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Interview with David L. Kittredge – 2024 WKC Dog Show Sporting Group Judge

David L. Kittredge

Interview with David L. Kittredge – 2024 WKC Dog Show Sporting Judge

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

David L. Kittredge: You can imagine how exciting it is to receive an invitation to judge a Group at Westminster! I have judged there twice before doing breeds, so this was really a special honor.

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

David L. Kittredge: It is a chance to have the very best of the best in each of the Group’s breeds in your ring, and as such, it’s a tremendous responsibility to make selections from among them. There were several dogs that I have recognized in the past that I had to pass over, but one has to give their opinion on the day with no regard to past achievements or statistical records. You have to be there to realize how hard that is to do.

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

David L. Kittredge: Mainly it’s the history and tradition of this hallmark show. And the recognition. I doubt there is any show that is more known to the average man on the street.

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

David L. Kittredge: Firstly, PLEASE don’t let me fall over my shoes! But seriously, a sense of wonder as to which dogs would be representing their breed and a realization there would not be enough ribbons or even “cut” selections to recognize the quality I would be seeing.

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

David L. Kittredge: Absolutely! The room was filled with adrenalin. Even the dogs seem to recognize that it’s a special moment, and the audience support definitely gives them that extra energy.

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

David L. Kittredge: For me, the selection process is always the same, big show or small. Pick the dogs that are the most typical (most closely adhering to their Breed Standard), and from among those reward the ones that perform the best. But that task becomes quite daunting at this level of competition.

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

David L. Kittredge: The dog I selected happens to be from the breed I have been involved in for many years. Because of that, I was particularly demanding of him. He checked all the boxes for me and I can honestly say he is among the best of his breed that I have had the pleasure to judge. My other three placements happened to be dogs that I don’t believe I have previously judged. I was tremendously impressed with their quality and presentation.

There is no other show quite like Westminster. Is there anything you’d like to say to the Officers of The Westminster Kennel Club?

David L. Kittredge: Just my heartfelt thanks for this wonderful opportunity. The hospitality was, of course, superb, and the atmosphere was so energized. A truly awesome experience.

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

David L. Kittredge: There is no doubt that Westminster really showcases our sport, and provides the public with a unique view both in the ring and behind the scenes. My kudos to Fox for the wonderful coverage. Having now experienced it, I have a great regard for the tremendous effort required, both by them and the show committee, to bring this event to life. These folks have a level of dedication that is unsurpassed.

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

David L. Kittredge: Really the same as it always has through 50-plus years of attendance. As they like to say, “There’s only one Westminster.”

Thank you for the opportunity to thank everyone, both two- and four-legged, for this wonderful experience.