Interview With Danelle Brown – 2022 AKC National Championship NOHS Herding Group Judge
Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the National Owner-Handled Series Herding Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Danelle Brown: I was excited and honored when I received the phone call. It was really special since a dear friend won the NOHS Herding Group last year with a dog I bred. I knew how much it meant to her, and I looked forward to bestowing the honor to another deserving team.
What does it mean to judge this singular event at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Danelle Brown: I consider it a great honor that the AKC recognizes my love and dedication to the sport. I am a huge supporter of NOHS program.
In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Danelle Brown: The best of the best come to Orlando. The NOHS Groups are usually strong at local shows, but in Orlando the depth is incredible.
What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the NOHS Herding
Danelle Brown: Actually, I was just thinking about how I was going to run the ring, etc. I didn’t want to overthink anything, and went in with an open mind and the plan to just judge the dogs and have a good time.
Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and owner-handled teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Danelle Brown: There was definitely more energy in the air. Some of it was great, but I noticed a couple of teams that I think the nerves got the better of them. It cost one a probable Group placement. The one thing that made me sad was that there were a few exhibitors, generally in low entry breeds, who didn’t receive any applause when they did their individuals. I really wish the spectators would clap for everyone. They all deserved it.
How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Danelle Brown: It was challenging in that I had to nit-pick when it came to my top awards. So many were deserving of the win. I had some that I know I’ve given NOHS Group Ones to in the past, but on the day, I wasn’t able to even award them BOB. In my own breed, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, the competition was incredible. They were all exceptional dogs.
Do you have a word or two about your NOHS Herding Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Danelle Brown: My winner on the day was a beautiful Miniature American Shepherd. She was in great condition and exuded breed type. She was moved well and showed like the champion she is. I later heard that she was the BOB winner at their National Specialty and had won NOHS BIS earlier in the week in Orlando. Every dog in my ring was deserving of a Group placement. I just had to make some tough choices and the old saying, “On another day…” holds true. My gratitude and admiration go out to all who competed.
Every dog in my ring was deserving of a Group placement. I just had to make some tough choices and the old saying, “On another day…” holds true.
Are there specific ways in which the NOHS furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Danelle Brown: I think it encourages some exhibitors to continue showing. Many people only keep a couple of dogs, so instead of bringing out a new one in the classes they can continue to compete in NOHS ranks. The majority of the dogs are as good as (and in some cases are better than) those being campaigned by Professionals. Many Owner Handlers just can’t afford to put ads in the magazines or go out every weekend and drive 500 miles to enter under the judge who is best for their dog.
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?
Danelle Brown: I’m Show Chair for two local clubs and know the amount of effort that goes into those. I can only imagine the amount of work that is required to successfully put on an event of this magnitude. Much respect to Michael Canalizo, Guy Fisher, and all of their teams for their efforts.”
Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2022 show year? Any thoughts on the year ahead?
Danelle Brown: Personally, I was busier than I normally would be since some of my COVID assignments rolled over to ‘22. I had fun, but wasn’t able to show my own dogs as much as I’d like.
Looks like ‘23 will be much more “normal” and I’m looking forward to it.
The Herding Group from the National Owner-Handled Series. Filmed live from Orlando, FL on Friday, December 16th, 2022.