Adhering To The Highest Journalistic Standards
Poll RESULTS / Ballot Comments
AKC should require judges to be on probation, suspension or removed after repeated exhibitor complaints. Additionally, Parent Clubs should have some say when there is a question of knowledge of breed standards. In fact, final determination for initial approval should require a meeting with Parent Club mentors to insure adequate breed knowledge. Open book tests are insufficient! Virginia O’Connor
Yes ... I have seen several Judges that were unable to perform their duties, one forgot continually what class they were working on, and tried time and time again to give Breed and Best Opposite Sex to the same sex animal. The whole time the poor steward was trying to help and the Judge got mad at him!! Marge Bakken
Our obligation MUST be to the sport and the exhibitors who make it all possible; we should not be a welfare club for former handlers and judges no longer able to function. However, the process must be administered properly and with respect and sensitivity for such elder judges. Dr. Gerry Meisels
Yes ... Too many older judges form too close a friendship with the exhibitors that they are judging and their opinion gets muddled with this. Larry Mullin
Just last weekend we had a Judge who was elderly and seemed to have no interest whatsoever in examining our breed. It was obvious that he would rather be somewhere else. We pay good money for our two minutes and the Judge could at least give us the courtesy of a look. Glynis Littlewood
There comes a time in life for everyone that they are no longer capable of doing their best job - in any career. Larry W.
GROSSLY UNFAIR---what about the elegant great elderly judge from Ft Worth, TX who is in her 90's? Glenda A Schroeder
When a judge's performance has deteriorated to the point that canes, walkers and wheel-chairs have to be used, they should no longer be allowed to judge in a ring. Not all show dogs are trained to be "therapy dogs" this is unfair, especially to the younger exhibits. These judges should use their vast experience in a seminar environment, not the show ring. Barb Bishop.
I stewarded for (name withheld) and she couldn't even see the judge's book … I had to point out the right places for her to mark it. She was unable to tell one breed from the next, and would repeatedly ask me what breed was in the ring. AKC needs to be more pro-active about promoting the younger judges and encouraging elderly judges to step down gracefully before they become an embarrassment to the sport. L.C.
With the ever rising costs of showing, exhibitors should not be asked to humor AKC by paying for the opinions of judges who are not competent -- regardless of age. I think after a certain number of complaints, there should be a "competency hearing" … This would have nothing to do with age. A couple of weeks ago I showed to a judge well into her 80s. She did a fine job in my breed and the only complaints I heard about her during the day were the usual...from people who didn't win! Sharyn Hutchens
It is not just fair but in the best interest of some elderly judges’ health. Diane Simmons
A judge who has trouble getting around should not be in the ring actually judging. Only reason being in toys they can scare our dog. They should still be allowed to mentor, give advice, or teach other judges. Sandra Saldivar
When a judge is too elderly or infirm to fairly evaluate dogs for a full day of judging they should resign. Possibly just a holiday until well, possibly forever. With the cost of entries, gas, motels, etc. it is unfair to ask an exhibitor to pay for an opinion which may well be compromised. Those judges should be the ones mentoring. Tam C.
Asked to retire. When they are propped up against a table to go over the dog, it's time. Marilyn Marshall
I've seen judges not know what the breed was that they were judging, ask for puppies in the breed class, etc. They need to step down! Pam W.
It wouldn't be too bad if the exhibitors knew these judges had to judge on a ramp, out of a chair, etc. I had a judge fall on my dog in the ring, then use the dog’s back to help himself up. Thankfully I have a stable dog but that could have ruined a dog or gotten the judge bitten. Mastiff breeder
Went under ___ and was sorely disappointed. He could not examine the dogs, could not get a good idea of their gait from his vantage point, etc. During judging of the toy group, he sat on the grooming table with his back to the dog while the handler set it up, then turned to examine the dog. It unnerved some of the dogs, to say the least. Very unfair. Also not very impressive to any newcomers to the sport!! S. W.
… require a judge to retire if the AKC determines that judge unable to perform. My question is this; what kind of “sensible formulae” does the AKC have in place to confirm that there is a problem? The same goes for those judges that may be younger and in good health but exhibit lack of knowledge about the dogs they are judging; not to mention those judges that play political games. Rose Alvey
You’ve answered the question in your own summary: “Or is it unfair to require someone who has been so devoted to the sport to just “go away” because they can no longer do a good job?” If, indeed, they can no longer judge, why should they be permitted to do so simply because of “devotion to the sport.” Dan Felitus
As a Physical Therapist, I have observed many physically impaired judges who are no longer able to thoroughly examine particularly the coated breeds not shown on a table. They barely bend or reach to examine … and are less able to move about the ring to get the best view of the dog as it moves. This is unfair to the exhibitors and the dogs, and unfortunately tends to give the impression the judge is disinterested, which is not the case at all. ... many people complain, "He barely touched my dog" while I observed the judge limping with a sore back or stiff knee. He COULDN'T bend to examine the dog! And while most of the judges I know are very professional in their attitudes, it is an unavoidable fact that pain and discomfort does create distraction from a task, even for an experienced judge. Their years of experience can well be put to use in training and teaching, writing and mentoring. We should be celebrating their many years of valuable service to the fancy. Janet Mines
It is unfortunate, but aging is a fact of life. Our judges hold the future of purebred dogs in their hands and continually rewarding undesirable specimens can't help but be detrimental to our sport. I will gladly participate in any way possible in the search for a solution. Linda Timmerman
I am a judge and if I don't have the good sense to quit, I think my lack of ability to perform my job should be resolved by the judges committee. I worked for an important attorney for years. He was a self made man and worked hard to put himself through school and build a successful law firm. He wouldn't quit ... I noticed in court one day that he was having trouble remembering his clients' names. The court was making jokes and laughing at him. His peers should have stepped up to help this man ease into retirement. So, in all walks of life we are comfortable with the tasks we master and it is hard to give up our life's goals and accomplishments but there is a point that someone has to step in and help us let go. At a certain age each AKC judge should be evaluated and decision rendered. We have had judges drop dead at our shows. Traveling these days takes a toll on a person ... (name withheld)
Judging ability should be based on the confidence of peers. It should not be based on age or health issues. Barbara H.
I have experienced judges having to lean on my dogs and in one instance my dog collapsed under the weight of a judge not able to stand on his own. As a judge myself I also realize the difficult decision for an older judge not capable of doing a good job to step down themselves. Edy
Yes, I have seen far too many incapacitated judges in the ring. You should know your limitations and tell the slate giving club to only schedule you for the amount of dogs that is a comfortable level for you. That is a way you can stay in the game longer. Sherrill C. Snyder
I remember one judge several years ago (who) between breeds who needed to use the restroom. He was gone an awful long time....members of the Club searched and found him wandering around...he had gotten disoriented and was actually lost. The same judge, put up my American Eskimo Dog as Winners Bitch and Best Opposite but a friend of mine had a far better female. The judge thought that bitch was a male. (His) bitch went on to win Best of Breed at WESTMINSTER! Cherylee A. Ask
I believe in requiring judges to step down! One judge got so confused, picked the same sex for BOB and BOS and then went on to give out the wrong ribbon. The ring steward had to fix everything. We all ended up not really knowing who she actually picked for BOB! Doreen Dysert
Why allow them to embarrass themselves? I have seen some judges with loads of experience and knowledge just not be able to adequately judge and it is demeaning to them. Perhaps one thing would be to assign an apprentice to do some of the hands on work and allow them to continue as long as mentally able. Sharon Roble
... both older judges with health issues and younger incompetent judges should be asked to resign. I say this as a judge and as an exhibitor for 30 years. I would have wanted my money back if a judge showed up to judge my dog from a wheelchair. Exhibitors deserve a competent, able bodied and able minded judge to evaluate their animals. What is the point of the entire procedure if the person passing judgment is not competent, either because of age or whatever other reason? Three complaints and you're out. Just my opinion. Susan P.
… judges who are no longer physically competent to handle a ring for a day can contribute to our knowledge by writing, videotaping, and other means. Certainly we need their knowledge. On-the-day doesn't help the many who are not there on-the-day. Help these judges to offer their experience and knowledge throughout the world via the marvelous communication mechanisms available now. Rogel
I will have to say yes, as I have witnessed this myself recently and it was embarrassing watching a once good judge do a somewhat senile job in the ring and have no awareness of how inept he was. Ellen M.
I have had judges use my dog to support themselves when examining. I have had judges fall on my dog (Mastiff) while trying to examine them. I have been to National Specialties where the judge was physically not able to examine the dogs. It is disappointing to me as an exhibitor (of 20 years) to get to a show and not have quality judging--which means a judge that is physically able to examine a dog. Surely AKC can find a nitch for those very experienced, but physically unable, judges to pass along their wealth of judging skills to newer judges who often need a mentor to keep from getting lost in their judging. Perhaps, those experienced judges could act as evaluators for provisional judges. It would make use of their experience without cheating the exhibitor of an honest evaluation of their dog. Caroline Tobin
It is difficult to accept when the judge has stated "I don't see so well " or is unable to stand through judging process, or seems to hurry judging to just get-through- the assignment. The exhibitor has no recourse to a less than satisfactory decision. It is too expensive with fees, travel, and lodging to have to go home knowing the judge was not able or capable of giving a fair evaluation. Why should a judge have privileges that private industry would not condone? Leona Domino
Yes, as disappointing as it is to show to some favorite old timers. Even harder to explain to the novice that you encouraged to enter that the judge use to have an eye for a good dog, now they are just going thru the motions of judging and not really giving a Darn about what they put up.. this is from a 40 plus show person and breeder of over 125 champion show dogs. Lita Long
I'm a 70 year old judge and when I can no longer perform in the ring, I won't wait for you to ask me to quit. When judging is no longer fun, then its time to hang it up. When offered assignments I don't want or like, I just say no. Rex
Give them a gold watch when their time is up; invite them to mentor or educate in their breed or in the ways of ring procedure. Don't, however, allow them to stay past the day when they can no longer be FAIR to the exhibitors. If they can't stop on their own, then AKC needs to protect the sport - it CAN be done gently and graciously. Cheri McNealy
I have shown under judges that clearly were not up to the mental task of keeping the dogs straight. I have had a judge leave for several breaks while we were in the ring and just left standing. I have watched a female judge nod off in her chair while the dog was on the table. A very renown but sick judge did a national specialty and picked his winners when he had failed to judge the other half of the class. It all had to be done over. Yes, judges that are not up to the task should step down. J.P.
If AKC is going to approve judges, it should also remove the approval if it is clear that the judge is unable to do his/her job. My club hired one of these judges last year, the judge was not able to examine the dogs. I think the honorable thing for the judge to have done was refuse the assignment or let us know they were sick and unable to do the work. Jo K.
I do believe judges as in any job, when they no longer can do a full days work needs to step down. I see so many that lean on the dogs to hold themselves up, have to sit in chairs to judge, need wheelchairs, (then we hear) how they HATE judging anymore. They should step down or someone step in and say its time. Lily
When a judge can not stand upright during his assignment or ring stewards must assist the judges to keep them from getting lost in the class or breed they are judging, it is time for the AKC representatives to acknowledge and provide unbiased report to the judges department. Judges of any age who are poorly judging should be put on hold for that breed and seek additional breed education. Bad judges or biased handler judging (should) be censured. How it could be accomplished I am not sure. It is frustrating to see a less than superior specimen being awarded ribbons by someone who doesn't care about the improvement of the breed and are in the ring to just pick up a pay check. Ruth Ann Ford
You should separate health issues from the retirement age (such as 80/85), and that age should be established by our present Judges, and should be a part of the contract when we apply for a judging license. This would eliminate any future problems. This rule, if it is established, would apply for all new and established judges. Mary Sadler
Peter Gaeta does not feel that a judge who cannot walk should judge. A judge who uses a wheel chair, a scooter or needs to sit while judging is incapable of judging in his opinion. Physical disabilities have little effect on the brain and watching dogs move from a sitting position gives a better view than a judge gets from a standing position. Esme Treen
Please.... when they can no longer stand in the ring on their own, retire them with their dignity. Lyndell Ackerman
Judges should keep or lose their licenses based on their knowledge and their ability to be impartial. Individual clubs will choose the judges who have the highest "draws" (despite a handicap) whether or not they can effectively perform their duties. This is called the law of supply and demand. The AKC should revoke a judge's license based on legitimate grounds (complaints, payoffs, favoritism, lack of knowledge etc) NOT on age or physical limitations. Michael Winski
Without (exhibitors) there would be no shows. Therefore, in my humble opinion, if the day arrives that a judge is incapable of rendering a fair decision to these folks, then, yes they should step down. Van Kirk
It is unfair to exhibitors and dogs when judges are in conveyances and walkers or cannot really even see the dogs except at very close range. I have ring stewarded for judges that were so senile they got lost in their procedure. As exhibitors we are expected to abide by all the rules and are penalized by judges for any number of things. The same should hold true for them. Patrick Byrne
Yes, I believe judges should be asked to retire with dignity BUT not just based on one AKC rep report or disgruntled exhibitor. name withheld
In my over 40 years in the sport, I have seen revered judges who refuse to resign and become incompetent (not to mention incontinent), to the point where exhibitors are actually embarrassed for them. Wouldn't it be better for these dedicated people to be remembered as being great judges and/or breeders, wonderful mentors and advisors, instead of our last memory of them being as doddering embarrassments to themselves and others? In my opinion, there is no glory in that scenario nor is there dignity and grace. Judges who insist on judging in walkers, from wheel chairs, or sitting down in a chair and having the exhibitors bring their exhibits "chair side", do neither themselves or the sport any favors. I think clubs do these people a disservice when they hire them on past accomplishments and AKC does them no favors in allowing them to continue. Carol Williams
If the judge is physically or mentality unable to do a day’s job of judging dogs … we must find a way of using their past knowledge in helping new judges. Vincent G. Mulligan
If they can’t perform, they should step down. Nelson Huber
When the steward has to point to the proper square or line in the judges book and whisper in his/her ear what to write, it's time to get a reserved seat at ringside and be afforded the respect they deserve for a life well lived. Consult and honor then as Elder States-people, invite them to the judges dinner/lunch at their local shows, say their names prior to Best in Show judging and honor them as pillars of the sport, but there is a time when their decision making capabilities wane, and it's time to step down with dignity. Gayle Roberson
Yes, they should be asked to step down when they can no longer SEE, or get around the ring to judge. Jerri Miller
I've known many judges that should be made to resign due to age---these are the same judges that seem to get lost in the ring, go to the steward to look in the catalog to see which dogs are entered just prior to making their decision. I hope that AKC passes this. Kim Mann
I have been an exhibitor and breeder of standard poodles since 1979. While I too have seen judges "lose their place" in the ring, we do owe them the kindness of soliciting their extensive knowledge and putting it to good use in a less public way than in the middle of the ring. ... Perhaps there is a gentle way to keep older or infirm judges involved in the sport of purebred dogs. For many of these people, it has been their life, and to exclude them from this world would be a death sentence. Since AKC is now requiring show-giving Clubs to perform various public service related activities, how about having AKC "require" all senior judges over a certain age to attend X number of shows per year as mentors to provisionals or to those exhibitors who wish a consultation (for a fee??) if they wanted to retain their license? This would keep judges involved and feeling wanted, and could provide an invaluable source of knowledge and experience to the fancy at large. If judges didn't wish to participate in the program, then they would be saying that their licensing was no longer important to them. This way, the decision is really theirs. Mary Yeakey
No... A numerical number does not address a judges abilities. Some people are keen and sharp up until the end. Why deny them the right to judge and the exhibitors the right to the judge's opinion. If a judge becomes incapable of judging, the exhibitors will catch on via the "grapevine". Entries will drop until finally either clubs or the judge get the message. Gini Denninger
There are some young judges out there that should be asked to step down. If the judge feels he can't do it anymore, then let him/her say they can't. I don't think AKC (can tell) judges what their physical or mental states should be when they judge. Rebecca Trollinger
There are many new judges who do not have near the experience or qualifications of older judges. We are quickly losing our sport due to NOT USING many of the seasoned judges. Judges should decide when they are no longer capable of presiding in the ring. Why not weed out some of the newer judges that are currently doing a poor job? Katie Gammill
… As an HR person, it is discriminating to ask a judge to resign because of physical problems without first trying to be reasonably accommodating, which is covered under the American Disabilities Act. If a judge is able to perform his/her job with a wheelchair, a brace or other assistance, I am sure the dogs will learn to accept the situation. Madeleine Perl
Let the size of the entry tell a judge if s/he is considered competent by the exhibitors. Conversely, it should be a responsibility of all exhibitors to stop entering under judges they deem incompetent. In general, I am tired of the lack of respect towards older people. Our nation is wasting the experience and wisdom of our older population. Wendy Miller
Unfair. Not all people age at the same rate. Physical handicaps? Most people learn to work around them. If a person in a wheelchair can be an exhibitor -- then why not a judge? The brain and eyes are not impaired. Suzanne Hively
... it is a shame to let their knowledge and experience just be put on a shelf. In the past AKC has overlooked many illnesses and handicaps and just let the judges keep judging. I think as long as people are willing to show and take advantage of the vast experience of these "elder statesmen" they should go on judging. Maxine Rader
Age should not be the deciding factor. Irrationality and infirmity SHOULD be a basis to urge them to retire. But clubs can make that decision when it comes time to choose judges. Fred Lanting
Should a judges mental and/or physical capabilities become notably impaired, assign-ments and entries will reflect same. Allow judges to decide whether they should continue to judge dogs or not, and if unable to do so, then by default the fancy will decide. Lynn Ely
I hate to see a judge asked to stop judging ... AKC should come up with another level of participation for judges they believe are no longer able to fulfill the role of judging. After all, exhibitors will quit entering under a judge if they stop respecting the judge’s opinion of the dogs, and that will be a sign to the judge to move into another area of dog shows, rather than being asked to step down. I personally would still enter under Marcia Foy, as I like her as a person, and respect her as a judge. Connie Blanken
Judging ability should be based on the confidence of peers. It should not be based on age or health issues. Barbara Haupt
I think we should err on the side of the judge and allow them to decide when the time has come. I think most of us are capable of making that decision and barring something cata-strophic, we should be given that opportunity Marci Forrester
Your question is not (well) worded ... talks about "how many complaints to the AKC should it take to have any judge looked at" and that is the important aspect not age or illness. I want incompetent judges removed from the ranks. Not people I lose under but those who have no idea of what they are doing. Honestly I don't see many of them but I've seen a few in the last 12 years. – Hassebroek
Incompetent judges should be removed or asked to resign regardless of age. Physical challenges or simply advanced age is not sufficient reason to ask a judge to resign. Ability to do the job required should be the only criteria. Anne Copeland
Judging the quality of a dog in the show ring only requires that the judge can SEE and TOUCH the dog. He need not do a back flip or a somersault. As a breeder of show dogs I would much rather show to someone with the experience and vast depth of knowledge that years of judging brings---no natter what his or her condition-----rather than a very healthy fool. – unsigned
I am in charge of hiring judges and wonder if the AKC were to request retirement for a judge I hired … or revoke judging approval … Who absorbs that additional cost? Perhaps the AKC should poll the exhibitors that have shown to a particular judge in the last six months re (incompetency) because there is a tendency to view someone who is physically challenged as mentally challenged as well. If the AKC chooses to arbitrarily require a judge to resign, (it) should be responsible for any loss or inconvenience to the clubs that have hired the judge and find some way to use the knowledge and compensate the fired judge. ... many judges are dependent on the additional income from judging so it truly seems a shame that there cannot be some help to these judges for their many years of support to the AKC dog game. Judges have invested a considerable amount ... to meet the AKC's requirements to judge each breed Is there any other way to recap that investment for a judge than to judge? Is this age of discrimination, will any of the judges seek legal action? This will be more cost to our AKC if they must defend … and with the financial concerns the corporation is always talking about, should they consider a policy that may have to be defended legally? Finally, are these elderly judges being supported by the fancy? Many of the new judges ... will be looking (these policies) in the face sooner than they may realize. Obviously, the jury is still out as to whether the AKC cares about these senior judges they are about to relieve from what may be the brightest, most stimulating activity in their lives ...and so the AKC becomes like too many corporations of this time...loyal only to themselves with little care about those who have supported them mentally, physically and financially for the last 50+ years. Carolyn Herbel
Market forces would eventually solve the problem of a judge that cannot keep up or is obviously under great stress due to poor health. Age should definitely not be a factor since in today's world age is such a variable from individual to individual. JR Bonne
The elderly judges have far too much know-ledge and experience to just cast them aside. I think each judge should be able to decide for themselves as long as they can still pass an eyesight check. Karen Sandvold
I go out of my way to show to the older AKC judges. Judges with less than 10 years experience have not seen how my particular breed has diversified through the years and do not appreciate or reward a dog that is true to type, but is not the current winning "style". I not only hear of this problem with my breed, but with many others. By forcing the elderly judges into retirement, we will lose those that are the most knowledgeable; paving the way for even more poor judging. Tracey Johnston
These are two distinct issues: just because a judge is "elderly" is not a reason to step down; health issues are a separate matter. Marilyn Burdick
These are truly oldies-but-goodies who, unquestionably, know a good dog. Not like so many of today's younger judges who were former handlers and just judge the people end of the lead. Gloria
All of us have had a bad time or two when we are judging, so as long as it is temporary then that is ok but if you are having problems permanently then it is time to resign. We all know judges that are not doing the job because of bad health or not remembering. In that case it could be suggested that they may be better suited in another area for their knowledge instead of judging. In a lot of older people that is all they have that will keep them alive … being involved in some way or another. On the other side of it why are the clubs hiring the judges that can not do the job? In the long run it is up to the clubs as well. So where do you draw the line; the judges who are no longer doing their job or the clubs that are asking them to judge? Doreen Gordin
What kind of criteria are they going to use? It will split the fancy, I guarantee you. This is the last thing we need right now! We are trying like heck to pull together and something like this will just give the ARist's movement more fuel. Solution: If people don't like a judge, don't hire them for your club shows and don't show under them. Thelma Garcia
I would rather have the considered opinion of a well qualified, experienced member of the fancy from a wheelchair that the less experienced and sometimes totally incompetent opinions of many of the healthy! There are a number of judges who SHOULD be asked to resign based on the lack of a proper temperament to adjudicate -- and other reasons. But don't throw your best out because of age or infirmity. Laura Frizzell-Salomon
If a judge can go over dogs and see the dog move then I don’t see a problem. If they need to sit or hold on to something to judge, I see no problem. We need these judges’ knowledge in this sport. Mary A. Wiest
At minimum, judges should be required to retest and submit documentation of recent eye exams, etc. after a certain age - say 75. Robert Urban
TheDogPlace.org for authoritative free DogCare information
If you breed or show dogs, get your news at TheDogPress.com
TheJudgesPlace.com especially for Judges, professional and owner handlers.