Judging – Grading Dogs in the Ring

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What are the advantages of a ‘grading’ system?

I believe that one of the changes that is long overdue in the UK is to bring in a system of grading dogs in the ring.  My experience has been that it focuses the mind of the judge.  They are forced to make a value judgement as to the quality of the dog in front them rather than using the relatively simplistic approach of deciding whether it is better or less good than the others in the class.  The other positive advantage about grading the dog is that the owner gets a real and open indication of the opinion of the judge which is independent of its placing or rejection with a group of others.
It also means that they can compare the assessments of the dog over a period of time with the awards given by other judges.  I have long suggested that the only criteria for a judge, a breeder or exhibitor is consistency over the long term and bringing in a grading system would, at one stroke, ensure that this consistency (or lack of it, of course) was public.  I think that it would make judges think very carefully before giving an award.  What judge would want to give an ‘Excellent’ if almost every other judge had given the dog a ‘Good’.
As things stand, the only measure of consistency we currently have is whether the dog has won high awards but we all know that there are many dogs who are worthy but do not achieve the highest positions.  I judged a breed recently and in the junior dog classes the quality was truly worrying but when I came to the Open Bitch class I was able to report that any of the first four dogs standing in line was deserving of a Challenge Certificate.  However the bitch standing fourth in the Open class only had a Reserve prize card whereas several of the young dogs got first prizes because they were either the only representative or were among a class of poor dogs, none of whom would have gained more than a ‘Good’ grade from me.
I judged at a show in Southern Ireland two years ago where there was a sheaf of what appeared to be a small prize cards in differing colours with the name of show and the date clearly show.  They were not exactly prize cards but indicated the grade that the judge had given. This meant that everybody went home with an indication of the quality of their dog however many were in the class.
The principal abroad is that only the dogs that gain the highest grade are judged and placed but thinking it through there is no reason at all why each class should not be judged as they are now.  Inevitably those dogs that gain the highest grades would be at the front.
When I talk to people there is a general consensus of opinion that grading is a good idea but there are, inevitably, the number of complications.
For instance, we must ask ourselves whether such a change would effect show entries in the long term.  At the moment, the poor quality dog under a judge who is not very knowledgeable (or under psychological pressure to do a particular person well), might occasionally get a first prize which is enough of an incentive to keep them coming back into the ring.  If judges are being much more cautious about their grading and quite a lot of dogs were consistently graded only ‘Good’, might their motivation to enter be affected?

How does the system work?

Classification abroad is often different to ours where we win our way out of the lower classes.  However, the principle is the same although the judging process is different.  The dogs come into the ring for their initial assessment.  When the first dog is called forward for full assessment the other exhibitors leave the ring so the judge does not have them in front of them for a direct comparison.  I think this is an excellent discipline and concentrates one’s mind on the breed standard.  Having gone over the dog the judge then dictates a report for the dog to the ring secretary.  At the end of the report the ring secretary asks what grade the dog should receive and, as I explained last week, these are Excellent, Very Good, Good and Untypical in most systems.  Those that are not graded Excellent are handed their report and a ribbon indicating their grade.  Most European exhibitors cheerfully accept their grades – they are used to the system.
Those that are graded Excellent come back into the ring and are placed in order 1 to 4.  The judge is then asked whether any of those standing in the line-up are worthy of a Challenge Certificate.  If they are they are given another colour ribbon and will appear at the end of the judging of their sex for the selection of the Challenge Certificate.  In many countries there is a Champions Class and this is judged in exactly the same way.  The judge is entitled to give a grade other than Excellent to champion if they so wish.
The final line-up, therefore, comprises only those who the judge believes are sufficient quality to gain a Challenge Certificate.  Those dogs are again judged as a class and are placed in order 1 to 4, the winner receiving the CC and the dog placed second the RCC.
As I have suggested, I believe that this system of judging focuses the mind of the judge and gives the exhibitor a better understanding of the quality of their dog but because of the requirement that the judge often has to dictate a written report for every dog I do not think this process would work satisfactorily in the UK.  Neither am I sure whether the exhibitors would be happy being dismissed from the ring immediately after their dog was judged on the grounds that it was not sufficient quality to continue to compete.  There is also the problem that in this country, dogs may be entered in more than one class and this simply does not happen in most other countries.

How could the system be adapted for the UK?

My suggestion is to that we modified our current system to include grading in a different way.  Each class is judged as usual with the dogs in the ring and moving after which each one is assessed.  As is often the case in large classes, the judge makes a first  ‘cut’ from which their winners will be selected.   Depending on the quality of the dogs in the ring the judge can then indicate whether those not in the ‘cut’ are entitled to a card indicating their grade (I think cards would be more expensive than ribbons but I think exhibitors would appreciate something printed with the name of the show rather than an anonymous narrow strip of coloured plastic).  One would expect that the ‘cut’ included all those dogs which the judge considered Excellent.  The remainder might then be divided into Very Good, Good or Untypical and they would receive their cards before leaving the ring and before the judge moves forward to place the dogs.  The remaining dogs would be placed as usual first to VHC with any remaining gaining cards showing them to be of Excellent quality.  The judge is then asked by the steward if any of the dogs that they have placed should be considered as worthy of a Challenge Certificate.  My experience is that one and sometimes two or three might well get an extra card but often none will qualify for that higher grade.  At the end of the judging of the sex, only those with the CC grade card would come into the ring and the judge then selects the Challenge Certificate and Reserve Challenging Certificate winner from those presented.
What happens when there are only one, two or three dogs in the class?  The same process and procedure applies.  It is possible that the only entry in the class is of poor quality and therefore only gets a ‘Good’ card.  But they do get something – a recognition that the dog has been formally assessed as ‘Good’ rather than nothing at all and  ‘thrown out with the rubbish’.  It might be that a  dog standing alone is considered by the judge to be Excellent and entitled to a Challenge Certificate quality ribbon or  is card and would therefore appear in the final line-up.
I think it unlikely that the Kennel Club Shows Executive Committee will seize upon these ideas as something they want to put into practice.  However, I am sure there is merit in this idea and I would hope that it is not dismissed out of hand.
I think there should first be a survey to see whether the idea is acceptable to exhibitors in general terms.  If there is general agreement that it is worth pursuing, is there any reason why the idea should not be tried out at, say, a breed championship show or even a General Championship show to see how, you, the exhibitors react.
Huge amounts of discussion on all sorts of topics go on around the benches,  in the bar during and after the show and, increasingly, in late evening discussions around caravan site barbecues.  I am anxious to know what you think, for there is no point in proposing changes that, however good I believe they are, are not going to be acceptable to those people who are most important to the success of any show – you, the exhibitors.  Do let me know what you think by e-mailing me at mail@davidcavill.co.uk.  If the responses a good and I will continue to press for what I consider to be an important reform of our system and perhaps be able to persuade Our Dogs to begin an initial survey.  If your responses are negative then I will drop the idea and write about other things – for a little while!  Perhaps somebody will be enthusiastic enough about the idea to begin a Facebook page calling on the Kennel Club to consider the idea – it seems to be the fashion!

Is grading complicated?

And I really cannot see the complexity of my ‘take’ on this idea: I have modified it so that it is considerably less complicated than the system used in many countries abroad and I am sure that applying the precise criteria of gradings would cause no difficulty for most judges.

What is complicated about:

  • Excellent: may only be awarded to a dog which comes very close to the ideal standard of the breed, is presented in excellent condition, displays a harmonious, well-balanced temperament, and is of high class (standard) and has excellent posture. Its superior characteristics in respect of its breed permit that minor imperfections can be ignored; it must however have the typical features of its sex.
  • Very Good: may only be awarded to a dog which possesses the typical features of its breed and which has well-balanced proportions and is in correct condition. A few minor faults may be tolerated, however none of a morphological (conformation) nature. This award can only be granted to a dog that ‘shows’ (i.e. can be handled and does not show ‘fear’ in the ring – not to be confused with ‘caution’ of course)
  • Good: is to be awarded to a dog which possesses the main features of its breed but which has obvious faults. My italics

There are other gradings under FCI rules but I am not including them in my proposals at this stage and, in any case, our own KC regulations cover what happens when dogs are either aggressive, fundamentally physically flawed or lack merit.

Exhibitors – what are their views?

The most important element in all this is, of course, what exhibitors will be comfortable with.  I do not know the answer but we do know that more and more of our exhibitors from the UK are showing abroad and presumably they would not do so if they were unhappy with the system.
A survey and this will be coming your way very shortly with the Our Dogs Newsletter.  Please take part.

26 Comments on “Judging – Grading Dogs in the Ring”

  1. Roy Says:

    What judge would want to give an ‘Excellent’ if almost every other judge had given the dog a ‘Good’.

    Doesn’t this presuppose that the person judging has prior knowledge of the dog’s previous placings? Isn’t a judge supposed to come into the ring to judge the dogs as to their performance ‘on the day’?
    If a judge did honestly feel that the exhibit rated an ‘Excellent, it would be unfair for him/her to grade only ‘Good’ because other people had. A breed specialist judge may well find points in the dog’s favour that other, perhaps, less knowledgable judges had failed to find in its favour. Anyway, judging is purely subjective and I may well think a dog is well worthy that you may find only mediocre.
    Remove the corruption that exists in dog showing and much of our problem would be resolved. But some hopes of that!
    Personally I would like to see judges given the opportunity to discuss the merits or otherwise of dogs in the ring and on the table as they examine them. Exhibitors would then have a clear idea of the judges thinking (whether they liked it or not is another matter of course!) rather than reading a critique, many of which seem to be works of fiction concocted after the judge got home with the catalogue, from my experience. Alternatively, go back to the long defunct system of scoring 1-10 or whatever, on a sheet, for the various points of the dog, head, topline, colour, movement, etc., give the placings according to the scores – and hand them to the exhibitors along with the place cards,

  2. davidcavill Says:

    Thank you for your sensible and thoughtful comments.

    The first thing to say is that my remark concerning what other judges had done for a dog was directed at breed specialists who, of course, usually have good knowledge of the dogs coming under them so already know under the current system which ones are waiting for a third ticket or might do well in the Group. Generally that would not apply to all breed judges.

    In any case, I would hope that most judges would, as you suggest, do what they think to be right rather than be influenced by any external knowledge that they may have gained prior to their appointment.

    You are quite right about corruption but there is a feeling among some exhibitors that the whole world of dogs is riddled with it when I do not think that that is the case. Most of the inappropriate placings that we see are due to either ignorance, unconscious psychological pressure the judge or conscious decisions which mean that they ‘play safe’, ‘follow my leader’ or take the easy option.There are also good examples of ‘swapping’, ‘prejudice’ and dogs being given high honours by friends of owners who are in positions of power and authority and, of course, it is these that do the damage!

    I absolutely agree with you about commentary by the judge on dogs in the ring. In fact, I have presented a paper to the Training Board which makes this very suggestion in respect of judges training rather than publicly during the show. The late Leo Wilson in the 1960s often commented on dogs while he was judging and it was the fact that exhibitors complained about the public comments about their dogs that resulted in the Kennel Club banning the practice. Some GSD clubs have persuaded the Kennel Club to lift its ban for specific shows and I would have no problem whatever in seeing the idea brought back.

    But what about the exhibitors? In the final analysis dog shows for the exhibitors and what they want has to come at the top of the list of priorities.

  3. This method would ensure that judges read and remember the breed standard. Grading of the dogs is long overdue – note I say ‘of the dogs’ – would help to stop the grading of the owners which at times is rife!

  4. Roy Says:

    Really, the first basic Q to address is ‘What is the purpose of holding dog shows?’ Is it to provide a day’s entertainment for exhibitors, and the satisfaction (for some) of coming away with an award? If that is the case then it doesn’t really matter who wins what as long as everyone has a jolly good time. This probably applies to most ‘Open’ shows; nothing wrong with that.
    If the purpose of Championship shows is to put on display the cream of the breed, the winners being the quality to which all should be aiming, then many judges do more damage than to a breed by
    irresponsible or ignorant or just plain corrupt decisions that promote an inferior dog to Champion and thus enhance the probability of mediocrity being
    continued by its use at stud (it must be OK – its a
    Champion). Can’t really see how a grading system would alter the present situation. What exhibitors do want to see is a more transparent system of judging and more accountability of judges to the exhibitors for their decisions. Perhaps then they would judge to the Standard or give their reasons for not doing so.
    Time for the worm (or those who are just cannon fodder for the ‘insiders’) to turn!

    being continued by being used at stud (it must be OK – its a Champion!)

  5. davidcavill Says:

    I take all your points. Perhaps a letter to Our Dogs about the matter would be a good idea putting forward your points of view.The questionnaire I refer to in the article has now been sent out to all those on the Our Dogs mailing list (23,000+) and I greatly look forward to the results of that survey. Please encourage everyone you know to take part. As I have said before there is no point in trying to introduce ideas that are not acceptable to exhibitors.

  6. Corrine Hanson-New Says:

    Having read the article and all the above responses, I can see the merit in the grading system all be it on a simpler version. It will give all breeders an idea of how our animals are doing, which should be what all breeders really require. I have only been on the show circuit for a couple of year and own a rare breed, so do not have an opportunity to obtain CC, therefore this system would be most appropriate for my dogs. However, on the subject of judging I would say that even in the first two years of showing I am already uncomfortable with the way I see judging taking place. It is quite clear that some judges have prior knowledge of the breeder, and appear to be judging the person not what is on the end of the lead. Some judges do not appear to even know the breed standard, which is very demoralizing for all breeders.

    Perhaps the KC should be looking at who actually judges our dogs.

    As I understand it, the FCI judges are breed specific but they do not actually breed the dogs they are judging. They also have to go through rigorous training before being allowed to judge, but from my own experience, and speaking to other breeders, this does not seem to happen in the UK. Perhaps this is something that should be looked into and if possible improved upon. It is no good just looking at the breed standard 20 mins before a competition starts and be expected to know everything about that breed no matter how good a judge they are.

    The KC really needs to get a handle on the Judging system and make improvement..

  7. davidcavill Says:

    Yet another thoughtful and sensible reply. Thank you. Just a couple of points. I had not considered grading in the open show ring for the present – let us just move one step at a time. However I do think it is appropriate for rare breeds so I would be happy to see it introduced at championship shows where tickets were not available.

    I’m sorry that you have been disappointed in judging. It is a very complex issue and I would hope that a grading system would make judges think more carefully about their decisions.

    Is certainly true that some countries do have very good training before they are allowed to officiate but this is certainly not true of all of them. You can be an all-round judging some countries just by joining the management committee of the country’s kennel club!

    Formal training of our judges in the UK began in 1980 with the establishment of The Judging Diploma by the Animal Care College but the Kennel Club did not take up the challenge until 2000. Although the processes have improved since then they still have – in my view – some way to go.

    One thing of which I can assure you is that the KC would love to get a ‘handle’ on the Judging system and make improvements but you can only do what is feasible. Have you read their ‘Advice and guidance to judges’: if everyone stuck to that we would not have any problems

    Nearly everyone in our sport, including the vast majority of judges, I involved because they are enthusiasts and not because they are paid. If you make too many rules and regulations (and there are plenty already) you stop encouraging people to take part, For instance, the KC recently brought in a rule that you could not apply for tickets in any Gundog breed unless you had attended a Trial. I know of at least two people (who might have been excellent judges) who have actually refused invitations to judge because they do not want to do this.

  8. Christine Morrell Says:

    “…….rule that you could not apply for tickets in any Gundog breed unless you had attended a Trial. I know of at least two people (who might have been excellent judges) who have actually refused invitations to judge because they do not want to do this…..”

    Firstly, you do not ‘apply’ for tickets; a judge is INVITED and NOMINATED to award CCs.

    Secondly, new judges of Gundog breeds who are anti- Field Trials, can fulfill the requirement by attending an Open level Working Test for the relevant breed/s. Refer KC website:
    “Fit for Function – Challenge Certificate Judges for Gundog Breeds”

    Christine Morrell

  9. davidcavill Says:

    This just shows the problems that arise when you are trying to say things briefly. I am very well aware, Christine, of the procedure for being asked for Challenge Certificates (I found myself past for some) and you are quite right to say that the judges are invited and nominated but once they have been invited their Kennel Club Questionnaire can surely be described as an application. By definition ‘applications’ can be ‘turned down’ and this is sometimes the case. Try not to get distracted by the dotting of ‘i’s and the crossing of ‘t’s – the point I was making was not that these people were anti-field trials. I know, and they would have known, that they can go on to an Open Level Working Test but they just felt that it was an unnecessary requirement if they were to judge dogs well. They simply made but protest by refusing to take up the invitation to judge.

  10. Baines Says:

    I favour a points system and separate Champ classes. From previous soundings, this latter I suspect would have a majority vote from exhibitors and would be a good starting point for bringing back the original points system. I think this is may be a little different from what you are suggesting as a grading system. (I don’t know why the old points system was scrapped)
    Having entered a dog in a French breed show when the Pet Passport Scheme was being tested judged by an English pro-docking judge (pre UK docking ban) it was satisfying to be given a point marked mouth, head etc. result. A known favoured dog will probably always be awarded the top points and a less favoured one t’other end but I would surmise it would be harder for a judge to total up the marks to grade for favouritism further on in the entries (also if it were a job allocated to a Steward). I think too that it concentrates the mind on the dog and not the handler. The favourite would then progress to the Champ classes leaving others to progress if appropriate.
    Crufts could benefit from this as a starter (and perhaps also scanned skeletal images of the winning dogs for future breed standards….or not.?!)

  11. davidcavill Says:

    Thank you for those commentsboth of which would have some support and have some value. My personal opinion is that I think there are better ways of recognising excellence and giving better opportunities for champion quality dogs to gain the title than a Champions Classand I have written at some length about this in the past. I am also rather sceptical of a points system because I believe that the dog should be seen ‘as a whole’ rather than the sum of its parts but both these changes, whatever exhibitors might think of them, are quite radical and probably would not be considered by the Kennel Club. I think the simplified grading system which I propose is a small step in the right direction and if it is acceptable and works it will give the Kennel Club confidence to make further changes.

  12. Hazel Says:

    Societies rely on income from the high volume breeds. In some ways they subsidise the smaller breeds to enable good facilities at shows are available to all.
    My fear from grading is with the ‘good/average’ dogs in volume breeds. At the moment they like the rest of us have a range of good, medium and bad judges. The consistency of their wins in the ring depends on these judges and just occasionally they get one who will put them up. These very occasional wins are what keep people going to shows. Whereas the ‘bad’ judge now can put up the average dog at the end of the line, by grading this will be less likely to happen. And just how many times are you going to a show to have your dog ungraded or average?
    I just think financially it is a bad idea.
    From a breeder’s viewpoint, it is a great idea! I would like my dogs to be graded by people who know what they are doing though; by people who value soundness and health and type akin to the dog’s original purpose. I would be happy with that.

  13. davidcavill Says:

    You make some very good points Hazel and you may be right. I do not know the answer and this is why I commissioned Our Dogs to do the survey. I am really anxious to see what the results are in a couple of weeks time. What I do know is that there is enormous interest in this subject. I take your point about judges but I think this system could be a step in the right direction in that it will make them think carefully about the quality of dogs presented to them

  14. Tina Teese Says:

    I have been very lucky to have shown in Europe as well as the UK, I personally love the grading system and think it would help with some of the problems in judging that have already been mentioned. I again was very lucky to have been awarded the grade of Excellent on my junior bitch, who in Europe is known as youth. In the UK I have had mixed results, from 50 shows, being thrown only twice, and having 2 RCC’s all with the same bitch. There seems to be no consistency in judging in the UK, and have learned who to bother going under and who to avoid, especially when the outcome is often known weeks in advance. I enjoyed showing in Europe as there was no knowledge of the judge and any expectations as to what he would do, what did surprise me is that, no dog under the age of 18 months is able to take top honors, they compete for Junior titles which I personally think is fantastic, after all the changes in most breeds from young dog to finished article is huge, nice puppies can become really dreadful adults. I do feel it is time some changes are made, but just one step at a time, we can’t change the whole world in one go, so what hope of changing the UK judging system.

  15. davidcavill Says:

    Once again some very sensible points in this post. I wonder if any of our UK all round judges are reading this? I hope most will have read the original article but these comments add an important I mention to the discussion I began

  16. Stephen Clayforth Says:

    There are two things that I would like to comment upon

    1 – Grading each and every dog that is in the ring would increase the time spent judging. Some judges already take an exorbitant amount of time in judging a class and if you then add grading onto the criteria then they are going to take even longer. If the breed as high numbers in the classes (which apparently a lot of continental shows do not) then judging will go on for ever! Some judges spend so much time now that their BOB is late for, or even misses, the Group judging. This will only increase by giving these judges more to deliberate upon.

    2 – Grading will not get us away form the inherent problems in judging today – namely face judging and/or not judging to the breed standard. The answer to complaints of bias is always ‘in my opinion’ and with grading nothing will change. If a judge can put a bad dog up just because he/she knows the handler they can just as easily give an Excellent grade to it. We need something much more fundamental to get rid of the disgracefull bias some judges show when in the ring

  17. davidcavill Says:

    You are right of course but we must start somewhere. I would greatly appreciate you telling me what fundamental changes you would suggest to get rid of the ‘disgraceful bias’ of which you speak.

  18. davidcavill Says:

    PS Sorry I forgot to mention that I have dealt with the question of timing in a previous post. Please scroll up the list to find it

  19. Helen Almey Says:

    I am completely in favour of grading – but I think that this needs to be with a critique to maximise the value & to really demonstrate that dog shows could (& I emphasise the could!) help to improve quality. The one thing I never hear these days is people constructively discussing their dogs. When I started you would regularly hear people saying “I need to improve x in the next generation” & people looked for matings to improve various points. Now you rarely hear this. People rarely get any constructive feed back in many breeds (& I appreciate that this is generalisation) – may be if they had a sheaf of critiques saying lovely neck & shoulders, level topline straight stifle” – thepenny might drop. As I judge I agree with all your comments on focusing the mind – I find it a much better process & allows one to really say what one thinks & communicate to the owner; as an exhibitor (& I show overseas) I not only appreciate the comments & find it very informative – it has on occassion given me the documentary proof that the judge was the idiot I thought they were & I will save my money next time! People say our entries are too bifg for this system – well they are falling fast & this may help stop the decline…it will mean changes to how shows are run but I am sure this is achievable.

  20. davidcavill Says:

    can you make some interesting points here. When I’m talking with students many have quite clear ideas about what they want to achieve in their breeding but it may be there is less discussion between exhibitors around the ring and the benches. It would certainly be nice to have they critique on every dog but I do not think this is feasible at the moment. I recall that when I did an open show for a rare breed many years ago after the contract was to write a critique on every single dog but, of course, the numbers were small.

  21. I live in Northern Ireland, so show usually at Crufts and Belfast Champ shows (sometimes another Champ show) every year, but at lots of ROI Champ shows.

    Of course, as you say in your article on grading dogs, exhibitors here, North and South are used to their dogs being graded, however, they are not given a critique currently under IKC rules.
    It is a fact that some exhibitors are actually NOT happy and accepting if their dog is graded anything other than Excellent, in my experience!
    Sometimes when FCI judges from elsewhere come to judge, they will tell the exhibitor why they are graded as they are (probably because they are used to giving full critiques), and these judges indeed would tend to use the full span of grades when fulfilling their appointments.

    However, there is a certain reluctance, whether real or just perceived, amongst some judges to give the lower grades when judging, although as you state, the witholding of Excellent for all but excellent specimens should ensure quality.

    I support the idea of grading dogs in the ring, as you say, I believe it focusses a judge’s mind on the breed standard (or should do so), but I really believe that a critique, no matter how short, whether written as on the continent or verbal should be a part of that grading procedure. This would let exhibitors UNDERSTAND their grading on that day, rather than grouching once having left the ring. Since I show in a small breed (SWD) I understand the need to grade each dog correctly, as there are often classes with only 1 entry.

    However, I clearly see the demands this would place on judges- they would be required to ‘stand up and be counted’, which might be quite intimidating for some who were not sufficiently au fait with the breed standard concerned- but should they be judging a breed where they cannot give specifics?

    Why couldn’t judges use the breed standards more in the ring?- on my first gundog judging appointment (KC Open show) I had all the standards available with me and I did use them more than once to check on a finer point of a breed with which I was not so familiar- although relatively inexperienced in judging, I could have answered an exhibitor’s query at any time regarding their entry re the standards (whether they agreed with me or not is another question!).

    Since the KC is determined to improve their system of judges’ education, a grading system with critiques might just do the job?!

  22. davidcavill Says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. You make some very sensible and interesting comments. I absolutely agree with you about having the Breed Standard in the ring. Terry Thorn often used to refer to his while he was judging.

  23. Ruth Waller Says:


    I was very interested to read your article on Grading Dogs in the Ring and, in principal, think that this would be a good thing to adopt here. At the very least, but not exclusively, novice exhibitors would get an idea of the quality of the dog they were showing.
    One major difference that you don’t mention, and I think is worthy of consideration, is that of a dog receiving certain grades before it can be bred from. I’m not in possession of the details but I understand that on the continent dogs have to receive so many Excellents or Very Goods before they can be bred from and even if this aspect were not applied here, the explanation for Excellent or Very Good should at least include wording to the effect that the dog was of sufficient quality to be part of a breeding programme (assuming it had been tested and passed the relevant health tests for its breed).

    Just a thought.


    • davidcavill Says:

      This is true in some countries although not very many. and also in some countries a working dog cannot become a working champion unless it has a good show grade certificate and and the show dog cannot become a champion unless it has a good working grade. Philosophically I am against regulation so it is not something that would appeal to me – but just my opinon

  24. Stephen Clayforth Says:

    Regarding your replies to my previous post I would like to comment as follows:

    1 Judging Bias – this is a difficult one. How can we get rid of something that is so deeply ingrained within the show scene that it is almost accepted as normal? One way would be that if a judge awards top honours to a breeder/exhibitor then that judge cannot show under that person for a minimum of 12 months. This will get away from a judge awarding CC’s to a person they are showing under at a forthcoming show and receiving their ‘payback’ and this does happen on many occassions. Another would be that ALL judges are critiqued by the exhibitors, e.g. on the back of the ring numbers is short survey – Did you think the Judge judged fairly? Did you think the Judge judged to the breed standard? Do you think the Judge should be allowed to award CC’s again?. A judge that receives a large proportion of negative responses would then be assessed by an independant group and if found to be biassed or not judging correctly then they should have their A grading removed and have to start their judging career from the bottom again. This is just one suggestion – I am sure people could come up with many more.

    2 – Timing – I have looked through the previous posts and cannot find any comment regarding this. It may be that I am completely overlooking it? Could you please repost your answer or direct me to the correct post?

  25. davidcavill Says:

    Some interesting ideas – well worth considering. I could have sworn I had commented on timing but I cannot find it either! The way I am suggesting it be done is that once the dogs have been judged the judge makes a first cut leaving out the dogs which are graded Good. Those exhibitors then collect their Good certificate from the steward before leaving the ring. The judge then makes a second cut bringing forward the dogs that are Excellent and leaving the Very Good dogs out. Those exhibitors can then collect their Very Good certificates from the steward. The judge is then left with those dogs they consider Excellent and puts them in order in the usual way. All those exhibitors get a grade card which indicates the fact that the judge thinks they are Excellent. I do not think that this will take very much more time.

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