345 – Ideas to Grow Our Sport: Amateur CH, Critiques, Welcome

Owner Handler Secrets to Success (4)

Ideas to Grow Our Sport: Amateur Champion, Critiques, Welcome

Join a conversation between judges and exhibitors brainstorming ideas to grow the sport of purebred dogs. Lesley Hiltz, Karen Ericson and Sid Marx join  moderator Laura Reeves along with exhibitors at the Whidbey Island Kennel Club.

This is part two of the Pure Dog Talk Saturday Symposium posted last week. The Q&A discussion examined various perspectives on ideas to help increase conformation numbers and enthusiasm.

Building on a suggestion from Marx in part one, audience questions focused on the idea of creating an actual amateur championship, akin to the same title in field trials, for the sport of conformation.

“I’ve always thought there should be an amateur division and an open division everyone can enter,” Ericson said, similar to horse shows.

“In Australia, every kennel club is only allowed one Championship show a year and are required to hold an open show, where no points are awarded,” Hiltz added.

Marx spoke to the idea of a “breed level show” judged by provisional judges and “group shows” judged by regular status judges. Provisional judges can learn at the “breed level” where they can take more time.

Critiques redux

A common theme in our exhibitor conversations is the ongoing desire for critiques.

Our judge panelists, who judge internationally, spoke to the practice in other systems.

Hiltz noted that in Denmark, for example, judges receive extensive training in the skills required to offer useful critiques. She also noted that technology is such that the judges words are uploaded almost instantaneously.

One exhibitor comment referenced the common practice in livestock/4-H judging whereby judges give reasons for each placement

“We give critiques to the rep after we judge when we have provisional breeds. If we can do that, we should be able to give them for exhibitors as well,” Marx observed.

Ericson noted that all judges have a learning curve. “It’s easy to pick out faults. There’s a real training process to pick out virtues and achieve positive judging.”

On those same lines, Marx made a point about the process that judges go through and that while adult learners do best when they use their knowledge right away, the process in place functionally means judges receive provisional approval and it might be a year before they have a chance to judge.

Ericson reminded the participants that dog shows can be intimidating for new folks. “We just have to be a lot more welcoming.”


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