Interview with 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Sporting Group Judge Dr. Elliot L. More
When did you learn that you were selected to be one of this year’s Group judges? What was your reaction?
Dr. Elliot L. More: I received a letter from the Westminster Kennel Club a few days after getting home from judging their 2021 show. I was somewhat surprised having just judged there. Granted, I was filling in for Dana Cline, whom, I imagine, had too many conflicts when they had to change the dates. Nevertheless, judging two years in a row is not the norm.
The show was once again held at the beautiful Lyndhurst estate. Could you share your thoughts on this historic location?
Dr. Elliot L. More: Lyndhurst was the site for the Westchester Kennel Club for a number of years. It is an absolutely beautiful, historic estate; a very fitting venue for the summer version of Westminster. That said, they have been very lucky with the weather.
How did you prepare for the assignment? What were you thinking/feeling when you stepped onto the floor?
Dr. Elliot L. More: Really no different preparation other than, finally, buying a new tux. I managed to get over 25 years out of the first one, and while it still fit, it wasn’t appropriate for prime time.
Breed judging was live-streamed each day, and Groups were featured live on Fox Sports. How important is this coverage?
Dr. Elliot L. More: The media coverage for WKC is unprecedented and is, by far, the best and most important single event for the promotion of our sport to the general public.
Could you say a few words about Westminster’s significance to the sport of dogs in the 21st Century?
Dr. Elliot L. More: See the answer to the previous question. Having been involved in the sport for quite a while now, I’ve seen many changes over the years. Some for the better. Some, not so much. Westminster is so iconic because its status has not changed, certainly since I first started attending in the early 1960s. It is still the pinnacle of achievement for anyone participating in this sport to say that they won at Westminster.
In your opinion, how does Westminster reflect positively on the value of the Preservation Breeder?
Dr. Elliot L. More: Again, the widespread positive media coverage is invaluable in contributing to the general public’s understanding of what it takes to produce the caliber of the dogs being exhibited—breed after breed. Hats off to the broadcast crew at Fox for doing such an outstanding job.
Let’s talk about those dogs! How challenging was the assignment? Could you share your selection process?
Dr. Elliot L. More: My selection process is no different from any other show. I’m trying to find the dogs that best represent their breed standard on the night. What is different is, of course, the truly great quality of the entry. I believe the depth of quality in the Sporting Group was second to none at this year’s show, but, of course, I’m biased. It was certainly the best Sporting Group that I’ve ever had the pleasure of judging. There were dogs that I left out of my cut, never mind the ribbons, that, no doubt, have had and will go on to have illustrious show careers.
Do you have a word or two about your Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Dr. Elliot L. More: That said, I loved all four of my final placements. All four were in super condition and expertly presented by their respective handlers. The English Setter bitch ticked all the right boxes: type, quality, and soundness all wrapped up in this package of exquisite femininity that advanced her to the front of the line. The hard-driving Brittany was a joy to watch in motion. It’s the best I’ve ever seen him look. I believe it was the first time I’ve had my hands on the German Shorthaired Pointer and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. They both exceeded my expectations. Honorable mention goes to the Pointer, the Welsh Springer Spaniel, and the Irish Water Spaniel.
Would you like to share a few words with the members of the Westminster Kennel Club?
Dr. Elliot L. More: I think it’s important to remember that it was Chet Collier who had the original vision for what this event has become. The years have passed since then under the excellent stewardship of Tom Bradley, Ron Menaker and, today, Dave Helming and Dave Haddock. This is not, to say the least, an easy task, especially given the circumstances of the past two years.
The co-chairs and all the WKC members go out of their way to make their judges feel welcomed and comfortable. Thanks to all, it is greatly appreciated. And, while not a club member, I would especially like to thank Florence Foti for all she does every year.
Have you got any advice to offer next year’s Group judges?
Dr. Elliot L. More: Remember how many dogs you have in your cut! Just enjoy!
2022 WKC SPORTING GROUP RESULTS:
G1 GCHS CH Ciara N’ Honeygait Belle Of The Ball FDC CGC
G2 GCHG CH Brigadier Shamrock All Silver Stars
G3 GCHG CH Clarity Reach The Sky Vjk-Myst
German Shorthaired Pointer
G4 GCHG CH Glacier’s Star Spangled
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon