Sun, 03/13/2022 - 9:49am

Question of the Week

What do you think about the recent changes to the Judging Approval Process?

Dana Read

Hillsborough, North Carolina

In my opinion, these new rules do nothing but cheapen the honor of being a judge. There is nothing, as in NOTHING, that can replicate the time-honored experience of being in the center of the ring and making decisions. Not handling, not apprenticing, not serving on committees, not training, not serving on boards of parent clubs, nor employed by AKC – NOTHING! And to allow an entire group on one's first application (unless the applicant is Methuselah with 900 years of dogs under his/her belt) just does not do the sport justice.

Why be in such a rush? Take your time, applicants, learn the nuances of each breed you judge, get comfortable with not only the standards but the procedures AKC demands. This is BREEDING STOCK we are determining, not the showy/flashy/generic/well-advertised exhibit in the ring. This was the main focus of the AKC I supported with my efforts for decades. Where has that AKC gone?


Sue Lackey

Covesville, Virginia

All I want to know is, who's playing Len Brumby this time around?


Robin Stansell

Clayton, North Carolina

I have no objection to these changes, but would also like to see AKC take the initiative to remove breeds from those who repeatedly demonstrate incompetence. 


Brian Clegg 

Cincinnati, Ohio

I think this is a very progressive step in the judge application process. Hopefully we will get a new group of qualified individuals to get started in the process. 


Alice Lawrence 

Stafford Springs, Connecticut

My answer in one “word” is “ROTFLOL.” (Rolling on the floor laughing out loud.) The judging approval process has reached an all-time low. And for this I am supposed to pay $35-plus dollars to enter a dog?


Sylvia Arrowwood

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Is the AKC nuts? Who decides which potential judge candidates have "exemplary qualifications"? Exhibitors deserve better than that. So do the judges who have studied, worked and deserved their way up.


Larry Payne 

Easley, South Carolina

Let's face it. Judging has always been subjective. I'm glad that the AKC has finally admitted it. 


Lisa Weiss

Huntington, New York

I think this is an awesome change and one that will benefit the fancy. Some people are just good test takers and can get to all the seminars. Others have a wealth of experience and hands-on training but aren't good test takers. These people have been held down and watched others who may not have the real dog knowledge leave them in the dust where judging-status approval is concerned.


Olga K. Evelyn

Storrs, Connecticut

The new Judging Approval omits an entire group of judges who have been toiling through all the rules, rule changes, breed additions, etc., with hopes of achieving a group.


Margaret P. Kotin

Boothbay, Maine

I am not sure it is in the best interest of the breeds, but I am not sure that purebred dogs and dog shows mean that much anymore. Judges used to be good “dog people” – meaning they saw an overall dog and understood its purpose and soundness. Not so sure anymore – beauty contest and person contest more than dog contest.


Polly Smith

St Stephens Church, Virginia

I think it is wonderful that AKC has added the new rules. We have some excellent younger judges who need to be advanced. 

Also, foreign judges who moved here need to be able to get a group. If they have judged in this country for a number of years and have a top reputation, they need to be allowed to move forward quickly. 


Meg Peifer

Honea Path, South Carolina

Unfortunately, again AKC “knows better than all of the rest of us.” Competent judging at AKC events can be “spotty” at best and downright awful at many venues. I’m not talking about judges who don’t put my dogs up, I’m talking about the growing number of peoples’ DNS judges expanding exponentially.

The “good ole boy” network is alive and well at AKC (not limited to males). If you’re in the “club” or your best friend is, your chances of leap-frogging normal procedures are much greater than, say, mine or other qualified judges “outside” the inner sanctum.  

Please make judges accountable for the decisions they make, week after week, judging a handler, not the exhibit! More accountability for those poor judges, not more judges judging more breeds (they may not be qualified to judge). If perhaps the probation period was extended (for breeds awarded under this expedited system), to at least double the present time, and there was better oversight of exhibitors’ complaints … maybe that would help, but I have little faith. There are many qualified, educated judges today. “Maybe” calling to account those who blatantly supersede common-sense placements … nope, don’t see that happening.


M. Mercer

Columbia City, Indiana

No. Do not allow newbies to get a group. All breeds need to be studied, know their function, understand coat texture and color, as well as the movement, the topline and anatomy of a breed. This takes years to understand a breed before judging them.

This is a terrible thought from AKC.


Diana L. Terry

Spanaway, Washington

How about waiving the two-year requirement for people who had all ring steward assignments before Covid hit and who just got their fourth sweepstakes assignment after Covid restrictions were relaxed?


Leslie Earl

Davis, California

First: These changes won’t affect me personally so I have no agenda for these changes.

Second: Why this rush to approve advancements? Aren’t there sufficient judges to meet show needs? I get it that we are an aging population and new QUALIFIED faces are most welcome. But unless there is a crying need to advance people quickly AND there are “exemplary” applicants pounding at the door, I see no need for this rush of approval for more breeds and, especially, more groups.

Third: I better retire to my fireproof cave now ...


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