14 September 2008

here comes the judge

With the exception of an unfortunate few moments with a dog who thought I looked like lunch, I had a delightful afternoon at the puppy match. I was nervous, to be sure, but I think I managed to hide it well. Many of the exhibitors were clearly more nervous than me. I hope I was able to make everyone relax and enjoy themselves.

I tried to remember the original function of the breeds as I took my first look at them, and tried very hard to reward those positive attributes that I thought would help the dog fulfill that function. Though I had been studying my breed standards for weeks, since I didn't know which breeds I would have in my ring I must admit none of them were committed to memory. I tried to focus on the first paragraph which is a general description, and of course, any disqualifications. Sporting dogs were mostly easy to study. The Hounds? Not so much. As it happened, the only hounds that entered were Bassets, a whole pile of 'em, including a litter of eight 13 week old puppies. Now THAT was fun! Noodles on leashes that walked only when they wanted. What a hoot.

After reading lots of Annie Clark's advice on judging over the last month or so, I really hoped I would be lucky enough to have "the eye," and that classes of dogs would walk into my ring with numbers painted on their sides. It did happen, but not often. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

So what did I see that I liked? I saw a number of nice Irish Setters. One class was especially difficult. I could have ventured into fault judging but really didn't want to do that. It was especially satisfying when the young dog I sent forward to Best Junior Puppy in Match competition won! The adult English Setter I sent forward also walked away with Best Adult in Match.

I judged Best Senior Puppy in Match. I was very nervous and again, it was so much more fun than I expected. I would have dogs to judge without having read their breed standards. I had a really nice line up of puppies. Five of them could have won it easily, but I had to pick just one. My choice was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi bitch. She looked every inch a Pembroke, used her ears, was in great coat, and did not seem to notice the heat.

If I get asked to do this again I won't hesitate, but I will study even harder.

Eleanor's new word:  Banana

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