Recently I was ring stewarding for a provisional judge in Staffords who proceeded to excitedly tell me she was mentored at a Specialty show by a well known UK judge. I know. I was there. It was my own bitch who was used as the hands on for her mentorship. My bitch titled that day.
HOWEVER this judge completely didnt hear what was being told to her and she misunderstood what she absorbed and now repeats that incorrect information proudly. Watching her judge recently I can see how she is now applying what she thought she heard instead of the correct information DESPITE myself and others correcting her.
Now I know that some breeders and even some breeder judges with decades of experience STILL have no clue what they are doing yet they hold steadily to their opinions. I calmly presented facts to show her where she was wrong in her misunderstanding. I even showed her what that judge was trying to teach her using a Stafford who was ringside.
If you choose to accept assignments to judge Staffords PLEASE learn how to interpret our breed standard! We provide so much material and information that there is no excuse not to learn more. There are many SBTCA approved mentors who are willing to help you. We have books and materials for this purpose and we offer seminars. If you need to brush up – we encourage this! Please do not stop listening and learning once you get AKC approval. Its no wonder so many of us simply dont enter under all rounders. Whats the point?
If you are like this judge and act as if you know more than I know and you STILL get it wrong, then you will find yourself with a mostly empty ring come time to judge Staffords. Actually, no. I take that back. You will find yourself with a ring filled with pets and handlers. Maybe thats what you want – to be a judge of the mediocre. A judge of the average. A judge of the generic. I think the generic dogs do more winning because its easier to award a generic showdog than to learn the specifics of a breed.
Look, I will say what others are thinking – Usually pro handlers show mediocre generic well trained dogs. In this breed, a wash-and-show breed, the pro almost never has the better dog but it usually does show more generically and it is usually very well trained. We are not judging statues!
This last year there were more owners and breeders showing their own Staffords who reached the top 20. In my opinion this is a fantastic move forward for the breed. I would love to see all Staffords shown by their owners and breeders. There are very few reasons not to. We dont require hours of grooming and the breed is so easy to train. I know many peoples jobs do not allow them to travel enough to campaign dogs and this is likely the best reason to hire a handler to help you – but when you are able to take time off from your work show your own dog. The pleasure you will receive from a placement will be immensely more gratifying than getting a text Sunday night with a rundown on your placements on that circuit and a hefty invoice to pay as well.
All breed judges please LISTEN to us, the passionate breeders who show our own dogs and who also became Stafford judges! Many of us know a lot and want to share our passion with you! We want to see good examples in your group rings. We want the nice Staffords to get the recognition they deserve. We want the respect of the dog show community by earning it – showing great Staffords who exemplify the standard.