Tom Horner, the famous English all breed judge, who is sadly no longer with us, wrote: “When judging dogs you must not be swayed by any consideration, except by the relative merit of the dogs in front of you. You have but one duty: to judge the dogs. Forget the handlers, and forget what the dogs have won previously. Place the dogs as you think they should stand, never mind if the winner belongs to your best friend or your worst enemy. Disregard the fact that you won under one of the exhibitors last week, and that another is judging at the next show. Be completely selfish – please yourself and simply judge the dogs and safeguard your reputation. That is the only way to gain respect from your peers”.
If you are going to judge dogs, a full understanding of the breed standard is a bottom line essential. The judge must not only know what the standard actually says but understand its implications as well. It was the late Tom Horner, England’s great dog judge and journalist, who likened breed standards to The Lord’s Prayer. He said even a child can memorize the prayer but it takes an entire lifetime to fully understand what it really means. And so it is with breed standards. Time, experience and learning by one’s mistakes teach the good judge that there is much more to a breed standard than the printed word.