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"I like Daffy" Moderator
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I was asked in another thread about the changes in the people involved in breeding and showing American show lines. I think the biggest, and worst, change is the evolution of the professional handler. In the old days (70's and 80's) an owner could usually show their own dog and have success doing it, even in the specialty ring. Kids, such as myself at the time, were asked to show puppies and novice dogs. A professional handler was often hired as a breeder/exhibitor aged and was unable to make all of those big circles. Handlers would show and promote a stud dog, including showing the progeny of that dog.

Now days, with the 12 ft leashes and the huge rings, it is very difficult to be competitve showing your own dog. The handlers charge high prices, and only the well off can afford them. So now instead of a family setting, the exhibitor pool is getting older. Young handlers are not coming to the sport because they are not given a chance by either judges or exhibitors. And with the "instant gratification" need of many, they are not willing to start at the bottom and work their way up.

More tomorrow.
 

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That's a pretty valid point. I notice most of the handlers at conformation shows (on TV anyway) are older.
 

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I feel like a lot of times I see the same handlers over and over, is it kind of like horse jockeys, where owners hire them...or do I sometimes just see the same show more than once? Haha
 

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I feel like a lot of times I see the same handlers over and over, is it kind of like horse jockeys, where owners hire them
People hire them, and continue to go to the same people they are comfortable with and have had success with.

The pool is getting older. When Jon and I go to a show, unless there are juniors, we are the youngest ones in attendance, and we're in our mid 20's
 

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I think there is real validity to this point. I was reading Barbara A.s interview and she mentioned that what is mostly needed now is the ability to write a check. People are often not personally involved in the exhibition of their dog.

I think this makes the activity a lot less appealing to many people who might otherwise participate.

Jimmy M., in his recent interview, noted that if the current trend continues the only one's who will be gathered at a German Shepherd show ring are he and few old friends.
 

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Where are Jimmy's numbers to make a statement like that!!!??? I learned on this forum you can't make statements like that even if they are true without numbers to support the statement....LOL
Seriously, If these things are affecting the ring that much, let me pose a question.
"What is the responsibility of the Judge....to put up the best dog or put up the best presentation????
 

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Let's make this a threesome....should it be the best dog?, or the best presentation, or the best handler, ?????
What seems to be the trend these days and what's the thinking of the Judges????
 

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One of the reasons I like UKC over AKC...they look at the dog
 

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Yes it is suppose to be the best dog and barring the politics involved there is going to be influence (conscious or unconscious) when Jimmy or Clint or any other top handler comes in the ring. Somewhere in the judges mind is 'he wouldn't bring a bad dog into the ring'. I don't think the handler should have anything to do with it...it's a 'dog' show, but unfortunately I think it does. Even though there are standards it's still subjective and there are often politics involved. Sometimes the best dog wins and sometimes it doesn't.
 

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"I like Daffy" Moderator
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Discussion Starter #11
In my experience judges try to judge the dogs, BUT outside influences can color their choices. After all, judges are people too and have their preferences. If Judge A prefers a dark dog, and Handler X can have his choice of dogs to show, desn't it make sense that Handler X will choose to show the best dark dog in his stable? Handlers tend to do better than owners in the all-breed ring because they show more, have better insite into the judges' preferences, and can pick and choose dogs for a particular show or weekend.
 

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I think the best dog should win. But, if there is not a large difference in quality, then the presentation is going to matter. Should it? I think that to a degree yes.. if the dog is not well trained and does not present well, it perhaps should lose that round.

I have heard that some judges tend to put up certain handler's dogs. Some people do look at that when entering if they feel a certain handler will be favored. It does seem that "being known" as a pro handler may have its benefits at times. Now, that can not be proven.

It also appears sometimes that who owns the dog may be a factor. Back scratching is rumored to happen also.

Are these things real or just the grumblings of dissastisfied exhibitors? Who knows?
 

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I think the best dog should win. But, if there is not a large difference in quality, then the presentation is going to matter. Should it? I think that to a degree yes.. if the dog is not well trained and does not present well, it perhaps should lose that round.

I have heard that some judges tend to put up certain handler's dogs. Some people do look at that when entering if they feel a certain handler will be favored. It does seem that "being known" as a pro handler may have its benefits at times. Now, that can not be proven.

It also appears sometimes that who owns the dog may be a factor. Back scratching is rumored to happen also.

Are these things real or just the grumblings of dissastisfied exhibitors?
I know someone that shows Pugs and she said that it is common. :(
 

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I think the best dog should win. But, if there is not a large difference in quality, then the presentation is going to matter. Should it? I think that to a degree yes.. if the dog is not well trained and does not present well, it perhaps should lose that round.

I have heard that some judges tend to put up certain handler's dogs. Some people do look at that when entering if they feel a certain handler will be favored. It does seem that "being known" as a pro handler may have its benefits at times. Now, that can not be proven.

It also appears sometimes that who owns the dog may be a factor. Back scratching is rumored to happen also.

Are these things real or just the grumblings of dissastisfied exhibitors? Who knows?
Here's the quandary: I have a very definite opinion on the subject. Do I voice it here, and risk having it get back to the people who are in a position to say, "Oh yeah? See if YOU ever win a big event!"

At one regional event I attended, the judge went on and on about how he broke into the sport at the host club, all the good times he had there, etc. What a coincidence...nobody who wasn't a member of that club placed higher than fifth. And I'm not having sour grapes; by any objective measure, my dog's performance in one phase was awful. But in the one phase he always does well in, I could tell by the looks on the spectator's faces that they thought he was full of, er, "what I have to go clean up in the back yard." :D
 

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So say if Judges preference, handler, or presentation are the reasons a dog is put up over a superior specimen. I would think that dogs that win in the ring would get more breedings and thus have more influence on the breed than dogs that don't win. Now it would seem to me that Judge's preference, handlers, and presentation won't pass genetically to the puppies. So over time will this practice have a negative impact on the breed? or does it not really mean much?
ps I think that in europe in which I know more about it seems that Judge's preference,(color), and breeder kennels, seem to impact winning.
I'm trying to figure out if this is beneficial or not to the breed?
 

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I think an interesting fix would be to have all owners show their own dogs in the ring...eliminate the professional handlers. (because unemployment isn't high enough :eek:)

Seriously, I've always thought that part of what makes the GSD unique is it's loyalty and willingness to work for their "master". Might as well put master in the ring with the dog and see how they do.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Until health issues made it impossible for me to show my GSD's, I often put points on my dogs and would even take dogs back in for my handler if she won more than one class.





I really miss being able to show my own dogs -- that is why I got the Schipperke. It gave me a dog to show. But if we limited dog shows to just owner handlers, there would still be politics. That is the nature of people. It exists in some Schutzhund clubs as well -- dogs not bought from club members are not welcome.

And Cliff -- just because a dog does a lot of winning does not mean he will sire a bunch of puppies and have a large impact on the breed. Tag had 102 Best of Breed wins and 25 group placings, but only sired 2 litters, one of which was on my bitch.
 

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One of the reasons I like UKC over AKC...they look at the dog
While I have no ring experience yet, this is why I would only want to show in the UKC ring.

United Kennel Club: About UKC
At the bottom of the page.

"Events and Activities. Our event emphasis is on the owner-handler and breeder, and their dogs. The environment is friendly, open, fun, educational and competitive. While maintaining a degree of difficulty to preserve the integrity of the degree, UKC events and titles are attainable accomplishments for the amateur trainer and handler.

UKC events are, to a great degree, devoid of the pressure and disappointment experienced in similar events provided by competitive organizations. UKC encourages the owner/handler philosophy to aid in the growth and bond between owners and their dogs. This is proven over and over in the success and growth of our events across the country."
 

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Judges are people and people are subjective and wherever there are people there is(are?) politics. If you don't go into showing with that in mind your disappointments will be compounded.
 

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I understand your point, by your example you gave, I guess I am curious again if you are staing the exception or the norm. I'm curious if we were to look at the ROM's in the country, how many would be from bigtime winners and how many would be from less significant dogs in terms of winning.
I know in Germany the SV lists the dogs who are getting the most breedings, and it seems that the VA dogs do better than the other V dogs in the showring. :confused:
 
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