Interview with Working Group Judge P Levi Marsman
I have been in the sport of purebred dogs since 1959 as a breeder of Doberman Pinschers, boarding kennel owner and operator, professional handler, and now as an AKC Judge. I am approved to judge all Retrievers, the Hound, Working, and Herding Groups, Best in Show, and Junior Showmanship.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
P Levi Marsman: I live in S. Easton, Massachusetts. I’ve been in dogs since 1959. I got back from Norway in 1975. I applied, I think, in ‘78 and was probably approved in 1980.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
P Levi Marsman: My original breed is the Doberman Pinscher. The kennel name is Ramliph. That’s Philmar backwards.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or Parent Club titles?
P Levi Marsman: I didn’t show my own dogs because I was handling back then and felt it was a conflict of interest showing clients’ dogs against my own. However, people I’ve sold dogs to have shown some of the breeding, but I don’t have the records of that. I used to be a treasurer of the Northeast Doberman Pinscher Club in Massachusetts.
What are the qualities I most admire in the Working breeds?
P Levi Marsman: I pondered that question, and I think their nobility, mainly, and their power.
Have I judged any Working Group Specialties?
P Levi Marsman: Yes, I’ve judged the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, 11/25/78, Alaskan Malamute Club, 11/22/80, Oil Capital Doberman Pinscher Club, 5/16/81, Great Dane Club of Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania, 6/14/82, and the Siberian Husky Club of Niagara Falls. (I cannot remember the date.)
Do I find that size, proportion and substance are correct in most Working breeds?
P Levi Marsman: I think, yes, but I think a lot of standards are ambiguous of this overall.
Is breed-specific presentation important to me as a judge?
P Levi Marsman: Yes, absolutely. If it’s a guard dog, I want this to be followed in the temperament—no shyness. I have a big problem with this.
What are my thoughts on cropping, docking the Working breeds?
P Levi Marsman: I have no problem with it. Whatever the standard calls for, that’s what I adhere to when I’m judging.
Are the Working breeds in good shape overall? Do I have any concerns?
P Levi Marsman: Overall, I think I see quality has lessened. However, usually I’m able to find decent specimens for Winners Dog, Winners Bitch, Best of Breed, and so forth.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Working Dogs of the past?
P Levi Marsman: I think the breeders have done a good job, but I find people who just get a dog on a whim. They’re losing the whole concept of what showing dogs should be. They’ve forgotten about breeding stock. That’s what it’s all about.
Why do I think the Working breeds are so admired as family companions?
P Levi Marsman: I think for protection and loyalty. I think whatever their background is, people get Working breeds for this particular reason, whatever the breed.
Do I have a funny story I can share about my experience judging the Working Group?
P Levi Marsman: I was doing a Group in Florida, and this handler (I’m not mentioning her name) had this Akita, and her arm band was a dog number. So, as I was going over the dog, I went down to check testicles and I couldn’t feel them. I realized there was a vulva there and said, “Ma’am, your dog doesn’t have testicles.” “Well, this is not a dog,” she said. “It’s a bitch.” I said, “Well, you need to change your number.” She apologized for two years after about that. That was one of the funniest experiences.