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The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2021 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, 2021.

The 2021 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, and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational and the Obedience Classic, with junior events in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Rally.

Leading the charge as Best in Show judge for the 2021 National Championship is Mr. Dana P. Cline of Albany, GA and Mr. Elliott B. Weiss of Novelty, OH 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 will be announced at a later date.

“The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin continues to be a world-class event, and with Dana and Elliott heading the panel, this year will be no different,” said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung. “The 2021 event promises to be an exciting competition for breeders, exhibitors and judges.”

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


SPORTING – Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart – Bowmansville, PA

HOUND – Ms. Pamela Bruce – Ontario, Canada

WORKING – Mr. Norman B. Kenney – Crossroads, TX

TERRIER – Mr. Edd E. Bivin – Ft. Worth, TX

TOY – Mr. James A. Moses – Roswell, GA

NON-SPORTING – Mrs. Susan St. John Brown – Divide, CO

HERDING – Mr. Charles L. Olvis – Lake Wales, FL

MISCELLANEOUS CLASSES – Pamela S. Lambie – Phoenix, AZ


BEST JUNIOR HANDLER – Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen – Yates City, IL

JUNIOR PRELIMS – Miss Kimberly A. Langlands and Jeffrey M. Hanlin, Jr.


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


SPORTING – Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen – Yates City, IL

HOUND – Pamela S. Lambie – Phoenix, AZ

WORKING – Mr. Terry Stacy – Chapel Hill, NC

TERRIER – Mr. Lawrence Cornelius – Palm Springs, CA

TOY – Dr. Gareth Morgan-Jones – Auburn, AL

NON-SPORTING – Mr. Timothy Catterson – New Castle, IN

HERDING – Mrs. Cathy H. Daugherty – Hot Springs, AR



SPORTING GROUP Breed Assignments
Ms. Pluis Davern Barbets, Brittanys, Lagotti Romagnoli, Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes, Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (Clumber), Spaniels (Cocker – all varieties), Spaniels (English Cocker), Spinoni Italiani, Wirehaired Vizslas
Dr. Donald Sturz Jr. Pointers, Pointers (German Wirehaired), Retrievers (Curly Coated), Setters (English), Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
Pamela S. Lambie Pointers (German Shorthaired), Spaniels (English Springer), Weimaraners
Mr. Elliott B. Weiss Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay), Setters (Gordon, Irish & Irish Red and White), Spaniels (Field), Spaniels (Irish Water), Spaniels (Sussex), Spaniels (Welsh Springer)
Mr. Carl Gene Liepmann Retrievers (Flat Coated), Retrievers (Labrador), Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
Mr. Jamie Hubbard Retrievers (Golden)
HOUND GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. Eugene Blake Afghan Hounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, Borzois, Cirnechi dell’Etna, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Harriers, Ibizan Hounds, Otterhounds
Mr. Terry Stacy American English Coonhounds, Foxhound (American), Basset Hounds, Plott Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III Azawakhs, Dachshunds (all varieties), Foxhound (English), Sloughis
Mr. Timothy Catterson Basenjis, Pharaoh Hounds, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds
Mr. Thomas S. Powers Beagles (both varieties), Irish Wolfhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens
Mr. Clay Coady Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Whippets
Mr. Norman B. Kenney Rhodesian Ridgebacks
WORKING GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. Edd E. Bivin Akitas, Black Russian Terriers, Boerboels, Boxers, Chinooks, Newfoundlands
Mrs. Abigail (Abby) S. Patrizio Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs
Mr. William (Bill) P. Shelton Bullmastiffs, Cane Corsos, Great Pyrenees, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Portuguese Water Dogs, Siberian Huskies
Mr. James A. Moses Doberman Pinschers
Mr. Gary K. Newton Dogos Argentinos, Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers, Giant Schnauzers, Komondorok, Kuvaszok, Leonbergers, Standard Schnauzers
Pamela S. Lambie Mastiffs
Mr. Darryl Vice Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Samoyeds, Tibetan Mastiffs
TERRIER GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. Clay Coady Airedale Terriers
Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart American Hairless Terriers, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Manchester Terriers (Standard), Rat Terriers, Sealyham Terriers
Jamie Hubbard American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers (colored & white), Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Russell Terriers, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Mrs. Rosalind Kramer Cairn Terriers
Mr. Elliott B. Weiss Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Fox Terriers (Wire), Miniature Bull Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers
Mrs. Bergit Coady-Kabel Fox Terriers (Smooth), Miniature Schnauzers, Scottish Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
Mr. Thomas S. Powers Glen of Imaal Terriers
Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III Lakeland Terriers
TOY GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. Timothy Catterson Affenpinschers, Biewer Terriers,
Mr. Edd E. Bivin Brussels Griffons, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians
Ms. Lauren A. Payne Chihuahuas (both varieties), Pugs
Mrs. Rosalind Kramer Chinese Cresteds, English Toy Spaniels (both varieties), Japanese Chins, Toy Manchester Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Pekingese
Margaret A. Reed Havanese, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Silky Terriers
Mr. Darryl Vice Italian Greyhounds, Papillons, Toy Fox Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers
Mr. Clay Coady Poodles (Toy)
NON-SPORTING GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. Robin L. Stansell American Eskimo Dogs, Boston Terriers, Coton de Tulear, Keeshonden, Norwegian Lundehunds, Shiba Inus
Mr. Philip Capozzolo Bichon Frises, Bulldogs, Chow Chows, French Bulldogs
Stacey La Forge Chinese Shar-Pei, Finnish Spitz, Lhasa Apsos, Löwchens, Tibetan Terriers
Mr. Norman B. Kenney Dalmatians, Schipperkes, Tibetan Spaniels, Xoloitzcuintli
Mr. Clay Coady Poodles (Miniature & Standard)
HERDING GROUP Breed Assignments
Mr. James A. Moses Australian Cattle Dogs, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Briards, Canaan Dogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Pyrenean Shepherds
Mrs. Nioma Stoner Coen Australian Shepherds
Ms. Minna-Liisa Koltes Bearded Collies, Berger Picards, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Old English Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Swedish Vallhunds
Mr. Robert Stein Beaucerons, Finnish Lapphunds, Norwegian Buhunds, Pulik, Pumik, Shetland Sheepdogs, Spanish Water Dogs
Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen Belgian Lakenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bouviers des Flandres, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs
Mr. Thomas Coen Border Collies, Collies (both varieties), Miniature American Shepherds
Mr. Edd E. Bivin German Shepherd Dogs


*Panel subject to final approval.


About Best in Show judge Mr. Dana P. Cline:

Dana P. Cline, of Albany, GA, received his first Great Dane from his parents in the late 1960’s, and from that moment he knew that he would have a lifetime of involvement with this breed and with dogs.

As a young child he exhibited in 4H, training in both obedience and conformation. He found the dog show world in his teenage years, spending nearly every weekend traveling to shows and helping professional handlers. While his main interest was always in Great Danes, he worked hard to learn about other breeds and to become more active in all breeds. All of his weekends spent at dogs shows eventually led him to a career as a professional handler, where he specialized in Danes and sight hounds, but also handling various other breeds along the way.

Breeding has always been a favorite aspect of this sport for Mr. Cline and he currently breeds and exhibits Tibetan Mastiffs and Italian Greyhounds. He has bred nearly 100 champions in a variety of breeds, primarily Great Danes, but also Borzoi, German Wirehaired Pointers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Beagles, Italian Greyhounds, and Tibetan Mastiffs and is also a Breeder of Merit. He was a long-time member of the Great Dane Club of America and is currently a member of The American Tibetan Mastiff Association.

Mr Cline is an All-Breed Judge. He has judged in a number of foreign countries, multiple National Specialties, as well as many of the country’s top shows. He was also the Recipient of the 2017 AKC Judge of the Year.

About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Mr. Elliott B. Weiss:

Elliott B. Weiss, of Novelty, Ohio, was born in New York City and grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. The very first show he attended was the 1956 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It was love at first sight.

He began exhibiting dogs in 1963, and from 1965 through 1968 he was an apprentice handler to the late Ted Young Jr. Mr. Weiss became a licensed professional handler in 1969. In a 1985 Kennel Review poll, the fancy voted Mr. Weiss among the top 10 handlers of the time. He has owned and bred Cocker Spaniels, Clumber Spaniels, Giant Schnauzers, Pointers, and English Setters. He was a charter member and founding president of the Monticello New York Kennel Club.


Mr. Weiss retired from handling in 1993 and began his judging career the following year. He is approved to judge Best in Show; Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting groups; and several additional breeds from the Working and Herding groups. He judged Best in Show in 2018 and the Terrier group in 2020 at the AKC National Championship. Mr. Weiss owns, exhibits, and occasionally breeds English Setters under the Wyndswept banner.