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HOW CAN EXHIBITORS IMPROVE AFGHAN HOUND JUDGING? Fred Edlin
Well, I guess this is one time when procrastination (my usual pattern) paid off. One of the items I was going to touch on was setting up some form of judges' education, both for judges new to a breed, and refresher courses, but it looks like AKC has arrived there in the December (1983) Gazette.
As to how exhibitors can help improve judging; it depends on the judge. I firmly believe that the vast majority of judges and judging is honest For the few dishonest judges the best remedy is just to withhold your entry. Most of these people are excellent judges when they choose to be, but some seem bored with judging, some put up friends; some seem insecure in their decisions and if they put up a big name, breeder or handler, it's safe; and some play games, looking for more judging invitations and bigger entries. If you show under them, you are just encouraging them. Avoid it
To get back to the majority of judges; their honesty is not in question at all, but some of them seem inadequately grounded in the breeds they have been allowed to judge. Let me tell you a true story.
A friend of mine who judges quite a bit (not hounds) had applied for the last twelve breeds in his group, and been granted them. He said to me that he knew six of them, but did not know the other six; however. he had been studying them. I didn't ask his definition of "knowing" a breed sufficiently to feel competent to judge it and I didn't ask why he applied for breeds in which he knew himself incompetent The fact remains that he went ahead and did so, and AKC licensed him to judge those breeds. He is conscientious, and he is studying both literature and talking to and visiting breeders; but what about someone who might not be so assiduous a student once the breeds are granted? What about the person who just wants to be able to judge a group and may not be so interested in each breed? What about the judges who start out good but who are "gotten to" by people who would like their dogs put up? What about the judge who is more interested in showmanship rather than breed points? Or judges who look for one thing, such as head, coat etc.?
You can have a field day trying to satisfy everyone, and following fads in a breed. But fads come and go, and as a breeder, you are supposed to be breeding to the standard as best you can, not to the whim of the various judges. Bring only your best dogs, groomed as best you can, and well-trained, so the showmanship judge has a ring full of coaty sparklers- maybe he'll have to look past showmanship to quality. If you bring a poor dog and win, you've still got a poor dog, and you have reinforced a judge with a lack of knowledge of your breed. Show them the best so that they can learn what it is. If you bring lack of quality, you may be embarrassed.
This seems to be ancedote time. In one of the areas distant enough for me to get there only a few times a year is an elderly gentleman who had been very intimately involved with Borzoi quite a while ago, and who likes nothing better than to go to a show and see the current crop; and he is a very knowledgeable person. One time I brought a dog which indeed I eventually finished, but a dog which I didn't feel was good enough to breed from (and indeed I placed it in a non-show home). That man saw my dog at a benched show; the judge quite rightly did not put it up; and my acquaintance came by the bench with a somber face and said sadly, "I expected better of you." I have never forgotten that
For the judges whose ideas of your breed seem very far from the Standard; don't bring them the closest to their idea; bring your best or avoid them. These are the judges who might profit from exposure to the AKC breed slide shows or seminars; or, failing that to the reexam procedures which AKC says it is going to implement with the cooperation of each parent club. It is to be hoped that any judge who finds that a breed parent club finds him deficient enough in knowledge of the breed to need a refresher or to ask permission to judge that breed revoked, might take this to heart
Judges very competent in judging some breeds may be very poor judges of others, sometimes just from lack of knowledge. We can educate them in the ring by bringing them correct specimens; it is salutary that AKC will join with the parent breed clubs to educate them outside the ring.
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