Westminster Kennel Club Announces the 2015 Show's Judging Panel

The Hon. David Merriam of Bonsall, Calif., has been selected to judge Best in Show at the 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, February 16-17, 2015.

Posted: May 5, 2014 3p.m. PST

WKC BIS Judge David Merriam
Westminster Kennel Club's 2015 Best in Show judge, Hon. David Merriam.

Judge David Merriam's selection to judge Best in Show at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show fits perfectly into his list of accomplishments and service in his lifetime dedicated to the sport of dogs. He began showing dogs as a teenager, with his primary breed the Bull Terrier. Staying active in the sport as he attended law school, he went on to more than a half century of success in showing, breeding and judging.

He retired from the bench as a California State Trials Judge in 1993 and became active in governance of the sport. He served for 20 years on the American Kennel Club board, including five as chair and eight as vice chair. He has been active in a number of other clubs, including the Bull Terrier Club of America and the Montgomery County Kennel Club.

Judge Merriam has won many honors for his accomplishments in dogs, including the Langdon Skarda Man of the Year Award, Dogdom’s Man of the Year Award and the Bull Terrier Club of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

He has officiated at Westminster seven times in the past, including the Terrier Group in 1982. Although licensed to do so, Judge Merriam has never accepted an all breed Best in Show judging assignment prior to this invitation from the Westminster Kennel Club.

Judge Merriam will head a panel of 33 judges from 14 states, Canada and Finland who will officiate at the dog show world’s most famous and prestigious event, held at Madison Square Garden and Piers 92/94 in New York. The panel includes four judges who have previously judged Best in Show at Westminster, 13 who have judged Groups, and 10 who are judging for the first time at Westminster.

Group judges are Mr. Ken Murray of Island Lake, IL, Sporting; Mrs. Betty-Anne Stenmark of Woodside, CA, Hound; Mrs. Theresa Hundt of Sandy Hook, CT, Working; Dr. John Reeve-Newson of Toronto, Canada, Terrier; Mr. Elliott Weiss of Middletown, DE, Toy; Ms. Shirley Limoges of Ottawa, Canada, Non-Sporting; and Dr. Klaus Anselm of Keswick, VA, Herding. Mr. Michael Dougherty of Escondido, CA, will judge the Junior Showmanship finals.

Two new AKC breeds will be eligible for Westminster for the first time in 2015: the Wirehaired Vizsla in the Sporting Group and the Coton de Tulear in the Non-Sporting Group. The addition of these breeds makes a total of 192 breeds and varieties in competition.

Westminster Kennel Club also announced the judges for its second Masters Agility Championship at Westminster to be held at Pier 94 on Feb. 14, the Saturday preceding the all-breed show. Those judges are Mr. Alan Arthur of Leander, TX, and Mr. Graham Partridge of Austell, Cornwall, UK.

Here is the entire 2015 Westminster Kennel Club judges panel and assignments (subject to American Kennel Club approval):



Ms. Dyane Baldwin, Newport, PA: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Curly Coated Retrievers, Flat Coated Retrievers, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

Mr. Norman Kenney, Cross Roads, TX: Brittanys, Spinones Italiano, Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Wirehaired Vizslas.

Ms. Marion Lyons, Hampton, NH: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers.

Dr. Alan Santos, New York, NY: Cocker Spaniels (all Varieties), English Cocker Spaniels.

Mr. Mark Threlfall, Merrimack, NH: American Water Spaniels, Boykin Spaniels, Clumber Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Field Spaniels, Irish Water Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels,

Mr. Robert Vandiver, Simpsonville, SC: English Setters, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters,
Irish Red and White Setters.

Mrs. Cindy Vogels, Greenwood Village, CO: Pointers, German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, Weimaraners.



Ms. Gayle Bontecou, Clinton Corners, NY: Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Harriers, Norwegian Elkhounds, Otterhounds, Petit Bassets Griffons Vendeen, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds.

Mr. Michael Dougherty, Escondido, CA: Portuguese Podengos Pequeno, Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Ms. Sandra Frei, Woodinville, WA: Afghan Hounds, Whippets.

Ms. Jocelyne Gagne, Welland, Ontario, Canada: Borzoi, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds.

Mr. Guy Jeavons, Moffat, Ontario, Canada: Dachshunds (all varieties).

Mr. Allen Odom, Denver, CO: American English Foxhounds, American Foxhounds, Basenji, Basset Hounds, Beagles (both Varieties), Black & Tan Coonhounds, Bluetick Coonhound, English Foxhound, Plotts, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds.



Mr. Norman Kenney, Cross Roads, TX: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, German Pinschers, Neapolitan Mastiffs.

Mr. John Ramirez, Downey, CA:  Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Black Russian Terriers, Chinooks, Doberman Pinschers, Komondorok, Kuvaszok.

Ms. Linda Robey, High Ridge, MO: Cane Corsos, Dogues de Bordeaux.

Mr. Robert Shreve, Greeley, CO: Bullmastiffs, Giant Schnauzers, Great Pyrenees, Mastiffs, Siberian Huskies, Tibetan Mastiffs.

Mr. Robert Slay, Cary, NC: Boxers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Samoyeds, St. Bernards, Standard Schnauzers.

Ms. Satu Yla-Mononen, Kangasala, Finland: Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers.



Mr. David Kirkland, Sanford, NC: Bull Terriers (both Varieties), Smooth Fox Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Rat Terriers.

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chicago, IL: Airedale Terriers, Australian Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Irish Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terriers, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers. 

Dr. Andrew Kramer, Leesburg, VA: Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers.

Mrs. Rosalind Kramer, Leesburg, VA: Russell Terriers.

Mr. John Ramirez, Downey, CA: American Staffordshire Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Standard Manchester Terriers.



Ms. Joy Brewster, Newtown, CT: Italian Greyhounds, Toy Poodles.

Mr. Norman Kenney, Cross Roads, TX: Miniature Pinschers, Shih Tzu, Silky Terriers, Toy Fox Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers.

Mr. David Kirkland, Sanford, NC: Affenpinschers, Chihuahuas (both Varieties).

Mrs. Rosalind Kramer, Leesburg, VA: Brussels Griffons, Papillons, Pekingese, Pomeranians, Pugs.

Mrs. Cindy Vogels, Greenwood Village, CO: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chinese Cresteds, English Toy Spaniels (both Varieties), Havanese, Japanese Chins, Maltese, Toy Manchester Terriers.



Ms. Joy Brewster, Newtown, CT: Miniature Poodles, Standard Poodles.

Mr. Norman Kenney, Cross Roads, TX: American Eskimo Dogs, Tibetan Terriers, Xoloitzcuintli.

Mr. David Kirkland, Sanford, NC: Schipperkes. Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniels.

Mr. James Reynolds, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Bichons Frisés, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chows, Cotons de Tulear, Dalmatians, Keeshonden, Lhasa Apsos, Lowchen, Norwegian Lundehund.

Mr. Robin Stansell, Clayton, NC: Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Finnish Spitz, French Bulldogs.



Mr. Guy Jeavons, Moffatt, Ontario, Canada: Shetland Sheepdogs.

Ms. Linda Robey, High Ridge, MO: Briards, Canaan Dogs, Finnish Lapphunds, German Shepherd Dogs, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norwegian Buhunds.

Mr. Robert Slay, Cary, NC: Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Old English Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Pulik, Pyrenean Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds.

Mr. Robert Vandiver, Simpsonville, SC: Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Bearded Collies, Beauceron, Border Collies, Collies (both Varieties).

Ms. Satu Yla-Mononen, Kangasala, Finland: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren, Bouviers des Flandres, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs.



Ms. Joy Brewster, Newtown, CT, and Mr. Robert Slay, Cary, NC.


The Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. Established in 1877, Westminster's influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all breed, benched dog show held every year at New York's Madison Square Garden. The show is America’s second longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby.  For additional information, visit the Westminster Kennel Club website.


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Lu   Underhill, Vermont

5/7/2014 8:36:25 PM

I just hope that the commentary at the show about each breed would be UPDATED. Please ask each parent club for a new description of their breed. The repeating of the same description is getting old.

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