QUESTION FOR ALL
What’s the main thing judges overlook
while judging your breed?
Thank you to everyone who offered opinions on this month’s topic.
The following is a selection of the responses. Want to voice your
opinion to the fancy? Follow ShowSight’s Facebook page for the
monthly question prompt!
Ibizan Hound—correct movement and moderation in
angulation. —Michelle Paulin
Dalmatians—I feel most judges overlook the 75% of the
Dalmatian standard because it states that the spotting is 25%.
So some look no further than the spotting pattern. The Dalmatian
is a coaching breed and movement should be judged
as important as open even spotting. —Anonymous
In my second breed, Toy Fox Terriers, they are not spotted
Min-Pins and should move with normal reach and drive, not
high stepping. —Anonymous
Doberman—medium size, square and heavy boned.
Bernese Mountain Dog—judges overlook type and substance.
They should move at a slow trot, be sturdy, not elegant,
not overgroomed and balanced, just slightly off square.
They should not be choosing handlers to the detriment of
This is a farm dog, not an agility dog. Should be somewhat
reserved with low prey drive. Straight fronts and over angulated
rears does not make for a balanced dog. —Anonymous
Beardies—the number one thing they overlook is that a lot
of Beardies have short legs. It makes them look longer but is
very incorrect. Soon we will have Longhaired Dachshunds.
Bearded Collie—judges regularly reward exhibitors
who trim their Beardies; one of only three Standard faults.
The number one thing overlooked when judging Beardies
is correct proportion in profile. The Bearded Collie has a rectangular
silhouette in an approximate proportion of 4 high
to 5 long. This breed is to be longer in body than the GSD that is 9 to 10!
If it’s not rectangular, it’s not correct type.
Beagle—there are judges that are putting up square looking
Beagles, meaning no shoulder or straight rears. This type
structure cannot last long running rabbit. It may look cute in
a show ring but it’s incorrect! —Anonymous
Anatolian Shepherd Dog—judges should not expect animation
and show-dog-razzle-dazzle from Anatolian Shepherd
Dogs. Also, the only inspection necessary is to see either scissors
or level bite! No tooth counting! Keep your hands out of
my dog’s mouth! —Anonymous
Alaskan Malamutes—straight fronts which result in
restricted sidegait. —Anonymous
Bearded Collies—short legs! —Anonymous
Dachshunds—front Assembly. Dachshunds are a hunting
breed and as such the proper assembly of their shoulders is
essential for stamina and ability to go to ground (dig).
Judges should read the breed standard with the Dachshund’s
function in mind. I’ve seen too many narrow chested
Dachshunds who prance like a Toy dog or do not have
the reach and drive when viewed from the side. Simple
rule of thumb, at a moderate gait, if they don’t have a level
topline and are bouncing, something is not in conformance.
Pharaoh Hounds—size is the number one thing judges
overlook in this breed. —Anonymous
The number one thing that judges miss when judging
the Toy Manchester Terrier is the top line! So many are flat
backed and that is incorrect. The top line should have a slight
slope but not roached backed. They should also not carry
their tail curled up over their backs. The correct tail carriage is down and with a slight curl upward and not between their legs either. —Tammy Green
Chinese Cresteds—bad tails! —Anonymous
The Crested tail should never curl over and touch the
backs or, heaven forbid, lie on the back! They should carry
their tails up, in a slight curve. Our Standard says, “The tail
may incline slightly over the back.” Not that it has to! Pekingese,
Pomeranians and Havanese carry their tails on their
backs—not Cresteds! —Shelley Hennessy
Judges overlook the Keeshond Breed Standard. They
seem to be more impressed by an oversized coat than whether
the dog is structurally sound and can move correctly.
English Setter—please stop putting up dogs with sloping
I have been showing and breeding Pharaoh Hounds for
33 years. Currently judges are putting up dogs that are over
angulated. Pharaoh Hounds are to be moderate. Also, some
judges think Pharaoh Hounds should single track; this is
not the case. The legs should move parallel with the body.
The things many judges don’t understand is that our standard
is the only one approved by AKC which states five times
that the Papillon must be fine-boned. Perhaps this is because
dogs in general are getting bigger? Still,it’s the most important
part of our standard. —Maxine J. Gurin
Judges seem to put up a lot of Miniature Pinschers lately
with roach backs and dippy top lines and no rear angulation
also not recognizing color there are blacks, chocolates
and stag reds that I’ve seen that are a lot nice then some of
what is being put up reds always a lot of good dogs don’t
get recognized. I feel they need to read our standard.
My breed is Keeshond. Judges overlook the silhouette of
the breed. —Joanne Reed
I own Chinese Shar-Pei since 1983. Most judges don’t
understand and overlook the correct top line for our breed.
It is supposed to have a slight rise starting behind the withers
to the tail. Not level and not slopping downward like a
Dalmatian—I think the biggest problem is placing
too much emphasis on spotting pattern and not on the
overall strength of movement for endurance purposes.
Shiba inus and it is two things and I see it all the time. Our
Standard clearly says 10 to 11 and yet judge are putting up
square dogs, also our Standard again says trimming is to be
severely penalized. Yet the most trimmed dog out there will
often win. —Laura Perkinson
The Yorkshire Terrier should be as sound as any other
breed with proper movement. Please Judge the Breed as to
what you know is the standard and not the handler. —Kathleen
Belgian Tervuren—as a herding dog, Belgian Tervuren
need to be able to move effortlessly. I feel that some judges
don’t put enough emphasis on the dog’s ability to move and
I have Brittanys and Standard Poodles. What I see in
the Brittany is their size. In our breed standard it is 17
1/2 inches to 20 1/2 inches and most successful dogs are
oversized and, for some reason, judges like a Brittany
with a ton of coat. This is not desirable as is the tri-colored
Brittany. It is also not desirable but they finish in the
In Standard Poodle, and actually all three sizes, its the
grooming, hairspray, hair dye and wigs on these dogs
are way out of control and until the judges quit putting
the handlers up with all the wigs and hairspray it will
never change. Both of the dogs are amazing breeds and
make incredible pets. The handlers rule in both rings,
the Standard Poodle ring is an especially tough one.
French Bulldogs—judges won’t call scales on dogs over 28
I could list several, but one that is very common and truly
hurts the breed is length. Chinese Cresteds should be rectangular,
not square. —Anonymous
Dalmatians—correct front. —Anonymous
Dalmatian—Correct type and balance, not sporting or
hound like. Did I mention balance? —Anonymous
Curly-Coated Retriever—judges sometimes overlook good
structure and movement for better coat. —Jennifer Harms
Square, Stilted, Scowl. Chows can be super cute with lots
of beautiful coat. Judges need to first look for squareness!
Because they put long dogs up over a square dog, breeders
have been excusing the importance of this main quality.
The Chihuahua standard calls for an off square dog
that is only slightly longer than tall. Judges seem to be
putting up short legged, long-backed, rectangular dogs.
Brussels Griffon—judges don’t put up dogs with the more
correct rough coat: very hard coat with sparse beard and furnishings.
They instead put up dogs with big beards and lots
of furnishings. —Anonymous
Brittany—judges put little and cute up over rugged in
bitches. Rugged is in the standard, cute is not. —Anonymous
My breed is English Cocker Spaniel. Judges have been putting
up dogs with little bone, tiny heads and fronts: all of
which are so important for our breed to go under brush to
flush. It is incorrect to think of brush as being fernlike. It
takes a very sturdy body to maneuver under a strong bush
with heavy branches. —Anonymous
Australian Cattle Dog—judges overlook dog and look at
who is at the end of the leash; need impartial out of area judges.
Breed clubs, not needed to pick judges —Anonymous
Akitas—the number one thing judges overlook or make
the assumption they know, is the height standard. We are 26"-
28" for dogs and 24"-26" for bitches. Anything else is outside
the standard and under 25" for dogs and 23" for bitch is a
disqualification. Our rings are loaded with dogs and bitches
outside the standard on the bottom end or at best barely at
the bottom of the standard. A dog or bitch at the top of the
standard looks outside the maximum when in fact, they are
more representative of what the breed should be. The standard
describes our breed as large, with much substance and
heavy bone; hard to pass that off on a bitch that’s the size of
an Aussie. —Francee
I have Pembroke Welsh Corgis. The judges don’t know
type. They are putting up mediocre dogs without type and
sound structure. I hear this a lot from breeders of many
breeds. Judges get their licenses too quickly without knowing
the breed. —Karen Skaggs
Breed is Belgian Malinois. Temperament; the dog
should be steady and easy to examine. Any dog not easy
to touch should be excused. Temperament is number one.
Akita—size and substance —Anonymous
German Wirehaired Pointer—coat. —Anonymous
Saint Bernard—the judges tend to overlook movement
The Doberman should not be short on leg. —Anonymous
Azawakh—just because it is a Sight Hound does not mean
it stacks out in the rear like most other Sight Hounds. Therefore,
if it is not stacked out, do not assume it is incorrectly
stacked or that the rear assembly has the same structure as
others. —Alberta “C.C.” Evans
Chinese Crested—size. —Anonymous
Pugs—correct movement. —Anonymous
English Toy Spaniel—square dog with large, soft, chubby
face with big, round, dark eyes. —Anonymous
Dobermans—I feel over angulation in the rear is an issue.
Old English Sheepdog—correct movement for the breed.
Australian Terriers—subjectiveness. —Anonymous
The number one thing overlooked in Labradors—fronts.
As far as I am concerned, the number one thing judges
over look when judging a Keeshond is our standard. They
don’t understand the wording and they don’t understand the
breed. —Deanna Cox
Akitas—judges overlook proper size. There is disqualification
for under size and very few measure. Sad. —Anonymous
Wirehaired pointing Griffon—proper coat and proper
size, too big! —Anonymous
The number one thing the judges overlook quite regularly
is the dog. They are so politically correct it’s gotten incorrect!
Bulldogs—correct head. Too many choose dogs with
incorrect head, either two planed or flat up and down not a
true flat, brick-shaped head. —Anonymous
In Cardigan Corgis, too many judges do not know what
they are looking at when studying fronts and shoulder lie and
My breed is Beagles. There are a few things I believe judges
overlook. First of all, “Soft, pleading expression.” Second:
balance, back short. Third: level toplines. —Anonymous
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels—I think 2/3 of judges fail to
use the breed standard in its entirety. Choosing best groomed
with short upper legs, short fore faces, soft toplines and the
smallest and the fastest exhibit in the class all appear to me to
be taking top awards more often than not. None of those are
worthy of the number of awards that are given. A judge must
be able to articulate his or her choices in terms of the breed’s
ideal and there are relatively few who can adequately verbalize
even when faced with an unremarkable representation of
the breed on the day. —Judy Gates
Ignoring the dog being judged or favoring the pro in the
My breed is the Airedale Terrier. Definitely would like to
see more judges sparring our breed. The proper sparring
should be a distance from each dog, never nose to nose!
Vizsla—judges overlook substance, toplines and tail
Mastiffs—proportion. Mastiffs are rectangular, longer
than tall and height comes from depth of body rather than
length of leg.
Great Danes are not a head breed! It is a working breed
which more than half the standard is spent describing the
perfect Great Dane body. —Diane Collings
Tibetan Spaniel—judges do not consider dos of color ie,
parti, black and tans and mostly all blacks. They come in other
colors than brown. —Pamela Bradbury
Tibetan Spaniel—they don’t care about their beautiful
head. TS are a head breed. —Anonymous
Over forty years of breeding and exhibiting and now
twenty years of judging, I think many judges overlook that
we are still a herding breed. It’s hard to learn the finer points
of head, but balance, type and structure should be easy to
look at in any breed if you have an eye.
Although head, eye and expression are very important
to me, if the dog can’t run around the ring, how could that
Collie herd? Yes, I have put up a Collie with inferior structure
because I rewarded something I had never seen in head
quality. The dog was still balanced an exuded type with a
beautiful expression. We do judge on virtues, but how many
judges that judge Collies have the knowledge to judge on
heads alone. I doubt it’s even 10% of our approved judges. I
beg judges to look at the whole dog, not just what you think
is a good head and expression because you could be way off
the mark! Please help the Collie breed stay a working breed!
They miss the figs. So many judges only see the face holding
the dog. It is sad that many fine animals go out the gate in
lieu of the judges actually judging the dog in front of them.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier and one thing judges overlook
when judging it is the written breed standard. —Anonymous
Basenjis—correct conformation and movement per the
standard. —Toni Ackerman
Great Pyrenees—tail does not have to be up and must
have a beautiful expression with dark eyes and pigment.
Judges mostly overlook movement when judging Maltese.
Over-trimming the OES. —Sally Carr
Chinese Cresteds—the amount of furnishings some dogs
are having, either shaved PP, or breeding hairy hairless to
HHL producing veil coated or so hairy of dogs. Crested HL is
to have hair to neck not onto shoulders and around the front
almost to chest. Looking at feet, specifically the socks, one
should almost see feet/skin. —Anonymous
Border Terrier—judges overlook the pelt. A Border’s pelt
should be thick and loose. —Anonymous
Most overlooked in Miniature Bull Terrier—rear structure.
My breed is Maltese. I find judges tend to overlook that
the Maltese is a moderate breed. Baby doll heads, while
pretty, are not correct for the breed. They should not look
like a Shih Tzu in the face. Also, the outline should be moderate.
They should not look like giraffes with long necks,
short backs and long legs. They should appear balanced.
Belgian Tervuren—structure and movement are more
important than a pretty head. If the dog is not built well, it
can’t perform the duty it was bred for. Dogs don’t run on their
My breed is Australian shepherd and the thing most often
overlooked by judges is proper movement and structure in
front assembly. —Paula Waterman
Basset Hound—the all breed judges are not looking for the
wrap around front. —Anonymous
Standard Poodle—incorrect fronts and shoulder payback.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier—puppy to adolescent fading
of color. —Wendy Neill
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier—it is a square breed with a
rectangular, lean, clean back-skull. —Gay Dunlap
Japanese Chin—judges need to judge the dog, not the
handler; understanding their profile is an inverted three,
not a complete flat profile; it is a square breed; looking for
the tiniest one in the ring, that does a disservice to healthy
breeding ; extreme white of eye is extreme. Extreme is never
correct. Forgiving soundness, another disservice to healthy
breeding. I find many judges take on Japanese Chin as an
add on and not a breed to fully understand. They then rely
on the advertisements to tell them what is correct rather
than try to learn from long time breeders and exhibitors.
Shih Tzu—dead, level top line when moving!
Shetland Sheepdog—I feel there are too many forward
fronts. The elbows should be directly under the withers.
Instead so many are under the ears. —Anonymous
Samoyed—judges are picking too short in leg. We are 55%
leg and sculpting the coat isn’t the correct way to achieve the
look. —Diane Landstrom
Samoyeds—I feel like judges are ignoring proper type.
Saluki—the standard’s requirement for moderation and
strength. This is not supposed to be a decorative breed but a
powerful hunter. —Linda Scanlon
Rhodesian Ridgeback—the ridge! It’s 20% of the scoring
standard. Faults in the Ridge get overlooked. —Anonymous
For Tibetan Mastiffs, many judges miss correct breed type.
—Richard W. Eichhorn
Pharaoh Hounds—they are a moderate Hound that is
slightly longer than tall. They should not look like squat frog
dogs with huge bulking chests. They should not look like
Weim fronts and Boxer rears. —Bekki Pina
Goldens—Owner handlers. —Anonymous
Golden Retrievers—judges seem to forget what these dogs
were bred for. They need length of leg a solid back topline
and not be over coated fluff and puff. —Anonymous
German shepherd dog—gait, front and rear extension
and temperament. Both are frequently overlooked.
Basset Hounds—there is a lack of understanding by allbreed
judges regarding the Basset’s wrap-around front.
There are many dogs put up that look good from the side, but
when coming toward you, their front legs resemble the legs
on a coffee table. —Anonymous
Flat-coated Retriever—balanced front and side gait.
Chinese Shar-Pei—proper movement. —Anonymous
Pug—proper size, 14-18 pounds! —Anonymous
Afghan Hound—Feet size and springy, upright carriage/
Bichon Frise—overall balance. —Shannon Moore
Cardigan Welsh Corgi—never looking at the end of the
My breed is the Keeshond. The breed as a whole has
declined in general in my opinion. While they were never
bred to work or guard, they were meant to be agile occupants
of the Dutch barges. I would hazard a guess very few in the
breed could negotiate a barge without falling into the canal.
Specifically the shoulder assembly has suffered from breeding
for profile. Short upper arms, open shoulder angle and
front legs out under the ears instead of under the withers
are rampant. The profile with head way back over the shoulders,
has become the profile rewarded by the majority of the
judges that judge the breed. —Anonymous
Ibizan Hounds—the important qualities of the dog under
his ears. Komondors—all of the important qualities of the
dog under his coat. Samoyeds—proper proportions; leg 55%
of the height and only just off-square, length being approximately
5 percent more than the height. —Eric Liebes
Pointer—judges often put too much emphasis on head
type and not the structure that a good sporting dog needs to
do its job. —Anonymous
Chinese Cresteds—most judges are not very knowledgeable
about this breed. The hairless variety is not to have a
thick crest/socks, long is fine, short is also fine but not thick
as this would indicate the dog is very hairy body wise, some
are completely coated and the crest is to stop at the withers!
Not halfway down the back and shoulders. By definition, a
crest is on the head and neck. The hairless coat texture is
similar to human hair, not cottony as the powderpuff (puppies
are excluded until they change coat).
The powderpuff variety does not need to have a coat to
the floor and feet are to be left natural, not sculpted.
First and foremost, soundness! If in doubt, choose the dog
that is most sound.
Do not reward for your personal preference in size. There
are no disqualifications with this breed regarding size and
the standard states slightly taller or slightly smaller should
be equally considered so again, choose soundness over size.
Hackney movement and tight rears are completely wrong.
When in doubt, ask a long time breeder, they will be happy to
clarify. —Helene Belanger
Pekingese and movement! —Anonymous
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are to be show in a natural
coat without trimming. Judges are awarding heavily trimmed/
groomed dogs so exhibitors feel they need to do this in order
to compete. Eventually, it will be the accepted practice even
though it goes against our standard. —Anonymous
Afghan Hounds—they consistently overlook breed type
correct movement! —Anonymous
Cairn Terrier—movement. —Pat Joyce
Borzoi and Whippets—they seem to think flat toplines are
correct. Short back with long loin is what the standard calls
for, please don’t bother measuring the flank area! Slight rise
over the loin does not mean flat.
What judges should and need to award in both my breeds
is a correctly placed and angulated front that is moving from
the shoulder and not from the elbow. That being said they
won’t see that many, all the more reason to award it when
they are fortunate enough to get one in an entry. Even if they
have to sacrifice perfect soundness. The fronts are being lost
in many breeds. Lots of straight fronts with too much rear.
Westies—judges miss proper fronts with shoulders that
have layback. They don’t recognize that a Westie with a
straight front is not proper and will not move properly.
Bloodhounds—the breed’s purpose, therefore bigger is
not better. Bloodhounds must be typey but they must be able
to do their job of trailing/tracking. And a true working Bloodhound
might be required to trail all day for multiple days. So
before you point to your Best of Breed Winner, please think if
that is the Bloodhound you would pick to go out in the forest
to find your lost grandchild or to go out on a wintery night to
find your lost elderly family member. —Anonymous
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel—correct Breed type!
Dalmatians—color and markings. —Anonymous
The dog! I breed and show French Bulldogs and many
judges look at the wrong end of the lead! Our breed is inundated
with pro handlers. —Chris Hill
Doberman Pinscher—correct movement. —Anonymous
Vizsla—tail set and carriage. —Anonymous
Pointer—balance and outline. —Anonymous
Belgian Sheepdogs are my breed. Judges tend to overlook
correct shoulder and rear angles and beautiful movement.
Irish Setter—judges miss functionality. There is no disqualification
as to size, however we have some very large
males, in particular, who would never hold up as a gundog,
yet look impressive in a stack in the confirmation ring.
Chinese Shar Pei—patterned dogs being awarded points
that should be disqualified. Ignorance is a huge issue!
German Shorthaired Pointers— Deviations of one inch
above or below the described heights are to be severely
penalized. Yet time after time, significantly oversized dogs
and bitches are awarded prestigious wins. We have breeder
judges who have publicly stated they believe other attributes
are ‘more important’, in complete disregard of the standard.
Dachshunds—shoulder placement, too far forward.
Tibetan Spaniel—the complete dog, so many judges say
it is a head breed, it is not, nor is it a cookie cutter breed. —
Norwich terriers—they forget to judge based on our official
standard. They put up large dogs and unlocked even
though we have a docked breed. —Anonymous
Border Collie—fronts. —Anonymous
English Cocker Spaniel—judges over look type and
Alaskan Malamute—judges overlook correct movement
Great Pyrenees—they overlook correct fronts and
proper coat. —Anonymous
Lakeland Terrier—judges fail to realize that these are
working dogs and their job is unique and extremely difficult.
They must have the build, the athleticism stamina, the intelligence
and game ness to travel 30-40 miles in the course of a
day, on foot with a pack of hounds, over rugged, treacherous
mountains in the severest of weather conditions in pursuit
of the large (20-25") and when the fox took refuge in a rocky
den, kill the fox. —Anonymous
Border Terriers—first line in standard otter head. That is
not a head with a lot of stop and the top skull is flat. A lot of
judges also do not know how to correctly span, and it is not
degree of span but are they spanable? —Anonymous
Samoyed—judges overlook the fact that this is an athletic
working dog and much more than just a pretty face with a lot
of fur! —Lori Chapek-Carleton
Papillons—the overall dog, elegant fine-boned and
dainty, they get hung up on markings, coat and fringe.
—Lou Ann King
Doberman Pinscher is my breed and the judges today can’t
find breed type. —Anonymous
Pug—legs well under and they should have forechest.
Miniature Pinscher—the number one thing almost all
judges overlook is that there is a complete dog and not just a
dog with hackney like action.
This breed is supposed to be a compact dog with strong
rear drive, a level topline with a tailset that should never
be below the 12:00 position, they should be clean coming
and going. The Min Pin should also own the ring, they are
high spirited with fearless animation and should present that
when in the ring.
Judges overlook on a regular basis that this breed is far
from what it is supposed to be because judges have forced
breeders to breed for hackney in order to win which has
caused great detriment to the breed. —Anonymous
Parson Russell Terrier—they miss the proper leg to
length ratio. The breed is approximately square and not long
and low. —Anonymous
Norwich Terrier—I think the #1 trait that judges miss is
that the Norwich is supposed to be square. This means there
needs to be some leg under the dog so you can get a square
dog. If you were to shorten up some of the lower legged Norwich
to be square, it would be an unnatural out of balance
Italian Greyhound—the actual written breed standard.
My breeds are Bulldogs and Bullmastiffs. Starting with the
Bulldogs I would the dog right now it’s who on the end of
the lead. But most handlers have no idea how to show a Bulldog
and that also goes for the owners. When you look at the
Bulldog hands are on the face the front end is so stretch wide
and so is the back end. You should be able to see the rear
legs through the front legs. Also the toplines are bad they
shouldn’t be flat were as they use to say if you could put a
cup and saucer on the back and when they move it is wrong.
Now Bullmastiffs the size they are small and the heads
aren’t very large either. They are to be massive not big like a
Mastiff but of size. —Pam (Berg) Osborne
Keeshond—texture of coat. American Eskimo—length to
height ratio of body. —Arlene Grimes
Pharaoh Hound—there is an epidemic in judging where
exaggeration/extremes (too long of bodies, too much rear
angulation, high-set long ewe necks, TRAD), are rewarded
above the structural soundness that is correct for this breed.
This breed is supposed to be only slightly longer than tall,
not rectangular and have moderate sweep of stifle, not an
extremely angled rear, for example. Correctly proportioned
and balanced Pharaoh Hounds are inherently not flashy
or extreme in any way, and they are being overlooked in
favor of the more great American show dog variety that
we are seeing more and more often in the winners circles.
Clumber Spaniels—many judges either go nuts over my
dogs/bitches because they are very typey (balanced and can
move too!) or don’t know what to do with them and put up
inferior dawgs because mine look so different. I breed for
The number one thing judges overlook when judging any
breed is the dog and not the person on the other end of the
lead. I have been showing and winning for a lot of years, but
there are too many times when less than quality dogs are put
up because of the professional dog show handler presenting
Siberian Husky—relying on side gait and not looking
for single tracking as called on in our breed standard.
French Bulldog—that our standards says 28 inches and
they never check! —Anonymous
Chinese Shar-Pei is my breed. My pet peeve is a judge
that peels the dog’s eye back. I’m assuming looking for
entropion and then wonders why the dog shuts their eyes.
Number one problem with new Papillon judges is proper
movement and lack of reach and drive. —Susan Nikkel
PBGV—the height to length ratio! —Anonymous
Papillon—soundness, they were meant to move like the
Spaniel they are descended from. —Anonymous
French Bulldog—they miss outline and silhouette, which
also includes upsweep of jaw and layback of nosepad.
—Laura and David Hagey
The number one thing judges over look in Yorkies is movement.
They tend to think Yorkies should just look pretty.
Finnish Spitz—judges miss that we’re even in the Group
ring, too often we’re just a big hole between two other dogs.
And if they do notice, then they think the dogs should or
have to bark. No, they don’t. Unless there’s a bird or a squirrel,
they don’t need to bark any more than any other breed.
Papillon—low tailset, commonly seen with bad topline
and faulty tail carriage. —Tracy Burdick
Number one thing judges miss or overlook: the Pug is a big
dog in a little package—“multum en parvo”. This is not a Little
dog in a little package, please, no short legged stuffy bodies,
prefer a compact square body symmetrically balanced
to leg length and a round head, not a Pekingese envelope
head, oh yes and please do not overlook the great black Pug!
Judges overlook the true integrity of type for a handler.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel—trimming. The standard
specifically says, “No trimming.” Many judges reward the
trimmed dog, however. —Anonymous
My breed is Pomeranians. The first thing the judge sees
is the side view which should be a square body, high tail
set, a beautiful correct double coat, correctly angled shoulders,
a 1/3 muzzle to 2/3 skull and high-set small ears.
I have Whippets—they’re supposed to be an athletic
breed, but many can’t move to get out of their own way, let
alone to chase and catch a rabbit. —Anonymous
One thing that the judges do not look at is the excessive
trimming which is to be severely penalized And the fact we
are not a square breed—we are a 5-4 ratio. —Anonymous
Number one would be the correct silhouette. Number
two, front and rear movement. We have a parallel movement
coming and going and many judges put up single tracking
or converging movement. The front legs do not start under
the ears. Number three, we are square. Number four, it takes
some time to learn the correct head, eye, chiseling, and
under jaw which makes our heads so very pretty, lean back
skull. —Inge Semenschin
Belgian Tervuren—I find judges often forget that breed
type includes movement and the BT standard states, “Gait—
lively and graceful, covering the maximum ground with minimum
effort.” This athletic, ground covering gait is achieved
with shoulders long, laid back 45 degrees, flat against the
body, forming a right angle with the upper arm and coupled
with a balanced rear. —Anonymous
Lhasa Apso—correct profile and balance. —Anonymous
Briards—most of the time judges look for a generic showdog—
good behavior, fancy grooming and flash; instead looking
for the things that make a Briard a Briard. The hallmarks
of the breed are: head, coat, proportions, tail, quicksilver
movement and the double dewclaws. Judges need to think
less about what looks good in the group ring and learn and
reward the breed characteristics spelled out in the breed
standard. —Kathryn lanam
Judges seem to forget an OES is a hands-on breed. They
need to get through the coat and feel what under all that coat.
If I come out of a ring and my dog looks just as pretty coat
wise as I went in odds are the judge didn’t actually feel the
dog just the coat. —Anonymous
German Shorthair—they have to be able to work in the
field all day. Most dogs in the show ring are not able to do this
either because of the way they are built or the fact that they
are so very out of shape. —Anonymous
The Parson Russell Terrier is supposed to be spanned.
Probably 60 percent either don’t attempt at all to span, or
they don’t even try. Standard says they must be spanned.
Standard Schnauzers—judges are not looking for and
rewarding proper working movement. A working dog should
move with little effort, efficiently lifting feet just high enough
to clear the ground—high stepping, short striding and legs
swinging out wastes energy, which keeps the animal from
performing their job all day long. Viewed from front or rear,
the legs should form a nice V with straight line/column of support
from shoulder thru pasterns to foot or hips thru hocks to
foot. Lack of proper support causes the animal to break down
when working for long periods of time. —Anonymous
Collie—correct head qualities including eye size and proper
placement, 40% of the Collie Standard. —Kelly Roche
Westies—suckered in by overboard head grooming; a way
to hide true head size. —Anonymous
My breed is Chihuahua. Judges most commonly over look
correct movement in our breed. —Anonymous
When making final choices based on movement, it saddens
me to see judges who do repeated down and backs. That
certainly is important as part of assessing soundness but any
judge should be able to see that with one down and back—
indeed one and done! Side movement shows breed type as
well as correct structure in a dog who is able to cover ground
smoothly with an effortless gait with no lift or excess effort.
—Anne Marie Kubacz
Shetland Sheepdog—the #1 thing AKC judges overlook
when judging Shelties is the amount of grooming product in
the dog’s hair coat. The amount of chalk or powder that is
commonly used to build a ruff has to be unhealthy for the dog
and the groomer. A UKC judge will call you on it while most
AKC judges will reward it. —Anonymous
Tibetan Mastiffs—judges often overlook structure, choosing
instead the bigger dogs with heavy coats. There is much
concern in the breed about losing the authentic Tibetan
Mastiff by promoting the more Chinese-version that is not
structurally sound and cannot do its work as a guardian dog.
My breed is Spinone Italiano, I feel the number one thing
judges overlook with our breed is underline/tuck up. Our
standard says, “The underline is solid and should have minimal
tuck up.” This breed should not look like a Pointer, Shorthair,
etc. looking at its underline. That to me would be the
first however there are a few others that get overlook as well,
substance, bone, expression is of paramount importance to
the breed. —Kay McLeland
Dogue de Bordeaux—movement. Ours is a head breed.
Having said that, a beautiful, correct head is not the sole consideration.
A working dog needs to be able to work, hence
move. While a Dogue can be stacked to compensate for
lacking angulation and an undesirable top line, these things
cannot be hidden during movement. The breed needs to
demonstrate reach and drive, which is optimally seen in a
Dogue with proper angulation. A Dogue without correct conformation
for this breed will not move well. The Dogue de
Bordeaux will also move with its head in a lowered position.
So often a Dogue is placed higher for prancing around the
ring with it’s head held high. To the novice and uneducated
judge this will appear a showier dog, but not a correct one.
Irish Setter—many do not know correct movement.
Borzoi—as a judge I want a sound, solidly built dog that is
structurally correct in all aspects to perform as it was bred
to do. This means everything from the strength of the jaws
and dentition, streamlining for speed from the tip of the nose
to the tail with enough ribs spring for the lungs and heart to
function correct top line that the brisket correct front and
rear as that is the running gear. As these dogs were bred in
Russia they also need to have sufficient coat, which is often
the icing on the cake! —Anonymous
Irish Setter—balance. Since my beginning in 1966, I have
hunted and field trialed my AKC show dog and completed several
field championships for my kennel as well as other Irish
Setter kennels that believed in the dual dog.
Balance makes the difference in the field when the hunter
asks the dog to hunt longer than a few minutes, like half a day
or more. Further, terrain needs balance of body in the dog to
handle ruff footing. I have field trialed my Irish all over the
United States. —Patty Harris
Judges perpetually turn a blind eye to silhouette. Briards
are all about outline/proportions and movement. Those traits
are all in symmetry together. If you change/ignore the form
of the animal, you alter the ability to function in the intended
way. When a breed ceases to represent the template of the
breed, that breed becomes endangered to its original form.
Alaskan Malamute—judges tend to forget the fact that the
Malamute is not a head breed! They are not supposed to look
like a Rottweiler or Mastiff head and they should not have
extreme stop in the head.
They also tend to overlook correct coat! Soft, long,
trimmed, broken coat is incorrect! A Malamute needs a course
correct coat for its job, which is another point as most judges
tend to forget what their job is—pulling a sled. —B. Martin
Afghan Hound—the number one thing the judges forget
is attitude. The Afghan is aloof and dignified. Not Poodley.
Toy Poodles—judges most overlook the bad front-end
assemblies, which give the lifty movement. Min Pin like. And
I’ll add the lack of balance with the overdone rears. Both contribute
to untypical movement in the breed and together it
makes it worse. Movement is as in any breed part of its type.
Pomeranian—correct body structure and movement, see
so many with improper angulation and bad patella getting
placements solely on coat and who is holding the lead. —
Keeshond—while this is a simplistic answer, it is important.
The judges overlook our breed standard. If in doubt,
think moderate. Our standard is all being moderate. Judges
tend to reward extremes and big coats. Those coats are not
what our standard calls for. For those of us that still try to
breed for a correct and functional coat, it can often cost us
wins in favor of dogs with an over done and trimmed coat.
Please, pay attention to what you feel under that coat and
how the dog moves. —Patti Hobbs
In terriers they first and last look up the lead to the handler
at the other end! They barely look at the dog only when
there are not handlers in the ring do they look at the dog and
forget about the Terrier group ring. —Anonymous
Border Terriers—correct quality and correct grooming.
Belgian Sheepdog—Please do not put up dogs whose coat
has been doctored, clipped, sheared, dyed or altered. Honor
the breed standard and excuse them or put them at the end of
the line. The dog deserves to be shown naturally by all handlers,
professional or owners. They need to be able to move
and really cover ground efficiently with correct balanced
fronts and rears. —Richard Skinner
Belgian Sheepdog—judges forget this dog needs movement
and good structure to do their job well. We need them
to hold up for years in order to do the herding. More important,
judges also should not be putting dogs up that are not
sound in their mental health attitude, please ask those dogs to
leave the ring. —Anonymous
Weimaraner—correct front assembly i.e., good layback
of shoulder, proper return of upper arm, chest to elbow and
prominent pro-sternum. —Gale Young
The Kees is the clown of the dog world. They are impish,
naughty and often non-conforming. They are not statues, nor
are they obedience subjects in conformation competition. I
feel judges and many already do, should look past the antics
that define the character of the breed and evaluate their hands
on confirmed by the exhibit being moved rather than expect
a perfect go! Judges are asked to judge to the standard, not
to an obedience class. An exhibit that is superior in conformation
and movement, should not be penalized for lack of
perfection in its go, as judging is to be to the standard, not
an obedience challenge. —Salvatore and Melanie Sorice
The number one thing judges overlook in the Canaan Dog
is the correct Canaan Dog temperament is to be aloof with
strangers. As a natural breed that survived for thousands of
years without human intervention, they are naturally wary of
strangers. Alert, cautious and aloof are all attributes that lend
to their survival instinct. —Christina Miller
Miniature Pinschers—they are putting up roach backs
and no rear angulation I feel they need to re check the standard
in judging and also color reds almost always win there
are some very nice black rust and chocolates being shown.
I see judges all the time hover over our dogs, trying to see
expression. But this is a watchdog/hunter type dog (despite
its size) so most do not like this behavior and do not then look
their best. Many swivel their ears back so you cannot see ear
placement easily. The best way to see Silky expression is from
farther away. Then a good Silky pricks up its ears and the
characteristic keen and alert air is very visible. And if I may
add a second pet peeve—please do not judge topline on the
table, only on the ground. —Anonymous
Miniature Bull Terriers—judges overlook to a high percentage:
size, even though there is not a height disqualification.
Too many large Mini’s place when smaller Mini’s have
just as good of type. —Anonymous
Great Pyrenees—expression should be soft, haunting
and engaging; this is correct when all the pieces of the
head come together. Too many judges are judging for a
few pieces on the head when the correct expression is the
characteristic of the breed that we strive for along with
the other distinct things that make our breed stand apart.
—Terry M Denney-Combs
Belgian Tervuren—proper front structure. This is not a
head breed! —Anonymous
Smooth Dachshunds—the breed is supposed to stand toed
out a little when it has the correct wrap-around front (for digging).
Great Dane—front angulation! —Anonymous
Pointer—correct movement! Too many judges put up dogs
who hackney! This is not correct movement. —Anonymous
Kuvasz—type is being overlooked by many judges.
Westies should have a forechest and tail set. It should not
be a continuation of the spine. It should break up at the dock
Standard Schnauzers are a Working dog first, that happens
to have a Terrier coat. They should be structured and
move like a working dog, not like a Fox Terrier. Far too many
short upper arms and upright fronts. Lots of fake coats being
painted on lately—coat is a hallmark of the breed and must be
Berger Picards are being horribly overgroomed and our
standard specifically states that overgroomed exhibits should
be so heavily penalized that they should not place. Movement
should be a big, easy stride, not short and choppy. Some judges
can’t see anything but fawn—brindle is supposed to be
equally acceptable. Far too many breeds are being judged as
a grooming contest, not judging dogs. Too many handlers are
doing too many breeds a disservice with incorrect or excessive
grooming. Must have a correct dog underneath the wrapper
that coat is but the coat also must be presented correctly,
not faked or overdone. It’s not going to stop until judges get
the balls to penalize incorrectly presented exhibits, and not
reward major faults that are being overlooked because of
pretty window dressing. —Liz Hansen
Westies should have a forechest, I don’t think most judges
know that. —Anonymous
Bouvier des Flandres—square—they have no idea what
square is. —Cynthia Thames
Brittany—I have been showing and breeding Brittanys for
over 30 years and I feel oftentimes judges do not pay attention
to the fact that side gait in this breed is most important. They
often put more emphasis on stacking. Since this is a hunting/
sporting dog, the ability to go for hours on end is extremely
important and a dog with a correct side gait will be the
one who can perform what he was bred to do. The rear paw
should overstep the front paw as in the German Shepherd
dog when gaiting. A long striding, smooth gait with a topline
that doesn’t move is more desirable than a choppy sidewinding
gait with a lot of wasted motion. A perfectly stacked Brittany
makes a nice picture but it is not always the dog you
want in the field. The Brittany has more dual champions than
any other breed and we strive very hard to keep this in mind
when breeding. —Anonymous
Great Dane—it always seems that the fawns win over any
other color. I wish the judges wouldn’t judge by their favorite
colors! —Jill Stout
IG—I think that some judges do not know the standard
and rely on making their choice by who is at the other end of
the lead. IGs have a standard on conformation and movement
as described by IGCA. Movement is an important characteristic
of the breed. Front and back movement should be clean
side movement shows drive and lift. Look at the whole package.
As a judge myself, I am more aware of what other judges
ignore than most other Collie exhibitors. I have shown and
finished my own Collies and so I know from which I speak.
One of today’s biggest problems in this breed is the terrible
movement. A judge does not have to know what is wrong
with the structure, because if the breed has the correct movement,
he obviously has the correct structure.
And one might forgive a judge for not being able to see
it all on a rough because of some huge coat disguising it,
however, the smooth Collie has it all right out there for the
world to see. If the world just knows what is correct and
Forgiving a very minor fault in favor of an animal that has
it all otherwise, is not uncommon and acceptable. None of
them are perfect. But when one comes at you with feet and
legs in all directions, that is not forgivable.
The Collie is a Herding breed and if his structure and
movement are so faulty as to not be adequate to stand up
under a day’s work, then he is not worthy of any win.
Second to the movement is condition. I find far too many
Collies that have what I call squishy muscle tone. They all
should have hard muscle and be able to get from one place
to the other without being exhausted. That particular fault is
due to the owner and/or handlers not providing the correct
exercise for the dog. A 15 degree grade in a big yard would
be the answer. Not enough to exhaust the dog but enough for
him to work and build the muscle to get him up and the yard
with no real problem. —Betty Abbott
Beagles—I think judges don’t visualize size and not calling
the wicket when an entry looks too big. —Anonymous
German Pinscher—the number one thing, in my opinion,
that judges overlook is movement. I see way too many GP
being put up with hackney gait! —Anonymous
Havanese—judges prefer to put up handlers even though a
breeder/owner may have a more correct dog. There seems to
be a noticeable difference in what a Havanese breeder looks
for and what a judge is looking for. Judges will ruin a breed
this way. —Anonymous
My breed is Rottweilers. Number one thing judges over
look is looking at the actual dogs and not just the handler
at the end of the lead. Number two, overall structure then
Salukis—the number one thing judges overlook in the
Saluki is running gear and its relation to the original purpose
of the breed. The Saluki is a moderate, long distance runner.
Exaggerations (overangulated rears, high withers, straight
pasterns and long necks) diminish the ability of the dog to
effectively kill gazelle or other quarry over deep sand or
rocky mountains. As a Saluki breeder of over 50 years experience
as well as a judge, these exaggerations drive me wild.
Irish Setter—I have been breeding and showing Irish Setters
for almost 40 years. What judges miss in Irish Setters in the part of the standard that defines rear movement in the breed?
The standard says: “The hindquarters drive smoothly and with
great power. Seen from the front or rear, the forelegs, as well
as the hind legs below the hock joint, move perpendicularly
to the ground, with some tendency towards a single track as
speed increases.” Why do so many judges want them to single
track if they know our standard? The next time a judge
says to me, “I liked your dog but it took a few wide steps
before coming in,” I am going to smile nicely and say, “Oh
good—that is exactly what our standard calls for.” And while
I am not a student of physics, it seems that to accomplish that
powerful drive they need to start out wider. The other thing
that sometimes needs attention is that this is not a moderate
breed. “Substantial yet elegant in build.” The only times the
word moderate is used in our standard is to describe specific
parts—not the overall dog. —Patty Fanelli
Alaskan Malamute—judges often don’t pay enough attention
to survival characteristics: i.e. correct coat, feet etc.
They also don’t realize that this breed needs to be able to
survive and to work in a primitive environment. They have to
be sound. —Anonymous
TFT—they miss the standard; not many know the standard.
Bloodhound—correct head including the head planes
Lhasa Apso—unfortunately, now a low-entry breed. Movement
and correct head—too many only focus on the coat!
Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) —most overlooked trait:
gait/movement, in favor of a pretty head! Shelties don’t herd
with their heads! —Anonymous
Rottweilers should have a dark eye and dark mouth. Pink
mouths should not be rewarded and Rottweilers are not a
head breed. Balance; not over done or over angulated rears.
Chihuahua—they overlook soundness, movement and
bites. Picking a head, over a less typey dog with everything
good. Bred-By class should be the most important class, as
the breeders are bringing to the table what they know, will
produce that sound Chihuahua they want! —Anonymous
PBGV—most judges completely disregard the very specific
instructions in our breed standard regarding grooming
and reward dogs so extremely trimmed, sculptured and hairsprayed
that they would be completely incapable of hunting.
My breed is Pugs. Judges frequently do not know how to
examine the head and bite correctly. We are a thumb breed
and therefore the mouth is never opened. The judge must
feel with their hands for the large, round head and flat, wide
muzzle and slightly undershot bite. In addition to the square
body and curly tail. —Donnelle Richards
The Affenpinscher is supposed to move with a jaunty gait
that carries a bit of a spring to the step but not as extreme as
the lift as shown by a Miniature Pinscher’s front movement.
Instead, they are rewarding Affenpinschers that move around
the ring with extreme extension, front and rear, as in a sporting
dog and moving at a much faster pace than the breed standard
describes. —Sheila Wymore
Havanese—size; the standard is clear, too small and bitches
can have whelping issues and c-sections. These dogs are
not Maltese; they are robust and characters! And they do
need a decent length of neck, enough for a good head set and
profile and for movement. —Anonymous
Faults most overlooked by judges in Papillons: ear placement
should be 45 degrees when alert! —Anonymous
Shih Tzu—we have many good judges, but many that
will put up bad fronts, rolling, badly stained faces, small
heads, small eyes, etc. and that, while other nicer dogs are
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