Originally printed in the ShowSight Magazine's 2015 Variety Group Collection. Click to subscribe.
It is a great pleasure to say a few words about the Non-Sporting Group and I thank Doll-McGinnis Publications (now AraMedia Group Inc.) for the opportunity. Most people associate me with the Toy Group and I enjoy that association due to my lifetime involvement with Pomeranians. In actuality Poms were my 2nd breed… I started in 1961 with Miniature Poodles, which were the #1 breed in registrations at that time. Poodles were my first love and we most recently lived with a wonderful Standard Poodle bitch. I was also involved with Keeshonden in the 70s and one of my sons had a Bulldog while he was living with us for a number of years--so I have had personal experience with a number of Non-Sporting breeds.
The breeds in this group are very diverse, which stands to reason with it being a place to put any breed that doesn’t fit somewhere else! I find it a great pleasure to judge because of that very diversity. I started judging breeds in this group in 1979 and was approved for the full group in 1990, so I have seen it go through various stages during those 35 years. Many of the breeds in this group were at their best back in the 1980s and 1990s. I would say specifically Dalmatians, Chow Chows, Boston Terriers and Keeshonden. I may have a bit of a favored view, but I do believe that Poodles have maintained strength continuously with great dogs emerging frequently through the decades. Bulldogs and French Bulldogs have maintained similar strength.
I love the whole Spitz/Nordic family of dogs and despite their more limited gene pools I have seen some really wonderful dogs pop-up through the decades in Schipperkes, Finnish Spitz and American Eskimos. Keeshonden are regained strength in the last few years. I have always thought it would be “cool” to have a group where I had spitz family dogs in all four placements. Up to this time I have never had the right mix of dogs for that to happen, but it will be fun someday to feel justified in doing it.
This thought brings to mind something that I would like to speak about, which I will call “Every Day Is A New Day…” I find it fairly common for exhibitors who win significant awards from me to develop an expectation that they are going to win the next time too. Now that they know that I “like their dog” they figure it’s a sure thing the next time. Well… every day is a New Day! The next time I see the dog there may be different dogs in competition. The dog I awarded the last time may be having a bad day. It may not be in the same condition. Any of a number of things can change the result. I am still going to like the dog, but may like another one a bit better on that new day.
In group competition it is fairly common for judges like myself to have multiple dogs representing their breeds that I have previously awarded Group First, or even Best in Show. So all of those exhibitors come in to the ring with the expectation that I am going to “like their dog.” And if they are all having reasonably good days it is likely that they will be in my cut for awards. I find these situations really exciting when I get to see some really wonderful dogs competing together. And the icing on the cake is when I have a number of these dogs in the ring and in walks a “New One” that I haven’t seen before that’s up in that same top category. What fun that is!
So the moral of the story is that there are no sure things… and that is how it is supposed to be. As a judge who prides myself on judging dogs with integrity I pledge to treat each show with the “Every Day Is A New Day” philosophy. I wish you All the Best for the New Year and good luck at the shows!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been involved with showdogs for 53 years, since 1961. Pomeranians were my major focus while I was actively breeding and showing. In addition to Poms I have also owned and exhibited Poodles, Keeshonden, Old English Sheepdogs, Miniature Schnauzers, a Chihuahua, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and an English Cocker Spaniel. We currently live with a Standard Poodle and a Ragdoll Cat.
I was approved to judge Pomeranians in 1977 and have greatly enjoyed judging dogs for the past 37 years. I am currently approved for all Terrier, Toy, Non Sporting and Herding breeds; as well as Basset Hounds, Junior Showmanship, Miscellaneous Breeds and Best in Show. I have judged all over the United States including many National Specialty shows, the Westminster Kennel Club and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. I have also judged a number of overseas assignments including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Europe, Mexico, South America and Canada.
I have been active in dog clubs from the early 1970’s onward and have held virtually every office and handled every role possible over the years. I am an honorary Life Member of the American Pomeranian Club, a member of the Mid-Continent Kennel Club of Tulsa and two of the major judges organizations in the USA. I have been active in mentoring and judges education for Pomeranians for many years and have given seminars all over the United States, as well as overseas when I have judged. I was appointed as Judges Education Coordinator for the American Pomeranian Club from 2008 to 2014.
My professional career was spent in the Information Technology / Data Processing field. I retired in March 2005 from a 32 year career in leadership roles working for American Airlines, Sabre Holdings and EDS.
I have been married to my wife Janet for 42 years. Janet is retired from a career as a Principal and teacher and is now teaching at University level. We have two grown Sons. Scott is 37 years old, married with one 9 year old Son and one 6 year old Son. He is an Aerospace Engineer. Todd is 33 years old, single and a Research Associate in Kinesiology at a large hospital complex in Dallas Texas. I also have two “Sons by choice,” Abraham & David Cruz. With them I started a clothing company called “Forever Faith” in 2010. This is a faith based, spiritually oriented company with a beautiful Lifestyle Philosophy, unlike any other clothing company today. We manufacture and sell casual sportswear, gym clothes, printed tees and team uniforms.