Dog Show Judging and the AKC

An AKC judge discusses ethics, fakery and the AKC’s responsibility.


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I have a theory that many judges would actually prefer that the obvious fault be faked so they don't have to deal with it. My gosh, what wrath will the judge receive by giving the group to a Terrier whose tail is carried over its back? "Can't that judge see?" will be the roar of the ignorant crowd. I am still amazed that appeasing ignorant people is important to some judges.

As a handler, the professional's duty is to advocate for his or her client's dog. If the dog's appearance can be improved, the handler's duty is to improve the appearance so that the dog will have a greater chance of winning. This modification should be contained within the boundaries of what the governing body decides is acceptable. When we have judges who ignore those boundaries, then handlers and exhibitors will extend their correction to those areas that they are permitted to invade. While many handlers and exhibitors are governed by their own set of values and morals that respect the laws, others may have other philosophies of life and will venture into whatever territory they are permitted. Many people are driven to achieve their goals of public adulation at any personal cost to their spiritual growth.

The role of the judge is not to determine if the rules of the governing body are enlightened or correct or well-advised. They are required to uphold the rules. Personally, I believe disqualifications in most cases are moronic, as I believe fault judging is ignorant and self-defeating. Disqualifying a dog from being judged, if we are indeed judging breeding stock, says in effect that the particular animal should not be considered as a breeding animal. Breed clubs which institute disqualifications are saying they are so knowledgeable that they know without question which animals should never be included in a breeding program, and I feel this is the height of arrogance and conceit. But as a judge, one must operate within those rules. It is an overt agreement the person agrees to when accepting the license to be a judge.

The AKC representative is charged by the AKC to ensure that its events are held according to its rules. Why the AKC permits substances to be sold on the grounds of the show, the application of which constitutes disqualification, is well beyond my ability to cognate on the issue. By doing so, the AKC implicitly is permitting fakery in the ring. If the AKC feels it cannot even control the sale of these items on the show grounds during one of its own events, it should not have rules which say they are not allowed!

I will summarize my points here:

1) Judging dogs as breeding stock requires that we judge the genetically determined traits, and we cannot tolerate fakery that interferes with the accuracy of judgment;

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