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Interview with Joao Machado – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

Joao Machado

Interview with Joao Machado – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

What does it mean to you personally to be invited to judge at this year’s historic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Joao Machado: It all started when I got home from work and saw a Westminster letterhead envelope. I thought to myself, “It must be an invitation to one of our dogs who was ranked in 2023.” I started opening that envelope and the more I read the content the more emotional I became. I kept asking my wife, “How did they find me? I am a nobody!”

Although I still think this way about myself, as I dive deeper into learning more about the breeds, their hallmarks, the function they were bred for, I have been fortunate to learn from my fellow experienced judge peers, and they have so generously shared their extensive knowledge with me.

This was, for sure, a dream come true since when I was a kid and I had to wait for months for the VHS tape of the show to arrive in Brazil for me to watch it over and over and over again…

Can you share a few comments on your various Breed assignments? Please be specific.

Joao Machado: For me, 2024 was personally full of surprises: first Brazilian to ever judge at Westminster; my first time as a judge having the honor and privilege of being a part of the judging panel; and my breed (Chihuahua) was the biggest entry of this show for the very first time ever.

As Toy judge by the American Kennel Club, I was assigned to judge six breeds:

I had a total of 103 dogs entered. Quality in all breeds was high. That’s a testimony that our dog community respects the tradition of The Westminster KC Dog Show and brings their best to the competition. In Chihuahuas, both varieties, the level was exceptional. In Smooth Coats, many dogs were with correct proportions and terrier-like qualities of temperament, and I had the chance to spar them. There was a protest in Smooths, the scale was called on, and a foreign dog weighed out and was DQ’d. The winner was a mature bitch, with a beautiful front assembly that needed to be rewarded, a current problem in the Chihuahua breed.

In Long Coats, by the time the entire entry was in the ring, I couldn’t take my eyes off this gorgeous bitch; excellent proportions and angulations, correct movement, spectacular head, and saucy expression. I have learned during pictures she is from Japan and is seven years old. She was in great shape.

In Miniature Pinschers and Italian Greyhounds it was not a surprise, the quality of these breeds in America is of a high level.

Russian Toys are somehow a new breed and in development, but the quality has increased. Breeders are doing a positive job with selection in order to preserve this beautiful breed.

Pomeranians were my last breed. The Asian influence in this breed is still greater in America, like I have seen in many other countries I have judged. Exhibitors were respectful in regards to the AKC parent club’s specific instructions about excessive grooming. This was, for sure, one of the breeds where over 90% of the entry were of excellent breed type and quality.

What are your thoughts on the 2024 show year so far? On the months ahead?

Joao Machado: The 2024 WKC show is in the books, and as it happens each year it has set the standard for next year’s show, which should continue to be the greatest show in America. Personally, words still aren’t enough to express the responsibility, privilege, and honor to be selected to perform a job as a judge for such a traditional event. I can just say that I feel like I have still been dreaming!

My gratitude to the President, Dr. Donald Sturz, and all the WKC team for this life-changing experience they have provided me with!