8 Ways of Looking at a Dog Show Judge

AKC Gazette, “Times Past”—What makes a good judge? The judges themselves have been kicking around that question in our pages for 125 years. Here are some answers.

“First Match,” May 1957 Gazette


  1. “It is first necessary for a judge to know dogs generally before he can know any breed of dog in particular.”—Irving C. Ackerman, 1939
  2. “A good judge looks for virtues in every dog. Fault judging is lazy judging, the pitfall of the inexperienced. The dog is picked apart and never put back together.”—Mrs. George W. Dow, 1975
  3. “The breeder furnishes the dogs, but it is the judge who decides the type.”—H.W. Lacy, 1925
  4. “Go over every dog carefully, if for no other reason than to make a friend of each exhibitor by causing him to feel that he has a ‘run for his money’ at least.”—Garvin Denby, 1931
  5. “Hesitancy in judging creates a bad impression on the ringside. Too much speed in judging, however, is quite as bad. Exhibitors are never satisfied when the judge has rushed through his work, even when he has done a good job.”—W. Edgar Baker, 1938
  6. “Knowledgeable judging is the ability to reconcile oneself to the fact that no perfect dog has yet been produced.”—Anna Katherine Nicholas, 1967
  7. “A judge who has acted entirely in good faith does not feel the necessity of defending himself and his placings.”—John Kemps, 1946
  8. “You were invited as an expert. Be one.”


 —Anne Rogers Clark, 1996

Read the latest AKC Gazette here, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.