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Ask The Judge - Volume 3 - April 2007

Question: What do you think a the rear movement in the dogs 

to day?


A:  I don't think this is one of the strong points of the breed.  I see a lot of straight  or sickled hocks which I believe have a lot to do with the incorrect movement.  Other things as splayed feet and weak pasterns also contribute to the poor movement.  There are some dogs out there that actually do have very correct movement and when this is seen the Judge should make sure to reward it.


Question: what do you think of AKC having a class for handlers were 

the  dogs are handled  by the pros, Like the BBE class. If  

there was such a thing. As at one  show a owner took a dog in  

won the class and told by pro handler let me take him in  

for WD. 


A: I don't like the idea.  I don't think it is necessary to have a class for individuals versus classes for the dogs.  This would only serve to separate the handlers from the owner handlers even further.   Personnally, I am proud of the fact that I have never used a professional handler and have found the wins much more satisfying than having a Pro get them for you.  


The professional handlers do have their purpose.  They are needed by some people who just physically are not able to show themself and others that just get too nervous to go into the ring.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing trend of people that only use the 'Pros' to try and win the 'easy'way instead of doing it themself.  


I do notice that in the U.S., that the breed is not dominated by the Pros as in other breeds like Standard Poodles for instance.  An owner handler can still win consistently in the ring if they persevere.  I uge everyone to try doing it themselves.


I find that society today wants 'instant success' and this is also the problem.  Younger people in the breed do not want to pay their dues so to speak, and want to start winning right away.  They feel that the Professional HANDLER will bring this quick success, which sometimes they do.  However, they have to ask themself what they really achieved by paying the handler and if the reward was as gratifying as if they had done it themself.  I applaud all the breeders I see down in the states showing their own dogs especially in the Bred by class.  They should feel proud to display their wonderful breed.


Question: What would you do when you seen a very nice dog in the 

ring but the person handling it was not showing it well, just 

draging it along ? Could it still win, with poor handling if it was the best dog that day.


A: The quick answer to this is yes, of course if they have the best dog they should win.  The problem is that some people take an average dog and make it look good through their handling expertise while others take a good dog an make it look average due to their lack of expertise.  The judge can only judge what he/she sees before them.  They cannot stand there and try andA 'imagine' what the dog would look like if it were shown better.  Many times I have seen the inferior dog win due to expert handling over a novice person who just can't get their dog to show properly.  This is why it is so important to practice with your dog BEFORE you enter the ring.  Don't give away an advantage to your competitor by not showing your dog properly.  


Question: Do you find a trend in certain dogs/owners following certain judges around to show under them?


A: I wouldn't call it a trend but yes I do see people 'following' judges.    Some people get critisized because they 'pick' their judges.  Well why wouldn't they?  If they have learned that a judge likes their type of dog and that they win consistently under that judge, they would be a fool not to show to them.  This is just common sense that an exhibitor would educate themself by keeping records on judges as to their success and failures when showing to them.   It took me many years to form a significant list on judges.  And yes, I will look for certain judges and I will also avoid others.


Question: What's the biggest satisfaction in your job as a judge.   


A: There is nothing I enjoy better than judging a Bulldog specialty.  When people enter under you for your opinion and these people are renowned in the breed, you can't help but feel satisfied that they feel you worthy enough to give your opinion of their Bulldog.  You go to a show having no idea who is entered to you and when you see the people, many you have respected for years and now here they are showing to you.  Some of these people are breeder judges themself and some of them I have shown to, but now they are here for your opinion.  Many of the entrants have travelled all night to get to the show,  they have made huge sacrifices to show to you.  You have to always respect this and give every single dog a fair shake and their money's worth...........they deserve it!   A judge should always feel honored when a club hires them, no matter the size of the show.  As judges we have chances to reward different aspects of the breed and we have the chance to make a difference.  This should never be taken lightly


Chris Neilson

'Bulldogs are my love, not my living'

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