Pink Denial asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

AKC competition judges?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the AKC judges base their decisions on how closely that dog matches the standard.

For example, in the working group competition, the judge bases each individual dog on its own breed standard. Whichever dog is closest to their standard is the winner...right?

At the competitions, the judges spend less than a minute with each dog and then just watch it run around a bit. Some of these standards are pretty specific...I find it hard to believe that these judges are really comparing the dog to everything the standard says.

Do the judges have an awesome memory for the standards, or are they not actually comparing the dog to the standards as closely as they should be?


I completely agree that people who have worked closely with a particular breed probably know its standards inside and out. It's the competitions for best in group and best in show that I wonder about, when the judges need to know the standards for many different breeds.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually, the judge is allotted 2 minutes per dog on the individual examination. I know that doesn't seem like much more, but it's enough.

    Judges do have to have a good memory for the specifics of Standards, and all of them travel with books full of standards -- often illustrated -- for the breeds they judge. Many of them will read up on the breeds they're going to see before they judge in order to refresh their memories.

    As for the "running around a bit" -- well, gait is an excellent indication of structure, which is much of the "specifics" within a standard. They aren't just watching how the dog's coat flows in the breeze as it runs.

    Also keep in mind that many dogs within a group will have very similar structure -- i.e., Working dogs generally have a single-tracking, free-moving gait (a product of their angulation, and ideal for their purpose), whereas many of the Toys have a hackneyed gait and do not converge over a center line when they move.

    If a judge can identify proper movement in one breed with which they are familiar, chances are pretty good that they will instantly recognize it in other breeds in that group (well, maybe not the Non-Sporting Group...).

    As someone else mentioned, most people who go on to be judges have spent the majority of their lives heavily involved in dogs -- whether as breeders themselves, and/or handlers of several breeds. They have developed an "eye for a dog", and have a sense of what is proper for a breed. For example, I don't know a whole lot about Sporting dogs, but I know a good Golden Retriever when I see it. I've seen plenty of them in the past 20 years. However -- If I were to judge them, I would certainly take the time to read and interpret the Standard in order to verify that what I believed was correct was, in fact, correct. If not, I'd have to alter my assumptions...but I would remember that I was wrong.

    Now, let me tell you what I'm sure you want to hear, given your tone: At the Group and Best In Show level of conformation competition, showmanship comes into play, and politics may very well have a hand. Not always, but often enough. That is why smart breeders pay attention to what happens at the breed level, and a Specialties for their breed, and don't breed to a dog just because he does well in the Group or BIS.

    Unfortunately, what you see on TV -- although fun to watch -- is but a minor part of what dogs shows are all about. It's just the flashiest part, so it gets TV time.

    ADDED: Responding to Lolasmom19:

    "My advice if you are going to do breed. If you are going to handle you own and don't take it all that seriously. If you are serious about getting that title, pay top dollar for a well known, well liked will do much better that way."

    As someone who has finished all of my champions owner-handled, and beaten many "well known, well liked" handlers along the way (even in the Group ring), I have to disagree with this statement. If you're serious about getting that title, start with a well-built dog and learn how to handle -- that's really all you need to do. The Breed Ring is not dominated by politics and pros -- although the people who never win seem to think it is.

    Source(s): Dog show exhibitor/responsible breeder.
  • 1 decade ago

    the judges do have an "awesome memory" for standards. Many of the judges have been breeders for a majority of their lives, and so they know exactly what the standards should be. If you think about any personal job (and this is an example) you walk into the office, sit down, and know what you are doing for the day, what programs you will use to do it and how to use those programs. Same with the judges. They know how the dog should look, how it should act, and what size it should be.

    I am not a judge, but if I stand my two akc registered golden retrievers up beside other goldens, i can almost instantly tell you which would score higher in competition just based on the VERY little that i have gleaned in a few hours of studying the standards, and it is probably fair to say that the judges have spent WAY more than a few hours studying the standards.

    Hope that helps

  • 1 decade ago

    When watching a dog "run around a bit", a GOOD judge can judge movement, structure, and balance.

    If you have an 'eye' for a dog, it is not very hard to pick out the most sound, well balanced, good moving dog in a line up.

    Yes, they have to know the standards, and occasionally you will see a judge refer to the standard before making their decision. A good judge will also think about the dogs purpose and what physical qualities best serves that breeds function, there are many breed specific desireable qualities that are not in the standard.

    Most judges have devoted their whole lives to studying dogs.

    Lolasmom - " I have seen over sized, light blonde Goldens exit with best of breed. I have seen Pyr's exit, again with best of breed, with lip pigment issues that can be seen from 10 feet away. "

    Their are MANY light blonde Goldens in the ring, I doubt it is a fault.

    If *I* were judging Pyr's (purely hypothetical, I don't know the breed) and knew that straight fronts were a huge problem in the breed, and in comes a Pyr, with missing pigment but a FABULOUS front, and other good qualitiies, you BET I would put up the dog!

    SOME judges are political, most are not. If you do not like a political judge, just don't show under her. I have finished many dogs of many different breeds, of my own and for others. I would not consider myself a professional, I am not seen enough, nor advertised in the high dollar magazines, to win because of my face. But I do fairly well anyway.

    Source(s): Show dogs for 30 years. A GAZILLION hours spent playing ringside judge.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In order to be judging beste in show level, you have to have been a judge for a lot of years. Judges are licensed for only a portion of 1 group at first, and build their way up to 1 group, then 2, etc. There are judges who do know all the breed standards, plus they have the book on their table and I've seen judges go check a standard to clarify a question they obviously have in their minds. Judges also know the trends in a lot of breeds, I mean they know what problems certain breeds are having at the time. The down side is that the rarer breeds aren't known in depth by as many judges.

    And a judge watching a dog "just run around a bit" knows a whole lot about that dog.

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  • Judges do try to memorize the standards. They also need to have what we call "an eye for a dog". This means that you can recognize a quality individual, regardless of breed.

    Granted they may be more familiar with some breeds than others. And yes, our show format gives a judge an average of 2.4 minutes per dog, but you'd be amazed what you can ascertain about an animal in that time.

    Most judges can pick out a generally good overall dog. When it comes to breed specifics, most know the basics but not as well as an experienced breeder (which is why it is up to the BREEDERS to know the standard well and to breed and show what is correct, and not rely solely on wins to evaluate a dog).

    Some judges, if they are not sure of a point, will look it up in the ring (which I applaud). For example, I once showed a Shar-Pei with a lavender (instead of black) tongue. Since he was a dilute color this is allowed. One judge simply disqualified us, but another looked it up in the standard and awarded us the win.

    For group and BIS judging, sometimes it comes down to the best "generic" dog or the best "show" dog.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Nope your definetley correct on how each breed is judged what you have to also remember it what you cant see through a TV or even from the audience, when the judge runs its hands down an animal or checks its bite it is also checking for its temperment and anything that can be hidden by how its coat is clipped, We groomed quite a few ex show dogs in our groom shop one I remember in particular was Bishon Frise that had a slightly bowed leg that was hidden by keeping him in a longer clip and clipping the hair around that leg to appear straight. I myself am rather disappointed that they always cut to commercial or skip showing the american pit bull or even the staffy bulls, I love to see thoses breeds conformation.

    Source(s): Former groomer and my best friend shows and breed american pit bulls
  • 1 decade ago

    I am not a breed ring person.

    Breed judges 'specialize' in their group, example a toy breed judge would never judge a working group class. Yes, they are suppose to be unbiased to their own personal breed and/or owner or handler and be experts on correct AKC standards for the group they judge. I think you said it close as possible With personal feelings set aside.

    It does seem to be a short period of time the judges observe the dogs. Without being 'mean' seems to me, based on the appearance of many breed judges......they have been around for a really long. They know what to look for?????

    It seems to me judging not only depends on AKC standards but current trends as well. I have seen over sized, light blonde Goldens exit with best of breed. Which, to me appear to be far from AKC standards. I have seen Pyr's exit, again with best of breed, with lip pigment issues that can be seen from 10 feet away. Well known breeder/handler. Pigmentation is stressed in the Pyr's standard. Things like this do happen in breed.

    I have a friend who judges breed. She has filled me in on all the dirt. I also trained with an old timer breed judge, same stories. Very, very political. Very personal. I stay away from breed. All of my dogs, came from top breed kennels and they are all ring quality dogs. I do Obedience, I have been judged hard. One judge out right told me that in the ring.....he hit me hard.....he expected better, he also knew who I trained with.

    My advice if you are going to do breed. If you are going to handle you own and don't take it all that seriously. If you are serious about getting that title, pay top dollar for a well known, well liked will do much better that way.

    I think I strayed from your question......just to vent. Sorry.

    Ms Wolf. I based my statements on personal conversation with a dear friend of mine as well as a former trainer. I do not do breed, I stated that. Yes, my dogs are from top kennels, all are ring quality, I am well aware of my breed's standards. I am very aware of what the 'sore losers' are saying. I compete in Obedience. I train and title my own dogs. As you so implied my statements were not made by someone who has done poor in the ring. Hardly the case with me. I have never scored below a 192, my average score has always been 196.5 (out of 200), the years I do compete I am in the top 3% nationwide. I am hardly, a poor or sloppy handler with a grudge against judges. Just like you I am proud of my titles and my high scores.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Judges also see the dogs before they are in the ring and many are famliar with the pet they are judging from previous shows.

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