Mentors & Wisdom

117 – Desi Murphy: AKC Judge, Breeder Showcase and Grooming Tip of the Week with Allison Foley

Desi Murphy

AKC Judge Desi Murphy - 3rd Generation in Dogs

Desi Murphy was born into the sport of dogs.  His grandfather managed kennels in Scotland, his father managed a whippet and greyhound kennel in the U.S.

While surrounded in his youth with 125 sighthounds, Desi's found a love of terriers, bully breeds and Chows.

Bullies are different...

Desi, now a legend in the sport, is licensed to judge the sporting, terrier, and toy groups.

Santa Barbara Breeder Showcase

Desi Murphy  is co-chair for Breeder Showcase at Santa Barbara Kennel Club, and event in it's ninth year.

Now an in-demand event, the Breeder Showcase is extremely competitive.  Dogs are often brought out of retirement for the competition or young dogs held out just for their debut.


A perk for the exhibitors is dinner and wine at the event.

Desmond Murphy - The AKC Judge

Laura Reeves asks Desi what he first looks for in the breed ring.

Evaluate breeding stock...What was the dog bred to do?

For example, the three setters work in different terrains, so their structure must meet their function.  In bicycles, you have a mountain bike, road bike and beach cruiser - each are built to work in different terrains.

Some breeds are getting carried away, and showiest is not always the best.  Basset Hounds in Mexico, for example, are getting too big.  Remember, if a Basset Hound meets a fence on the trail, the hunter has to pick him up and place him on the other side of the fence.  You can't lift an 80 lb basset.

Condition is second...

Dogs need to be fit and in good health and condition.

Movement is a test of structure

The structure standing should be seen and confirmed in a dog moving.

Advice to Exhibitors

Have the best dog.  Often exhibitors ask what they can do to win with a dog... have the best dog.  Ask other breeders and professionals to evaluate your dog against the breed standard.  Know your standard.

Future of the Dog Sport?

As an international judge, Desi see younger exhibitors, and younger breeders in other countries than the U.S.

Russia is strong in most breeds, and Korea and China are close behind

Some handlers started showing at eight years of age, and have bred multiple litters by the time they are 21.  We need youth willing to be breeders.

Desi Murphy

Desi Murphy

AKC Biography of Desmond Murphy

Desmond Murphy, of Monroe, New York, is a third-generation dog man¿his grandfather, father, and two uncles all having been handlers. Born in Scotland, he was reared among Greyhounds, Whippets, and terriers at his family's Mardormere Kennels in upstate New York.

He began handling in 1958, working under his uncle John Murphy, a distinguished handler and judge. Mr. Murphy, known as Desi, points to his handling of seven different Best in Show Chow Chows as his proudest achievement.

Mr. Murphy has been an AKC judge since 1976 and is approved to judge 93 breeds. He last judged at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in 2003.

Mr. Murphy is a member of the Tuxedo Park Kennel Club, the Santa Barbara Kennel Club, and the Saw Mill River Kennel Club, and is treasurer of the Non-Sporting Group Club of the Garden State. He considers "learning the value of preserving breed type" to be the most valuable lesson he has learned in dogs.


Allison Foley's Tip of the Week:

How to Use Bath Products Properly

Shampoos and Conditioners need to be used properly to achieve results.  The best scissors, training and handling can't compensate for poor cleanliness or coat condition.

Listen to Episode # 107 How To Properly Bathe Your Dog for more on how to bathe properly.

  1. Use your shampoo according to directions. It's formulated for a reason so measure it out!
  2. Leave product on the dog long enough to work. 5 minutes for shampoo and 7-10 minutes for color or deep conditioner.

Allison's Conditioner Trick

Conditioners don't mix well with water.  Use a cheap immersion blender to mix thoroughly and smooth out all the globs.

Learn more at Leading Edge Academy!

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pure dog talk

111- Gretchen Schultz: The “Queen of Slobber” – PHA Hall of Fame Inductee

Gretchen Schultz

Gretchen Schultz aka the "Queen of Slobber"

Gretchen Schultz

Gretchen Schultz

For a woman of such tremendously strong opinion and personality, it is remarkably difficult to find much public information about Gretchen Schultz.

I hope you guys enjoy hearing from one of my great idols and, at least distantly, mentors.

I always was slightly terrified of Gretchen even from across the Expo Center in Portland, but she was my original “stalking” victim! I watched *everything* she did. Short of growing a “rat tail,” as they were called in the day, I wanted to be JUST like Gretchen when I “grew up.”

2nd Generation - Daughter of Professional Handlers

The daughter of very famous professional handler parents, Gretchen’s father, Walt Shellenbarger, went on to judge.  He scared the bejeezus out of me the few times I was in his ring!  Her mother, Jo, handled the famous Traveler, Ch. Gretchenhof Columbia River to Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club in 1974.

Jo also showed Clumber Spaniels for the one and only Bets Young of Cypress Woods kennels.  My parents were very involved in the early 1980s with convincing the powers that be in the Clumber Spaniel Club of America (primarily Bets) that field work should be included in the national events. I have very vivid memories of Jo, toward the end of her career, convincing my 15 year old brother to dance with her at a social event in Bets’ home.

Gretchen and German Shorthaired Pointers

Gretchen grew up with 50 German Shorthaired Pointers, but started her junior showmanship career with an English Cocker Spaniel, because the German Shorthairs were too big for her.  She credits her mother with teaching her about breeding dogs and her dedication to her parents’ memories is obvious.

Despite an attempt to break away from the allure of the dog show world, traveling the world and some wild adventures, Gretchen couldn’t stay gone for long. Her passion for the sport runs deep and wide.

How did Gretchen get the nickname Queen of Slobber?

Married for many years to Bruce Schultz, they were a powerful handling team. Gretchen became known as the “queen of slobber” for her most consistent clientele… Bloodhounds and Mastiffs. Gretchen handled the Bloodhound bitch, Ch. Ridge Runner Unforgettable, to the record as the top-winning Bloodhound of all time. Just before Westminster 2001, Gretchen had knee surgery, so Bruce showed ‘Fanny’ to her big Group First win.

Fundraiser for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life

As a multiple cancer survivor, literally given months to live more than once, Gretchen has become a major fundraiser in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She remarried in 2013. She and husband Phil Lawrence are avid golfers.

Gretchen is, if nothing else, forthright in her opinion… She expresses frustration with the judges’ approval process at the AKC and describes the “old days” and a system by which judges “sank or swam” based on their ability to draw an entry and their popularity with clubs and exhibitors. She currently judges 13 breeds along with junior showmanship.

Gretchen Schultz Relay for Life

Gretchen Schultz Relay for Life

Gretchen Schultz PHA Hall of Fame Inductee

The PHA is pleased to announce establishment of the Hall of Fame intending to recognize current and past members whose individual effort over the years have made immeasurable contributions to the Association, the dog handling profession, and the sport of showing purebred dogs.

Their unselfish work, guidance, and leadership have permitted the PHA to evolve into a strong, vibrant, and honorable organization that proudly represents the interest of professional dog handlers.  Without their lifelong involvement and dedication the Association, nor the fancy, would be the showcase it is today for the exhibiting of purebred dogs.

Gretchen Schultz

Gretchen Schultz

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pure dog talk

99 – Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Mother Daughter Bonds: Cindy Vogels Part 2

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Cindy Vogels: Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Mother Daughter Bonds

Cindy Vogels, Part 2, continues with a discussion with Laura Reeves and the mother-daughter dog show bonds.

Mother Daughter

Cindy and her mother, Jackie Gottlieb, traveled, showed, bred and whelped dogs together.  Jackie only stopped showing the Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers at the young age of 89.

Nothing strengthens the bond like heading down I-70 for the Montgomery show, only to discover the hours long drive was in the WRONG DIRECTION.

Laura Reeves' bred Clumber Spaniels with her mother, and the whelping box time and passionate pedigree discussions left lasting memories.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Cindy and Jackies kennel prefix is Andover and Ch. Andover Song and Dance Man won group at the garden and still has unbroken records.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier breeders are a good group of people,, who in 20 years brought the breed forward both to the public and to the breed standard.

One of 3 Irish barn dog breeds on the farm, with the Irish and Kerry Blue Terriers.  The Soft Coated is a terrier, tough enough that they had to take a badgers down.

Kidney Disease in the Terriers

Recently, kidney disease with a late onset has decimated the breed. While a test has recently been developed, there is still no DNA or genetic marker(s) for prevention.

Breeders are struggling to import and fight for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers diversity against the disease.

Cindy Vogels

Cindy Vogels

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98 – Cindy Vogels: Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Westminster BIS Judge, Take the Lead and AKC Canine Health Foundation Treasurer

Cindy Vogels Westminster Kennel Club 2012

Cindy Vogels: Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Westminster BIS Judge, Take the Lead and AKC Canine Health Foundation Treasurer

  • Cindy Vogels and her mother, Jackie Gottlieb, have bred over 100 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Champions.
  • Selected to judge Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2012
  • Board Member of Take the Lead
  • Founding Member and Treasurer of AKC Canine Health Foundation
  • Past President of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America and helped breed from Miscellaneous to AKC Recognition

Are You Impressed Yet?

Listen as Cindy Vogels tells of her journey with her beloved Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and a special win with one of her veterans.

Listen to the beginnings of Take The Lead started during the time of the AIDS epidemic and the strides to ensure privacy.

Listen to how $40,ooo,000 has been granted in AKC Canine Health Foundation research and how your breed club can participate.


Cindy Vogels

Mrs. Cindy Vogels

Cindy Vogels, of Greenwood Village, Colorado, has bred more than 100 champion Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, and champion Norfolk, Kerry Blue, and Welsh terriers, and Brittanys. These include Best in Show, specialty Best in Show, and group winners, and top producers, including the top terrier dam of all time.

Mrs. Vogels judges all terriers, all sporting breeds, Junior Showmanship, and Best in Show. Career judging highlights include Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Norfolk Terrier national specialties, and the Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Mrs. Vogels is a past president of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America and now serves as the club's AKC delegate. She is secretary and show chair for the Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club.

One of America's leading writers on canine subjects, Mrs. Vogels is a winner of the Dog Writers Association of America's Maxwell Medallion for her akc gazette "Better Breeding" column. She sits on the boards of the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Take the Lead, and feels that "both these organizations are fundamental to the well-being of the sport."

Mrs. Vogels raises and shows champion Morgan horses. AKC

Cindy Vogels

Article on Cindy Vogels and AKC Canine Health Foundation

Cindy Vogels is the treasurer of AKC Canine Health Foundation. Read More ...

pure dog talk

95 – Generic Dogs and Common Faults: Green Room Conversation with David Frei, Patty Keenan and Shawn Nichols

generic dogs common faults

Generic Dogs and Common Faults - 2 Recordings

Today's podcast on Generic Dogs was recorded prior to the Saturday Symposium held on Saturday, July 8, in Puyallup, Washington.  Patty Keenan and Shawn Nichols are both AKC Judges and David Frei is our beloved "face and voice of the dog world".

Listen as our guests and Laura Reeves discuss the topic in the green room, and read Shawn Nichols blog on the evening.

David, Patti, Laura and myself met prior to the start of the evening event to have a green room discussion on the topic “Generic Dogs & Common Faults”. Patti spoke up at the beginning and stated her concern that she felt this negative approach was not constructive and would not be her approach and that we should be looking for merit in what we judge and not focus on the negative, we all quickly agreed. When we all went through our history in the sport it was apparent we had all traveled different paths ending up at the same place as judges and passionate about what we do and the sport of purebred dogs.  Shawn James Nichols

Pure Dog Talk Saturday Symposium - Recording 2

Below is the video of the Generic Dogs panel discussion.  Thanks to BlueDog Northwest for the livestream!

Pure Dog Talk Symposium: Laura Reeves, David Frei, Patty Keenan and Shawn Nichols

pure dog talk
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83 – Mike and Karen Kurtzner: Mentors, Field Judge and Beagle Buddies

Mike and Karen Kurtzner

Mike and Karen Kurtzner

Mike and Karen are professional handlers that have both been mentored by some of the great dog people of the past, but have trained some of the stars today.  Boarding kennel owners in the Sacramento, California area, they have been in dogs since the 1960's, and have more than a few stories to tell.

This episode of Pure Dog Talk is quite enjoyable, and Laura's introduction gives a bit of insight and respect to two people who deserve it.

Did You Know?

  • Mike raised homing pigeons
  • One of the first all breed handlers in the licensing system
  • Married to Karen for 33 Years - Kudos to Karen and Mike!

Ch Kahootz Chase Manhattan

Many know and remember Mike as the handler of 13 inch Beagle "Ben" - Ch Kahootz Chase Manhattan, but there is much more to Mike and Karen.

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Original Handler Licensing System

Once upon a time, you had to be licensed for each breed that you handled.  AKC reps inspected your kennel,  your set-up at the shows and your license had to be renewed each year.  Mike and Karen tell the stories of how the original handler system worked.

Field Judge and Beagles on the Scent

Mike is full of surprises, so if you want to know about Beagles, scents and field work, here you go...

Thank you to Mike and Karen for a great interview.


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75 – Edd Bivin: Take the Lead and AKC Judge

Edd Bivin

Edd Bivin: Dedicated to the Sport of Dogs

From Pomeranians to prestigious judge at Westminster and National Events, Mr. Bivin contributes to the sport through the Take the Lead Foundation.  Listen to episode 75 as he shares his history and dedication with Laura Reeves.

Edd E. Bivin, of Fort Worth, Texas, acquired his first purebred dog, a Pomeranian bitch, at age 12. This introduced him to the sport of dogs and became the foundation of a breeding program that led to his breeding and exhibiting top-winning Poms. Additionally, he says, "My wife Irene and I enjoyed the breeding and exhibiting of Doberman Pinschers and Dachshunds during her lifetime."

Mr. Bivin first judged toy dogs at match shows at the age of 15. He was approved to judge Pomeranians at U.S. championship point shows in 1961 and is today approved for all sporting, working, terrier, toy, and non-sporting breeds, and several herding breeds. "It has been my privilege to judge many all-breed and specialty shows in the United States and abroad," he says, "among those being many of the internationally famous ones–Best in Show at Westminster, 1999.  A great joy has been the judging of many national specialty shows of various breeds in the groups for which I am approved."

Mr. Bivin is chairman of Take the Lead, a charitable organization for people in the sport. "It is a way for me and others to give back to a sport from which we have taken so much."  He served for 32 years as an administrator at Texas Christian University, with 18 of those years spent as Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services.


74 – Eugene Blake: International Judge and Best Dressed Gentleman

Eugene Blake - International Judge

Eugene Blake is always dapper in appearance, impeccable in style, and a smile full of life and joy. 

He is a lovely judge to show under, a man of extensive dog knowledge, and a willing mentor for new exhibitors in the show ring.

In this interview, Eugene shares his history, fascination and love of dogs.  Don't miss the in-depth Sighthound Review article written by Bo Bengtson.

Eugene Blake

Professional Handler to AKC and International Judge


I started working with dogs in 1954 as a dog bather at a French Poodle Shop in Houston, Texas. I attended my first dog show in 1955 and then decided I wanted to show dogs.

I became an All-Breed licensed handler in 1968.  I showed dogs professionally for some 33 years, then, I retired, and became a judge. During that time, I bred Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Italian Greyhounds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Salukis, and Afghan Hounds. I never bred more than 4 litters of any of one breed. As a handler I helped many of my clients with their breeding programs, including choosing studs, and picking puppies.

I started judging in 1990, with the Hound Group. Since that time I have added the Sporting Group, Toy Group, and Non-Sporting Group. I judge 4 Groups: Best in Show, Junior Showmanship, and Miscellaneous. I have judged in Australia, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand. As of now, I judge between 60 and 70 shows a year. AKC Biography


Eugene Blake Hunting
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71 – Top Dog Dreaming: Professional Handler Laura King on the Road to #1 All-Breed

top dog laura king

Top Dog Dreaming?

On the Road to #1 All-Breed with Laura King

Dreaming of owning or showing the top dog, the #1 All-Breed dog in the America?  Laura King tells the fun and frustration, and the magic

Laura King

Laura King grew up in a show dog family with Belgian Sheepdogs and Schipperke.  Today, she co-breeds English Cockers, Foxhounds and Springer Spaniels.

With Robin Novak, Laura King has been in contention for #1 All-Breed several times and tells you from her experiences just what magic it takes to be #1.

Manage Frustration and Timing

The more you win, the more rumblings are spoken that might set questions in the minds of the judges.  Perhaps you win with lovely compliments under a judge, but the same judge awards another the next time out.  There is no sure thing and just when you think you "figured it out", the certainty of a win changes.  Timing is everything.  It takes planning and practice and pure luck to get it right every time.  Scoring a "perfect 10" is not accidental, but the discipline of training the perfect 10 day in and day out.

Hours and Hours on the Road

Top Dog show schedule is grueling.  You must have the right dog,  with the right temperament,  who can give 1000% week after week.  As handler and caretaker, you must know what the dog needs and how it's affected.

Financial Support

To campaign a top dog is a costly endeavor.  Most important is to have clients that are cheerleaders, so on those difficult days, they are supportive of you and the dog.

Support System at Home

Most handlers have a string of dogs, or their own dogs and business to take care of at home.  Support system of home care, training, and showing of young dogs, breeding and whelping, and someone just to pay the bills and handle emergencies is critical.

Sport Appreciation

The "sport" or "fancy" has to appreciate and respect the dog and the handler.  No dog rises to the top without others believing and recognizing the breed quality and being a cheerleader.

After all, there are many great dogs just sitting in backyards at #20 in breed rankings.  There is more to #1 than just a great dog.

Laura and her Talent for Special Needs Dogs

One key to Laura King's success is her innate ability to feel and read a dog, and her intuitive comprehension of how to serve the special needs of a particular dog.  Knowing whether a dog is difficult or just needs to decompress can look very similar in behavior, but how the handler should react are very different.  The muscle tone, ears, eyes, and tail tell much of the dog's needs.

Dogs Come First

Dogs come first.  No matter what our dreams or agenda is... dogs come first.

top dog laura king
top dog laura king