We were all set to hold our 90th Samoyed Club of America National Specialty in Roseville, California, at The Grounds on October 3-8, 2022. Entries were closing September 14, people were getting prepared to travel, and committee members were finalizing everything to bring. On Sept. 13, the Show Chair, Judy Davis, was notified that our contract at The Grounds was being cancelled because it was being used as a staging area for Cal-Fire and other emergency teams due to The Mosquito Fire. We were without ac show site. The frantic search for another site started.
Within two days, a new site was secured: The Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley, California. There were concerns that the show rings were going to be on asphalt, but to everyone’s surprise there was a large, beautifully maintained grass area. They also had all the facilities we needed to cook food for lunches every day as well as for the Awards Dinner, Live Auction, and Top 20 buffets. Hotel reservations were cancelled, new hotels were found, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
The week was filled with numerous events and activities, including three days of off-site Herding and Agility, and a 5.3-mile pack hike. There was Novice and Sanctioned Weight Pull, CGC, Temperament Testing, and Trick Dog. There was breeder, mentor and judges education, an eye clinic, an art show, daily silent auctions, and a huge raffle table. A memorial wall was done where tributes to dogs that have crossed the bridge were displayed. Daily lunches were provided, and a Mexican Fiesta welcome party and an Octoberfest beer tasting with German food were two of the evening dinners.
“Elements of the Standard” was offered and judged by Mardee Ward Fanning of Hood N Paw Samoyeds, John Ronald of Seadog Samoyeds, and Peter Hill of Samloch Samoyeds. Between the three judges there was a total of over 125 years of experience in the breed. There were 90 entries for the 10 elements judged.
Our Top 20 Invitational show with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres was on Wednesday evening. Judges for this event were Adrian Woodfork of Addox Kennels, Cheri Hollenback of Cascade Samoyeds, and Sandra Post of Jasam Kennels in Canada. It was a beautiful showcase, highlighting dogs that were the Top 20 in breed, all-breed, and owner-handled rankings.
We had a Rescue Parade in which there were 14 entries, and a Parade of Titleholders with 40 entries.
Junior Showmanship, Working Sweeps, and Veteran and Puppy Sweeps were held, along with Stud Dog, Brood Bitch, Brace, 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy, and Pee Wee Showmanship.
Friday evening was our Live Auction and BBQ banquet. Our auctioneer this year was Peter Hill of Samloch Samoyeds from Australia. “Dressed to the nines,” Peter brought his sense of humor to the auction. The highlight of the evening was when judge Delbert Thacker auctioned the Samoyed shirt he wore while judging, which sold for $550.00!
It is always good to hear what a judge thinks of an entry, especially at a National, so here are five of our judges and their perspectives:
Marta DeMerath of Icebowl Samoyeds judged Futurity.
“It was an honor and thrill to judge Futurity at the 2022 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty.
The quality of the 2022 entry was strong. Overall, they exhibited correct breed type and structure. At times, it was a challenge to evaluate movement because—well, you know—puppies will be puppies! Hijinks and laughter ruled the day. That being said, a few of the entries could’ve used a bit more prosternum and proper layback. I really enjoyed seeing those pups that moved out with their head lowered, exhibiting strong reach and drive. That purposeful movement, rather than prancing, was a joy to behold.
My Best Puppy and Best Junior winners shared many positive traits. They both had a beautiful head, correct structure, and powerful side gait. They were clean coming and going. I would’ve loved to take either (or better still, both) of them home with me! In the end, my Grand Futurity winner was the Junior bitch, who moved out like she owned the ring. After the judging was finished, I learned that she came from a long line of Grand Futurity winners, as both her mother and great-grandmother had also earned that title. I was honored to uphold the ‘family tradition.’”
Sheila Paske of Storybook Dachshunds judged our Puppy Sweepstakes.
“I was fortunate to be asked to Judge Sweepstakes at the Samoyed Club of America National in Gridley, California, on Wednesday, October 5th, 2022. It was a pleasure! I had a total of 33 exhibits, with 17 dogs and 16 bitches. The majority of entrants showed excellent breed type, including a double coat, dark eyes, correct scissors bite, and the desired ‘Samoyed Smile’ with desired dark pigment.
This breed was developed to both pull sleds and herd reindeer (including running underneath them). My only concern in my entry was size. I feel the breed is getting too large to do the work for which it was originally bred. According to the Standard, substance is of sufficiency of size and bone to balance the frame, and I did have more than a few exhibits which showed too much height and too much bone. No male Samoyed should be more than 23-1/2 inches at the shoulder, and the bitches’ height should not be more than 21 inches.
All had the lovely glistening sheen to their coats, and the males, even the younger ones, displayed the desired ‘ruff’ around the head and shoulders. I had several entries displaying the allowed colors of biscuit and cream, and one all-biscuit, but most were the pure white most often seen. The temperaments were generally excellent (only one was unable to be examined), showing the friendly, intelligent, adaptable disposition desired in the breed. Movement, for the most part, had quick, agile strides and displayed vigor and balance.
My Best of Sweeps was a male from the 9-12 Class. He showed the correct structure, balanced movement, and beautiful double coat standing away from his body without curl. His head was proportioned correctly, wedge-shaped and showing the desired equilateral triangle between the inner base of the ears and the middle of the stop. He was a standout.
My Best of Opposite was a bitch from the 12 & Under 15 Class.
- Her movement was exemplary, showing the appropriate reach in front and driving power from her hindquarters.
- Her trot was both quick and agile, and I felt she could have done her job all day without tiring.
- Her smaller size, but clearly still within standard, was also very appealing to me.
Dr. Marion McNeil of Sterling Samoyeds judged our Class Dogs.
“The day was warm and sunny at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley, California. The 6-9 Month Puppy Class entered the ring, a positive sign of things to come. The sunshine enhanced the glistening silver tips on their coats, illustrating a distinctive characteristic of our Samoyeds.
I was very impressed with a number of the puppies’ solid structure, nice overall type, and the irresistible darling expression of a Samoyed puppy! Of course, there was a range of issues relating to the ‘growing pains’ of an immature pup, aka, unstable fronts and lack of rear drive, but there were a number of very typey pups with sweet temperaments, beautifully coated, and exhibiting lovely outlines. The darling winner of this class was very deserving.
The 9-12 Month Puppy Class lined up and made me take a deep breath, “Game On!” All of the puppies exhibited lovely outlines, quality coats, and beautiful heads. Of course, these youngsters still need to build strength to solidify sounder fronts. The winner of this class was a stunning young male with all of the qualities I was looking for. He was later moved up to compete for Winners Dog in the final line-up!
The 12-18 Month Puppy Class first-place winner checked all the boxes and took my eye immediately. The rest of the class had many great attributes, but each had at least one less than ideal issue. They were typical ‘teenagers.’
The Bred-By 6-12 Month entries all exhibited quality in style and structure, but some had straight shoulder angles and lack of soundness coming and going. The first and second placers in this class were stunning, with minimal faults.
The Bred-By 12 Months and Over entries made my jaw drop! The class had tremendous quality throughout. I had to be extremely diligent to choose the best of the best. The winner had a classic masculine head, nice bone, balanced movement, and soundness. He covered ground effortlessly. A class act in every area!
First place in the American-Bred Class went to a male that was outstanding in every way. He carried a lovely biscuit coat! He moved so soundly coming and going, but his side gait was breathtaking. This dog could go all day! He had a beautiful head and expression, with stunning dark eyes and pigment, and he showed his heart out. The dogs were getting better and better as the day went on. A wonderful challenge was building to come up with the winner at the end of the day!
The Open Class was next. All of these boys greeted me with wagging tails and made me smile. I think they could tell how excited I was! As this class lined up, I had to calm down! An impressive group of beautiful, typey, mature dogs that knew the ropes and showed themselves off! After studying their movement, details of their heads, eyes, expression, pigment, coat, substance, and overall quality, I chose the one with easy movement, faultless coming and going, exquisite type, and a lovely attitude as the winner.
After a 15-minute break, the first-place dogs of each class took their places in ‘my’ ring. I walked past my choices, looking at each dog, and got ‘chills.’ What a beautiful line-up of top-quality boys from every class! I could not go wrong here, but I was determined to get it right! I realized that these young boys are a gift to the future of the Breed. What a thrill to now choose Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Dog.
Winners Dog was from the Open Dog Class. He had every quality described in our Standard. It was awesome to watch him cover ground around the ring so effortlessly. Reserve Winners came from the Bred-By 12 Months and Older Class. Another graceful mover with stunning type and attitude.
I was overcome with emotion as I chose those two as WD and RWD from an incredible final line-up of winners. The thrill of a lifetime for me!”
Delbert Thacker of Kalonik Kennel judged our Class Bitches.
“There were 101 class bitches entered at the SCA National Specialty held in Gridley, California. My general impression was an overall collection of good proportions, good and correct coats, and good conditioning. Most of the entry had well-developed, strong thighs, which indicated the athleticism typical of the Samoyed. As the day progressed from a low 60 degrees to the temperature reaching the 90s, I was reminded of the adaptability of this breed in various climates. A suggestion I offered at the dinner/auction was for the breeders to continue to breed Sammies with
The front depends on a well-developed chest to perform the many functions of the Samoyed. I was very pleased with my Winners Bitch and Reserve Bitch who both possessed good type and soundness. And as all of us judges say, ‘There were not enough ribbons to hand out.’ I was very delighted and pleased to have been invited to judge this
Breed/Intersex was judged by Beth Riley of Seamist Samoyeds.
“In my 50-plus years in the breed, I have never witnessed such overall strength in movement as I saw in the BOB/Intersex ring. Front and rear movement was clean, with parallel legs that moved in single tracks; little foot flipping or paddling was seen. Side movement was strong, with good balance, timing, reach and drive. Gaits were mostly smooth. You could imagine these dogs working tirelessly all day with their effortless strides.
For general conformation, I saw good length of leg, proper depth of chest, balanced angles front and rear, level toplines, and good substance. We did have a few dogs on the large side. Most had proper scissors bites, dark pigment, and good texture to coats. All seemed to have great temperaments.
We did have some weaknesses that deserve mention. Every aspect of the breed’s physique is designed for survival, so when they have a weakness it can have deadly consequences. One of the main weaknesses I observed was with the eyes. Half of the dogs had eyes that were too round or triangular, or not obliquely set. Almond-shaped, obliquely set eyes are a necessary characteristic for survival. Another fault was pigeon chests with ewe necks. You should be able to feel the protuberance of the forechest on a Samoyed, but it does not begin as an immediate rounding out of the chest just under the chin; it is not a pigeon chest. With these pigeon chests usually came a ewe neck. A properly arched neck with strong ligaments is needed to support the shoulder blades and front legs.
We’ve been seeing a resurgence of the rear foot that rolls back on its heel, exposing the toes. This is a fault. Our breed needs its arched toes to grip the ground and perform the stopping/starting maneuvers involved with working.
All that said, overall, I was still very pleased. No dog is perfect. There was great strength in the ring that day and I’m still smiling, remembering the great movement. A good-moving Samoyed is a joy to behold!”
Samoyed Club of America National Specialty 2022 Photo Gallery
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