HERDING GROUP JUDGES Q&A
others they tend to trend too small. I find these are trends that wax and wane over time. Is breed-specific presentation important to me as a judge? Can I offer some examples? Absolutely. What could be more beautiful than a Belgian freely standing, observing and alert, or a German Shepherd self-stacked, nobly alert, or a Border Collie showing “its eye” by being keenly aware, where you can envision any of them being able to do what they were meant to do if asked? What about breed-specific movement? Do I demand this from Herding Dogs? I’m not sure we can demand anything in the ring, but breed-specific movement is important. The dogs meant to tire- lessly work a flock or herd (more or less trotting dogs) or do general farm work had to be sound. Those that were or are gatherers or “bosses,” like Border Collies or Cattle Dogs, need specific move- ment to also perform soundly. I think we can safely say that none of the Herding breeds should be moved excessively fast. They wouldn’t last half a day if they had to work at breakneck speed. Are the Herding breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns? Yes, I think they in fairly good shape, particularly when people actually come out to show and there are larger entries. This varies regionally, of course. In the newer, developing breeds, some work on consistency needs to continue, and in some of our older established breeds there has been some complacency or laziness in maintaining top quality. In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Herd- ing Dogs of the past? I’m not sure we can make that comparison. The times, the large kennels, and the absolute passion... it’s a differ- ent focus now, or so it seems. I think we can still find many superior and very good dogs, but the knock-out, take your breath away, deep competition on a regular basis is more elusive. Why do I think Herding Dogs can often become outstanding Show Dogs? AH! I actually think it is difficult to have top show dogs in the Herding Group break out of the Group into Top 10 or 20 All-Breeds, for example, unless they come from a few well- backed breeds. That being said, Herding breeds are among the most devoted and willing to please breeds, and the handler (owner or professional) who creates that bond with an excellent specimen can certainly take it to the top. Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Herding Group? It’s always enjoyable judging the Herding breeds. I guess the latest experience was when a young special, whose owner wasn’t quite as experienced, decid- ed he’d much rather shake hands endlessly with me than have his mouth opened to see his bite. It was fun, though I shouldn’t have kept laughing. It got done, and he was the happiest dog I had in the ring all day. RICHARD LEWIS Where do I live? How many
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name? My original breed is the Belgian Tervuren. I have never owned any reg- istered breed other than Tervuren. My wife and I met because I was, and currently am, the only person in Yakima county with this breed. My kennel name is Richelieu, which is both a play on my name and is French, the language of most of the importers of the original Belgian Tervuren who came to the United States. Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles? The two most notable dogs that I have had were my first Tervuren, CH Achates Esprit de Joie CD (nickname Bock), and CH Richelieu’s Exeter D’Allante UD. You may notice the obedience letters at the end of their names. All of my dogs have obedience titles and I have been an obedience judge since about 2003. My wife and I have been active in sheep herding trials since 1984. “Bock” was the Kennel Review #1 Tervuren in 1979. The first time that Judith Lee Smith (my co-owner for a couple of years) showed him in California, he took a Group One in the old Work- ing Group (which included today’s Working and Herding Groups) under Langdon Skarda. Bock sired Beaujangles [CH Corsair’s Beaujangles—Ed.], the all-time #1 Tervuren. (I believe that this is still an accurate statement.) “Beau” is the only Belgian to ever win the Herding Group at Westminster. The second dog was my Group-Placing and Utility Dog, “Exeter.” Both dogs won the Vet- eran Class and went Select at National Specialties. What are the qualities I most admire in the Herding breeds? Brains. Almost all of the breeds in this Group are highly trainable, and this is what attracted me to the Belgian Tervuren in the first place. I did not buy Achates because I wanted a show dog. I wanted a trainable dog. He just turned out to be an incredible show dog as well. Virtually all of the breeds in the Herding Group can walk out of the show ring and demonstrate some kind of herding ability after one or two exposures to sheep. Shelties are a dominant breed in the
obedience ring. And Border Collies… what can I say? Have I judged any Herding Group Specialties? Yes.
Do I find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Herding breeds? There are very few examples of what I would call structural exaggeration in the Herding Group. Occasionally, some “long and low” specimens can show up in some of the “square” Herding breeds. Is breed-specific presentation important to me as a judge? Can I offer some examples? Some Herding breeds are customarily hand- stacked. Many are free-stacked. The table dogs, of course, are all hand-stacked. The Herding Group does not have a lot of breed- specific handling behavior, like in the Sporting Group. What about breed-specific movement? Do I demand this from Herding Dogs? The speed at which the dogs are gaited is the real issue when it comes to breed-specific presentation. I always make an effort to enlarge the path of travel for German Shepherds. It takes at least one of the ring sides to get these dogs “collected” into their best gait. Besides the German Shepherds, another good example of a breed that has its own style of movement is the Old English Sheepdog, which often moves at an “amble” at lower speeds. With German Shepherds, I tell all of the handlers that I want to see the dog mov- ing on a loose leash at some time “during the trip” around the ring. Are the Herding breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns? I think if you were to ask this of owners/breeders/breeder-judges of every breed in this Group, you would get some comments of concern. But this is because they might be well aware of health or coat or temperament problems in some of the lines of their breed that the average non-breeder-judge has no knowledge of. I certain- ly know about some of the issues in my own breed that I doubt my judge friends are aware of. Many of these breeds have gone through “deviations from the written standard” at some point in
years in dogs? How many years as a judge? I live in Eastern Washing- ton State, near the city of Yakima. We are on the dry side of the state and our regions (from Wenatchee to Richland) are world leaders in the production of apples and hops. The entire region is second only to California in wine grape produc- tion. So, don’t think of my side of
the state as the place where it rains all the time. We are a semi-arid land irrigated by the rivers that run from the snow-packed Cascade Mountain range as well as from British Columbia. I have been in dogs for over 45 years.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022 | 169
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