Insights from Bill Stebbins – Working Group AKC Judge

Great Dane on the beach

 

Interview with Bill Stebbins, Working Group AKC Judge

 

Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as an AKC judge?

Bill Stebbins: I live in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I have been involved with purebred dogs since the late 1960s and have been judging for 37 years.

 

What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?

Bill Stebbins: My original breed was the Great Dane, and our kennel name was Cherdane.

Bill Stebbins - Working Group AKC Judge
Bill Stebbins – Working Group AKC Judge

 

Have I judged any Working Breed/Group Specialties?

Bill Stebbins: I have judged a number of Specialties for various Working Breeds as well as Working Group shows.

 

Are there specific qualities I admire most in the Working Breeds?

Bill Stebbins: The general qualities of Working Breeds encompass their innate intellect and ability to serve man in multiple functions such as guarding, sled pulling, and water rescue.

 

How important are the breed hallmarks in the Working Breeds? Can I offer a few examples?

Bill Stebbins: The hallmarks of the Working Breeds are vital to having dogs with true breed type. In my breed (Great Danes) they are referred to as “The Apollo of Dogs.” They stand four-square and do not shirk from encountering strangers or unusual situations. In theory, I should be able to go into a show ring of several Great Danes and fire a gun into the air. I should see a startle reflex and an immediate recovery.

 

Can I speak to the general presentation of the Working Breeds in my ring today?

Bill Stebbins: With some rare exceptions, the Working Breeds are presented in a highly correct manner. They simply make a lovely picture to the judge as well as the spectators. We have many professional handlers who specialize in one or more Working Breeds and their level of expertise never fails. We also have a number of owners and breeders who also have the ability to show their dogs to best advantage.

 

Do I have any thoughts/opinions on dividing the Working Group in two?

Bill Stebbins: I have not changed my thought process with regards to the splitting of the Working Group. Once again, the idea of removing the sled dogs and Akitas from the Working Group and placing them in a new Northern Group is being discussed.

I understand the goal of this move (and it may prove necessary) although this was first suggested in 2010. If realignment were to occur, it will still be necessary to judge multiple Groups simultaneously in order to shorten the continued lengthening of a dog show. When one adds the amount of time required for NOHS Groups, Best Bred-By, and Best Puppy, the days are becoming far too long for the puppies, handlers, judges, and show committees.

 

What advice would I offer newer judges of the Working Breeds?

Bill Stebbins: As is the case with other Groups as well, when adjudicating the Working Breeds, a judge must always have at the forefront of their mind what the breed was bred to do. Specimens should be rewarded if they possess the physical and mental attributes which would allow them to do so.

 

Which Working Breeds provide the greatest challenge to judges? To exhibitors?

Bill Stebbins: There are some breeds which should not be owned by just anyone. There are a few breeds in the Working Group for which the owner MUST BE THE PACK LEADER! Socialization, training, and discipline are “a must” for any dog, but with some breeds the necessity to perform these functions is much more critical and demanding.

Socialization, training, and discipline are “a must” for any dog, but with some breeds the necessity to perform these functions is much more critical and demanding.

 

If I could share my life with only one Working Breed, which would it be and why?

Bill Stebbins: There is no other breed that would be able to replace my Great Danes. However, if I was not able to have a Dane, my second choice would, without question, be a Doberman Pinscher.

 

If I could share my life with only one dog, which dog would it be and why?

Bill Stebbins: All of us have a “heart dog.” My very first show dog was ours. I will, from time to time, still have flashbacks about this dog after nearly 50 years.

 

Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Working Group?

Bill Stebbins: There have been any number of funny situations which have occurred at a dog show. One of the most recent occurred a couple years ago. I was judging at a show where part of my day was in an indoor ring and the rest of the day was outside.

In the morning, I did a couple of indoor breeds, and around 11:00 a.m., I went outdoors to do Rottweilers. My first class (6-9 Puppy Dogs) had about six entries. As soon as the dogs got into the ring and were set up, a fox ran through the ring. The puppies couldn’t have been happier or more interested.

 


 

Interview with Bill Stebbins, Working Group AKC Judge

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  • I live in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I have been involved with purebred dogs since the late 1960s and have been judging for 37 years.

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