, to a bitchy male.  But it would depend on what I have in there.  I would never eliminate a dog or bitch on size if it had everything good, and put up a lesser dog of the standard.
21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme?  
I do not think the average German Shepherd Dog is too extreme.
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed?  
Double handling does not bother me, and it seems to be "the right thing to do" (thank you Martha Stewart), providing it does not interfere with my judging and evaluating the dog. 
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)?  
Select dogs be OFA H & E. . . . I would like to see it, but too much controversy at the time in that are they really OFA'd.  So I would have to say Yes/No.  I think any dog advertised at stud, should be OFA H&E.  Maybe down the line, DNA will help?
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class?  
No.  Don't forget.  He has to have a rear, too.  Too many today are front reach conscious and forget the rear follow-through.  They must work together, but rears are the power. 
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement?  
No, I feel movement is the most important and my dogs usually have that, and the total package, if I can get it.
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed?  
No, I like the standard as it is.  People interpret it differently, though.
27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate  
No, the rules seem to be ok. 
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  
I would have to think on this one, but right now Ch. Ponca Hills Jessie II, is my ideal dog.  He is masculine, completely sound mind, excellent mover with front extension and rear drive, hard back, beautiful topline in motion . . . and not "altered" in any way.  A dog no longer living and my ideal was Ch. Coberts Reno of Lakeside.  He was one of the great dogs of all time.
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate  
I think the quality is getting better, especially in males.  There for a while the males were not masculine enough, faulty movement and just not good, in general.  The bitches were always top shelf.
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ?  
Yes, definitely . . . poor sportsmanship.  Anyone showing to me knows that, after  trying to intimidate me.  I will not tolerate poor sportsmanship in my ring and will "write up" anyone that shows.  They show to me for my opinion and that's what they get.  I will, however, discuss anything with an exhibitor or handler after the show, but any unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated.
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ?  
Have dogs groomed and teeth cleaned!
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ?  
Read #30 for this answer.
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding?  
Listen to the breeders on record that are continually successful, namely, breeders in the business for 30 - 35 years.  A world of knowledge can be gained from these people.  Most of them are willing to help the novice.  There are some fine people out there that have been in the business for less years, but become very knowledgeable because they have followed the guidelines from knowledgeable breeders, trainers, etc.  I am also impressed by this gsdList in helping people.  After hearing the List was gossipy, they were entirely wrong.  It is about people helping people.
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 think I have said enough.  I love the breed and look forward to judging some of your fine animals.
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 believe I have judged quite a few of the greats, or those that have become greats in my short term of judging.
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Copyright © 1997, SpiderWoman 01/24/98