Interview with Herding Group Judge Edy Dykstra-Blum
I acquired my first Old English Sheepdog in 1975 and have been actively showing since, under the Bizzeeboots prefix. I have produced many champions in the US and worldwide.
While living in the Netherlands, I completed courses which involved Anatomy of the Dog, Genetics, Structure, and Movement. I moved to the US in 1986.
I started judging in 2001 and have judged in many European countries, Russia, Japan, China, Mexico, and Australia. I have had the privilege of judging my breed’s National Specialty in 2015. To date, I am approved to judge the Terrier, Non-Sporting, and Herding Groups.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: I live in Ocala, Florida, and I have had the privilege to be judging for 20 years to date.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: My original breed is the Old English Sheepdog (OES), and my kennel name is Bizzeeboots.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: I never really campaigned any dog as it was not in my interest to run after rankings. However, all of my dogs are champions and several are Grand Champions. My dogs have produced champions worldwide. One notable dam is CH Bizzeeboots Millenium Star who produced BIS winners in the US, Russia, and Ukraine. Her grandson, GCHB Bizzeeboots Last Train 2 Clarksville, is a great sire, with many champions sired and BIS winners in Finland. I never participated in any performance events.
What are the qualities I most admire in the Herding breeds?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: I admire the loyalty, the willingness to please, and the ability to work in fields and still be a companion.
Have I judged any Herding Group Specialties?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: I have not judged Herding Group specialties. However, I’ve judged several Regional Breed Specialties and several National Specialties, of which my own has been the “icing” of a judging career.
Do I find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Herding breeds?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: Most breeds have correct size and substance, with always some extremes. Also, this is very breed-specific.
Is breed-specific presentation important to me as a judge? Can I offer some examples?
Breed specific presentation?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: Yes, it is very important. Some (negative) examples are Pembroke Welsh Corgis with a completely “cut down” rear end, and over-groomed Old English Sheepdogs with neck and shoulders cut short, and even the body. Some of the Belgian breeds too are completely shaped.
What about breed-specific movement? Do I demand this from Herding Dogs?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: Breed-specific movement is a very important issue, depending on the breed’s function. The German Shepherd Dog needs to keep the topline steady, as a moving fence, feet close to the ground, shaving the earth. The OES has a breed-typical gait. All Herding breeds need to keep their feet on the ground with no wasted motion and with the ability to work all day.
Are the Herding breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: This is very breed-specific. Some pups born during COVID-19 are really not the best dogs ever bred. Breeders should look at the choices they have in their breed regarding who to breed to whom. Again, this is very breed-specific, and most Herding Dogs are well-bred dogs.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Herding Dogs of the past?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: This is also a very breed-specific question. Some Herding Dogs were better in the past than the dogs of today, and some are better today than in the past.
Why do I think Herding Dogs can often become outstanding Show Dogs?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: Herding dogs make great pets and are always willing to please, and they have the temperament to become great show dogs.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Herding Group?
Edy Dykstra-Blum: Nothing I can really think of right now.