Foreign judges have different rules, procedures and norms in their home countries.
Fri, 09/30/2022 - 8:49am

Question of the Week

Do you enjoy exhibiting your breed under foreign judges?


Leslie Earl

Davis, California

“Enjoy” is an interesting word choice. “Willing to enter” might be more accurate for some exhibitors. For me, it would depend on: Is this is a breed specialist, is the standard for my breed similar in this judge’s country of origin, does this person have a reputation for having a nice hand on the dogs (especially puppies), or is he or she a complete unknown to me? If there are no “known negatives,” I’m usually willing to enter. And if it’s an experience where good dogs go to the head of the line (regardless of whether any are my own dogs), then it can be an “enjoyable” experience.


Dagmar M. Parker

Rockaway Township, New Jersey

Yes, I look for foreign judges. Or American judges who have shown in other parts of the world.

I show a breed where many judges don’t know what the best examples of the breed are supposed to look like. I regularly infuse European stock into my bloodline.  

In addition to the American judges who select their placings according to the wrong end of the leash or their size preference, there are many who have not come from the breed. They are allowed to judge before they understand how to compare the variations in conformation, coat and furnishings.


Steve and Debi Russell 

Saint Charles, Illinois

No. Foreign judges, particularly from Europe, tend to reward larger dogs than our breed standard in the USA.  


Diane Schlicht

Lakeville, Minnesota

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed showing under foreign judges, with only one exception. I find they don’t usually come with preconceived ideas about who has had this or that specials dog in the past etc., so most everyone is on equal ground. 

I did have one dicey experience with a foreign judge who didn’t understand the specials class in this country. It was at a show with a small entry in our breed with only two specials: myself as an owner-handler and a very famous Terrier handler. In the BOB ring, the judge put the two specials off to the side and spent a great deal of time re-evaluating the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. He didn’t move or examine either special. He then awarded BOW and BOS before coming back to the specials … one dog and one bitch. Hmmm. Nobody knew what to do with that! Frankly, his steward was partially to blame. The rep got involved, and basically, BOB was re-judged but keeping the BOW.


Terry Miller

Novelty, Ohio

Depends from where. There are some very good Canadian judges. We appreciate showing to them.

Judges from FCI countries become problematic since the FCI and AKC standards differ significantly. The AKC standard has remained faithful to the original standard and its original translation. But the FCI standard has changed multiple times over the years, which creates many different values and expectations for the Briard.


William Burland

Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Yes ... particularly those who are acknowledged experts, like Bas Bosch or Espen Engh.


Judi Hartell

Smith Point, Texas

I find it frustrating when foreign judges judge to their standards and procedures rather than those of AKC. Once, a foreign judge who was adjudicating a Terrier Group I was in pulled out four terriers before the entire group even entered the ring and dismissed the rest of the group. Then he never even put his hands on the four dogs, but rather, looked down his line of four and placed them. We were all horrified and I asked the AKC representative if what he did was even legal under our system, and she said she would talk to him (which did not answer my question). His reasoning was that when he saw those four dogs, he knew they would be his placements and he didn't need to see the rest of the group and he didn't need to put his hands on them because they would not have been sent to the group if the breed judge had not had his hands on them. True story ... and I know judges invite foreign judges as a quid pro quo for assignments, which I don't mind if the judge adjudicates by our procedures and our standards.  


Desi Murphy

Monroe, New York

Like American judges, some foreign judges are great and some hopeless. Some foreign judges become all-breed judges in just a couple of years. 


Cathy Pronzini

Danville, California

Yes. As an owner/handler, I feel that foreign judges are less familiar (and not friends) with professional handlers. I feel that foreign judges are more inclined to look at the dog rather than the other end of the leash.  


William Shelton

Pomona, California

Yes! Immensely, for many reasons. In most cases there’s no difference than our local opinions. Makes us depend on our ability – aka knowledge – when adjudicating a breed in a foreign country, rather the familiarity of the participants. 


Ronald V. Horn

Greenwood Village, Colorado

Of course, I enjoy showing my Newfoundlands to foreign judges, but only if I know they are aware of our breed standard. To my knowledge, it is rather easy to become an all-around judge in some foreign countries. I’ve observed foreign judges who did not appear to have much knowledge of the breeds they had been assigned. It is both easier and sometimes cost effective to put a judging panel together with American or foreign all-breed judges, but it does not outweigh the fact that exhibitors expect and deserve knowledgeable judges, and some foreign judges do not meet this expectation. Of course, there are great foreign judges, but it is my choice not to take a chance on the unknown. 


Janice McClary

Hacienda Heights, California

My breed is the Old English Sheepdog. We have shown in many parts of the world ... until the docking ban was put in place. At one time we specialed the most titled OES in the world. Now I will only go to foreign countries if judging. 

Foreign judges in the U.S. ... depends on their country, their original breeds and who mentored them in the U.S.

Many foreign judges use FCI standards. They should be schooled in the AKC standards ... whoever is hiring them should make this clear. They also should be taught about our Selects, Owner Handled Series, Bred-by and puppy groups. Many clubs invite these judges because often they are all-breed judges in their countries, so they cover many breeds.

There are a handful of foreign judges who I would travel to support ... because they know our AKC standard and don't just put up certain breeders or handlers.


Pat Cunningham 

Brainerd, Minnesota

Yes. We entered Canadian shows with the younger dogs to gain experience and take advantage of the CKC shows that offer puppy groups for additional ring experience. The smaller shows in Canada allowed us to watch the judging and learn the Canadian judges’ preferences for size or movement. Funny to receive Winners Dog from the Canadian-bred class from an American judge who never considered the dog again in the States. Refreshing to get the opinion of a judge who is unaware of the handler and may actually be evaluating breed stock, in spite of the presentation.  


Diane Divin

Keller, Texas

In the world of Salukis, foreign judges who are Saluki breeder-judges usually bring in the largest entries. This is especially true if they have never judged in the U.S. or have not judged here in more than five years and have a history of putting up Salukis internationally that the majority of Saluki breeders in this country feel meet the standard. 


Pamela Page

Watervliet, New York

Showing to foreign judges is fine as long as they are well schooled in the American standards for the breeds they are judging.


Dr. Carol White-Moser

Canton, Texas

I learned long ago that showing to an Italian judge or Canadian judge frequently resulted in more frustration than I wanted to endure. I have encountered arrogant disregard for AKC’s rules from European judges. The Canadians are usually never rude, but they seldom experience the study requirements that AKC imposes on Americans. Why bother ... I seldom hire a foreign judge. I completely reject the excuse that they might be an "all-rounder" so easier to finish a panel. There is frequently a more self-serving motivation. Put Americans first for a change. 


James Zarifis

Sullivan, Ohio

A good judge from outside the US of A is more likely to judge an owner-handler rather than a pro handler.


Caron W. Jones

Pittsboro, North Carolina

No ... Personally, Airedale Terriers are better in America, and foreign judges do not always do justice in the ring with their selections. They may go to the classes and put a nice Airedale up, but it is not like the well-shown specials that look fantastic. 

Other experiences include people who know each other well. Example: A judge who visits their country and then they visit our country always seems to get extra attention with their dogs. There have been American judges who put their dogs up and then when they come to America, they focus on that judge's dogs versus other dogs in the ring. I have seen it over and over so ... No, I am not happy showing to foreign judges as I feel the foreign Airedale Terrier is not as great as our stock in America, plus favoritism does ring true.


Jane Bishop

Bridgeport, West Virginia

I do enjoy showing to foreign judges! It is nice to have a fresh eye, and FCI judges have extensive education, training and experience. They often have seen dogs in many different countries, and the good ones will study the AKC standard, just as we study theirs before judging abroad. 


Barbara Miller

Brookville, New York

I’ve always taken the position that my Norfolk will be exhibited under whatever judge at whatever show my handler is attending. For me it’s the handler’s call. We have so many qualified judges here in the U.S. that it boggles the mind as to why we hire foreign judges. A knowledgeable foreign judge in a particular breed can and has proven worthwhile in past years. I refrained from entering my Norfolk under a well-known judge from the U.K. many years ago (about 35) because I purchased dogs from that person and felt it was a conflict of interest. Yet I’ve had dinner with foreign judges never knowing when they might be judging my breed here in the U.S. At show about 20 years ago, the judge was from overseas, and as she walked down the line, she never looked at the Skye. I was at the entrance to the ring when the judge had completed her assignment. Her words to the steward were, “What breed was that gray dog at the end of the line?” I believe one has to assume foreign or not, the judge in the ring will evaluate my dog to the best of his or her knowledge. And knowledge is the key word.


Marcia Tucker

Leesburg, Florida

It depends on where the foreign judge lives. If they are from British or European countries, they try to judge my Miniature Pinschers to FCI and British standards, which don't allow ear cropping and docking. The American standard allows a half-inch more at the withers than FCI. Minpins in other countries are another breed entirely. So I don't enjoy showing to most foreign judges. Only South and Central American and Mexican judges seem to be familiar with American type.  ­


Diana Smiley 

Santa Rosa, California

I do like foreign judges. I feel they are not pressured to put up the known top handlers. Therefore, I feel that a more honest dog would be put up. I also feel that some of them have more training in breed-specific areas. The standards are not that much different, but I would hope they will study the AKC standard and pay attention to the disqualifications, as their country may not have them. They should also be supplied with the best stewards for ring procedures and ribbons to be awarded!


Sid Marx

Mesa, Arizona

It does not make any difference to me whether the judge is from this country or not. What matters is whether the judge has the knowledge and integrity to judge my breed properly. After all, when I judge overseas, I am the foreign judge. 



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