Interview with William deVilleneuve, Working Group AKC Judge
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as an AKC judge?
William deVilleneuve: I live in Dix Hills (Long Island), New York and I have been involved in dogs, breeding and exhibiting, for over 50 years.
I love judging but still enjoy showing a dog once in a while, and recently finished my two-year-old Scottie boy. Maybe, I will try for a Grand Championship now.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
William deVilleneuve: As you may have guessed, my original breed was the Scottish Terrier, with the kennel name Duff-De.
Have I judged any Working Breed/Group Specialties?
I have judged many Specialties for Working Breeds, including:
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Doberman Pinschers
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Great Danes
- Standard Schnauzers
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- St. Bernards, Samoyeds
- Siberian Huskies
- German Pinschers
Probably a few more that do not immediately come to mind.
Are there specific qualities I admire most in the Working Breeds?
William deVilleneuve: Each breed is individual, with unique qualities that make it suitable for the work that it was bred to do. This is the job of the judge, to evaluate the dog as to how well it conforms tothe standard and its potential ability to do the work that it was bred to do.
How important are the breed hallmarks in the Working Breeds? Can I offer a few examples?
William deVilleneuve: This, again, is unique to each breed, although there are some common traits. Many Working Breeds should be square or just slightly off-square. This is a common hallmark that I pay close attention to.
There are other hallmarks that would be important to a specific breed, such as sweetness of disposition in a Newfoundland or a tail like a rudder in a Portuguese Water Dog. A judge should know the hallmarks of each breed in order to correctly evaluate the dogs in his ring.
Can I speak to the general presentation of the Working Breeds in my ring today?
William deVilleneuve: I think that, overall, the dogs are well-presented, both by handlers and owner-handlers. In the many years that I have been judging Working Breeds, I have rarely had to excuse a dog. The rare excusal has usually been for shyness and my being unable to examine a dog; never, so far, for attacking or attempting to bite. I find that most have a sturdy disposition and stand well for examination.
Do I have any thoughts/opinions on dividing the Working Group in two?
William deVilleneuve: I think that the Working Group should stay as it is and not be divided. There are already enough Groups to be judged at each dog show.
What advice would I offer newer judges of the Working Breeds?
William deVilleneuve: As with any breed, learn what each breed is about. Know some history of the breed and what its original purpose was, and of course, know the standard. Then apply this to your judging in the show ring. Definitely attend some Specialties to see multiple dogs in the ring at the same time. This will help to develop your eye for a particular breed.
Which Working Breeds provide the greatest challenge to judges? To exhibitors?
William deVilleneuve: Each breed is a challenge on any particular day. Obviously, there are some breeds in this Group that are rarely shown. This can be a challenge when entries are present, so I do some extra studying when these breeds are entered under me.
If I could share my life with only one Working Breed, which would it be and why?
William deVilleneuve: If I were going to pick one Working Breed to bring home, it would probably be a Boxer or a Doberman. I like the size and sturdy, square bodies of both. In my experience, both have sweet and affectionate personalities.
If I could share my life with only one dog, which dog would it be and why?
William deVilleneuve: It would be the dog that I am currently sharing my life with, my Scottie boy, “Winston.” He is truly my best friend and goes with me everywhere I can take him. Winston is a wonderful boy, loves people, and will greet anybody who wants to meet him. He also enjoys the dog shows, so I will continue to show him occasionally.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Working Group?
William deVilleneuve: I cannot recall any specific funny stories with the Working Group, other than a few Great Danes that have bestowed me with kisses. Standing regally with their head next to mine, it is easy for them to do.