Interview with Herding Group Judge Deborah Anthony
Deborah Anthony: My love of dogs started as a little girl on a farm in Western Pennsylvania that always had a dog around the property. Later in life, I admired a cousin who bred and exhibited Irish Setters. This fascinated me and I hoped to someday do the same, but only with a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. I wanted a smaller Herding Dog and they seemed perfect to me. (Then again, all dogs are perfect.) After a long search, I purchased my first show dog and thus began my journey. I still breed and exhibit, and I enjoy the competition.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Deborah Anthony: I live in Northwest Pennsylvania. I got my first show dog in 1983 and started judging in 2001.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Deborah Anthony: Many years ago we saw our breeding stock changing and we were not happy with what we were seeing, even though we had bred numerous champions from our original line. We imported three dogs of New Zealand breeding and started anew to ensure better temperaments, structure, etc. From two imports we produced the outstanding bitch GCH Dragonpatch Amoretta Joliette, “Jolie,” and her littermate, Dragonpatch Big Papa Foster, “Foster,” whom we exported and became a champion in ten European countries and Best of Breed at the World Dog Show several years in a row. Jolie went on to produce Group-winning champions for us. Foster has sired offspring around the world that carry his traits today.
What are the qualities I most admire in the Herding breeds?
Deborah Anthony: I admire their drive to move stock and their compatibility with their families.
Have I judged any Herding Group Specialties?
Deborah Anthony: Yes, I have judged several regional specialties, including Old English Sheepdogs, Shelties, and Cardigans. I was privileged to judge the Icelandic Sheepdog and the Pyrenean Shepherd National Specialties.
Do I find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Herding breeds?
Deborah Anthony: Yes, I do, especially considering that there is a wide variety between drovers and herders.
Is breed-specific presentation important to me as a judge? Can I offer some examples?
Deborah Anthony: Yes. The most memorable breed presentation for me is for the Briard. The parent club has an outstanding video that shows an inexperienced herder demonstrating an overuse of energy, while the seasoned herder is able to complete the job, expending hardly any energy at all. The German Shepherd club also has an excellent video that shows correct movement. My husband, David, worked with the Cardigan club on their video that shows, in slow motion, the correct movement showing reach and drive.
What about breed-specific movement? Do I demand this from Herding Dogs?
Deborah Anthony: Absolutely, I demand this. An incorrectly moving Herding Dog would be unable to work all day.
Are the Herding breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns?
Deborah Anthony: Yes, they are in good shape, but there are some nuances that are lacking in some breeds. However, I think breeders are working to correct these.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Herding Dogs of the past?
Deborah Anthony: I see more of what I consider a “glamor coat” in Herding breeds that is not conducive to moving stock. Herding Dogs need a double coat to protect them from the elements.
Why do I think Herding Dogs can often become outstanding Show Dogs?
Deborah Anthony: I think it is due to their drive to be busy and to work for their owners. They are always willing to please.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Herding Group?
Deborah Anthony: Years ago, I went to the Netherlands to visit and to bring back a puppy from a dog I’d bred. It just so happened that a dog show was going on that weekend, and I was excited to go and observe the exhibits. To my surprise, Steve and Mariann Gladstone were on the judging panel. I saw Steve outside of his ring and wanted to say, “Hello,” as he was a fellow Cardigan enthusiast. He looked at me and said, “What the heck are you doing here?” I replied, “Oh, Steve, you know me. I’ll follow a good judge anywhere.” We had a good laugh about that many times. It is sad that both Steve and Marianne are no longer with us.