Luis Sosa-Bandog French Bulldogs

I often hear exhibitors complain about the quality of dog show judging.  I would like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from breeding, showing and judging over the years.  

It is my belief that the majority of dog show judges try to do a good job.  All judges however do not have the same level of competence or expertise.  That is why I feel there are good judges and not so good judges.  I don't think it's that they don't try, it’s just that some are much more capable.  Also keep in mind that no matter how good a judge is; we all screw up at times.  The good ones realize when they do, the not so good ones never have a clue.

I always ask an exhibitor who the judge was when they tell me they had a nice win.  Some judges I highly respect, some I don't.  Most of the time, the exhibitor doesn't even know who the judge was.  Unfortunately, if they don't remember the judges, they won't remember the good ones from the not so good ones.

I feel that a lot of complaining about poor judging may be attributable to lack of knowledge on the part of the exhibitor.  A lot of exhibitors don’t know anatomy, much less their own breed standard.  Take for instance the phrase camelbacked.  I hear it all the time; so and so’s dog is camelbacked. No, often times the person making this claim just doesn’t understand what a correct topline is, nor do they know what the term "camelbacked" really means (the rise over the rib cage not the loin). I doubt many exhibitors could identify where the loin begins and ends if asked, much less something like the point of shoulder, which defines the front assembly.

So a lot of "complaining" about poor judging may be attributable as poor knowledge of anatomy and the breed standard on the part of the exhibitor.  You don't know how many times an owner has said to me, "I know you won't like this about my dog"; to which I reply, that doesn't bother me nearly as much as this, this and this.  In other words, many owners cannot correctly evaluate the strengths and shortcomings on their dogs; hence when they loose it's poor judging.

A judge can only judge what is presented in front of them.  That is why we've started breeder education at the FBDCA in addition to the judge’s education!  I strongly recommend attending the breeder’s education seminar at the National as it should be an opportunity to learn about our breed and a chance to ask frank and candid questions.  If you consider this to be a shameless plug for the breeder’s ed seminar-it is.  I hope it will make all of us better breeders.

Just my 2 cent’s worth.

Luis Sosa