Interview with Sporting Group Judge Kathleen Brock by Showsight Magazine.
1. Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
2. What is your original breed? What is/was your kennel name?
3. Can you list a few of the notable dogs you’ve bred? Any performance or field titles?
4. How important are Performance and Companion titles in a Sporting Dog?
5. Have you judged any Sporting Breed Specialties?
6. Do you find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Sporting breeds?
7. Is breed-specific expression important to you as a judge? Can you offer some examples?
8. What are your thoughts on the current grooming practices among the coated breeds?
9. Are the Sporting breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns?
10. In your opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Sporting Dogs of the past?
11. Why do you think the Sporting breeds make up a large portion of the typical show’s entries?
12. Just for laughs, do you have a funny story you can share about judging the Sporting Group?
Sporting Group Judge Kathleen Brock
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge? Born and raised in Tacoma Washington, I now live 25 miles west in Gig Harbor, Washington. I was approved by AKC to judge Cocker Spaniels in December 2005. Now I judge the Sporting Group, Junior Showmanship, and Basset Hounds and Beagles.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name? In 1978, I got my first Cocker Spaniel, a buff bitch. Needing a groomer for my new puppy, I luckily found Sharon Gerling of My-Ida-Ho fame and she later became my mentor. In 1981, after attending two club meetings, Sharon sponsored me for membership into the Washington State Cocker Spaniel Club, Inc. I became the Show Chair at the next meeting. Now a Lifetime Member, over the past 41 years I have served in every position in the club except Treasurer.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or field titles? My third generation of breeding produced my Best in Show bitch, Am. Can. MBIS, MBISS CH Toccata’s Pre-Heated ROM, shown by Bill Mathies. “Coleen” was the Top ASCOB Cocker Spaniel in 1990, in the US and in Canada. She then became a Top Producer, like her dam and granddam. I am also a breeder of Group winners in the Black and Parti-Color varieties; the Black was also a BISS winner.
My first champion, Am. Can. CH Toccata’s Sand in Foam CD, earned his Companion Dog title in the early 1980s. Today, co-breeder/owner Sherry Blondheim and I have GCH Toccata N Blondheim That’s Good CGC RN. This dog, “Brody,” goes back to my Best in Show bitch three times. Brody and I are working on his CD now and hope to get a Field title after that as well.
How important are Performance and Companion titles in a Sporting Dog? I believe the Companion and Performance events are important for a dog that shares time and activities with their human. In the field, they get to do what is natural for them and they love doing what they were bred to do.
Have I judged any Sporting Breed Specialties? I have judged many Cocker Spaniel Specialties and many other Sporting Dog Specialties. In January 2016, I had the honor of judging the Junior Showmanship and the Parti-Color Cocker Spaniels at the American Spaniel Club Flushing Spaniel Show. I am a Lifetime member of the American Spaniel Club where I have served on the Board four times. I am a member of the Olympic Kennel Club, Rainier Sporting Dog Association, and the Oregon Dog Judges Club.
I believe the Companion and Performance events are important for a dog that shares time and activities with their human.
Do I find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Sporting breeds? When judging, I always look for balance—standing and moving—with the standards in mind, checking the profile for breed type. When going over the dog in a standing position, I feel for how the parts are made, and when the dog moves I see how the parts work together
Is breed-specific expression important to me as a judge? Can I offer some examples? Expression is an essence of every breed. Examples are the Cocker Spaniel’s intelligent, alert, soft, and appealing expression, the kindly expression of the Golden Retriever, and the soft, melting, dignified, alert, and intelligent expression of the English Cocker Spaniel.
What are my thoughts on the current grooming practices among the coated breeds? Grooming seems more and more prevalent in the coated dogs. I will fault a dog for being over-groomed if it is not supported by their standard.
Are the Sporting breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns? Overall today, the Sporting breeds that I see are in good shape. In my opinion, the most consistent breeds with good size, proportion, and substance are the Vizsla, Pointer, and Clumber Spaniel.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Sporting Dogs of the past? Comparing today’s dogs to past Sporting dogs, some of the breeds have lost their fronts and toplines, while other dogs may be over-angulated in the rear and some may be sickle-hocked. I always look for balance, front to rear.
Why do I think the Sporting breeds make up a large portion of the typical show’s entries? The Sporting Dogs have always been my favorite as they are so versatile in all venues… and they are the best pets.