Judges Weigh in on Grooming

Judges discuss the most common grooming errors they find in the ring.

By Allan Reznik | April 26, 2013

Judge examining teeth
One of the most common grooming mistakes that judges see is unclean teeth.

With so many judges actively participating in social media, we decided to poll them on an issue they must address at every show: What are the most common grooming errors you find in the ring?

1. NICOLAS DE BEDOUT SKNAR: Unclean teeth, long nails and smelly hands for the judges.

2. RICHARD EICHHORN: Over-sculpting and excessive use of grooming products.

3. PATRICIA GILBERT: Filthy teeth on a dog, especially when it is a full-dentition breed, make me cringe. Long toenails bother me, and generally a dirty dog is insulting to all involved. I don't get too many of them. People know I was a groomer.

4. KERRIE KUPER: Nails! Cut them.

5. ERIC LIEBES: I see two general sets of problems: (a) Ignoring breed-specific grooming as described in the standard or by convention, and (b) overgrooming every breed by blowing and back brushing.

6. BONNIE LINNELL CLARKE: Overuse of product, teasing, spraying. Rat's nests on Shih Tzu.; sculpted curly coat on PWDs so they have Kerry Blue necks and Bichon heads; painted masks on Danes and Boxers; way too much of everything on all coated breeds. I didn't sign on to be a grooming judge. Fix it in the whelping box, not in the tack box.

7. KATHY LORENTZEN: Overtrimming of most Sporting dogs! Straight lines cut on furnishings, topcoats cut off and, on Golden Retrievers specifically, blown-out open coats that would never shed water. There is little regard for the requirements of the breed standards in Sporting breeds anymore.

8. BUTCH MACDONALD: My biggest complaint is too much product and not enough soap and water! Too many dogs are shown dirty or with too much product to make them look clean.

9. JOHNNY SHOEMAKER: I am finding many dogs — and even my own breed, Poodles — with dirty and rotten teeth. That I do not like. I am also finding some dogs' coats that have not been washed for months ... unacceptable for me.

10. CHRISTIE SMITH: Overuse of product and trimming on dogs when the standard says trimming shall be penalized or even disqualified.

11. BETTY-ANNE STENMARK: Inappropriate grooming for the breed. For instance, the fluffed and puffed Golden Retriever, the PBGV exhibitor who thinks untrimmed means unwashed or the Bedlington scissored into a wheelback.

12. RANDY TINCHER: Going to a show? Wash your dog and trim its nails for starters.



Click on one of the photos below to learn about the grooming and presentation trends that have occurred over the years in that group.

Sporting Group Grooming

The Sporting Group

Hound Group Grooming

The Hound Group

Working Group Grooming

The Working Group

Terrier Group Grooming

The Terrier Group

Toy and Non-Sporting Groups Grooming

The Toy and Non-Sporting Groups

Herding Group Grooming

The Herding Group




4 of 12 Comments View All 12 Comments

Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Judges Weigh in on Grooming

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Pam   International

10/19/2014 1:26:10 PM

If judges don't like these things refuse to judge the dogs. In our breed the standard states no sprays dyes or product but dogs that have been obviously dyed and with 1/2 a can of sray and other product in their coat go up all the time. You must join them to beat them but that doesn't make it right. Come on judges grow some balls and judge to the standard and rules JMHO

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Amber   Gary, Texas

10/7/2014 6:45:40 AM

Totally agree!! If you don't like it and YOU KNOW ITS WRONG stop putting it up!!!

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Danita   Decherd, Tennessee

10/7/2014 4:59:22 AM

I agree that if the judges would stop putting up these over groomed dogs (that mainly are pro-handled) & get back to judging the dogs according to the breed standard, this sport would thrive again. Instead, OH are getting tired of the politics & saving their money by staying home. Of course, the proverbial "bone" that AKC has given OH is supposed to make it all better? We want points for our dogs not our own recognition. Give OH shows where we can obtain points for our dogs with no pro handlers & maybe that would bring this sport back to where it used to be.

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Wyreteck   Raleigh, North Carolina

5/4/2014 10:28:32 AM

I agree with Arlene - if Judges want proper dogs in the ring, in the breed, and in the hands of exhibitors then they need to stop putting up dogs that are improperly structured or of improper temperament. Withhold ribbons, excuse whole classes, be HONEST, know the breed standard and expect it in the ring. It is the JUDGE who decides the path that breeders/exhibitors

Stop putting up friends, handlers ... FACES and do your job as a Judge. Don't pick the best of the worst, it is up to the Judge to set the standard of the best of the Breed.

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