Herding Group Judge Charles Olvis
Group One: GCHP Lk Michigan I’m Yours
Group Two: GCHG Gem-N-I River Of Urloved CGC
(German Shepherd Dog)
Group Three: GCHP2 Syringa – Akadia The Corsair
Group Four: GCHG Trifecta Fantasia CGC TKA
(Pembroke Welsh Corgi)
- Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Herding Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Charles Olvis: First, it is an honor to receive an invitation to judge any show. Judging the Herding Group at the AKC/Royal Canin show, however, was a dream come true for me—to be selected to judge the Group at one of the most prestigious shows anywhere.
- What does it mean to judge a Group at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Charles Olvis: Of course, judging the Herding Group at the AKC/Royal Canin show was exciting, especially considering the quality of the exhibits in every breed that was sent to the Group for me to consider. It was an honor, as stated before, and a privilege to judge such a prestigious show.
- In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Charles Olvis: To say this event differs from other AKC shows is an understatement, due not only to the sheer magnitude of the event but also to the overwhelming preparation that goes into presenting the best dogs in conformation as well as acknowledging many other competitions offered by the AKC—in one place at one time. Any show chairman responsible for an AKC event knows the difficulties that must be overcome in preparation for their show, but increase the entry to 8,000-plus and try to imagine how exhausting a task it is to organize the AKC/Royal Canin event. The hours and hours and months of preparation are evident everywhere at this fabulous venue and incomparable show.
- What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the Herding Group ring?
Charles Olvis: Prior to stepping into the ring, I was both excited and nervous. Knowing the event was being aired live, of course, I wanted to remember the camera crew’s instructions and not make any mistakes in the procedure for filming. However, once in the ring, I was able to just enjoy the moment and the fabulous entry before me to judge.
- Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Charles Olvis: The excitement at the AKC/Royal Canin show is evident all weekend, with the best of the best battling it out in every ring… to proceed from the Breed to the Group level. You can feel the energy everywhere; at every ring, from the dogs to the handlers of the dogs, and especially from the fans who lined the rings. It’s magical. The fans were unbelievable in their enthusiasm for their favorites.
- How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Charles Olvis: It’s always challenging to judge a Group at any show, but at this dog show the quality of the competition is unbelievable. You have the “best of the best” in front of you, all wanting an informed opinion and hoping for a placement at this prestigious entry; they all want to win the Group at the last AKC show of the year. Many are trying to maintain or gain that #1 spot in their Breed or Group, and there’s a lot on the line. A win here means a great deal to everyone. So, your great choices are there “for the pickin’.” There’s surely more than enough deserving quality to choose from. The majority of dogs before you at this show could easily win the Group at many other shows. Unfortunately, there are only four ribbons to award.
- Do you have a word or two about your Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Charles Olvis: Here are my placements from this wonderful Group:
4th Place – This particular award went to a very balanced Pembroke Welsh Corgi bitch. In addition to her length and low set—correct for the breed—she has a very foxy expression with proper ear placement; and her movement completed the picture… a beautiful Pembroke bitch.
3rd Place – This lovely Shetland Sheepdog is the correct size, was shown in wonderful condition, and carried a properly textured coat; beautiful headpiece with correct ear set and carriage; with beautiful underjaw, skull and muzzle of equal length, and parallel as called for in the standard; and moves with ease correctly for the breed.
2nd Place – This German Shepherd Dog is strong and agile, well-balanced with a beautiful, masculine head, well-suited to his body, decidedly masculine but not overdone, and a lovely eye and expression. He was shown in excellent condition, appeared as if he could easily work all day, and exhibited good foot timing and placement; a very sound and balanced working dog.
1st Place – The Australian Shepherd, my Group winner, gives every impression of a true working dog fit to do his job all day. A clean-cut, strong head with parallel topskull and pleasing expression is one thing about this dog that immediately caught my eye. He has an exceptionally wonderful front assembly with forechest, giving him legs set well under, which contributes to his freedom of movement—balanced and easy on the go while holding a strong topline. He was presented with a glorious, clear, and rich-colored coat in excellent condition; a beautiful animal worthy of this placement in a superb lineup of Herding dogs.
I must add that the Herding Group was extremely strong overall and one of the very best I’ve had the privilege to judge over the years. All of the breeders, exhibitors, and handlers of these outstanding dogs should be very proud of a job well done with the quality of the exhibits. It was truly an honor to judge this great group of dogs.
- A dog 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?
Charles Olvis: What a great undertaking by all involved, especially the American Kennel Club, Royal Canin, the superintendents, stewards, breeders, exhibitors, handlers, cleanup crew, parking and inside attendants, and the Men in Orange of Harry Miller’s crew—and the camera and TV crews. I apologize if I’ve failed to mention anyone else; I’m sure that I left someone out, but everyone involved did a fabulous job.
- Are there specific ways in which this show furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Charles Olvis: This show is definitely for everyone, but the breeders are especially important—they are the backbone of this great sport. The AKC does everything in its power to recognize the breeders for their contribution of hard work and for their dedication to their specific breeds as well as to this sport, the world of purebred dogs, and dogs in general, and to the preservation of dogs as part of our lives.
- Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2021 show year? What about the year ahead?
Charles Olvis: The AKC/Royal Canin show was fabulous, as always. With the world we live in today, there are many obstacles to overcome to put on any show. This one “takes the cake,” a herculean effort and a phenomenal job by all concerned. I believe that next year will again present a lot of roadblocks to maneuver. (I think the COVID situation may be with us for some time.) The clubs and the AKC must continue to work together to get around some of these difficulties before us—for our great sport that promotes purebred dogs throughout our country and around the world. It is not an easy task, but with all the great dog people in this sport we will survive current crises as we have many times before. We are all working toward the same goal; to keep our sport existing for years and years to come. The world of purebred dogs is great for families, a sport for all to participate and enjoy.
Thank you all for your hard work!
Herding Group Judge Charles Olvis interview by Showsight.