Interview with Sporting Group Judge Barbara Young
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
I live in Nampa, Idaho. I started in purebred dogs in 1969 with a Norwegian Elkhound, which gives me approximately 52 years in purebred dogs and 25 years as an AKC Judge. All of my dogs hold show and field titles, many with performance tiles along with two Master Agility titles.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name? My original breeds were Norwegian Elkhounds, German Shorthairs, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. My Kennel Name was Herrenhausen Sporting Dogs.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or field titles?
Am./Can. CH Count von Herrenhausen GSP, International BOB and BIS winner, also Utility field-tested; Am./Can. CH Baron von Herrenhausen, BOB at Westminster WPG, first recognized Top Dog in the Breed, Utility Prize, and field-tested with NAVHDA, the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, (AKC did not have tests for Versatile dogs at the time); CH Sophia von Herrenhausen JH, BOB at Westminster and one of the first champions in the breed; Am./Can. CH Greta von Herrenhausen JH, first bitch to be Top Dog, also field-titled; International & Am./Can. CH Drummer von Herrenhausen TD, #1 in the US, first AKC National Specialty BOB, holding Utility field titles with NAVHDA, featured on Today’s Breeder magazine.
How important are Performance and Companion titles in a Sporting Dog?
Having performance titles on a Sporting breed is extremely important in order to maintain the function of the breed.
Have I judged any Sporting Breed Specialties? Yes, I have judged Sporting Dog specialties.
Do I find that size, proportion, and substance are correct in most Sporting breeds?
I believe that the size, proportion, and substance vary considerably with the vogue of the time. It is important to remember the function of the dog, and to judge with an eye toward what is correct.
Is breed-specific expression important to me as a judge?
Can I offer some examples? As a Sporting Group judge, I place more emphasis on the dog’s ability to do the work they are bred for. This points me more to the movement aspect of the breed rather than the general look or expression.
What are my thoughts on the current grooming practices among the coated breeds?
Grooming is important outside of the show area. I had a dog grooming business for many years, so I understand the variety of grooming techniques available. The judges have allowed the rules to bend a little too much, which has allowed the exhibitor or handler to take the grooming a little too far with artificial enhancement.
Are the Sporting breeds in good shape overall? Any concerns?
I would like to see more attention given to conditioning rather than appearance.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Sporting Dogs of the past? I feel that today, more emphasis is given to looks rather than function.
Why do I think the Sporting breeds make up a large portion of the typical show’s entries?
The Sporting Group is one of the largest Groups at shows and oudoors because they are more available to the public. And a “specialty” breed from some of the other Groups might have specific characteristics that do not make them competitive in an all-breed show. (This could be just the general size, function, or look of the specific breed.)
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story I can share about judging the Sporting Group?
Nothing comes to mind except the constant problem that some competitors have with their bait. Some will bring a large piece of meat for bait and then cannot find the third hand that they need to handle the dog. It’s like watch a juggler try to decide which hand goes where.