Dogs In Review Magazine October 2016 - Page 49

EE: I have had many positive judging experiences in so many countries that it is difficult to hold up just a few. In general, I prefer to judge in the UK, as this is where the sport has its roots, and the British still have both numbers and quality in many breeds. This being said, I think that the best US national specialties can rival the best dog shows anywhere in the world. The Skokloster sighthound show in Sweden used to be a unique experience, and I have much enjoyed my appointments there. My appointments at Westminster, Morris & Essex, Del Valle, KC of Philadelphia, Santa Barbara and the AKC Invitational have been very memorable, and Crufts is always very special, of course. But if I were to pick just one appointment that st ood out from the rest, it would have to be judging all Groups and BIS at Leeds 2014, Leeds being one of my favorite shows anyway. Judging BIS at the UK Houndshow was another very memorable appointment. Espen Engh awarding BOB at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2011 to the Borzoi MBIS MSBIS Am. GCh.P Can. Ch. Aashtoria Wildhunt Hidden Agenda, handled by Stuart McGraw. In 2017, Espen will be judging at WKC for the third time. DOGSinREVIEW.com JOHN ASHBEY 46 AS: Many claim that they judge dogs differently in the breed than at Group or Best in Show level. How do you approach evaluating dogs in the breed ring, and is it any ENGH, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 different from when you judge them in the finals? encountered the most remarkable dedication and willingness EE: Yes, I do approach the dogs slightly differently at Group to make sacrifices in order to keep or breed dogs, a thirst for and Best in Show level. I never take into account what a dog knowledge that I have rarely found in my part of the world. may look like in the Group when deciding on my Best of Breed Many countries in Latin America and Asia have made huge winner. I simply go for the dog that I consider to be the best strides forward in many breeds over the last decade and more, representative of the breed. If he or she is not a particularly and I predict that we will see many more outstanding dogs good show dog or not particularly well presented, so be it, the and clever breeders in the years to come. dog will still win BOB. But in the Group and BIS ring, I pay more attention to AS: You often judge native (not apshowmanship and presentation, but proved by FCI in most cases) breeds I think that the best then only among the dogs that I considthat only exist in their respective US national specialties er to be typey and excellent representacountries. How do you build relecan rival the best tives of their breeds. A less-than-correct vant skills for such assignments? and typey dog should not be considered EE: Yes, as an all-breed judge, I am quite dog shows anywhere in the finals no matter how showy, but frequently asked to judge breeds that in the world. then he should not have been in the are not yet internationally recognized. Group in the first place. I find this difficult and challenging, as I often will not have encountered those AS: Do you ever walk away from an assignment thinkbreeds before. Of course I ask for the breed standard and any ing, “I could have done better”? educational material in advance and study these carefully, and EE: Yes, quite often, and I admit that it can be quite annoying. I will consult with other judges who may have experience But judges sometimes make mistakes, and why would I be any judging the breeds. Generally speaking, I think it would make exception? I try my best but do not always succeed in satissense if those native breeds were judged by native judges. fying myself. The good thing is that having second thoughts paves the way for learning from your mistakes rather than AS: Are there any “new” countries in sight? simply repeating them. EE: Well, there are not that many countries left that I have not already judged in. But yes, I have agreed to judge in a couple of AS: Have you ever sought feedback on your judging “new” countries and am much looking forward to going there. from experts watching you at ringside? Do you enjoy discussing your entries and judging with fellow judges? AS: Which shows do you fancy judging at the most? How EE: When I started judging in the mid-1980s, my fellow judges about favorite countries?