Meet the 2020 AKC National Championship Judges

James Moses

The Showsight Team had the pleasure of interviewing this year’s top 2020 AKC National Championship Judging Panel. Here are their reactions to this year’s big event.

Best in Show – James Moses

  1. James Moses
    CH Kenlyn’s Tenacity V Kaleef
    Onwer: Don & Betty L Wood, Janet Lange and Sheree Moses
    Handler: James Moses
    FT Walton Beach, FL
    03/02/05

    Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
    I felt it was an honor to be invited to judge one of our most prestigious shows.

  2. How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due
    to COVID-19)?
    Not really.
  3. Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?
    Yes, in the sense that there were fewer exhibitors than usual, and judging procedures were changed slightly to accommodate the COVID-19 safety practices.
  4. What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?
    There was a lack of crowd enthusiasm.
  5. Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?
    No.
  6. How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your selection process?
    Best in Show is always the easiest assignment at a dog show.
  7. Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the dogs that placed?
    I felt this was the finest BIS line-up I have ever witnessed.
  8. How do you think this show furthers the cause of the preservation of purebred dog breeder?
    Any televised show of purebred dogs is a plus.
  9. What are your thoughts about the 2020 show year? The year ahead?
    We can only hope that dog shows will eventually return to normal in the coming years.

 

Jon Cole – Sporting Group

Group One: CH Kan Trace Very Cheeky Chic (Lagotto Romagnolo)
Group Two: GCHG Foley’s Frat Party CGC (ASCOB Cocker Spaniel)
Group Three: GCH Vermillion’s Sex, Lies, And Serious Money (Irish Setter)
Group Four: GCHG Artic Sun’s Pursuing The Dream JH (Flat-Coated Retriever)

1.Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

I have been fortunate over the last 20 years of AKC Shows to have been invited a number of times to officiate. It is always a pleasure to judge as the quality in the Breed judging, Groups and BIS is outstanding. It is always an honor to be included on the panel.

2. How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due to COVID-19)?

While CV-19 has created new procedures for dog shows, I have judged at a number of shows since the start of the pandemic. This has allowed me to be aware of what to expect and how to run a ring.

3. Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?

There were fewer people at the event, and the “show and go” worked well. However, it seemed strange that there were no spectators at the Group and BIS ring to cheer on their favorite dog.

4. What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?

All of the Group and BIS judges had a walk-through either on Friday night or on Saturday. We were clear on the basic procedures of how the ring was to be run. This took the edge off walking into the ring on Saturday night.

5. Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?

I did not have any pressure on the live feed. It is important to be aware of camera locations and how the TV crew wants to capture the event.

6. How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your selection process?

The assignment was challenging from the aspect that the judge is aware that many outstanding dogs will be presented. As I did not judge any of the Sporting breed entries prior to that day, it is always interesting what your fellow judges have sent to the Group.

7. Do you have a word or two about your winner?

About the dogs that placed? The selection process always begins with a refresher course on the standards of each breed that may be shown to you. Dogs are like people in that they can have good days and bad. This applies to even the top-winning dogs. Each dog is evaluated with a hand exam followed by movement. When you have a high level of competition, everything counts when making a decision. The Sporting Group in 2020 had far more deserving dogs than the maximum cut that I had to make. The cut reflected 12 outstanding dogs that could easily win or place in many Groups. I thought that my Group winners; Lagotto Romagnolo (1), ASCOB Cocker Spaniel (2), Irish Setter (3), and Flat-Coated Retriever (4) represented their standard and, likewise, performed well in the ring. My placements reflected what I thought was the best on that day.

8. How do you think this show furthers the cause of the
preservation purebred dog breeder?

Any show televised to the general public can help purebred dogs. The purebred dog community has many challenges dealing with anti-purebred dog groups, so anything positive is good.

9. What are your thoughts about the 2020 show year? The year ahead?

2020 has been crazy. It started with the canceling of the Louisville Cluster on the third day. April, May, and most of June saw zero show activity. Thank goodness the shows started up again at the end of June in Oklahoma. However, this did not eliminate shows from being canceled left and right. Some shows took up the slack and came on board even though it was not their usual dates. 2021 already has had many shows canceled in the first quarter. Our fight is not over yet.

10. Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group and BIS judges?

To the AKC Judges 2021: Have fun and enjoy.

 

Doug Johnson – Hound Group

Placements:

Group One: GCHP Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon (Whippet)
Group Two: GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser (Scottish Deerhound)
Group Three: GCHG Aurora’s Rhythm Of My Heart (Saluki)
Group Four: GCHS Majenkir Bookstor Spellbinder (Borzoi)
“Getting back in the ring allows up to shut out a bit of reality, and celebrate the dogs we love so much.”

With everything that we are experiencing in the world, escaping to your passion is a welcomed change. Getting back in the ring allows us to shut out a bit of reality, and celebrate the dogs we love so much. I was grateful for the opportunity. I have had the pleasure of judging Hounds at many prestigious shows throughout the country; this Group did not disappoint. The Hound Group was particularly deep in quality with many outstanding dogs across both scent and sighthound breeds. I have some renewed hope that our competition will remain high since we’ve reduced the vast number of dog shows for the time being.

With too few ribbons for the quality of dogs, I was charged with pulling 10-12 dogs for our final consideration. For me, the top four are all worthy of their awards and more.

The lovely, curvy Whippet bitch will go down in history for her elegance, grace, and style. She is brave and willing and showed to perfection on the day. I love her eyes and ears, her length of neck, arching from head to clean shoulder placement. All of her parts are knitted together cleanly, the perfect combination of curves and soundness to win the Group. What an honor that she would continue on to Best in Show; a true treasure.

Second would go to the feminine yet strong and sturdy, Scottish Deerhound bitch. I was so impressed with her. Her head and expression… Classic. Strongly made with dense bone and body, in hard coat and muscle on the day, her condition is excellent. She has the correct topline and gait for the breed, correct rise in her topline and corresponding underline, great long tail, well boned, sound in all directions, with short hocks—something difficult to find in most breeds today. She will have a long career.

Third, to the Saluki. This dog put on a wonderful performance on the night. He is also in perfect muscle tone and mentally solid. He ignores you and makes you want to see more of him; so very typical of the breed. I love that he is of one piece in a breed where the dogs are often in many parts. He has matured into quite the gentleman. His gait is what is called for in the breed; feet running on hot sand, covering the great ground with a long stride.

Fourth to the beautiful Borzoi dog. This dog impressed me with his size and dramatic outline, both standing and moving. He has a great head and eye, strong underjaw and ear placement, graceful neck and cleanly blended shoulders, strong back, and the correct rise and rounded croup/tail set. The breed suffers in the backline, and I would encourage breeders and judges to go over him here… Perfection. Shown in correct coat and muscle, this impressive dog is clean-moving in all directions.

Honorable mention goes to the Ridgeback, Bluetick, Redbone, and both Foxhounds. All of them are superior in the breeds today.

This Group was a pleasure to judge as well as a challenge. I’m so grateful for the experience.

 

Clay Coady – Working Group

Placements:
Group One: GCHP2 Cinnibon’s Bedrock Bombshell (Boxer)
Group Two: GCHG Vanderbilt ‘N Printemp’s Lucky Strike (Samoyed)
Group Three: GCHG Onak’Stouch Of Gold (Alaskan Malamute)
Group Four: GCHB Pouch Cove’s Alright Alright Alright (Newfoundland)

 

1.Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

First of all, I would like to thank the AKC National Championship for inviting me. I was very excited and honored. I have always said that the absolutely great thing about this show is the fantastic lighting and the footing for the dogs. It is a great venue to see and judge dogs.

“This Year’s Show was noticeably very different from previous years; With the lack of audience and applause.”

2. How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due to COVID-19)?

Because of COVID-19, I needed to brush-up on some breed standards that I had not judged for over a year.

3. Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?

This year’s show was noticeably very different from previous years; with the lack of audience and applause. When I was finished, I realized that it was much easier for me to concentrate and I rather enjoyed it.

4. What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?

When I entered the ring, I felt very confident.

5. Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?

I did not feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage, other than I had watched the previous Groups and was a little worried about some of the dogs being apprehensive about the cameras.

6. How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your
selection process?

Whenever you have this many good dogs, it is really challenging. My selection process was just a process of elimination.

7. Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the dogs that placed?

My winner was the Boxer bitch. I thought she was very complete; beautifully sound, wonderful stations, excellent mover, with a gorgeous head.

8. How do you think this show furthers the cause of the preservation of purebred dog breeder?

This show definitely furthers the cause of the preservation of purebred dogs and enhances the interests of the breeders and owners.

9. What are your thoughts about the 2020 show year? The year ahead?

I thought the 2020 show year was devastating. I can only hope that next year will be better.

10. Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group and
BIS judges?

My advice to next year’s Group & BIS judges is to look forward and enjoy.

 

Elliott Weiss – Terrier Group

Placements:

Group One: GCHG Brightluck Money Talks (Welsh Terrier)
Group Two: GCHS Ellenside Red Ike At Eskwyre
(Lakeland Terrier)
Group Three: GCH King’s Mtn. Henry Higgins
(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
Group Four: GCHS Cashlane’s Witch Of Blackbird Pond
(Standard Manchester Terrier)

1.Do you have a word or two about your winner?
About the dogs that placed?

The AKC National Championship Terrier Group was joy to judge, a rare occasion where one wishes for more awards to be given.

Group One: The Welsh Terrier, GCHG Brightluck Money Talks.

I have had the pleasure of judging this dog before and, as one can see, my opinion has not changed. There is an old saying that goes, “The difference between a Welsh and a Wire is three pounds.” This dog is all Welsh; a square, robust dog exhibiting a lot of strength for its size. He has a correct expression, punishing foreface, and correct ear set. He resembles, as he should, a smaller version of an Airedale.

Group Two: The Lakeland Terrier, GCHS Ellenside Red Ike At Eskwyre.

This dog has a quality not seen often enough in the breed today. The breed was developed to enter rock crevasses in the mines and clear out the rodents; this is the essence of the breed. If a Lakeland can fit its shoulders into a crevasse, the rest of the dog will follow. Looking down at this dog is a lesson in correct body type; he can do the job he was born to do. He has wonderful, correct proportions and a very pleasing, correct head and expression along with a punishing mouth. This is the first time I have judged him and was glad to have the opportunity.

Group Three: The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, GCH King’s Mtn. Henry Higgins.

This is a dog that is twice as long as he is tall; not seen often enough. He has a wonderful, correct outline that he carries while moving. Standing up to a hand examination, he is a lesson in correctness. It is a challenge to breed an achondroplastic breed and get it all right, but here you have it. A wonderful front, a large head with large eyes and a correct, soulful expression. I was told this dog has just started a specials campaign. Without hesitation I can say it will be a successful one.

Group Four: The Standard Manchester Terrier, GCHS Cashlane’s Witch Of Blackbird Pond.

This bitch has the correct silhouette that is carried while standing and moving. She has all the correct markings, which are of rich color. Her way of going caught my eye right when she entered the ring. On close examination, one finds a “girlie girl” of correct proportions, a wonderful head and expression, and enough strength to do her job as a varmint dog.

Robert Stein – Toy Group

Placements:

Group One: GCHS Pequest Wasabi (Pekingese)
Group Two: GCHG Valifyre Freespirit Icy Sparks (Papillon)
Group Three: GCHP Nirvana’s Skittles (Pug)
Group Four: GCHG Karma Hekan Mini Cooper (Yorkshire Terrier)

 

1.Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

I was honored to receive an invitation.

2.How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due to COVID-19)?No special preparations except, of course, masking and social distancing.

3.Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?

The AKC officials did a great job of adapting to the COVID-19 problem. Everything was handled extremely well.

4.What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?

I experienced nothing too unusual.

5.Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?

I felt no pressure from the live coverage.

6.How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your selection process?

The assignment was very challenging due to the depth and high level of the stunning Toy Group.

7. Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the dogs that placed?

My four Group placements were top-notch, in beautiful condition, and a tribute to their breeds. All of the dogs that made my final 11 cut were great examples and extremely worthy.

8. How do you think this show furthers the cause of the preservation purebred dog breeder?

This show, as well as others, furthers the preservation of our sport of dogs and their breeders.

9. What are your thoughts about the 2020 show year? The year ahead?

The 2020 show year has been very challenging, but some great quality dogs are now out there. So, I think the year ahead should be a very good one for our sport, our breeders, and our exhibitors.

10.Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group and BIS judges?

Have fun, enjoy!

 

Robin Stansell – Non-sporting Group

Placements:

Group One: GCHB Hightide Tarquin Venus (Standard Poodle)
Group Two: GCHG Barnstorm Blue Blood Royalty By Dzine (Tibetan Terrier)
Group Three: GCHP Bret D N Adventureland Star Coach (Dalmatian)
Group Four: GCHB Delamer Suzi Sells Sushi On The Boardwalk (Schipperke)

1.Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

I was excited to receive this invitation! As the date drew near, the excitement grew since there have been so few opportunities to judge over the past months.

2. How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due to COVID-19)?

As always, I reviewed breed standards and our collection of other educational materials. We have been extremely careful with mask use, social distancing, and hand washing/disinfecting.

3.Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?

Of course, it was different. Although the social aspect was nearly non-existent this year, the entry of quality dogs was great.

4. What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?

Entering the ring was both nervous and exciting. Nervous because of specific procedures for the televised event and exciting because of the opportunity to pass judgment on quality dogs.

5.Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?

Only before the dogs entered. When the dogs are in the ring the routine of judging takes over and external concerns are forgotten.

6.How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your
selection process?

There is the challenge of deciding between excellent dogs, but this is far more pleasant than assignments with lesser quality entries.

  1. Look at the overall appearance of each dog as they circle the ring and take their place in the line.
  2. Evaluate the structural components in the individual examination.
  3. Assess how well the components work together on the down and back, and movement around the ring.
  4. Make a final assessment of how closely each dog compares to my image of the breed described in their breed standard.

7.Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the dogs that placed?

Saturday evening, the Standard Poodle met my image better than any other. The square appearance, correct proportions, head, neck, topline, tail set, angulation, and compact feet fit together to make a beautiful Poodle with exceptional breed type—both standing and moving.About the dogs that placed? Placements between them were difficult since each of the dogs closely met my mental image of the breed standard. My final decisions were based on the last look to see which looked most like my image of that particular breed.

8. How do you think this show furthers the cause of the preservation purebred
dog breeder?

Hopefully, the television exposure to these dogs and the accompanying narrative will increase the recognition of purebred dogs bred by dedicated
preservation breeders.

9.What are your thoughts about the 2020 show year? The year ahead?

Although this year has been devastating to our dog shows, clubs, owners, and handlers, the public demand for purebred dogs has increased and breeders have had more opportunity to breed. Hopefully, the approval of vaccines will bring our world back to normal in 2021 and the newfound interest in our breeds by the public will continue.

10.Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group and BIS judges?

I encourage each to enjoy the opportunity to judge such wonderful examples!

 

William “Bill” Stebbins – Herding Group

Placements:

Group One: GCHS Stonehaven Bayshore Secret Sauce (Australian Shepherd)
Group Two: GCHG Scott’s Lady Liberty (Bearded Collie)
Group Three: GCH Bugaboo’s Courage Of Conviction (Old English Sheepdog)
Group Four: GCHS Xiv Karat Come Hel Or High Water (Cardigan Welsh Corgi)

1.Can you describe the thrill of receiving an invitation to judge at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

Receiving an invitation to judge a Group at the AKC National Championship is not unlike the child who finds the bicycle they so wanted under the tree on Christmas morning. I was delightfully surprised.

2.How did you prepare for this assignment? Any special preparations (particularly due to COVID-19)?

I have been fortunate enough to have judged at the AKC National Championship in the past. I have been involved with dog shows for over 50 years and I have never been to a venue that comes close to this event.

3.Was this year’s show noticeably different from previous years (due to the pandemic)?

Like most aspects of our society, this year’s event was impacted by COVID protocols. The AKC, along with the Orange County Convention Center, put together a list of do’s and don’ts, which allowed for this incredible show to take place. These protocols impacted the way that attendees were able to enjoy the events.

4.What did you experience when you first entered the ring? Can you describe the feeling?

My feelings when I first entered the ring are along the lines of… “It doesn’t get any better than this.” When one judges, you tend to block out any distractions that are present.

5.Did you feel any pressure from the live Internet coverage?

This year, the AKC had installed cameras in every ring to allow for live streaming of the breed judging. This was a giant step forward in allowing the viewing public to hone in on those breeds in which they themselves have interest. Even if a viewer is not involved in the sport of dogs, most all of them have dogs of their own and will, naturally, be interested in seeing their own breed(s). Kudos to the AKC for allowing the non-showing viewers to more comprehensively embrace the mechanics of a dog show. The presence of these cameras did not cause any distraction to the judging process.

6.How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your
selection process?

Judging at a show such the AKC National Championship can be more challenging than most shows. A judge seldom has the opportunity to consistently see the best of the best in his/her ring, irrespective of the breed involved. The Herding Group, as was the case for the judges of the other six Groups, was simply a pleasure to have in front of you. This is always a situation where the judge runs out of ribbons before running out of good dogs.

7.Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the dogs that placed?

My selection for the winner of the Group was the Australian Shepherd. I’m certain that this bitch caught the eye of many of the viewers. She had beautiful conformation that was supportive of her ability to do the work for which she was bred. Utilizing the terminology of form-and-function, she moved beautifully and covered ground in a most efficient manner. Lastly, she was presented in an exceptional manner by her handler. A beautiful specimen that is beautifully presented is always a combination that leads to some level of success. The attributes that she possesses carried forward into my other placements; Bearded Collie, Old English Sheepdog, and Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

8.How do you think this show furthers the cause of the preservation purebred
dog breeder?

One would certainly believe that a venue such as the AKC National Championship would continue to enhance the interest in purebred dogs. Although there are many different breeds that have high intellect and are used in many facets of today’s society, I have always believed that the Herding Group, taken in toto, is  pretty much at the top of the intelligence chain. I know when I judge Herding breeds that I am not the smartest thing in the ring. Given the challenges faced by the AKC in putting together this year’s event, I believe they deserve an “atta boy” from so many of us who benefited from their efforts.

9.Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group and BIS judges?

My advice for the Group and BIS judges for the ensuing years of this event is to be happy with your good fortune to receive an invitation and get ready to have a lot of fun.

  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Do Judges Make Mistakes?

Originally appearing in ShowSight, October 2015 Issue. SUBSCRIBE HERE. DO JUDGES MAKE MISTAKES? I can ...

The Learning Cluster: Judges

When did you decide to judge the shows in Oklahoma? How many days were ...

AKC to host 2019 U.S. Dog detection conference

Conference aims to examine possible solutions to the shortage of detection dogs   Raleigh, ...

AKC Crowns Winners Of First Ever AKC Agility Premier Cup Presented By Eem

New York, N.Y. – The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world's largest purebred dog ...