The AKC Realignment Proposal and Smith Judges Approval Process

Potential changes to the AKC's judges approval system and new Group designations have the dog world buzzing


Favoring friends of the members of the Judges Review Committee and/or the ability or desire on the part of applicants to keep themselves on the Committee’s radar can overshadow even the most deserving but less aggressive individual. The situation any committee must avoid at all costs is the accusation so frequently aimed at members of past committees that once they have spoken to each other they firmly believe they have spoken to everyone.

There is another problem that must be considered and it relates to today’s sport as an exhibitor’s game drawing the majority of its participants from a newer, younger element of the sport — those interested in the fun and competitive if not financial aspects of showing and campaigning dogs.

It is from their ranks that the vast majority of our future judges will come. Just what percentage of the newer element of our sport will develop the same characteristics that result from decades of attempting to achieve perfection through breeding and study remains to be seen.

What we do not have to wait to determine is that today’s society rests on a firm platform of instant gratification. Will today’s exhibitor, much less future generations of exhibitors, be willing to contend with a judges approval system based on the vagaries of a review committee and “invitations” to proceed without specifics that can be understood and reasonably accomplished?

As previously stated, to remain a viable institution the AKC must maintain a delicate balance that will attract those who for whatever their reasons want to participate without alienating those who have long made up the organization’s core.

The area that could create more problems than it is really worth is the one in which “Any eligible individual in good standing may be approved to judge at national or parent club specialties by invitation.” Judges who have had to delay the start of an assignment until a first-time sweepstakes judge finishes theirs can understand what a disaster a totally inexperienced judge could be in a mega-entry national specialty.

Also one would have to ask why a breeder who wanted to judge the national specialty would not have applied to become an approved judge for the breed in the first place. And as to professional handlers judging a national I think the AKC still clings to the idea of the marvelous kennel manager-breeding genius-private handlers of old. Do individuals of this experience actually exist anymore?

The good part of the proposal is that it is an attempt to recognize the outstanding judges within the ranks and allow them to apply their talents to additional breeds. Nothing within the plan is carved in stone. If time finds individual facets are not working as anticipated changes can be made. There’s been no perfect system so far and I seriously doubt there will ever be one. We can put the best to the test and fix the wobbling wheels that appear.


The Realignment Committee
Tom Davies, Chair
Karen Burgess
Steve Gladstone
John Nielsen
Robin Stansell
Bob Smith

Joan Savage – Sporting Group
Nancy Perrell – Hound Group
Bo Gloster – Working
Bruce Voran – Working
Cathy Nelson – Terrier
Sally Vilas – Toy
Maggi Strouss – Non-Sporting
Johnny Shoemaker – Non Sporting
Patte Klecan – Herding

Projections with breeds currently in the Groups, Miscellaneous Class and Foundation Stock Service (numbers based on inclusion of new breeds and some movement within the groups, as some breeds are recommended for reassignment)

Group 1: Sporting – Pointers & Setters (18 breeds) 
Bracco Italiano
Drentsche Patrijshond
Pointer (German Shorthaired) 
Pointer (German Wirehaired)
Portuguese Pointer
Setter (English) 
Setter (Gordon) 
Setter (Irish)
Setter (Irish Red & White)
Small Muenstenlander Pointer
Spinone Italiano
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 
Wirehaired Vizsla

Group 2: Sporting – Retrievers & Spaniels (21 breeds/varieties)
Barbet Koolkerhondje
Lagotto Romagnolo
Retriever (Chesapeake Bay) 
Retriever (Curly-Coated) 
Retriever (Flat-Coated) 
Retriever (Golden) 
Retriever (Labrador) 
Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling) 
Spaniel (American Water) 
Spaniel (Boykin) 
Spaniel (Clumber) 
Spaniel (Cocker) ASCOB 
Spaniel (Cocker) Black 
Spaniel (Cocker) Parti-color 
Spaniel (English Cocker) 
Spaniel (English Springer) 
Spaniel (Field) 
Spaniel (Irish Water) 
Spaniel (Sussex)
Spaniel (Welsh Springer)

Group 3: Scent Hounds (21 breeds/varieties) 
American Foxhound
American English Coonhound
Basset Hound
Beagle (13 in) 
Beagle (15 in)
Black & Tan Coonhound 
Bluetick Coonhound 
Dachshund (Longhaired) 
Dachshund (Smooth) 
Dachshund (Wirehaired) 
English Foxhound
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen 
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen 
Portugese Podengo Pequeno
Redbone Coonhound 
Treeing Tennessee Brindle
Treeing Walker Coonhound

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Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on The AKC Realignment Proposal and Smith Judges Approval Process

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Joyce   Tupelo, MS

11/18/2011 8:54:23 PM

I think the AKC should give credence to the breed's parent club prior to making any decisions regarding a breeds group. If the parent club says it wants their breed to be in the Hound group rather than Non Sporting, the AKC should listen. It's the breeders and exhibitors that keep the AKC viable and our wishes should be considered.

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