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The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2020 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 2020.

The 2020 event will showcase the top canine athletes and will also include popular attractions such as the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes and NADD/AKC Dock Diving. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational, with junior events in Conformation and Agility. Added this year are the AKC National Obedience Championship, and the AKC Rally National Championship.

Leading the charge as Best in Show judge for the 2020 National Championship is Mr. James A. Moses of Wentzville, MO and Patricia M. Cruz of Coram, NY will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show. The judges for the National Owner-Handled Series Finals and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes can be found at

“We are thrilled to have such an incredible roster of judges this year, with Jim and Pat heading the panel,” said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung. “The 2020 event is sure to be an exciting competition.”

Judges for the seven variety groups and the Miscellaneous Classes at the AKC National Championship are:

SPORTING Mr. Jon R. Cole Nashville, TN
HOUND Mr. Douglas Johnson Bloomington, IN
WORKING Mr. Clay Coady Paradise Valley, AZ
TERRIER Mr. Elliot B. Weiss Novelty, OH
TOY Mr. Robert Stein Venice, FL
NON-SPORTING Mr. Robin L. Stansell Clayton, NC
HERDING Mr. William C. Stebbins Port St. Lucie, FL
MISCELLANEOUS CLASSES Mr. Johan Becerra-Hernandez San Juan, PR


BEST JUNIOR HANDLER Mr. Michael Faulkner Center Cross, VA
JUNIOR PRELIMS Ms. Grace Freeman & Ms. Kellie Dahlberg


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

SPORTING Mr. Michael Faulkner Center Cross, VA
HOUND Mr. James J. Mitchell Wilmington, DE
WORKING Dr. Thomas Davies Brimfield, MA
TERRIER Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III Crowley, TX
TOY Mr. David J. Kirkland Sanford, NC
NON-SPORTING Mrs. Jacqueline L. Stacy Chapel Hill, NC
HERDING Ms. Janina K. Laurin Danbury, CT



Sporting Group: Breed Assignments:
Mr. Jamie Hubbard Barbets, Brittanys, Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), Setters (Irish Red and White), Wirehaired Vizslas
Mr. Sam Houston McDonald Spaniels (English Springer), Spaniels (Irish Water)
Ms. Corinne Miklos Pointers (German Shorthaired), Pointers (German Wirehaired), Spaniels (Welsh Springer), Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
Mrs. Sheila Polk Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay), Spaniels (Clumber)
Mr. William P. Shelton Pointers, Setters (English, Gordon & Irish)
Mr. Richard W. Powell Lagotti Romagnoli, Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (Field), Spaniels (Sussex)
Mr. Rick Gschwender Retrievers (Curly Coated), Retrievers (Flat Coated), Spinoni Italiani, Weimaraners
Ms. Grace M. Fritz Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes
Ms. Shirley Fippin Retrievers (Golden)
Mr. Elliott B. Weiss Spaniels (Cocker – all varieties), Spaniels (English Cocker)
Lorri Isenhath Gordon Retrievers (Labrador)


Hound Group:                                          Breed Assignments:
Mr. Johan Becerra-Hernandez Basenjis, Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Borzois, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Otterhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos
Mr. James Donahue Afghan Hounds
Ms. Grace M. Fritz Whippets
Mr. D. Scott Pfeil Azawakhs, Cirnechi dell’Etna, Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Sloughis
Mrs. Sheila Polk Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Mr. Richard L. Reynolds American English Coonhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, Foxhound (American), Foxhound (English), Greyhounds, Harriers, Irish Wolfhounds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Plott Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Ms. Sherrill C. Snyder Dachshunds (all varieties)
Mr. Elliott B. Weiss Beagles (both varieties), Scottish Deerhounds


WORKING GROUP:  Breed Assignments:
Mr. Edd Bivin Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Bullmastiffs, Saint Bernards
Mr. Rick Gschwender Akitas, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chinooks, Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Tibetan Mastiffs
Mr. Grace M. Fritz Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs
Mr. Brian Meyer Boerboels, Komondorok, Rottweilers
Ms. Helene Nietsch Dogues de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers, Mastiffs, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Standard Schnauzers
Mr. William P. Shelton Doberman Pinschers, German Pinschers, Samoyeds
Dr. Geno Sisneros Kuvaszok
Mr. Robin Stansell Black Russian Terriers
Mr. William C. Stebbins Boxers, Cane Corsos, Dogos Argentinos, Giant Schnauzers


TERRIER GROUP:    Breed Assignments:
Ms. Kathi Brown American Hairless Terriers, Australian
Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Bull Terriers (colored & white), Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Russell Terriers, Skye Terriers
Mr. Jon R. Cole American Staffordshire Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Mrs. Cindy Meyer Manchester Terriers (Standard), Miniature Schnauzers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
Mr. Richard W. Powell Airedale Terriers, Border Terriers, Fox Terriers (Smooth), Fox Terriers (Wire), Glen of Imaal Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers


TOY GROUP:                                                Breed Assignments:
Mrs. Tammy K. Jackson Brussels Griffons, Chinese Cresteds, Shih Tzus, Toy Fox Terriers
Mr. Douglas Johnson Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Mr. Desmond J. Murphy Poodles (Toy)
Mr. Richard W. Powell Affenpinschers, Toy Manchester Terriers, Silky Terriers
Mr. Johnny R. Shoemaker Havanese, Maltese, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terriers
Dr. Geno Sisneros Toy Spaniels (both varieties), Japanese Chins, Miniature Pinschers, Papillons, Pomeranians
Mrs. Jacqueline L. Stacy Chihuahuas (both varieties), Italian Greyhounds, Pugs


NON-SPORTING GROUP: Breed Assignments:
Mr. James Dalton French Bulldogs
Ms. Grace M. Fritz Löwchens, Shiba Inus, Tibetan Spaniels
Mr. Desmond J. Murphy Bulldogs, Poodles (Miniature & Standard)
Ms. Helene Nietsch American Eskimo Dogs, Chinese Shar-Pei, Dalmatians, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Norwegian Lundehunds, Schipperkes
Mrs. Sheila Polk Xoloitzcuintli
Mr. Timothy S. Robbins Bichon Frises, Boston Terriers, Chow Chows, Coton de Tulear, Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers


HERDING GROUP: Breed Assignments:
Mr. Thomas Coen Belgian Lakenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Miniature American Shepherds, Norwegian Buhunds, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Swedish Vallhunds
Mr. Michael Faulkner Australian Shepherds
Mr. Rick Gschwender Finnish Lapphunds, Old English Sheepdogs
Mr. David J. Kirkland Bearded Collies, Border Collies, Collies (both varieties), Shetland Sheepdogs
Mr. Sam Houston McDonald Berger Picards, Pulik, Pumik, Spanish Water Dogs
Mr. Brian Meyer Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs
Ms. Sheree W. Moses Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Pyrenean Shepherds
Mr. William P. Shelton Australian Cattle Dogs, Beaucerons

*Panel subject to final approval.


About Best in Show judge James A. Moses:

James A. Moses, of Wentsville, Missouri, has been involved with dogs all of his life. His mother bred Miniature Poodles from which Mr. Moses won his very first Best in Show. His father gave him his first dog, a German Shepherd Dog, when he was 9 years old. Mr. Moses finished his first champion by the age of 13, and by 19 handled the number-one dog, all breeds, in Canada. He has handled dogs to over 1,000 Bests in Show.

Over the years, Mr. Moses has been honored to have won some very notable shows, including the AKC Centennial show and the Westminster Kennel Club with Ch. Covy Tucker Hill’s Manhattan. He has handled four dogs in the “100 Club” including the number-one dog of all time, Ch. Altana’s Mystique (275 BIS and 30 BISS). Mr. Moses has handled many other breeds to best in show and specialty wins. In 1999, he was inducted to the Dog Show Hall of Fame.

In addition to handling, Mr. Moses has been the top Herding Group winner with several German Shepherd Dogs he has bred under the Kaleef prefix. The past few years have seen several Kaleef dogs take the Grand Victor honors at the Canadian and U.S. German Shepherd Dog nationals. Mr. Moses’s next chapter in dogs is judging, which he says, “he is thoroughly enjoying.” His love of dogs and the sport has been the focus of his adult life. Mr. Moses is also an avid sportsman and outdoorsman and enjoys balancing breeding, judging, and retirement.


About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Patricia Cruz:

Patricia M. Cruz, of Coram, New York, has been part of the dog world for more than 55 years and currently serves as delegate for the Heart of the Plains Kennel Club. She is a former AKC Field Representative, a member of the Afghan Hound Club of America, and Afghan Hound Club of Long Island. She is also an internationally experienced judge for over 40 years as well as one of the founders of the Owner Handler Association. She has served as an officer and on the Board of the Ladies Kennel Association of America and the Riverhead Kennel Club. She is a former member of the American Kennel Club Board of Directors, and served as Vice Chair of the Board.

Professionally, Patricia is a journalist and Board member of the Dog Writers Association of America. She is the former president of a civilian employee union in one of the largest police departments on the east coast and secretary of a county-wide union representing over 10,000 employees. She also served as sales manager and marketing consultant for radio stations in the number one market in U.S.