Interview with Non-Sporting Group Judge Polly Smith

Non-Sporting Group Judge Polly Smith


Interview with Non-Sporting Group Judge Polly Smith


Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?

I live at St. Stephens Church, Virginia. I have been in dogs all my life. I have been judging for 43 years.

What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?

Polly Smith: We started with German Shepherd Dogs, but then got American Foxhounds. Our kennel name was Hazira.

Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?

Polly Smith: We showed the first American Foxhound to win Best in Show outside the South. We also bred and showed four generations of Best in Show American Foxhounds. Also bred the first American Foxhound to win a UDT in Obedience.

What are some of the qualities I most admire in the Non-Sporting Breeds?

Polly Smith: The qualities in the Non-Sporting Group are that many among them make excellent pets. They fit both those living in the country and smaller breeds for city living.

Have I judged any Non-Sporting Breed/Group Specialties?

Polly Smith: I have judged a number of Regional Specialties for Boston Terriers, Poodles, and Dalmatians.

Can I speak to the overall quality of the more popular Non-Sporting Breeds/Varieties; Bulldog, French Bulldog, and Standard & Miniature Poodles?

Polly Smith: The overall quality of the Bulldog is excellent due to the number of Speciality Shows. Miniature Poodles are improving. I don’t find the depth of quality in the classes with Standard Poodles.

What about the overall quality of the more “vulnerable” breeds; Coton de Tulear, Finnish Spitz, Löwchen?

Polly Smith: I am seeing some very good Chows across the country. They are getting leg under them again. The breed that I find lacking in quality is the Bichon Frise.

Would I have any advice to impart to newer judges of the Non-Sporting Breeds who come from other Groups?

Polly Smith: I would tell new judges to make an effort to attend as many Speciality Shows as possible and to talk to longtime breeders and handlers of the Non-Sporting Breeds. Many of these people have dedicated their lives to these breeds.

In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Non-Sporting Dogs of the past?

Polly Smith: Some of the Dalmatians could come back today and win. Lhasas today are better.

Why do I think Non-Sporting Dogs can become such outstanding Show Dogs?

Polly Smith: The Non-Sporting Group has so many breeds that have the flash and desire to please.

If I could share my life with only one Non-Sporting Breed, which would it be and why?

Polly Smith: The Tibetan Spaniel.

Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Non-Sporting Group?

None that can be told.