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




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

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Dana   Waco, Texas

12/14/2015 10:14:24 AM

Grooming to cover issues from the standard.

Covering too much white. It's cheating folks!

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Julie-Ann   Australia, International

11/30/2015 2:56:16 PM

Judges need to penalise and tell the handlers why. Maybe then breeders might be forced to look at breeding instead of clipping to get the desired shape to their dogs

It's all in the judges hands really what is accepted and what isn't.

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Ana   International

9/19/2015 1:00:14 PM

I agree, don't give reward those you believe are over groomed and certainly penalised. If you have to disqualify go ahead, at the end its a slap on the wrist and they will learn not to do it anymore. As for your Poodle Alex, nails grow and if you don't give the proper care the quick grows along with it. So yeah next time you schedule a teeth clean get your pooch nails done at the vet, so you are not too afraid to chop the quick. One you get the desired length keep up the work, and you will no longer have those long nails. If your feet are getting loose on the teeing stage, give some extra calcium or joint formula, to compensate.

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Lynn   Houston, Texas

3/12/2015 1:01:20 PM

And yet judges reward over-groomed, swimming in product dogs ALL the time!! Practice what you preach! I've seen so many of my breed that is supposed to be shown in a natural state (with minimal tidying) treated like poodles, and spending hours on the table. It borders on the disgusting. This is one area where I much prefer UKC shows.

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