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Insights from Paula Nykiel – 2023 WKC Dog Show Working Group Judge

Paula Nykiel - 2023 WKC Dog Show Working Group Judge, pictured at the show


Interview with Paula Nykiel – 2023 WKC Dog Show Working Group Judge

Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Working Group at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Paula Nykiel: Westminster… when that embossed gold Pointer envelope arrives, one’s heart beats a little faster as you open it.


What does it mean to judge a Group at this historic show?

Paula Nykiel: Westminster Kennel Club breathes history and tradition… a truly sensational show.


In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?

Paula Nykiel: Westminster is champions only, where our top dogs are competing together.


What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the Group ring?

Paula Nykiel: The WKC transformed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center into a gorgeous show venue. I loved the Arthur Ashe Stadium dressed out in WKC purple and gold. All the comments I heard were overwhelmingly positive.


Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?

Paula Nykiel: When standing in the middle of the Westminster Working Group ring (my fourth time judging a WKC Group) one could feel such excitement. Was it the new venue or memories of MSG? Or was it the sensation that is “Westminster?!”


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

Group First to the Giant Schnauzer. My first sight of this young dog was simply stunning. He moved with effortless power while maintaining his outline, which was enhanced by the correct amount of coat. Loved his length of head with parallel planes and strong muzzle… clean backskull and high-set ears. Square, compact body with balanced angles and short hocks… so smooth to go over head to tail. A true Schnauzer in every aspect!

Group Second to the Great Pyrenees. Another dog I was seeing and judging for the first time. Impressive outline showing his majesty and elegance. Beautiful head with a soft, dreamy, and intelligent expression. There is a quiet gentleness about him… I can imagine him blending in with his flock while still ready to engage against a perceived threat. In keeping with breed character, his movement was fluid and effortless, not flashy.

Group Third to a Rottweiler I have awarded on previous occasions. He is the preferred medium/large size with plenty of bone and substance… well-muscled and powerful, yet agile. Masculine head with dark eyes… correctly set and carried ears. He holds his solid, level backline both standing and moving. A very solid and confident Rottweiler!

Group Fourth to a Doberman Pinscher bitch I have previously judged and who is always presented in top condition. She has wonderful breed character… ever watchful and always alert. Moving flawlessly around the ring… she and her handler are a truly exciting team to watch!


There is no other show quite like Westminster. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the Westminster Kennel Club and its members?

Paula Nykiel: I would like to thank the Westminster Kennel Club members for the tremendous honor of judging the 147th Working Group. Also, a special thank you to all who made this new venue a Westminster to remember!