Interview With Kathi Brown – 2022 AKC National Championship NOHS Non-Sporting Group Judge
Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the National Owner-Handled Series Non-Sporting Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Kathi Brown: I was appreciative and delighted to receive the invitation.
What does it mean to judge this singular event at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Kathi Brown: Having spent literally decades breeding, owning, and exhibiting my own dogs prior to the formation of the NOHS, I both understand and appreciate this competition. Throughout the year, NOHS competitions are held resulting in only the Top Ten in each breed qualifying for the finals. Kudos to the AKC and Royal Canin for hosting this inclusive and exceptional year-end gathering.
In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Kathi Brown: It is the largest in number as well as attracting some of the best quality. Being held at the end of the year, it celebrates the culmination of all our efforts as a canine community.
What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the NOHS Non-Sporting Group ring?
Kathi Brown: I was feeling grateful to view the large number and quality of all the breeds represented within this Group.
Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and owner-handled teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Kathi Brown: Yes, there is always an energy, but more so, there’s a pride of ownership and partnership.
How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Kathi Brown: It was both challenging and joyful. Selection on each Breed Standard is, of course, the rule; within the Non-Sporting Group, even more so. Chow Chows, Boston Terriers, and Tibetan Spaniels were exceptionally challenging given the quality and/or the number within each breed. I was delighted to even have a Lundehund!
Do you have a word or two about your NOHS Non-Sporting Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Kathi Brown: Each was a solid representative of its breed, presented and conditioned well. Having judged many NOHS Groups, this had both quality and number.
Are there specific ways in which the NOHS furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Kathi Brown: NOHS provides opportunities for non-professional owners to not only compete but to succeed and learn. The embedded experiences within the Breed ring are extended for many to participate at the NOHS Group level. The participants have utilized this opportunity to develop a partnership with their dogs in handling, grooming, and breed-specific presentation. NOHS has filled the learning gap that was once filled by many Match Shows. As participants engage in NOHS they interact with the dog show community and can learn breed-specific, standards-based criteria. Many have honed their skills and presentation—and are placing in both the regular and NOHS Groups. Having had their interest and participation honed some, hopefully more will continue with future breeding and involvement.
A show of this magnitude is a monumental undertaking. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the AKC and the show’s sponsors?
Kathi Brown: Thank you! Deep gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work that it takes to accomplish the scope and detail necessary. While every show takes time and dedication, one of the size and scope of the AKC National equally requires great effort. To all the officers, directors, employees, AKC reps, stewarding delegates, and Michael Canalizo, who were there every day making the event occur, thank you.
Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2022 show year? Any thoughts on the year ahead?
Kathi Brown: To my thinking, 2022 was a year of emerging promise; more events with good dogs, dedicated breeders, exhibitors, handlers, and owners. While it was so good to see all of these again, there was great sadness too, remembering those we are missing. Looking forward to 2023.