Interview With Carolyn Mckenna




The following is an attempt to improve communication between the judges of our breed, and the people who show under them. 

1.) Are you an active breeder of German Shepherd Dogs? Do you have a kennel name? 

I am an active (but not frequent) breeder. Kennadale is my kennel name.

2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs? 

Showed first shepherd in 1954. Member of GSDCA and GSDC of Austin

3.) How long have you been judging the breed? 

37 years

4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds? 

average four as I do not judge shepherds in the area where I live.

5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows? 


6.) Have you ever judged the National Specialty? If yes, when and what classes? 


7.) Do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties, which do you prefer ? 

no preference

a) do you judge at both all breeds and specialties ?

b) would you judged at both all breeds and specialties

c) please elaborate on and explain your answers to 7, 7a and.

I like to judge at all-breeds because I feel we need more judgesat the all-breed shows who really know shepherds.

d) If you indicated a preference for Specialty assignments, would you consider doing German Shepherd Dogs at an all-breed if you were given a large ring, the entry was supported by a specialty club and the show was on the same weekend as a nearby specialty or specialty circuit? Please elaborate.

8.) Do you have a color preference?  If so what is it?

no preference
a)     Would the color of a dog influence your judgment?


b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ?

9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain. 

not important

10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible. 


11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth? 

Very important if they are other than first pre molars

12.) How do you see bites today? 


13.) How do you see strength of ears? 

good and poor

14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years? 


15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain. 


16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead? 


17.) How would you rate the following in sequence of importance? (On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). 

Coming and going  6
Side Gait  8
Temperament  10
Teeth  4
Coat  1
Pasterns, hocks, feet  5
Pigment  2
Structure  9
Shoulder and reach 
Attitude 3

18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class 

When the dogs come in, they go around once in a large ring, twice in a small ring, stop at markers. Each dog comes out to a marked spot and I approach from about
eight feet, touch the dog and bring the next one out. Then each dog is examined hands on and moved down and back and around. After the individual exam, the dogs are moved
as a group, then, depending upon the number of dogs, moved again individually.
Then I place the dogs in order and move them again to check my final decision.

19.) Do you think there should be an age limit in placing points on a dog (i.e.dogs and bitches under 12 months of age)? 


20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller? 

That's a loaded question. In a dog, I would NOT want smaller as I feel masculinity might be compromised. In a bitch, I would not fault larger as I feel she would probably be more influential in the whelping box. 

21.) Do you think on average German Shepherd Dogs are too extreme? 


22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed? 


23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)? 


24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class? 

not unless it balances with rear overreach and extension with ALL feet remaining close to the ground, and not busy

25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement? 

Movement is part of the total package, the proof of

26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed? 

The illustrated standard needs to have the photos revised 

27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate 


28.) Is there a dog, whether alive now or not, who to you typifies most closely the "ideal" German Shepherd Dog?  If yes, please explain and give details 

There are so many: Mike, Andretti, Boss, and oh, so many more.

29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse? Please elaborate 

The quality of the breed overall has been progressing; however, in some lines it seems that we are losing sight of the importance of not only shoulder angulation (particularly upper arm) but also, shoulder placement. I will say that I see this much more in the all-bred ring; however, I see it as an alarming trend that needs our attention.

30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs? 

My pet peeve is the abundance of magazines and their advertising aimed strictly at the all-breed judges.

31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you? 


32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you? 


33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding? 

Seek a LONG-TIME successful breeder for guidance, not a fly-by-night lucky winner who wins on advertising.

34.) Is there anything else you would like to say about judging or about the German Shepherd breed today? If so, please feel free to say it here 

I was raised by a GSD., my three children were raised by a GSD. This is the essence of the GSD, the protector, the companion, the perfect dog. Without this perfect temperament we have a very pretty empty shell.

35.) Have you ever judged one the of the greats? If so, can you give a rundown of this dog for the people who have not had the privilege to even see it. 

I've judged Ulk, Gunner, Spellbinder, some of the others so far back but still influencing our breed today. However, I have mentioned these dogs because they are dogs who could win in today's ring. Perhaps not Ulk, but he was more on the German line, but a top winner in his day.



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