THE CHEERLEADERS: Interviews w/ Partners of our Better-Known Judges, Breeders & Handlers

The Cheerleaders by Allan Reznik

Interviews with the Partners of our Better-Known Judges, Breeders and Professional Handlers

This month Allan interviews Barry Cavanna, husband of AKC judge Kimberly Meredith Cavanna


What is your profession?

Consulting soil scientist. I am the owner of Hawkhaven Soils Consulting.

Where, when and how did the two of you meet?

Judge, breeder and exhibitor Sharon Newcomb, a longtime friend of mine, introduced us. I was living in Ohio and Kim in California, so we emailed back and forth and ultimately, had our first date in San Francisco.

How was it to marry into the dogs? Did you know anything about the dog show world prior to meeting Kim?

I had shown dogs (Flat Coats and German Shepherds) many years ago but had no idea the many interesting people I would meet, the many places I would visit nor the many beautiful dogs I would see.

How many dogs do you currently own?

We have five of the most loving dogs in the world: two Alaskan Malamutes, two Dobermans and a Border Collie.

Who does most of the cooking?

When we’re in California we enjoy cooking together. When we’re at the farm in Ohio, Kim gets to do it all.

Who does most of the grooming?

I set up the grooming table and put it away when she’s done! Occasionally I hold a dog’s leg for nail trimming. Mainly, I compliment her on how good the dogs look when she’s done.

Does Kim indulge in any particular rituals before leaving to judge a show?

I don’t know if it’s a ritual but she always waits until the very last minute to pack, usually getting no sleep before she leaves for the airport.

Do you attend many dog shows?

I attend when the show is near our two granddaughters, or somewhere I’ve never been and would like to see, or somewhere I have been and enjoyed the show and visiting the area.

Have you ever exhibited a dog in the ring or wanted to become active in the sport?

I had shown Flat Coats in the late 1970s but then got started with draft horses. I’ve always had dogs, grew up with GSDs and had several as an adult. I’ve also owned Rottweilers, an Irish Setter, a Welsh Corgi, a Papillon, a Scottish Deerhound and Boo the Farm Dog.

How does Kim decompress when she gets home from a show?

She’s usually exhausted when she gets home but greeting the dogs is always first!

What hobbies and interests do you enjoy together?

We enjoy family and friends, travel, champagnes and good wines.

Is there much dog show “pillow talk,” rehashing the weekend’s events?

Yes, there is always pillow talk. Kim telling me to get the dogs off her pillow! 

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