DIGITAL ISSUES

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Interview with Michael Canalizo – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

Michael Canalizo

Interview with Michael Canalizo – 2024 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge

What does it mean to you personally to be invited to judge at this year’s historic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Michael Canalizo: The WKC has been a part of my life for over 60 years, first attending in the early 1960s. I have been a spectator, an exhibitor, an owner, and a handler. (Many wins at the Breed and Group level). I have only missed one event since 1966. There is something very special to be a part of “The Garden” in any way, but officiating there is indeed an honor.

Can you share a few comments on your various Breed assignments? Please be specific.

Michael Canalizo: Each breed you are invited to arbitrate carries huge responsibility. I have judged some of the most popular breeds as well as some of the lesser-known breeds, and my full understanding of those breeds walks into the ring each and every time. I owe that to those who placed the confidence in me to judge, to the breeders and owners of those entered, and to “myself” to impart a fair and unbiased opinion of what is presented on the day. Most who seek my evaluation of their stock know I view every entry with a “breeder’s perspective” and that requires years of study on the function of the breed and the current state of the breed.

Judges (especially at such a visible level) yield great influence on a breed’s future. To reward a flashy show dog that lacks proper elements of the breed, as per the Standard, does that breed no favor. This particular year, my Sighthound breeds each had close decisions between beautiful representatives. Some of the Herding breeds, while less in number, afforded me the ability to recognize excellent representatives of each breed. The Bearded Collie competition had amazing depth and proved to be an invigorating process to declare the eventual winners.

What are your thoughts on the 2024 show year so far? On the months ahead?

Michael Canalizo: As mentioned above… over 60 years attending “The Garden,” never did a year lack the panache and the electrical energy from the dogs and the audience, regardless of where it was held—and that is something that will never change.