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 ? 

While I have not actively bred dogs for over 10 years, I am again doing
some limited breeding and trying some American/German crosses. My kennel
name is Campaigner's and we have owned and bred over 75 Champions...
multiple American Selects and ROM's ... Mat. and Fut. winners.....all on a
very limited basis. I am pleased to be a recipient of the Lloyd Brackett
Award and of course my most famous dog is the AOE 2x GR. VIC. 5 x US SEL.
CH. Campaigner's-Gatewood Uzi, ROM, OFA, CGC, CD, HT, TC, TD1.
Interestingly, even at my most active, I did not breed more than one or
two litters a year.

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

I have been in the breed since the 1960's with 3 hiatuses over that time
period. My first 2 Shepherds were dysplastic pets although one was
purchased as a show dog for a large amount of money. I then spent 3 years
traveling and trying to learn more from famous kennels and breeders before
my next purchase. I took out a bank loan and bought a Futurity class
winner and took her to be bred to a dog with both majors and was able to
purchase him on a co-ownership. They produced a Best In Futurity winner in
my very first litter. I was hooked! I then took a forced break for 3 years
and my first litter back produced 3 Champions and a Best In Show winner.
Over the years I handled allot of my own dogs to majors, points and Championships..
I have been a member of the GSDC of America and the GSDC of Northern Ohio
since I got in the breed and am serving my 6th year of the Board of Directors for the GSDCA.

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

I have been judging for about 20 years and I am stillfinding it as
fulfilling as when I first started.

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

  see answer 5

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

 I try to take only about 5 or 6 assignments a year so this does not vary much.

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

I did males at the 2000 National in Columbus and was the Best of Breed
judge at the 2004 National in Oregon. These were certainly the most
exciting assignments of my career and I am hoping to officiate at a
National again. It's exhausting and exalting at the same time and enables
a judge to make a substantial impact on the breed. BOB and Select are
meaningful titles and should not be doled out indiscriminately.

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

    Specialties.......without question because I can usually get a ring large
    enough to do the breed justice and the quality is normally deeper. I love
    the chance to talk to spectators after the breed. At an all breed I am
    usually running off to do other breeds and have to be more conscious of
    the AKC restrictions. I really wish more clubs would arrange time for more
    after show get togethers and seminars. This is as important to educate the
    new people and make them feel included.

    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 7b.

    Because I do other breeds also I judge shepherds in both venues.

    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.

    Yes, of course, and I do this often. I am sure by now people know what type of dog to bring to me and I feel that one of the most important things a judge can do is be consistent in their placings. I put up what I have always bred.

8.) Do you have a color preference? 

 No color preference as the standard does not condone this.

a) Would the color of a dog influence your judgment?
Not unless it was washed out or showed paling pigment.. but I must admit a
soft spot of beautiful sables.

b) Do you find it harder to judge solid blacks ?
No, but for some reason there are less really good quality blacks than other colors but lately this seems to be changing which a great thing.

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

 Not important but I prefer a plush coat as it adds to the overall picture.

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

 No....... A dog can't help who handles or owns it. <<VBG>>

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

Important and not important as stated in the standard. I am not a tooth counter as long as they are large and well spaced . I have owned 2 animals with a missing premolar and was always dismayed at seeing them beat by dogs with major faults but a full mouth. The standard is clear on this.

12.) How do you see bites today? 

Good..... With the current improvement in heads I see less bad bites but then how many people would bother to show a dog with a bad bite?

13.) How do you see strength of ears? 

Good and bad..... but then most of the dogs at the shows are fine but we never see their less than desirable siblings. I don't see as many "fixed " ears as in the past

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. 

Good....It has improved allot from even 10 years ago. I think the loose lead temperament test is going a long way to improving it in the ring you see less "trained spooks" than before. It's all in the eyes ... those you can't train.

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

Yes.... I try to give dogs a chance to settle down before requiring it though and obviously one must have a large ring in order to achieve this. I also require that dogs slow down. Racing is used by handlers to disguise faults. The standard is so clear, the these dogs should cover the most amount of ground with the least number of steps. You see too many dogs shown on taut leads, lifting and pounding, with their heads up. I doubt they could herd sheep for long like that

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  10
Teeth  2
Coat  1
Pasterns, hocks, feet  5
Pigment  4
Structure  8
Shoulder and reach  6

Attitude 3

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

Larger but, large or small the procedure is the same. I request that the dogs be brought in catalogue order and sent around the ring once to aquaint them with the area and where their "alerters" are. I then gait them all around together once or twice. This varies with the size of the class or the ring. I then request that each dog be brought out to me on a loose lead. I try to make sure they are not being doubled by making them turn the other direction if needed. The dog can then be stacked and I go over it, coming and going is next and then another spin around the ring. Each dog is done in turn and returned to the end of the line. Then after another go around I start moving those up front those that I wish to have in the ribbons. I eliminate those that will not be in contention after another turn around just to be sure. I have no problem with not awarding ribbons in any class.

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... You must judge the dog on that day. I have put up many puppies for majors and points.

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

You must judge the whole dog and it's balance no matter what size package it comes in. Sex characteristics are more important than size.

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


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

Yes...... but only in moving , never in checking temperament. I find that requiring a loose lead and slowing down to make less "over zealous" doubling. It is a different story at a National when dogs are required to be in the ring and showing for longer periods and in order to keep the dogs up and moving it has to be done more but still they should go loose and not pulling so hard eventually. I would prefer that more handlers use bait to alert a dog. I hate to see a dog straining to find it's owner outside the ring. It is not true to the Shepherd temperament and makes them look less than confident.

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

Yes, but it is a dog show so this is not practical and it is not in the realm of judging. People have a right to show what they please. I would not show a puppy even that did not prelim but that is my choice.

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

Yes and no..... You must judge the dog as a whole.

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

Any time a breed starts to be judged on any one characteristic the breed as a whole suffers. look at so many breeds that were bred to the extreme, they all deteriorated in some manner. We have hurt ourselves with the public breeding mainly for movement.

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


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

  No. You can't legislate honesty.

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 

I guess it goes without saying that Uzi would be my ideal. He is not only a great show dog with an unmatched record but he is an amazingly intelligent animal of strong character and trainability. He will do anything you ask, out of love for you but he can't be pushed or dominated into anything.

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

Better... and I have faith that we will continue to improve. Just look at the old pictures, we went from one extreme to the other. Now we are seeing better sex characteristics, more uniformity of angles and pigment has improved greatly.

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

 I want to put up the best dog and can only do so if I can see it! I can't understand..... when a judge does the exam of every dog the same way in every class how some handlers will still not show a dog to you as requested and have to be told over and over. Also, for some reason handlers loose sight of the fact that we are there to judge the dogs and we are not putting them up. I will give the same handler every class and every award if they have the best dog.

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

Remember this is a sport and everyone there came to win. Love your dog no matter where it places. The best part of winning is getting to take your winner home.

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

Do not double handle on the temperament test. If I can't see the dog standing naturally I can't be sure of it's character and it may not place or at least as high as it's other qualities might indicate.

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

Please see my answer to #23 Only when the quality and health of your pets is something to brag about can you be a successful breeder no matter what you win in the ring.

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 would like to see more dogs that can be shown at Specialties and all breeds and win at both. All my National winners were shown and won on both stages. Our dogs can show that beautiful sidegait that we cherish and still be clean coming and going. It is up to the breeders to be more selective and strive to achieve this. To settle for less is a disservice to the breed.

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.

Over the course of the years, I have judged so many "great " ones that I would take pages to cover it. I have also spend many hours in close contact with many of them.I would be willing to send my recollections of any dog that someone would ask me specifically about.

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Updated 02/29/08