National Owner Handled Series Judge Mary Wuest
- Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the National Owner-Handled Series Non-Sporting Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Mary Wuest: I was excited and honored to receive an invitation to judge the National Owner-Handled Non-Sporting Breeds and Group, and I thank AKC for this opportunity.
- What does it mean to judge this singular event at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Mary Wuest: I considered this assignment very important because I would be judging some of the Top 10 National Owner-Handled Series Non-Sporting dogs. The owners have worked hard throughout the year to accomplish their goals, and they and their dogs should be recognized.
- In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Mary Wuest: This is the only AKC show where Owner-Handled Finals competition is held. This competition brought together many of the Top 10 owner-handled breeds in all seven Groups.
- What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the NOHS Non-Sporting Group ring?
Mary Wuest: I was excited and somewhat nervous. I wanted to honor the Breed winners and their owner-handlers who had worked so hard throughout the year to rank in the Top 10.
- Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and owner-handled teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Mary Wuest: All exhibitors and their dogs were ready-to-go in Breed and Group competition.
- How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Mary Wuest: Some of the breeds had outstanding representations for their breed. It was nice to see quality in the breed ring. I enjoyed getting my hands on all the dogs.
- Do you have a word or two about your NOHS Non-Sporting Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Mary Wuest: I considered my four selections in Group to be outstanding representations of their respective breed. My Group winner was the American Eskimo Dog. I liked his expression, beautiful dark eyes, ears correctly placed, and his correct front and rear angles resulting in correct movement. My second place was the French Bulldog with a beautiful, correct head and correct topline, and very nice movement. Third place was the Chinese Shar-Pei; a square dog, correct topline with high tail set, and correct movement. My fourth place was the Chow Chow; heavy bone, substance, strong muscular development, head large in proportion to size of dog, and a beautiful, dark mouth pigment.
- Are there specific ways in which the NOHS furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Mary Wuest: I strongly believe that giving the owner-handlers an opportunity to compete on a level playing ﬁeld with the professional handlers is one of the best things AKC has ever done. The owner-handlers take this competition very seriously, as should we judges.
- A show of this magnitude is a monumental undertaking. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the AKC and the show’s sponsors?
Mary Wuest: From my viewpoint, everything ran smoothly throughout the entire weekend. A special thanks to our Group Ring Steward, Guy Fisher, who kept my ring running smoothly. I would like to say “thank you” to AKC and Royal Canin for oﬀering the Owner-Handled Finals at this show.
- Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2021 show year? What about the year ahead?
Mary Wuest: I look forward to 2022 and hope the new year continues forward with the momentum we picked up at the end of 2021.
“It was nice to see quality in the breed ring. I enjoyed getting my hands on all the dogs.”