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Interview with Glen Lajeski – 2024 WKC Dog Show Toy Group Judge

Glen Lajeski - 2024 WKC Dog Show Toy Group Judgei

Interview with Glen Lajeski – 2024 WKC Dog Show Toy Group Judge

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

Glen Lajeski: Having judged and stewarded for several breeds at Westminster previously, it’s always exciting to receive an envelope with the Westminster letterhead. Last year was no different. I was hoping the envelope I received would contain a letter asking me to judge another breed or to steward. Upon reading the letter and seeing the words “Toy Group” I thought, okay, what breed in the Toy Group? I had to read the letter three times before I realized it meant the entire Toy Group. WOW! I almost had a heart attack! What a rush of adrenaline! Then I read the fine print and realized I couldn’t tell anyone until the entire panel was announced in two months. Two entire months of torture!

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

Glen Lajeski: To be asked to judge a Group at Westminster is a dream come true. Especially when you realize only seven judges a year are asked to officiate at what is one of the two most prestigious historical sports events in the US.

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

Glen Lajeski: Westminster is unlike any other dog show. Its history alone makes it special, one of a kind, with the best dogs from all over the world participating.

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

Glen Lajeski: Standing on the sidelines that night as the dogs entered the ring, the energy was palpable. The quality of the Group was extraordinary. When you consider the years of thoughtful breeding, sacrifice, and heartbreak behind these dogs you can’t help but be aware of the tremendous responsibility placed upon you to judge each of these dogs to the absolute best of your ability.

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

Glen Lajeski: As the dogs entered the ring I was struck by seeing one knockout after another. My comment in handing out the placements rang true in that my only regret was that I had but four ribbons to award. I could easily have awarded four more. In the end it came down to the finer points of each dog.

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

Glen Lajeski: The first place Shih Tzu was a true showman. He’s a wonderful dog of substance with a gorgeous head and expression. He floated around the ring with great reach and drive while maintaining a perfectly level topline. Luke Ehricht, his Breeder/Handler, has him in superb condition. My other three placements were each exceptional, typey representatives of their respective breeds. I loved them all!

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

Glen Lajeski: There is no other show like Westminster. It’s history, it’s energy and its pure excitement, along with great dogs, make it a great dog show. Kudos to Dr. Donald Sturz and his team for the tremendous job in bringing the show into today’s world.

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

Glen Lajeski: From the Internet, to TV, to print media, the Westminster team under Dr. Sturz’s guidance has made an historically unique sports event contemporarily significant, bringing it to a whole new young audience while still appealing to its base.

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

Glen Lajeski: Bravo Westminster, and thank you for fulfilling a dream of mine.