Breed Judge Pluis Davern
1. What does it mean to be invited to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Pluis Davern: Being invited to judge at what is now undeniably one of the most prestigious shows in the country is a tremendous thrill. Additionally, the show attracts many breeds in numbers seen only at their National or Regional Specialties. This gives aspiring judges in those breeds a rare opportunity to observe multiple exhibits instead of the very few, or even singletons, usually entered at the regular all-breed shows.
The wonderful venue with its spacious rings and easy access to all the competitive activities, vendors, and grooming areas—all under one roof—makes it very user friendly and inviting to exhibitors and visitors alike.
2. Can you share your thoughts on your various Breed assignments? Please be specific.
Pluis Davern: I felt extremely fortunate in having good entries in some of the rarer breeds such as the Boykin Spaniel, the Barbet, and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje. When it came to the critical and breed-specific attributes of their standards, there were several outstanding exhibits in all three of these breeds. In the Kooikerhondje, it was apparent in the make and shape, colors and markings, and the highly prized earrings. The Barbets all had the requisite outline, coat, and large bearded heads, but there were a number of straighter fronts and less correct tail carriage. The Veteran Bitch was a total standout, oozing type, carrying herself as the Royal Matriarch of her breed—and couldn’t be denied. The Boykins brought a smile to my lips in their typical, outgoing, “Spanielly” attitude, and with a few exceptions, all were in good working condition. It was a pleasure to see them actively covering ground as a true Sporting dog.
3. Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2021 show year? What about the year ahead?
Pluis Davern: The 2021 show year was, in retrospect, spotty at best. For those of us on the West Coast with very few shows, it was a competitive desert. The real concern regarding the COVID crisis made traveling outside one’s area a potential game of “Russian Roulette” healthwise. I am sooo very ready to put it behind me.
The bright moments were the televised Westminster Kennel Club Show, Morris and Essex, and The National Dog Show that enabled us to momentarily enjoy the sport that unites us.
Despite the surge in infections (but with more people vaccinated) I think 2022 gives us a brighter outlook where showing is concerned, and we should be able, as a dog community, to indulge more fully in our passion (addiction?).