HERDING GROUP JUDGES Q&A
“Our Herding breeds have an exuberant zest for life that is just as apparent in the show ring as it is in the jobs they do to serve mankind, so the great ones really stand out.”
MARILYN VAN VLEIT
that get overlooked in the Group ring like our Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Finnish Lapphunds, Norwegian Buhunds, Ice- landic Sheepdogs, Beaucerons, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Canaan Dogs, and Berger Picards. In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Herd- ing Dogs of the past? It depends upon the breed and how long you’ve been around in our sport. Many dogs of the past could still compete with our top dogs of today. Some of the dogs that come to mind are my two favorite German Shepherd Dog bitches, Ch. Alta- na’s Mystique and Ch. Jerrwin’s Madison Avenue; the Old English Sheepdog bitch, Ch. Rholenwood’s Taylor Maid; the Belgian Ter- vuren dog, Am./Can./Mex. Ch. Mars de Fauve Charbonne UDT (handled by my beloved mentor, Charlie Cooper), and of course, the Shetland Sheepdog, Ch. Halstors Peter Pumpkin, as well as a Shetland Sheepdog bitch that made my heart skip a beat, Ch. Mac- dega Apropos (bred and owned by Nioma and Tom Coen). I would be remiss if I did not mention several Collies that could also com- pete with the best in my breed in the ring today, namely, Ch. Black Hawk of Kasan, Ch. Larkspur On Eagles Wings, Ch. Tartanside Arabesque, and Ch. Wickmere Rapunzel. Many of the great dogs of today go back to the great dogs of yesteryear. As breeder icon, Elisabeth Browning of Tokalon Collies frequently said, “The purest water is at the well.” Why do I think Herding Dogs can often become outstanding Show Dogs? Many dog breeds can become outstanding Show Dogs as all good dogs look alike. Our Herding breeds have an exuberant zest for life that is just as apparent in the show ring as it is in the jobs they do to serve mankind, so the great ones really stand out. Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Herding Group? I was used to wearing my formal military Mess Dress for 23 years in the U.S. Air Force and I had not had on a regular tuxedo since my high school senior prom. I was required to wear a tuxedo when I judged the Herding Group at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia in 2017 that was televised on Thanksgiving Day. I went with my wife, Robin, to rent a tuxedo and she made sure that it fit perfectly for this special event. Her famous last words were, “Honey, this is not like your military Mess Dress that was tailored for you, so be sure you tighten the sides of your pants when you change into it before you judge.” Flash forward. The National Dog Show was filmed two weeks before Thanksgiving for edits, and I happened to be judging that Thanks- giving weekend in Montgomery, Alabama, while my entire family watched me judge the Herding Group in Philadelphia on Thanks- giving Day. My two daughters were the first to notice, when they asked my wife, “Mom, why does it appear that Dad’s tuxedo pants are dragging the ground on national TV and why does he keep tugging on them to pull them up? Did you not fit him properly?” My two sons thought it was simply hysterical. And, of course, my wife said, “OMG, he forgot to hook the sides. That man just never listens to me.” Every Thanksgiving, my family replays that Herding Group assignment just for laughs. It is now a family tradition. You can rest assured that if I am ever fortunate enough to be invited back to Philadelphia to judge the National Dog Show again, I will not forget to hook the sides of my tuxedo pants!
I have been breeding Pembroke Welsh Corgis for over forty years and have produced many champi- ons and performance winners. My dogs have won honors at National Specialties as well as at multiple regional specialties. My empha- sis in breeding has always been to produce Pembrokes that are sound in mind and body. Although Pem- brokes are my first love, I’ve also enjoyed breeding quality Cardigan Welsh Corgis for the past 16 years. My activities to support my breed include membership in sev- eral regional clubs, including the Columbia River Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of which I’m a charter member and current President. I’m also the Treasurer of Oregon Dog Judges. In the past years, I’ve served the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA) in many ways, including as President, Secretary, Board Member, and chairing several committees. I currently serve as the PWCCA Judges Education Chair. I am approved to judge the Herding Group and some of the Hound Breeds. I’ve had the privilege of judging Corgis in eight countries. One of the highlights of my judging career was judging the Pembroke National. Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge? I was born and raised on a small island in Southeastern Alaska. My involvement in the sport of purebred dogs began there, then expanded when I moved to the big city of Anchorage. The shows there were small, few, and far between. What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name? My first breed was the German Shepherd Dog. At that time, competi- tion was fierce, and I learned to train and handle my own dogs, and then for others. I found it very exhilarating to be on the end of the lead of a beautifully gaiting GSD! Then, 45 years ago, I obtained my first Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Although I have now lived in Salem, Oregon, for 35 years, my kennel prefix “Aurora” recognizes my Alaskan heritage. It also means “new dawn,” which is very fitting. I began judging Pembrokes over 15 years ago and have had the honor of judging them in eight countries. Through the encourage- ment of other judges, I later began applying for more breeds, and I am now approved for the Herding Group, plus a portion of the Hound Group. Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles? Along the way, I had excellent mentors, and with their assistance, I bred many conformation and performance winning Corgis. One of my fondest memories is being awarded Best in Show with an 11-month-old bitch from the Bred-By Exhibi- tor Class. Several of my dogs have done well in both Sweepstakes and at the Breed level at the Pembroke National Specialty. A high- light was winning WB from the 6-9 Month Class! American/Eng- lish Champion Aurora Archery Summit was a specialty winner in both the US and in England. To my knowledge, he was the only
184 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022
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