AKC/Eukanuba Flashback: The Incomparable Miss Dorothy Nickles

AKC Gazette, “Times Past”

In December 2001 at the first AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, a self-described “little gal from Texas,” Miss Dorothy Nickles, put up the happy-go-lucky Bichon Frise named JR in her Best in Show ring. Miss Nickles was among the most quotable judges the Gazette ever encountered. Here’s a sampler of her wit and wisdom, gleaned from our pages.

  • "If you’re a judge and don’t feel love for every dog who walks into your ring, your heart’s not in this. I come home from a show happy I can feel this way about all dogs—and I don’t have to feed them!”
  • “I judged so many shows last year, I almost met myself coming back!”
  • “At my 90th birthday party a lady said to me, ‘When I first started showing under you, I hated you.’ I laughed and said, ‘Join the crowd, honey, there are probably a hundred people here who feel the same way!’ ”
  • “If you want to be a good judge, you must never judge with your hands in your pockets. Always be doing something with them. Be nice to everyone. Make sure you look past those rich and famous dogs to be sure there isn’t one better—you might be surprised! “And always go to the judges’ dinners. The clubs like to see those they pay to come and, honey, pretty soon you’ll know show chairmen’s names like you know dogs in your pedigrees!”
  • “I’ve seen great dogs, and not-so-great dogs, but I never forget that inside every one of them is a beautiful soul.”
  • “All my kinfolk are gone. I have no one left except dog people and dogs. If my health holds out, I’d like to go on judging until I’m 100. If the Lord takes me, he’ll put me in a dog show up there.”

Miss Nickles went to that big dog show in the sky on June 16, 2009. She was 99.