Connie Barton, Invisible Icon
Ms. Constance Barton, AKC Field Rep, Multi-Group judge, an icon to “the way it was” died as she lived, with strength and dignity, nearly unnoticed by the fancy.
November 2013 | TheDogPress
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
Connie Barton passed away at her home in Winchester, Virginia on Thursday, October 17, 2013. She entered the sport in the early 1950s. Dobermans were her first breed although she is also thought of as a Lab breeder due to extraordinary management of the Springfield Labrador kennels in the 60s, earning them the distinction of becoming not only the largest kennel in the U.S. but one of the most respected.
Barton then became the second woman to work as an AKC “Field Rep” and she did so with great knowledge and authority for sixteen years. When Ms. Barton intervened in any situation, not even the old timers questioned her. Novices were awed by her very presence, and rightly so.
Ms. Constance Barton served (ruled) the SE region, now divided into Division 3 and 4. There were always tales to be told about Connie and most of them were true. Connie loved dogs and poker.
At the 1985 Knoxville shows I had a Miniature Bull Terrier puppy on the arm at the group rings. He was the first litter from our imports and he had drawn a crowd, among them All-Breed judge Tip Tipton. The buzz drew the AKC Rep and silence fell as Connie, arms crossed over her chest, looked at me sternly and said “BJ. No un-entered dogs on the show grounds.” I replied meekly “I’m sorry, I’ll put him away. I’m trying to get the breed recognized so this baby can be shown in this building next year.” She didn’t crack a smile, just nodded. That evening she stopped by our motor home on the way to her car and the breed had gained another supporter.
She was an avid poker player and in late afternoons, having gotten the show “straightened out” Connie was known to take a break in the privacy of a certain motor home. Bill and I were not part of that “trusted friends” group but over the years, we became good friends with Connie. Her loss is felt by us all for she was to everyone in the heyday of dog shows, a quiet but forceful legend. She represented all that the AKC stood for.
Constance Barton judged Best in Show, all Sporting, Hound, Working and Terrier breeds. She was nominated for AKC’s 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Barton judged Best in Show at the 2002 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and in 2008, she officiated over the Westminster Kennel Club’s Working Group.
TheJudgesPlace.com interviewed Connie Barton in May 2011. As always, she was outspoken and to the point. We refer you to that interview again because words of wisdom never die. Connie Barton 2011 Interview