Gilberts' K-9 Seminars News & Review
Copyright (c) 2004-2009 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars
The above Article is Copyrighted (c) 2004-2009 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars.
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By Patricia H. Gilbert

Good morning, now try to put yourself in my shoes as a judge. I am so pleased to see people weighing in on my questions to exhibitors.

You want the judges to look for breed type in conformation, movement and quality of the dog, and grooming should be a consideration very low on the list providing the animal is clean. In regard to the Afghan Hound, even though the grooming may be contrary to the Breed Standard, that should be relatively low on my priority list. Did I understand correctly?

I will speak only for myself and what I advocate and teach judges.

I prefer to judge Afghan Hounds and any breed for that matter in a positive and informed manner. I look for the total picture and then deduct from there. I prioritize in each breed what are the essentials or must haves. Then I go to “would like to sees.” Then there are issues I cannot forgive and will feel compelled to withhold due to lack of quality.

All of the ringside judges will never get my perspective and some may not understand my placements because they are not in my shoes.

The view from the center of the ring is very different from outside the ring. My view when I walk up and down the line is like none other.

Try it some time. Have some friends line up their dogs and then walk up and down the line just a few feet away. Step away from the line up to a distance of about 15 feet and look at each dog. Then have them circle around you. That will begin to give you an appreciation of the center of the ring. Judging a match will give you an even greater perspective.

My hands on tell me the world. All the creative grooming in the world will not fool my hands or make up for poor conformation and poor muscle tone.

The fact that I may overlook some of your pet peeves does not mean that I have been stricken by blindness. It can mean that I am looking for the total package and am not judging in a negative manner by fault finding. It can mean that the dog with an obvious fault to you wears it well because he has so much quality in other areas. The least faulty dog does not make the best dog. It can give you a dog common as dirt with not much quality and no breed type.

Many of you tell me to judge the dogs first, then the grooming. So, you see that too is part of my process. Trimming, etc. does not get past me. At times I have to forgive clipping and trimming on an otherwise good dog – trimming is not genetic. The dog need not be penalized for what the handler did to it. However, the handlers will be told.

It was as I suspected when I put the questions out there. Both the oldsters and the new people are in agreement on the key issues. We are not so far apart in our thinking.