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Conversation with Connie H. Clark – 2023 WKC Dog Show Terrier Group Judge

Connie Clark - 2023 WKC Dog Show Terrier Group Judge


Interview with Connie H. Clark – 2023 WKC Dog Show Terrier Group Judge

Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Terrier Group at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Connie Clark: Delightfully surprised!


What does it mean to judge a Group at this historic show?

Connie Clark: It is, of course, an extreme honor!


In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?

Connie Clark: The logo says it all… Westminster. There’s only one!


What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the Group ring?

Connie Clark: I was looking forward to seeing which dogs my fellow judges had sent to the Group. Keeping the judging on time for the FOX Network!


Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?

Connie Clark: Yes, the dogs and their handlers were in sync. The energy was stronger with some than with others. The involvement of the spectators, as well as the owners, breeders, and handlers in supporting their dogs was heightened in the arena!


How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?

Connie Clark: In this assignment it was very important to give each dog/bitch a thorough examination.


Do you have a word or two about your Group winner? About the dogs that placed?

Connie Clark: This was a lovely Terrier Group, with almost every breed represented. The dogs that made the cut were exceptional examples of their breeds. The placings were:

The American Staffordshire Terrier, first time one has won the Group at WKC; second to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, one of the rarest Terrier breeds, sired by “Harry,” a dog from Australia who was No. 1 Dog All Breeds in 2006; third to the Kerry Blue Terrier, a bitch bred in Ireland from a three generational line; and fourth to the Sealyham Terrier, co/owner/breeder/handler with a very successful breeder from Canada.


There is no other show quite like Westminster. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the Westminster Kennel Club and its members?

Connie Clark: The new venue did not disappoint. As in typical Westminster KC fashion, every detail was well planned and nothing was overlooked—an ongoing tradition from the Westminster Kennel Club members and the newly elected officers.


Are there specific ways in which this show furthers the cause of purebred dogs?

Connie Clark: The cause of purebred dogs is furthered by the mere fact that the show features live streaming at ringside during the daytime hours and FOX features live coverage of the Groups and Best in Show in the evening. This gives the dog-loving audience an opportunity to see all the many ways that our dogs fill our lives completely!


Now that your assignment is complete, what does Westminster mean to you personally?

Connie Clark: My Terrier Group assignment this year was the icing on the cake! I had enjoyed a previous assignment of Terrier and Toy breeds, and have always enjoyed my ring stewarding assignments over the many years!