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 ? 

Yes, under the name of ASGARD.  Tedi, my wife, is the main driving force in the breeding.
2.) How long have you been in the breed? When and how did you get started? Are you affiliated with any clubs? 
We have been in the breed or about 25 years now.  We started with a dog from Wyndean Kennels in Michigan, and moved to California about four years later.

We belong to the GSDCA, The German Shepherd Dog Club of Riverside, and I belong to the WDA.  Tedi is President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Long  Beach, and has been for 17 years.  We worked to incorporate the club, and get 
AKC recognition, and it is the oldest continuous GSD club in Southern California.

3.) How long have you been judging the breed? 
I got my license about a year ago, and then only to keep up with Tedi, who got hers first.
4.) How many times a year do you judge German Shepherds? 
I only do it when asked. I did decide not to show up and judge a show that I was not asked to do.  I have done a Specialty and an All-Breed so far, but have five assignments coming up.
5.) Over the last 2 years has the number of shows? 
As new clubs are formed, the number of shows has increased, but the entry is going down each year.
6.) Have you ever judged the National Specialty? If yes, when and what classes ? 
No, and at my age, I doubt I ever will.  Actually I have no desire to do the National, it is too important to trust to someone like me.
7.) Do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties, which do you prefer ? 
    I much prefer Specialties, due to the better quality of judges.  However, when one of the judges knows Shepherds, the All-Breed show is just as good, and sometimes better. It is all about the Judge, and not the title of the show.
    a) do you judge at both all-breeds and specialties ?

    Yes, I have done both, and have up coming assignments at both.

         b) would you judged at both all breeds and specialties

    Yes, I will show under a knowledgeable judge, no matter what the title of the show is.

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

    When someone like Fran Ford judges, it doesn't much matter if he is in the specialty or all-breed ring, he is going to do a good job.  I prefer to show at a specialty show, just because I like a larger ring, but a good dog will show in both a small and a large ring.

         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.

    At this point, I am taking those shows offered to me.  I don't much care what the title of the show is, but I will ask to enlarge the ring if it is too small. I did that at my first show, and they accommodated me.

8.) Do you have a color preference? 
I have to admit, I do like a good dog, and color is not one of the
factors. I  also must admit, I love a good Sable, but do not think I would favor one over a Black and Tan, or other color.  I also enjoy a rich Black and Red, but seldom see good ones.
     a) Would the color of a dog influence your judgment?

It might "influence" it, but would not be a factor in my decision.
     b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ?

Yes, they are hard to see in structure unless close up to them. I remember wondering what was so great about Phantom when I watched him outside the  ring.  Then I got close to him, and never wondered again. He was magnificent from inside the ring, and hard to see from outside.

9.) What importance do you place on condition of plush versus smooth coat? Please explain.
I expect a dog to be in good condition in the ring, just from a health standpoint. If the dog is clean, groomed, and doesn't smell, that is about it for me.  However, I would rather see a good proper coat, than a dry hard dog, but then, that may be because so many of my dogs were dry and hard. 
10.) When judging the dog do you also judge the handler? Please elaborate if possible. 
I never judge the handler, I know they are doing the best they can.  However  having handled my own dogs, I am also aware of what can be done to the judge. I always insist on seeing the dog on its own at some point, and in that way, if the handler won't do it, I may hold it against the handler and his dog.
11.) What importance do you place on missing teeth? 
I like to say, if the dog can eat....  Having taken a bitch to Select twice with one missing tooth, I do think I am not a "tooth nut."  On the other hand we placed a bitch out that was an easy finisher, because of a missing tooth.  I would follow the standard and consider a serious fault, penalize a very 
serious fault, and disqualify only a disqualifying tooth fault.
12.) How do you see bites today? 
I usually look in the mouth.  Bites have improved a lot in the last ten years.  We seldom see a bad bite, but sometimes do have a wry bite in the  breed.  It is a slight problem, but way down my list of things to breed for.
13.) How do you see strength of ears? 
This was a bigger problem years ago.  However, that being said, I will not penalize a weak ear.  It is not a big problem in the breed, and only detracts from the overall picture of the dog.  I will penalize a hanging or cropped ear, as the standard calls for.
14.) Do you feel the GSD's temperament has improved over the past 5 years? 
There can be no question that there has been a vast improvement.  The problem  is that one top stud dog can create problems in two or three generations.   This is something we need to stay on top of, but not our biggest problem  today.
15.) Do you consider temperament today to be? Please explain. 
I find it Excellent, and compare it to other breeds, and the temperament in other countries.  A lot of this is due to Bob Penny and his push to change the standard, and the temperament testing program.  There are always examples of bad dogs, but not nearly what we had ten years ago.
16.) Do you prefer a dog to be shown on a loose lead? 
I have no preference.  But, unless I see the dog on a loose lead, it will never place in my ring.  It is sorta up to the handler.  If they want the dog  strung up all the time, they may do it.  But, do not expect a ribbon. Life is full of these choices.
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                       7
Side Gait                                  9
Temperament                            8
Teeth                                       5
Coat                                         5
Pasterns, hocks, feet                  4 unless it affects movement
Pigment                                     7                               
Structure                                 9
Shoulder and reach                    9
Attitude                                   5

That comes up to 68.  I guess no one thing is going to do it for me, and no dog is going to have me judge it on one thing only.  They are all important to me, and it depends on what is in the ring, what comes closest to the standard, and what qualities are there.  I tend to like those traits that we have so much trouble finding, and a period of suspension is the one feature that makes the GSD the great moving animal it is.  That is one feature I would probably give a ten.

18.) Could you briefly describe your ring procedure, and any changes you may incorporate between a small Vs large class 
I try to use the same procedure in all classes, but I may work a larger class in sections. I first go down the dogs, and touch each one.  This is not recommend by our Parent Club, (they want the first contact to be on a loose lead).  But, I do not want to spook a dog, and like them to at least know who I am.  Then I take them around to loosen up the handlers, and seldom do any judging at that point.  I then examine them individually to determine what faults I have to consider.  I take them all down and back, and do a loose lead temperament test.  After all that, I take them around the ring and that is what I judge on.  When the dogs are stacked and I am looking at them, I am usually thinking about what I had for breakfast, and letting every one get their breath.  I judge the dogs on movement, and in motion, not standing.


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)? 
No, the dog or bitch closest to the standard will win, not even considering the age. I think a young dog can win, but it must meet the standard.  I will not try to predict what the animal may develop into, and just judge it that day in that ring.
20.) If a dog is not exactly to the standard in size, would you prefer slightly larger or smaller? 
There is no question, I love a big dog, and will consider a big bitch.  We are showing to breed, and breeding to improve the breed.  As small dog or bitch is going to cause the decline in the breed.  I have owned some large animals, and overall, will put up a large dog or bitch if they meet the standard.

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

Not today, but five years ago, we were resolving a problem created by a few top breeders, and judges who were putting up over extreme dogs.  I have no problem with an extreme GSD, it is moves correctly and meets the standard in all respects.  But many of the extreme top lines were obtained by raising the upper arm, which cause loss of shoulder, and that would disturb me.
22.) In your opinion should double handling be allowed? 
If it does not ruin the dog, and I can still see what I need to see, I don't much care what goes on outside the ring.  The problem is that very few do it right, and most of the time it is just so the owners can be a part of the show.  I would ask to stop it, if it was distorting the animal, and then let  them get back into it after I have had a chance to see what I need to see. I don't believe we need to see an animal make fifty good passes.  If the 
structure is there, and I can find it, that is enough for me.
23.) Should all select dogs, in your opinion, be OFA (H&E)? 
It would be nice if all Select dogs were OFA, but then it would be nice if all dogs were OFA, and if all mankind were in peace.  It is not a perfect world, and I am against requiring anything to judge the dogs on, other than the standard.  To require OFA for Select competition would only eliminate a lot of dogs from entering the show, and that is bad for the breed.
24.) When making the final selection, does the dog with the most front reach usually win the class? 
No, that may be the dog that looks the best from outside the ring, and he may be the one who wins, but all movement is important, and front reach is but one part of it.
25.) Do you feel more emphasis should be put on the total package, and less on movement? 
The total package includes movement. Some judges today try to ignore movement to find the type and style that is pictured in the standard. But, by doing  so, you ignore the purpose and use of the GSD.  Style and type are important in many breeds, but not so much in the Working breeds.  I love a good looking dog, but I will probably put up the better mover, if all other things are equal.
26.) Do you think the German Shepherd Dog standard should be changed? 
Change is good for everything in the world.  Without change there can be no growth and improvement.  The current situation is a problem because the proposed change is not to better the breed, but to remain in the WUSV.  That is not a good reason to change the standard.  However, if we can improve our standard, and while doing so, remain in the WUSV, there is no reason not to do so.  But, we need to be careful in any standard change.  It is a problem fraught with danger, and unless we are sure of the purpose of the changes, and they will improve the breed, we should resist the pressure.

If yes, in what respects:

We do need to address "locked hocks"  "dead tails" and "spinal problems."  I am not sure the standard needs to be changed to do that, but if we are going to change it, I would consider those to be areas of problems in the breed.  We also need more style and always movement, and we might consider some additions in that area.

27.) Do you think there should be any changes in any of the existing rules concerning dog shows? If so, please elaborate 
I am not advocating any changes in the AKC rules, but we do need to have some method of keeping good judges and removing bad ones.  Now the test is all open book, and we see a lot of new judges who have little idea what they are doing.  I would suggest that no one be given a judges license unless supported by the breed Parent Club, and then the Parent Club can put into action a system to improve education before approval.
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 
Judd, Mike, Hale, Gotti, (when in his prime), Senator, Dakota, Reno, Dragon Slayer, Mannix, in no particular order, and way too many others.  You asked about dogs.  These were big handsome males, who could move.  They had a presence in the ring that just caused you to look at them, and would have made us all proud of the breed.  I am not talking about breeding or anything else, but type, movement, style, class, and the standard.
29.) Do you feel that in general the quality of the breed in this country is getting better or worse ? Please elaborate 
It gets better every year.  We used to see one or two in a class that "knocked our eyes out" and now we see four or five.  The quality of the breed is vastly improving and each year more and more great dogs are being seen.  We have a tremendous group of breeders, who are aging, but doing a great job.
30.) Do you have a pet peeve about anything owners or handlers do concerning the showing of dogs ? 
Do not bring in a dog that cowers, and shows mistreatment.  Do not bring in a  dirty dog, that is not healthy.  I also feel we should not treat dogs as  cattle, and have 40 or 50 adults in one kennel, and should not breed just  because the bitch is in season.  We should only be breeding to improve the breed, and nothing else.
31.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should ALWAYS do when showing under you ? 
Smile, have fun, and do not take me too seriously. If this is not for having a good time, find a new hobby.  Show you care for your dogs, and never, and I must emphasis this, never mistreat your dog when I see it.
32.) Do you have any suggestions for owners or handlers regarding anything they should NEVER do when showing under you ? 
Jerk a dog, yell at a dog, or mistreat the dog.  Also, do not offer me money in the middle of the ring, and do not argue with other handlers.  Congratulate the winners, and even if you do it through clenched teeth, do it.
33.) Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to showing and/or breeding? 
Talk to everyone, listen to everyone, then make up your own mind.  Some of the finest people in the world are in GSDs, and some of them should be out on a house boat in a swamp some place. It takes a while to know who you do  not want to be around, and remember, just because someone is busy during one class, give them another try after their dog is out of the ring.  Find out what part of the sport you enjoy, and then do it. If you like agility better than conformation, then that is your thing.  Try to be tolerant of others, and always speak well of your parents.

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 

We are all involve in a journey to improve the breed, and enjoy our lives.If the sport of dog showing can help you enjoy your brief period on this earth, then great.  If it makes you upset, if you lose friends, if you have to give up family, education or enjoyment of life, find another hobby.  Try to do the best you can, and do not be frustrated.  There are a lot more people losing at the show than winning, and we all spend time in fifth.  Granted some more than others, but even that can be fun. Remember, in fifth you are not listed in the show results, and no one even knows you were there.
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. 
All the dogs I have put up, and some I have not, are great. I did judge GV Max, just before he went GV, and didn't give him the Breed.  That may be written on my tombstone, unless I do something equally weird before I die.  The odds are that I will. 
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