NON-SPORTING GROUP Q&A
We can’t all win, but we can have a good experience which makes us enter again and again until we do.
What advice would I give to breeders and exhibitors of Non- Sporting dogs? Anyone serious about their breed must have a thor- ough knowledge of their standard, history, health issues, condition- ing, and presentation. Would I encourage exhibitors to compete in companion and performance events? Yes! Totally. Enjoy your dogs in any way you can. Otherwise, why have them? What advice would I offer to aspiring Non-Sporting Group judges? Learn each breed for its unique characteristics and those which it has in common with other breeds. Appreciate each of those. Viva la différence! The most memorable moment I’ve ever experienced judging the Non-Sporting Group? The quality of the dogs in the Non-Sporting Group when I judged it at the American Kennel Club National Championship was stellar. What a challenge it was to make a cut of eight outstanding dogs when many more merited a pull. When the final eight circled the ring one last time, my heart was pounding. Then like a bolt of lightening, the ring lit up. My choices became clear. The placements were made. The funniest thing that’s ever happened in my Non-Sporting Group ring? As it has for so many judges of this Group, I watched in shock as a “wiggy” flew off the head of a gorgeous Standard Poodle as it sailed around the ring. We all saw it happen. When the dogs stopped to get in line for individual examination, I walked over to the elephant in the room, gently picked it up, set it on a nearby ringside chair, and carried on. There was no need to embarrass the handler. The show must go on! CHARLOTTE PATTERSON I live on the Florida Gulf
In 1991, Mrs. Lessig was the first Cavalier breeder to attain judg- ing status strictly from her breed. She has judged at AKC, CKCSC, English, Irish, Swedish, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Canadian (among other international shows), and is approved to judge Best in Show, the Sporting, Toy and Non-Sporting Groups, and Standard Manchester Terriers. Mrs. Lessig has judged the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club National Specialty and those of other breeds as well. Mrs. Lessig is president of the Meadowlands Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club and serves as president and show chairman for the Delaware Water Gap Kennel Club. Mrs. Lessig and her husband, Dr. Marvin Lessig, have been married over 50 years. They have the pleasure of sharing their lives with the “Roi L” Cavaliers. I live in the quaint river town of Clinton, New Jersey, in the rolling hills between the Somerset Hills KC and Bucks County KC show sites. My world beyond dogs has always included antiquing, interior design, and fashion. Among my treasures is an extensive collection of vintage clothing and hats which is displayed in my cos- tume room. I also host an online video series, Closet Confidential. Traversing the nearby rolling hills on foot, Yin Yoga, and work- ing out regularly occupy my time too. I have had Cavalier King Charles Spaniels since 1987. I began showing them in AKC and The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (the breed’s registry prior to recognition in 1996) in 1988. In 1996, I attained champion judging status with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. In 1999, I became the first breeder judge to receive AKC judging approval with Cavaliers as a first breed. Addi- tionally, I own and breed English Toy Spaniels in both varieties. I have been approved to judge the Group since October 2009. Are there specific challenges presented to judges by the diversity within this Group? Judging the Non-Sporting Group is much like judging the Toy Group. Each is a boutique item that requires you to know all the inventory very well. Does a Non-Sporting breed’s historic purpose play a role in my selection process? Every breed’s historic purpose is always relevant. Form follows function. How important is breed-specific presentation and conditioning among the Non-Sporting breeds? Breed-specific is paramount in any breed’s presentation and conditioning. To put is simply, it is the line of division that must always be present. It is this very definition that is required. Have I noticed any trends among Non-Sporting breeds that cause concern or have impressed? We are always concerned when a breed becomes so popular that health concerns are not addressed. On the other end, when a low entry breed increases its numbers and quality, that is impressive. What are my thoughts about revising breed standards to address health issues, coat colors and patterns? Coat colors and patterns are fair game for inclusion in standards. Health concerns require ethics and knowledge which need to be the job of parent club education. Which Non-Sporting breeds have made the greatest strides in overall quality or still need work? Breed quality changes from year to year. Does it seem that entries are rising or declining among the Non- Sporting breeds? In my recent experience, Non-Sporting entries are rising.
Coast in Destin. I have been in dogs for over 50 years. Pugs are my original breed and I share my home with a little 10-year- old Pug bitch. My husband, Edward, and I handled profes- sionally for about 15 years before we became judges. I have judged the Non-Sporting Group for about 25 years. I began judging in 1990. Are there specific challenges
presented to judges by the diversity within this Group? The Non- Sporting Group is very interesting because of the diversity. You must really study and apply all the very different standards. I base all of my judging on the breed standards. Exhibitors in this Group are very adept at the correct presentation for their breed. What are my thoughts about revising breed standards to address health issues, coat colors and patterns? I feel all Parent Clubs have the responsibility for any standard revision. The Group as a whole has improved in the last decade. Newly accepted breeds require the most attention. Does it seem that entries are rising or declining among the Non- Sporting breeds? As entries have declined and shows cancelled, we must all decide at which level we want to compete. Exhibitors enjoy companion and performance events, and I think entries will con- tinue to increase.
164 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020
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