NON-SPORTING GROUP Q&A
The Non-Sporting Group is a fascinating group of dogs; from the very glamorous Standard Poodle to the very sturdy Bulldog.
It seems everyone wants one. So, you will see everything registered as a French Bulldog; some are outstanding, and some, not so much. Do I have any advice to share with new judges of the Non-Sport- ing Group? Observe as many shows in different areas while you are learning to judge a new breed. Attend as many Nationals and Spe- cialties as possible. Today, we have many tools for learning; Judges Institutes, Canine College, Seminars, Nationals, and lots of men- tors who are willing to help you learn about their breed. BILL LEE I live in Colorado with my wife, Pam. I have been involved in the sport of showing dogs for 41 years. I began judging in 2001. I first became interested in Non-Sporting breeds while attending the Topeka KC dog show. I fell immediately in love with a white, fluffy, happy little dog in the Miscellaneous Class. I had to know more about the “Bichon Frise.” The search began to add this ador- able little dog to our family. Needless to say, we have had Bichons in our home ever since. The most notable Bichon we have shown was Ch. PawMark’s September Song, bred by Pauline Schlutz. She was a multiple Group winner. We also were fortunate to add a Tibetan Terrier, Ch. Plumpoint Here Comes Judge, to our household. He had just won Winners Dog at the first Tibetan Terrier National. He was also a multiple Group winner. The Non-Sporting Group is the most diverse. How do I priori- tize the essentials for each breed? The breeds in the Non-Sporting Group are, indeed, very diverse. Each breed standard has unique characteristics. So, each breed should be judged by its standard and not to the others in the ring. Because of the variety of sizes and builds of each breed, each dog should move accordingly—speed is not always the best way to show great movement. One of the biggest challenges of judging the Non-Sporting dogs is staying on time. Some of the dogs are judged on the floor, but sev- eral are also examined on a table. Just recently, we also now have a few dogs that now go on the ramp. Dogs are not always cooperative on those platforms, so patience is very necessary. Another challenge is identifying the proper gait in this diverse Group. Some of the breed’s standards require a signifying gait. How important is presentation and “showmanship” in the Non- Sporting Group? Proper presentation is necessary in order for the judge to evaluate the dog quickly, especially in a large class. Show- manship is the essence of what dog shows are all about. “Nailing” that free-stack coming into the judge is what can catch the attention of any judge. What effect has popularity (or the lack thereof ) had on the Non-Sporting breeds? Many of the Non-Sporting breeds have had ups and downs with popularity. Currently, French Bulldogs have large entries whereas other breeds have dropped off significantly. Some breeds are struggling to find points. Do I have any advice to share with new judges of the Non- Sporting Group? The Non-Sporting Group is a fascinating group of dogs; from the very glamorous Standard Poodle to the very stur- dy Bulldog. Each has its own purpose and a standard to guide the judge. Talking with breeders is a great way to refresh your knowl- edge of a breed.
We live in Walkerton, Indiana. Our home is in a rural area of Marshall Coun- ty and our closest town, Walkerton, has just one traf- fic light. Walkerton is about equal distance to Chicago or Indianapolis and 45 minutes south of the University of Notre Dame. I’ve been “in dogs” for 50-plus years and a judge for 27 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from dogs?
Steve and I enjoy gardening and beekeeping. Our property is listed as a Certified Wildlife Habitat due to the various trees, flowering plants, pond, and a flowing creek as a water source for the critters, along with a woodland habitat area. How was I first introduced to the Non-Sporting breeds? I found a Dalmatian running loose. I invited her into our back yard, and we ultimately named her Pepper because she was more black than white. At that time, I was a receptionist for Waggin’ Tail Kennel (in Louisville, Kentucky), owned by Clint and Joan Harris. When Joan was unable to attend shows with Clint, I went along to assist him. I loved everything about the shows. I fell in love with a white Bulldog bitch called Rosie that lived in the kennel. Clint had finished Rosie, but the owner never paid his bill so Rosie became a kennel pet. I remember Clint putting Rosie on a grooming table, and there he taught me what to look for in the Bulldog breed; both the good and the challenging areas. Have I bred any influential sires or dams? I bred to, hopefully, get a bitch to carry forward in my breeding program. Did I handle any memorable show dogs? No. I wasn’t a profes- sional handler. However, I’ve taken dogs of friends into the Breed or Group ring. I remember taking a Chow Chow in the ring for Naomi Scott, and was promptly excused because the dog growled at the judge. Those were hard learning experiences. The Non-Sporting Group is the most diverse. How do I priori- tize the essentials for each breed? When I check into the hotel, the first thing I do is sit at the desk and review each AKC standard I’m scheduled to judge the following day. The first paragraph of the official breed standard gives the general appearance of an ideal dog. So, I refresh that standard in my mind’s eye, then I review the breed snapshots from the Dog Judges Association of America. This gives me a thumbnail review of each breed. So, hopefully, when I walk into the ring I will judge the way a breeder would. What are some of the challenges that come with judging the Non-Sporting breeds? Most of my challenges relate to the area/ location I judge. Having lived in the same area for many years, and knowing many of the exhibitors, some may choose to enter because they feel they might have a better chance of winning. Most have learned over the years that I judge the dog and not who’s holding the lead.
166 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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