- The past year has been unlike anything the (dog show) world has experienced. How did you spend your time preparing for this year’s assignment? It gave me the opportunity to work more with my own dogs, thus getting better in touch with the soul of dogs. Truly, one prepares during their lifetime for judging dogs. Even with the pandemic, that’s probably not enough time to get it right. Research in dogs has always been an important passion for me. Thus, much time was spent going through my library and re-reading the works of the experts on the breeds. My vast files, given to me by the late Dorothy Macdonald who received them from Thelma Brown (Mrs. Curtis), also contributed to my use of pandemic time. Equally important were the materials provided by parent clubs at seminars and nationals over the years.
- The show was not held in New York City for the first time in Westminster’s 145-year history. What are your thoughts about the Lyndhurst location?Words cannot describe how thrilled I was by the alternate location at Lyndhurst. Having previously both exhibited and judged at the estate, I knew immediately the Westminster Kennel Club and its governors had made a wise decision that would please the entire fancy. The mansion, the grounds, the location looking down on the Hudson River, and the ambience promised a special experience—which it was.
- Since the Groups were not judged at Madison Square Garden this year, did the night “feel” different to you in any way?
Not at all. WKC had, indeed, moved The Garden to the Garden Spot! When I walked into the arena, the only thing missing for me was my own dog.
- What about the lack of spectators; did you miss the raucous New York crowd?The lack of spectators did not impact things at all, even though I was sorry the entire fancy could not attend.
- Breed judging was live-streamed each day, and Groups were featured live on Fox Sports. How important is this kind of coverage to purebred dogs?Very important. First of all, it gave true fanciers the opportunity to watch the activities first-hand. Secondly, it gives the average dog owner an opportunity to watch one’s favorite breed up close and personal at the world’s most prominent dog show.
- Let’s talk about those dogs! How challenging was the assignment? Can you share your selection process? Patricia Trotter: ”Those dogs” from your question were superb. Each of them exhibited so many desirable traits of their breed standard. Yes, it was challenging and like splitting hairs. Several of the seven had been awarded multiple Groups and BIS honors by me. It was the first time I ever judged the Pekingese, and I found him to be exceptional.
- Do you have a word or two about your winner? About the Group winners?The winner absolutely depicts the description of the “little lion” desired by the Pekingese standard. His beautiful and proper head is accentuated by the mane of the lion as well as the proper pear-shaped and correctly coated body. He stands his ground like the “King of the Jungle” and exhibits the proper Peke profile. The entire line-up was blessed with outstanding representatives of their breeds, thanks to the judges who sent them into the BIS ring.
- In your opinion, does this year’s show reflect positively on the sport of dogs and on preservation breeders?Absolutely! With the master breeders showing their own dogs, it was a breeder’s dream to judge such a line-up. In many instances, I knew numerous ancestors of the individual before me in the BIS ring. What a thrill to acknowledge so many skilled breeders in any BIS line-up, and especially Westminster Kennel Club.
- Would you like to share a few words with the members of the Westminster Kennel Club?To the members and staff of the Westminster Kennel Club: You are the Best!!!No doubt about it, you pulled off a show of shows at the 145th Westminster Kennel Club event. The venue and your use of it is unparalleled in my 70 years of showing dogs. The fancy will always remember your extravaganza at Lyndhurst in 2021.
- Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group & BIS judges?
Like we always do, try to get it right. And remember to enjoy the moment.
Patricia Trotter – Interview with 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Best In Show Judge
Photo courtesy of Derek Glas Photography