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Interview with Gerardo Bernard – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

Gerardo Bernard

Interview with Gerardo Bernard – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

What does it mean to you personally to be invited to judge at this year’s historic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Gerardo Bernard: As we all know, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the most prestigious shows in the world, with dogs participating from the US and from around the world. I’ve been involved in the dog world since I was a child and my first approach to the WKC dog show was on TV. Then I had the opportunity to attend the show as a spectator for several years. I was, and still am, a big fan of this show, so when I got the email with the invitation to judge several breeds of the Sporting Group (my favorite Group) it was one of the greatest emotions I have ever experienced. Being invited to judge at this show is a great honor, and it is a big commitment as a breeder-judge to do a great job.

Can you share a few comments on your various breed assignments? Please be specific

Gerardo Bernard:  I would like to congratulate all the dogs entered and all the winners, and I would like to give a few words on the breeds I had the honor to judge this time.

Vizslas—The biggest entry of my assignment. A very nice entry of 23 dogs and 15 bitches. The breed quality was very good. Only one could be the winner and I am sure many of the dogs entered have won and will continue to win at other shows.

Pointers—With a total entry of 21 dogs, it was nice to see dogs that represent the breed. As the logo breed of the WKC, it was great to have in the ring nice dogs that could represent their breed in the Group ring. Very good quality in the breed, with dogs and bitches that could definitely and easily win Breeds and Groups at other shows.

German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP)—It is always nice to put my hands on dogs of this breed. As an owner of one GWP, I really enjoy watching them and enjoy a good entry with well-groomed dogs, good coats, and good conformation.

Setters (Gordon, English, Irish, and Irish Red & White)—Dogs showing a great condition, impeccable hair care, and professional presentation were so enjoyable to put my hands on. The Irish Setter was the breed I wanted to be my first breed, but unfortunately, I did not have the time to get that coat as perfect as many of the dogs in the ring. So, I went with GSPs as my breed, which I will never regret.

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP)—I wanted to leave this breed to the end since it is the breed I still breed, own, and show. It was a great honor to judge this breed at this prestigious show and I am very thankful to the owners and breeders who showed their dogs to me. I really enjoyed judging this breed and also could find very good quality in the dogs that were shown that day. I know many of them have the quality and would be able to perform in the field. I know that the GSP National Specialty Show in Peoria, Illinois, started that same day, so many breeders, owners, and handlers could not make it to both shows. But I am really happy with what I had in the ring, and watching my Best of Breed winner place Second in a very competitive Sporting Group gave me chills.

What are your thoughts on the 2024 show year so far? On the months ahead?

Gerardo Bernard: As a foreigner, it’s hard to give an accurate opinion of the dog shows in this county. I’ve judged in other states, and at every show you can find high-quality dogs. Entries may be low as in other countries around the world, but quality is there. I really want to thank all the breeders and owners who enter their dogs in the shows for their effort; the handlers for their great job training, grooming, and showing; and the clubs for organizing the shows and making an effort to do their best to give the options to go to the shows. I know that in the months ahead there will still be great dogs showing throughout the country.