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The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2017 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17, 2017.

The 2017 event will showcase the top national and international canine athletes and will also include popular attractions such as the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, AKC Meet the Breeds® and the NADD/AKC Dock Diving National Championship. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational and AKC Obedience Classic, with junior events in each sport.

New to the championship weekend, is the 2017 AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy Stakes.  Puppies ages 6 months to 18 months are eligible to compete for the titles of AKC-Royal Canin® National Breed, Group and All-Breed Puppy of the Year, and prize money.  All AKC-recognized breeds are eligible to enter.

Heading the panel as Best in Show judge for the 2017 National Championship is Mr. Roger R. Hartinger of Cincinnati, Ohio and Mrs. Paula Hartinger of Cincinnati, Ohio will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show.

“We have a most knowledgeable group of judges and we are very pleased to have Roger and Paula heading up the panel this year,” said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung.

The National All-Breed Puppy Stakes will be held on Friday, December 15th.  Best in Show at the inaugural AKC/Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be judged by an elite panel of three All Breed Judges: Mrs. Paula Hartinger, Mr. Roger R. Hartinger and Dr. Steve Keating. These esteemed judges will determine the winner to be crowned the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed (Puppy/Junior) of the Year.

Judges for each of the seven variety groups and the Miscellaneous Classes are:

SPORTING – Mr. Robert Stein – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

HOUND – Mr. Dana P. Cline – Greenwood, South Carolina

WORKING – Mr. Ronald H. Menaker – Jupiter, Florida

TERRIER – Mr. Robert E. Hutton – Louisville, Kentucky

TOY – Mr. Desmond J. Murphy – Monroe, New York

NON-SPORTING – Mrs. Toddie Clark – Decatur, Tennessee

HERDING – Ms. Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine – Ann Arbor, Michigan

MISCELLANEOUS CLASSES – Mrs. Paula Hartinger – Cincinnati, Ohio

BEST JUNIOR HANDLER – Mr. Houston Clark – Decatur, Tennessee

JUNIOR PRELIMS – Valerie Nunes Atkinson and Tammie Sommerson-Wilcox

Judges for the seven Bred-by-Exhibitor variety groups are:

SPORTING – Mrs. Sydney Good – Osprey, Florida

HOUND – Dr. James Edwards – Danbury, North Carolina

WORKING – Ms. Sandy D’Andrea – Lockport, NY

TERRIER – Ms. Pamela Bruce – Etobicoke, Ontario

TOY – Dr. Steve Keating – Dallas, Texas

NON-SPORTING – Mr. Robin L. Stansel – Clayton, North Carolina

HERDING – Mr. James A. Moses – Wentzville, Missouri

Breed and group judges for the AKC-Royal Canin Puppy Stakes are:

SPORTING BREEDS – Mr. Douglas Johnson – Bloomington, Indiana

HOUND BREEDS – Mrs. Patti Widick Neale – Alachua, Florida

WORKING BREEDS – Mrs. Roberta Davies – Brimfield, Massachusetts

TERRIER BREEDS – Mrs. Delores Burkholder – Rockton, Illinois

TOY BREEDS – Dr. Geno Sisneros – Glens Falls, New York

NON-SPORTING BREEDS – Mrs. Linda Tilka – Madeira Beach, Florida

HERDING BREEDS – Mr. William Stebbins – Port St. Lucie, Florida

SPORTING GROUP – Ms. Pamela Bruce – Etobicoke, Ontario                        

HOUND GROUP – Dr. Kenneth Levison – Tucson, Arizona                 

WORKING GROUP – Dr. Thomas Davies – Brimfield, Massachusetts

TERRIER GROUP – Mr. Desmond J. Murphy – Monroe, New York

TOY GROUP – Mrs. Marcie Dobkin – Poway, California

NON-SPORTING GROUP – Mr. Desmond J. Murphy – Monroe, New York 

HERDING GROUP – Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia – Roswell, Georgia     


Sporting Group:                                     Breed Assignments:

Ms. Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine                          Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), Retrievers (Chesapeake), Retrievers (Curly-Coated), Retrievers (Golden)

Mr. Dana P. Cline                                           Retrievers (Labrador), Weimaraners

Mr. Jamie Hubbard                                         Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (Clumber), Spaniels (Cocker – ASCOB), Spaniels (Cocker – Black), Spaniels (Cocker – Parti Color), Spaniels (English Cocker), Spaniels (Field), Spaniels (Irish Water), Spaniels (Sussex), Spaniels (Welsh Springer)

Dr. Steve Keating                                            Pointers (German Shorthaired), Pointers (German Wirehaired), Pointers, Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Wirehaired Vizslas 

Mrs. Ann F. Yuhasz                                        Brittanys, Lagotti Romagnolli, Retrievers (Flat-Coated), Setters (English), Setters (Gordon), Setters (Irish), Setters (Irish Red & White), Spaniels (English Springer), Spinoni Italiani

Hound Group:                                          Breed Assignments:

Ms. Pamela Bruce                                          Afghan Hounds

Ms. Kathy A. Forbes                                       American English Coonhounds, Basset Hounds, Beagles (Both Varieties), Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, Foxhounds (American), Foxhounds (English), Harriers, Norwegian Elkhounds, Plott Hounds, Red Bone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds

Mr. Robert E. Hutton                                       Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets

Mr. Bill Sahloff                                                Borzoi, Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Otterhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Salukis

Mr. Robert Stein                                              Cirnechi dell’Etna, Dachshunds (All Varieties)

Ms. Marcia P. Tucker                                     Basenjis, Rhodesian Ridgebacks

WORKING GROUP:                                      Breed Assignments:

Mr. Edd E. Bivin                                             Boerboels, Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers, Komondorok, Mastiffs, Neapolitan Mastiffs

Mr. Houston Clark                                          Akitas,  Cane Corso, Chinooks, Giant Schnauzers, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, Standard Schnauzers

Mr. Dana P. Cline                                           Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs

Mr. Bill Sahloff                                                Bullmastiffs, Great Danes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Kuvaszok, Samoyeds, Tibetan Mastiffs

Mr. Robin Stansell                                          Bernese Mountain Dogs, Black Russian Terriers

Mrs. Cindy Stansell                                         Alaskan Malamutes, Leonberger, Siberian Huskies

Mr. Robert Stein                                             Boxers

Ms. Marcia P. Tucker                                     Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers

TERRIER GROUP:                                        Breed Assignments:

Ms. Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine                          Fox Terriers (Both Varieties), Bull Terriers (Both Varieties), Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Standard Manchester Terriers

Mr. Houston Clark                                           Miniature Schnauzers

Mr. Desmond J. Murphy                                 American Staffordshire Terriers, Border Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Russell Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Mr. Robert Stein                                              Airedale Terriers, American Hairless Terriers, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Welsh Terriers

Mrs. Ann F. Yuhasz                                        Cairn Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, West Highland White Terriers

TOY GROUP:                                                Breed Assignments:

Mr. Edd E. Bivin                                              Chihuahuas (Both Varieties), Toy Fox Terriers

Ms. Pamela Bruce                                          Japanese Chin, Pomeranians, Pugs

Mr. Houston Clark                                          Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chinese Cresteds, Havanese

Mrs. Toddie Clark                                           Brussels Griffons, English Toy Spaniels (King Charles & Ruby), English Toy Spaniels (Blenheim & Prince Charles), Maltese, Shih Tzus, Silky Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers

Dr. James Edwards                                        Affenpinschers, Miniature Pinschers, Papillons, Pekingese, Toy Manchester Terriers

Mr. Robert E. Hutton                                       Poodles (Toy)

Ms. Marcia P. Tucker                                     Italian Greyhounds

NON-SPORTING GROUP:                           Breed Assignments:

Mr. Edd E. Bivin                                              Finnish Spitz, Lhasa Apsos

Ms. Marcie S. Dobkin                                     Chow Chows, Coton de Tulear, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniels

Mr. Robert E. Hutton                                       Poodles (Miniature), Poodles (Standard)

Mr. Desmond J. Murphy                                 Bichon Frises, Dalmatians

Mrs. Inge Semenschin                                    Boston Terriers, Chinese Shar-Pei, Keeshonden, Tibetan Terriers, Xoloitzcuintli

Mrs. Cindy Stansell                                         American Eskimo Dogs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Löwchen, Norwegian Lundehunds

HERDING GROUP:                                       Breed Assignments:

Mr. Edd E. Bivin                                              Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren, German Shepherd Dogs

Ms. Pamela Bruce                                          Australian Shepherds, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Bergamascos, Canaan Dogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphunds, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norwegian Buhunds

Mr. Dana P. Cline                                           Collies (Rough), Collies (Smooth), Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, Spanish Water Dogs, Swedish Vallhunds

Mr. Jamie Hubbard                                         Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collie

Mr. Sam McDonald                                         Bouviers des Flandres, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Old English Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Pulik, Pyrenean Shepherds

Mrs. Cindy Stansell                                         Briards

Mrs. Ann F. Yuhasz                                        Berger Picards, Miniature American Shepherds, Pumik

*Panel subject to final approval.

About Best In Show judge Roger R. Hartinger:

Roger R. Hartinger Cincinnati, Ohio, has been involved with dogs since early childhood.  His family owned a German Shepherd Dog and a Wire Fox Terrier. While at college, he obtained a Great Dane, a breed he continued to own after marriage.

Mr. Hartinger first bred and exhibited Standard Schnauzers, most of which he finished to championships, and later bred Lakeland Terriers. He began exhibiting in 1965, and both he and his wife, Paula, were AKC Licensed Handlers.

Mr. Hartinger is an all-breed judge who ranks his Working Group assignment at the first AKC/Eukanuba show among the highlights of his judging career.

A lifetime member of the Clermont County and Cincinnati kennel clubs, Mr. Hartinger has served both organizations as president and show chairman. He is a board member of the Dog Judges Association of America and a founding member of the OKI Dog Judges Workshop. Mr. Hartinger has held memberships in many other clubs, including the American Miniature Schnauzer Club, the Buckeye Associated Specialty Clubs (past president), and the Standard Schnauzer Club of America (past president and show chairman).

Mr. Hartinger served as an AKC delegate for 15 years.  He served as chairman of the nominating committee among other committee appointments. He thanks his wife and all-breed judging partner, Paula, for having a profound influence on his life.

About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Paula Hartinger:

Mrs. Paula Hartinger of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been judging for over 40 years and is approved for all breeds.  She and her husband Roger have been involved in pure-bred dogs for more than 60 years, first starting with Great Danes.  In the 1960’s they started exhibiting and breeding Standard Schnauzers, finishing many champions.  She also bred Lakeland Terriers, and owned and exhibited some other breeds which she finished.

Also, as a professional handler, she showed and finished many breeds.  She began judging in the mid-70’s, and has since judged shows in all of the 50 States and in more than 20 other countries.  Those include AKC/Eukanuba and Westminster multiple times, plus World Shows, and other notable shows in the US and around the world.

Her involvement in the dog sport includes a great deal of activity in All-Breed and Specialty Clubs, and also in judges’ education. She has served as show chairman for the Clermont County Kennel Club, Standard Schnauzer Club of America National Specialty, the Standard Schnauzer Club of Cincinnati Specialty, and as an officer or board member of other clubs, including Secretary for all breed clubs and the Dog Judges of America.  She is a lifetime member of two All-Breed clubs.

The Brevard Kennel Club, the Central Florida Kennel Club and the Space Coast Kennel Club of Palm Bay shows will precede the National Championship at the Orange County Convention Center on Dec. 12-14, 2017 and a day of specialty and group shows will be held Dec. 15, 2017.