Many times along the way
I've been asked if I truly enjoy judging and if I could
ever return to handling. Yes, I truly enjoy judging and
no, I don't think I could ever handle again. I always
felt as a student of this sport that I would one day
find myself working in this capacity or something
similar. I have provided for you my personal resume, as
close to exact as possible, a guideline for anyone who
might wish to become a judge or at the very least
understand some of the requirements.
As a youngster, I could
hardly say I had aspirations of becoming a judge, nor
did I, in my wildest dreams believe I’d be judging a
group at the nation's greatest dog show… but it has all
come to pass. What I did realize was that I loved the
sport both in the competitive sense and in the breeding
sense. When I began devoting every spare hour, after
studies and other activities, and attending dog shows as
much as my parents would allow, I knew that this was the
place for me. I wanted to go as far as I possibly could
in this sport.
Being a stickler for
detail, I was very efficient at keeping records,
therefore I knew almost every dog I had ever shown, at
what show, and to what award. (very important, essential
requirement for judging applicants) . I suppose that in
my earlier years, I focused my efforts more on the
breeding aspect of the sport, not yet realizing that I
could actually provide for myself as a professional
handler of dogs. By the mid 80’s I had bred 20 +
champions in at least 3 breeds combined. (according to
the AKC, a specific number of litters bred, champions
resulting from those litters and litters born on your
premises is a requirement). After working the “normal”
type job, I decided to devote my entire life to
grooming, showing and breeding purebred dogs. In the
80’s I also opened my grooming business, taught
conformation training classes and began my career as a
professional dog handler. ( grooming and training and
handling dogs fall under the AKC’S definition of
enriching components) At the point I had made
application to the AKC and retired from my handling
career in late December 1997, I had amassed the
following credentials on my application.
Had bred or co-bred over
60 champions combined in 5 various breeds.
Had handled both client
dogs and my own dogs to championship status. (finished
over 80 champions in several breeds within all 7
Had handled BISS, BIS,
and multiple group winning dogs in multiple breeds and
Had acted as a mentor in
my breed to prospective judges.
Had judged over 60 AKC
sanctioned matches and sweepstakes.
Had acted as a ring
steward on several occasions. (5 required)
Had traveled to foreign
countries and observed and handled dogs there.
Had been mentored by
clients then and on a continuing basis, in all current
and past breeds.
Had traveled and worked
for at least two professional handlers as an apprentice.
There are perhaps a few
reasons why one might not wish to pursue a judging
career; if you lack confidence, have trouble making
decisions, hate air travel, or just plain have no
interest. For the most part, I feel that anyone who has
devoted a significant part of their lives to a
successful breeding program, or handling career, owes it
to the sport to continue to share your knowledge in some
way or another. I felt that personally, my best efforts
would be spent through judging and educating and of
course, constantly learning through each and every
The AKC lists all the
required elements for judges on it's website @
For anyone who might one
day be the least bit interested in judging, I hope that
this information may be of some interest and assistance
to you. Judging is more than just what it appears, it
is sharing knowledge, evaluating breeding stock, and yes
your opinion does make a difference.
If at any time I can be
of assistance to anyone interested in making application
to judge, I am always here and happy to assist you.