How to Become a Dog Show Judge
You are standing in the centre of the ring in your smart suit, hair perfectly styled – your shoes pinch a bit but hey they match the suit! Everywhere you are attracting admiring glances; you are the centre of attraction. But hang on a minute – what’s that? Dogs in your ring – Oh no it’s a dog show and you are the judge, but you’ve never touched a dog let alone judged one!
Yes it’s everyone’s worse nightmare being somewhere and not knowing what to do next. So, before you start pretending you can judge a dog you’d better think about how a judge starts out…
Sit ringside and study how a judge works. Why is he moving the dogs like that? Why is he feeling different parts of their body? Why does he walk from one dog to the next, perhaps run two together? Study your catalogue you may find that he is placing dogs from similar breeding, this shows that he is judging to type – these dogs will be typical of a good example of the breed.
Speak to the JudgesWhen the judge has finished his work, see if you may speak to him, ask why he picked the dogs he placed. Remember to explain that you are interested in judging otherwise he may think that you are about to question his judgement!
Find the person who owns the dog placed Best of Breed and asked if you can go over the dog, as you are interested in becoming a judge. The breeder/owner will be more than pleased to extol the virtues of their dog. Remember though that this dog may need to go into the Group or Best in Show ring shortly and the owner may be a little tense or busy grooming the dog.
Speak to Breed ClubsSpeak to the secretary of your breed club and say that you are interested in training to be a judge. There may be talks and training sessions you can attend that may guide you on your way. Read your canine newspapers as many general dog talks are advertised this way. Eventually you will be able to go onto the ‘C’ list ready to be invited to judge a couple of classes at an open show.
Offer to help out at your ring craft classes. Organisers like different people going over the dogs as it gets them used to being handled. You may also be invited to judge at one of their match nights.
Canine societies are always crying out for ring stewards. It’s the perfect way to watch and see how a show ring is managed. You will get to know many breeds of dog and how they are exhibited. You will also receive the thanks of the show committee and possibly a free lunch!
Do Your ResearchRead everything you can about your breed, immerse yourself in general books about the show world and study the Kennel Gazette so that you know the latest changes of Kennel Club rules.
Remember that a seminar or canine workshop can be enjoyed on its own merits. You are in the company of like-minded people who love their dogs and are not on a career path to riches. Not everyone is cut out to be a judge, it takes time and should be treated as an honour when the first invitation arrives.