The AKC and Foreign Judges

AKC is proposing to introduce an open book test as a requirement for foreigners coming to judge any breed that doesn't exist in their country.

By Frank Sabella | January 24, 2013

Judge Frank Sabella

Frank Sabella (with ribbon) awarding BIS at Westminster in 1990 to Pekingese Ch. Wendessa Crown Prince, handled by Luc Boileau. Trophy presenters, left Ron Menaker; right Chet Collier.

At the end of this article are some questions from the Open Book test for a randomly chosen breed (the American Foxhound) that AKC is proposing to introduce as a requirement for foreigners coming to judge any breed that doesn't exist in their country (or a Group that has such a breed in it). The primary reason for this is reportedly that the president of the AKC, Dennis Sprung, has had so many complaints about these judges.

The purpose of this test, according to Mr. Sprung, is educational. However, after you have taken this test, please ask yourself what you learned from it and if you could judge this breed better because you took the test.

In my humble opinion, an open book test teaches you nothing. What the AKC really wants is the $25 fee that judges have to pay for the privilege of taking the test. It seems the AKC is a little desperate for money. When the past board chairman left the AKC, the reserves stood at a reported $58 million. How much are those reserves today, and what is being done to preserve them?

If you are a Canadian judge, you pay the AKC for each "new" breed you judge here. Even though it is an Open Book test, the breed is yours. It's not like what an American judge has to go through to get a new breed in this country: attend a big national specialty, go to seminars, and the list of requirements goes on and on ... but not if you are a foreigner.

We have been blessed with some great foreign judges in the past. It was those judges who contributed to the great old Santa Barbara Kennel Club's success in the past, the likes of Hans Lehtinen and Rainer Vuorinen from Finland, Kazumasa Igarashi from Japan and Carla Molinari from Portugal. They were considered great judges not only in their own countries but considered great throughout the world. Later there was Espen Engh from Norway, Ramon Podesta from Chile, Guy Spagnolo from Australia, Goran Bodegard from Sweden, and the list goes on. When Bo Bengtson first came from Sweden to Santa Barbara to judge, he was assigned two breeds, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds, and he overdrew.

Granted, there are some bad foreign judges as well, just as there are in this country.

Another consideration of course is that if AKC enforces these open book tests on foreign judges, the FCI, which governs international shows in Europe and most of the rest of the world, will undoubtedly enforce a much stricter observance of the rule that AKC judges cannot judge many of the breeds at FCI shows that they have been judging in the past. I am reliably informed from sources within the FCI that such plans are already being thought out.

Anyway, if you take the Open Book test, tell me if you received anything from it except the privilege of giving the AKC your $25 fee.


The Test

The open book AKC Breed Test for the American Foxhound consists of 15 multiple choice questions. The correct answer to each question in the open book Breed Tests can be found in the AKC standard.

Question 1. The American Foxhound's expression should be:
A. piercing
B. distant
C. gentle and pleading
D. very keen

Question 2. The American Foxhound's eye color should be:
A. black
B. brown only
C. hazel only
D. brown or hazel

Question 3. The eyes should be:
A. set close together
B. set moderately spaced
C. set well apart
D. small

Under the subheading "Head" in the AKC Breed Standard for the American Foxhound, the following can be found: "Eyes — Eyes large, set well apart, soft and houndlike — expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color." Therefore, the correct answer to Question 1 is C, to Question 2 is D, and to Question 3 is C.


From the January  2013 issue of Dogs In Review magazine. Purchase the January 2013 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs In Review magazine.


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S Harris   Maryville, Tennessee

1/26/2013 5:46:21 AM

Foreign Judges will do a better job in that they will foucus on the dog rather than than the handler. AKC judging is based om money and politics in most cases with the buddy system in my opinion. The best dogs do niot win because of the AKC lack of monitoring judges.

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