Interview with Herding Group Judges Bob & Sally Futh
Where do we live? How many years in dogs? How many years as judges?
We live on a farm in Washington, Connecticut. We both started in Collies as teenagers in the 1950s. Sally was approved to judge Collies and Shelties in 1956, Bob in 1966. Sally now judges the Herding Group and several Working Breeds, and Bob does thirteen Breeds divided between both Groups
What is our original breed? What is/was our kennel name?
Bob & Sally Futh: We use Sally’s “Starberry” as our kennel name; Bob and his sister originally had “Bobbi-Jeen’s.”
Can we list a few of the notable dogs we’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Bob & Sally Futh: Notable dogs include Ch. Bobbi-Jeen’s Shenanigans, Ch. Starberry Belle of Georgia, Ch. Starberry Mistress Mine CD, and Ch. Starberry St. Patrick.
What are the qualities we most admire in the Herding breeds?
Bob & Sally Futh: The qualities we admire are temperament, soundness, beauty, and symmetry.
Have we judged any Herding Group Specialties?
Bob & Sally Futh: We have judged CCA (Sally twice, Bob once), numerous local Collie Specialties in the US and Canada, and a German Shepherd Specialty in California.
Do we find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Herding breeds?
Bob & Sally Futh: Generally, yes, but some of large breeds are getting too big, and individuals of some of newer breeds severely lack substance.
Is breed-specific presentation important to us as judges? Can we offer some examples?
Bob & Sally Futh: Yes. Most Herding breeds should NEVER be shown strung-up, and we dislike excessive setting up or stroking. Posing with the hind legs behind vertical from the croup is becoming all too common.
What about breed-specific movement? Do we demand this from Herding Dogs?
Bob & Sally Futh: Many handlers are moving dogs too fast, and Shepherds seem to have only one gait. Judges need to see them slowly too. (This was learned a long ago from Tom Bennett.)
Are the Herding breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns?
They are good, overall.
In our opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Herding Dogs of the past?
Many are prettier and better-groomed today, but few “greats” are to be found.
Why do we think Herding Dogs can often become outstanding Show Dogs?
Collies, and Herding breeds in general, want to please, so they give a lot.
Just for laughs, do we have a funny story that we can share about our experiences judging the Herding Group?
No, nothing offhand.