JUDGING DECISIONS - a real bone of contention in this breed


[Or did the dog get there with a “little help from YOUR friends"]

Whether you have been in this breed for 2 years or 20 years most exhibitors with at least 2 ounces of common sense ((sorry, refuse to go metric) knows when a dog is being deliberately cheated out of its rightful award, but what can be done about this.  Even spectators with or without breed knowledge know there is something odd going on at Shows.  For example, a lady (mature in years) and who is married to a retired Police Dog Handler, and whose daughter and son-in-law have just started showing GSDs, said at a recent Show and I quote “The only thing I know about dogs is they eat, mess and ruin my garden, but I can see there is jiggery pokery going on here!!”  I bet she is not the only spectator who sees the rot.  Is it our imagination that this situation has worsened over the last few years or is it that exhibitors and spectators are no longer willing to accept what is happening right in front of them?  Nothing will ever change if we continue to keep our mouths shut. 

The million dollar question is - Does anyone have the guts to provide proof of what is really going on in this game and blow the lid on the “crooked judges” and their friends?  I can now distinctly hear the uproar across the country ringing in my ears and we all know where the uproar is coming from.  If you are honest then you have nothing to fear, but I say to the others “if the cap fits wear it”. 


My question to all judges who judge GSDs is “Are you judging the dogs on the day?”.  DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE STANDARD?  Do you know what the automatic disqualifications are?  Are your decisions based on what you see in front of you or do you owe someone a favour or have you promised them a favour for one in return in the future?  Are you under pressure to give a particular dog/bitch a first prize or are you just afraid of the consequences of NOT giving it a first prize because it belongs to your friend?  Do you think the dog really deserves the award or are you just plain vindictive and want to get your own back on someone who has done you a disservice - so no matter how good their dog is there is no way you would award it its rightful place.

This past year has been dire indeed.  I have listened to some monotonous critiques, all the same, one after the other, some just downright ridiculous.  One judge repeatedly spouted out the same critique for virtually every dog entered in that Show.  So here are the scenarios - ALL THE DOGS WERE BLACK/GOLD (was this judge colour blind?), ALL OF THEM HAD SHORT CROUPS rubbish), NOT ONE HAD A GOOD TAIL SET (more rubbish!) and every one of them could have had darker eyes (obsession or what) - a perfect case of look to at the Standard - “eyes should be as dark as possible or match the surrounding coat colour”.  If all the dogs on the day were clones of each other, how on earth did this judge choose the winners - was it like shuffling a pack of cards - just pick one and hope for the best - need I continue. 

On another occasion the judge had the Class in numerical order after all individuals had been done, this judge then picked one dog out of the 6 in the Class and placed it first and did nothing more with the 5 others - this was the finished line up in that Class - was there any point in the other 5 being in the Class?  If this was not pre-meditated judging then what was it?  Pre-meditated judging I hear you ask - joe public would get 25 years for pre-meditated murder.  We are talking about another disgraceful practice of having access to a Catalogue before the show, whether it be sent to the judge before the show, discussed the night before in the pub or hotel over dinner or a drink or collected by a “buddy” at the Show and given a “wee” sneaky look at in the toilets or the car park.  Of course many judges are aware of who handles for who, who bred what and what Class the dogs will be in, but they are not ALWAYS THE BEST DOGS THERE.  All breeders, no matter how large or small their concern is with this breed will breed animals with faults - so in the words of the great Billy Connelly - “It matters not a jot” if the sire/dam was bred by or imported by whomever, is owned by whomever, is the son/daughter of the greatest Seiger ever or has won X amount of awards in the ring - MOTHER NATURE WILL DO WHAT SHE HAS TO DO. 

Why lay down a Standard and then completely ignore it when you judge?

No wonder the entries are falling at the Shows.  I would definitely place a bet on dozens of exhibitors being able to predict the outcome of 9 out of 10 shows they go to and it is NOT because all the entries are good enough, it is because we know who the cheats are.

The best story this year has to be the one about the well known English lady who breeds and exhibits her dogs and who shows a dog of impeccable breeding (a dog not bred by herself), who picked up a fellow exhibitors catalogue at a Championship Show and marked in the winners of the Dog and Bitch CCs.  The catalogue owner was astounded and asked her how she knew the outcome before the show had even started and her reply was “I will give £100 to the GSD Welfare if my prediction is NOT right” AND RIGHT SHE WAS - like many others she had heard the rumour weeks beforehand and these RUMOURS were actually true.  I am afraid the Welfare missed out on that bet - how sad!!

Club Chairpersons/Secretaries and Committees cannot get away scot free - they choose these judges.  Some admittedly are unsuspecting, but I would guess a lot actually know the score and continue to vote to choose unscrupulous judges and are involved in the charade. 

One very well known Scottish breeder/exhibitor/Champ Show Judge told me she would like to speak out but knows the consequences of doing so and advised me that opening my mouth was not a good idea - what a sorry state of affairs is it not!  Another breeder/exhibitor was adamant that if he EVER judged he would never give a SABLE top honours no matter if it was the best dog he had ever judged - I hope he never judges.  In a similar vein a very well known handler, who HAS judged GSDs has the same opinion!!!!!!! 

Stop grumbling around the ring - stop burying your heads in the sand - WRITE A COMPLAINT to the Club Secretary, to the National Magazine, to the KC and get these judges off the Breed Judges Lists.  Make yourself heard at the AGMs of your Clubs and put your complaints on the Agenda - don’t be bullied or pressurised to keep your mouth shut.  If your Club has a  Suggestions/Complaints Book - use it. 

On a happy note it was nice to come across a German Judge with a “sense of humour” (not all agreed with his choice of dogs though), a South African Judge who had the guts to admit he made a mistake and correct it and a French Judge who baffled the crowd by putting her top 5 dogs in the centre of the ring and judging from the back of the Class.  What a refreshing change from the back-stabbing, cheating and vindictive goings on in this breed. 

And if anyone out there thinks they can label this Article as “SOUR GRAPES” or “BAD LOSERS” - then go ahead because YOU have just added yourself to the list of people to whom this article applies. 

Aileen A. Mathieson 


Allsala GSDs