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AKC Announces Judging Panel for the 2023 AKC National Championship

2023 AKC National Championship

NEW YORK, NY (March 7, 2023) – The American Kennel Club (AKC) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2023 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17, 2023.

The 2023 event will showcase the top canine athletes and will also include popular attractions such as the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational, the Obedience Classic and AKC Fast CAT Invitational, with junior events in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Rally.

Leading the charge as Best in Show judge for the 2023 National Championship is Mr. Clay Coady of Paradise Valley, AZ and Mr. Terry Stacy of Durham, NC will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show. The judges for Junior Showmanship, the National Owner-Handled Series Finals and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be announced at a later date.

The lineup of judges for this year’s show is impressive,” said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung. “The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin continues to be a must-attend event, and with Clay and Terry at the helm, it will be a thrilling competition for breeders, exhibitors and judges.


Judges for the seven variety groups and the Miscellaneous Classes at the AKC National Championship are:

  • SPORTING – Ms. Pluis Davern – Royal Oaks, CA
  • HOUND – Mr. Charles Olvis – Lake Wales, FL
  • WORKING – Mrs. Victoria Seiler-Cushman – Xenia. OH
  • TERRIER – Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III
  • TOY – Mrs. Rosalind Kramer – High Point, NC
  • NON-SPORTING – Mr. David Kirkland – Sanford, NC
  • HERDING – Dr. Carmen Battaglia – Roswell, GA
  • MISCELLANEOUS CLASSES – Mr. Desmond Murphy – Monroe, NY


Judges for the seven Bred-by-Exhibitor variety groups are:

  • SPORTING – Mr. Dana Cline – Albany, GA
  • HOUND – Mr. Daniel J. Smyth, Esq. – Bermuda Dunes, CA
  • WORKING – Ms. Rita J. Biddle, Esq. – Eagle, MI
  • TERRIER – Ms. Kathleen J. Ferris – Holland, PA
  • TOY – Mr. Andrew Brace – United Kingdom
  • NON-SPORTING – Mr. Robin Stansell – Clayton, NC
  • HERDING – Mr. Jon R. Cole – Nashville, TN


Breed Judging for the AKC National Championship:


Sporting Group Breed Assignments
Dr. Daniel W. Dowling Barbets, Setters (English), Setters (Gordon), Setters (Irish), Setters (Irish Red and White), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (English Cocker), Spaniels (Irish Water), Spaniels (Sussex)
Mr. Charles Olvis Brittanys
Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart Bracchi Italiani, Lagotti Romagnoli, Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes, Retrievers (Curly-Coat), Retrievers (Flat-Coat), Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Field), Spinone Italiani, Weimaraners
Ms. Lisa E. Weiss Pointers, Retrievers (Labrador), Spaniels (English Springer)
Dr. Jose Luis Payro Pointers (German Shorthaired), Pointers (German Wirehaired), Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), Spaniels (Welsh Springer), Vizslas
Sheila Polk Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay), Spaniels (Clumber)
Mrs. Victoria Seiler-Cushman Retrievers (Golden)
Mr. Jon R. Cole Spaniels (Cocker – all varieties), Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Wirehaired Vizslas
Hound group Breed assignments
Mr. Desmond Murphy Afghan Hounds, Beagles (both varieties), Greyhounds, Whippets
Mr. Jon R. Cole American English Coonhounds, American Foxhounds, Basenjis, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds
Mr. Dana Cline Azawakhs, Basset Hounds, Borzois, Cirnechi dell’Etna
Mrs. Rosalind Kramer Dachshunds (all varieties), Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, Scottish Deerhounds
Pamela Bruce English Foxhounds, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Harriers, Irish Wolfhounds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Otterhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Plott Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds, Salukis, Sloughis, Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Sheila Polk Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Working group Breed assignments
Mrs. Linda Clark Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Bullmastiffs Giant Schnauzers
Dr. Jose Luis Payro Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Black Russian Terriers, Boerboels, Cane Corsos, Chinooks, Dogos Argentinos, Great Pyrenees
Mr. Andrew Brace Bernese Mountain Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Great Dane
Mr. Desmond Murphy Boxers
Mr. Jon R. Cole Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Komondorok, Kuvaszok, Leonbergers, Mastiffs, Neapolitan Mastiffs
Peggy Helming Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs
Dr. Steven L. Keating Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, Standard Schnauzers, Tibetan Mastiffs
Terrier group Breed assignments
Mr. Michael D. Buckley Airedale Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Glen of Imaal, Irish Terriers, Russell Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers
Mrs. Connie H. Clark American Hairless Terriers, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Bull Terriers (colored & white), Miniature Bull Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Skye Terriers
Pamela Bruce Cairn Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Mr. Dana Cline Fox Terriers (Smooth), Fox Terriers (Wire), Kerry Blue Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers
Mr. David J. Kirkland Manchester Terriers (Standard)
Toy Group Breed Assignments
Dr. Adam Stafford King Affenpinschers, Havanese, Italian Greyhounds, Japanese Chins, Pugs
Ms. Sandra Bingham-Porter Biewer Terriers, Brussels Griffons, Maltese, Russian Toys, Silky Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers
Mr. Leonard S. Reppond Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas (both varieties)
Dr. Steven L. Keating Chinese Cresteds, Papillons, Pomeranians
Mr. David J. Kirkland English Toy Spaniels (all varieties), Toy Manchester Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Pekingese, Shih Tzus, Toy Fox Terriers
Mr. Dana Cline Poodles (Toy)
Non-Sporting Group Breed Assignments
Pamela Bruce American Eskimo Dogs
Dr. Joyce Dandridge Bichon Frises, Boston Terriers, Chow Chows, Cotons de Tulear, Keeshonden
Mr. Andrew Brace Bulldogs, Dalmatians, Finnish Spitz, French Bulldogs
Mr. Dana Cline Chinese Shar-Pei, Poodles (Miniature & Standard)
Mr. Charles L. Olvis Lhasa Apsos, Löwchens, Norwegian Lundehunds, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniels, Tibetan Terriers
Sheila Polk Xoloitzcuintli
Herding Group Breed Assignments
Mr. Thomas W. Coen Australian Cattle Dogs, Belgian Lakenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs Finnish Lapphunds, Mudik, Pyrenean Shepherds, Spanish Water Dogs, Swedish Vallhunds
Sheila Polk Australian Shepherds
Mr. Desmond Murphy Bearded Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis,
Ms. Janina K. Laurin Beaucerons, Berger Picards, Border Collies, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs
Ms. Rita J. Biddle, Esq Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collies (both varieties), Icelandic Sheepdogs, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs
Mr. David J. Kirkland Miniature American Shepherds, Norwegian Buhunds, Pulik, Pumik


*Panel subject to final approval.


About Best in Show judge Clay Coady:

Clay Coady competed in his first dog show at the age of 12, with his first pure bred dog, a Samoyed named Snow. He didn’t win, but it ignited a passion for the sport that still burns to this day. His career in dogs was blessed by the good fortune to work with the very best of people and dogs. In his teens he worked for legends Ben Brown and, later, Larry Downey. In his 20s, he set out on a successful professional handling career with his then-wife Bergit. Before it was over, he would handle some of the top-winning dogs of their time for some wonderful clients, finishing and specializing dogs in every group.

Mr. Coady retired from handling in 1999 to focus on his business interests including boarding kennels, veterinary clinics and pet supply businesses in the Phoenix, AZ area. He has been judging since 2001, and presently is approved to judge breeds in every group as well as the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, and Best in Show.

2023 AKC National Championship judging panel


About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Terry Stacy:

Terry Stacy purchased a Cocker Spaniel in 1952 and began showing as a Junior Handler. He bred his first Cocker Champion in 1955 which led to numerous other Champions. After an education at Marietta College, he became Kennel Manager for the Downsbraugh Kennels of Mr. and Mrs. William Brainard where he worked with Smooth Fox Terriers, Welsh Terriers, Greyhounds and Labrador Retrievers. A successful career of 15 years as a professional handler followed. He finished titles on breeds in each of the 6 Groups then recognized by the American Kennel Club as well as winning many Best in Show and Group awards.

In 1978, Terry began a career as a Dog Show Superintendent for MBF Dog Shows. Three years later he was hired by the American Kennel Club where he worked another 15-year career as Vice President of Dog Events and later was elected Senior Vice President until he retired in 1995.

Mr. Stacy resides in Durham, NC with his wife Jackie who judges All Breeds. As a judge of 5 Groups, Mr. Stacy has judged shows throughout the world.