Interview with Sandra Lex – 2023 WKC Dog Show Breed Judge
What does it mean to be invited to judge at this year’s historic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Sandra Lex: I believe that many could not comprehend the sensation of getting “The Letter” from Westminster Kennel Club to someone who has spent the majority of their life as either a breeder or 25-plus years as a judge. It was something that I had put in a file—maybe never! Actually, I had written it off.
Can you share your thoughts on your various Breed assignments? Please be specific.
Affenpinscher, my breed – Small entry but quality you could hang your hat on. My beautiful Breed winner filled my eye. A dog that is sturdy, strong in bone, level topline, beautiful correct tail carried like a sabre… and the head—perfect. Wide underjaw and muzzle length that created the wanted equal triangle of eye to muzzle. His ears framed the face. Eyes, round and dark. His movement was carried with confidence as it should and at the correct speed.
Biewer Terrier – Very interesting, perhaps still trying to come to the fine line of breed type. Same happened in Havanese. Overall, there were choices to be made. I predict this breed will take off. Very charming.
Brussels Griffon – Large entry filled with quality. No question in being able to find what I wanted in head and body, and this applied to both the rough and smooth Griffs. The breeds is in good shape.
Japanese Chin – Small entry but the Breed winner was a standout. Very well groomed and presented, and had SLIPPERS, a hallmark of the breed. Expression is paramount in my view and he certainly had it. Round eye with a look of surprise. This breed can vary a lot in size. He hit the middle ground comfortably. Mature, single-coated with a sense of importance. He fit the Breed Standard to a “T.” He later placed fourth in the Group.
Maltese – This Breed is “a must” in having to have a soft, sweet, appealing expression. The size of the eye must be in balance with the whole head. Finding that some are not. The expression, head, and the white, soft, silky, single-coated Maltese go hand in hand. My Breed winner fit that criteria
Manchester Terrier – This breed has certainly shone and still shines in quality today. The eye that means business, strong underjaw, and ears at attention catch you immediately. Combined with adequate bone, correct topline, (both standing and in motion), tail carriage was evident in the breed. No doubt, I had choices. As it turned out, I had given this dog a variety in a Specialty some
Silky Terrier – A breed we do not see a lot of, and very unfortunate in my opinion. For me, they are darling. A month earlier, I had just done an interview on the Australian Terrier, one of their ancestors. The Silky Terrier should not stray far from its ancestor. I was surprised in the size variation that was there. In my opinion, they are a terrier with a silky coat. Loved my Breed winner and I’m sure the lady was very surprised. So unaware, someone had to poke her to let her know I was pointing to her. Smile!
Yorkshire Terrier – Small entry, likely because there are no specialties like we had at the Penta and The New Yorker. Nevertheless, I had two dogs that were really in contention. Both mature, cool silky coats of the slate blue color. I want a strong temperament in this breed. They should be front and center; they are terrier in temperament. Excellent heads, a must for me, and comfortable size, level topline, and correct tailsets. It was a pleasure to have had both.
Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2023 show year? Any thoughts on the year ahead?
Sandra Lex: Well, thoughts for the 2023 year… Personally, there are way too many shows, and when you look at the weekly results, the average size of many shows is 650 dogs. Really?
I know that if I were specialing a dog, there would be limits. It’s hard on the dogs and the handlers. No sooner finishing a weekend and it’s unpack and repack. In addition is the dilution of Breed entries. Are the dogs really meeting competition? A question to be answered.
Finally, I must address the venue this year. I loved it. Yes, the weather cooperated, but all you had to do was go outside and it was a celebration of dogs—no doubt about it. My hat is off to the members of Westminster KC for their accomplishments in putting together an excellent venue and a celebration of our love of dogs. Thank You!