Is reading about Westminster in May something like finding Christmas decorations in your favorite store before Halloween? That may be, but the panel of judges for Westminster 2013 was released last week, so it’s an opportune time share the names of those who’ll make the decisions in February.
Heading the panel as Best in Show judge is Michael Dougherty of California, one of 43 judges on the list for next year’s Westminster Kennel Club. Judging the Sporting Group will be Karen Wilson; Luc Boileau will judge the Hound Group; Bob Vandiver, Working; Jay Richardson, Terrier; Dennis McCoy, Toy; Florence Males, Non-Sporting; and Chuck Trotter, Herding. Jason Hoke, judging at Westminster for the first time, will do the Junior Showmanship finals, as well as Pointers, Great Danes, Chinese Crested, Maltese and Yorkies.
Dougherty is the second judge to do Best in Show at the Garden who once showed in the Junior Showmanship finals there. The first was Sari Brewster Tietjen, who judged Best in Show in 2009.
Westminster has included a number of new faces on the 2013 panel to complement some that are more familiar. Jimmy Moses is, of course, not new to Westminster, having won seven Group Firsts there as well as Best in Show in 1987 with the great Ch. Covy Tucker Hill’s Manhattan, the only German Shepherd to ever have gone Best in Show at the Garden. Jimmy will judge Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and German Shepherds.
Former professional handler Gretchen Schultz will judge at Westminster for the first time when she does Vizslas and Weimaraners. When married to Bruce Schultz, 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. Gretchen’s mother, Jo Shellenbarger, handled the German Shorthaired Pointer of her own breeding, Ch. Gretchenhof Columbia River, owned by Dr. Richard Smith, to Best at Westminster in 1974.
Other judges who have not judged on the green carpet in Madison Square Garden include
- • David Alexander: Bull Terriers, Dandies, Mini Bulls, Parsons, Russells, Skyes, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Westies
- • Anne Bowes: Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Shelties and Pugs
- • Paul Campanella: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- • Debbie Campbell: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Boykin Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Affenpinschers, Griffons, Japanese Chins, Silkies, Toy Fox Terriers and Toy Manchesters
- • Debra Gschwender: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren and Bouviers
- • Jamie Hubbard: American Cockers, English Setters, Basset Hounds and Dachshunds
- • Jerry Klein: Afghans, Border Terriers, Cairns, Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers, Kerry Blues and Miniature Schnauzers
- • Elizabeth Muthard: Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Tibetan Spaniels
- • Charlie Olvis: Basenjis, Norwegian Elkhounds, Dobermans, Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers and Great Pyrenees
- • John Ramirez: Portuguese Water Dogs, Rottweilers and St. Bernards
- • Joan Scott: American Eskimos, Bichons, Lhasas and Lowchen
- • Merle Taylor: Am Staffs, Australian Terriers, Ceskys, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Terriers, Lakelands, Scotties, Sealys and Standard Manchesters
- • Gary Vlachos: Airedales, Bedlingtons, Norfolks, Norwich, Wheatens and Welsh Terriers.
Peter Green is the 2013 judge with the most BIS history at Westminster, having gone Best in Show in 1968 with Lakeland Terrier Ch. Stingray of Derryabah, in 1977 with the Sealy bitch Ch. Dersade Bobby’s Girl, in 1994 with Norwich Ch. Chidley Willum the Conqueror and in 1998 with Norwich Ch. Fairewood Frolic. Peter, who has also judged the Terrier Group at Westminster, will judge Chihuahuas, Min Pins, Papillons and Shih Tzu in February.
Doug Johnson, who in 2013 will judge Brittanys, Goldens, Spinoni Italiani, Beagles, Borzoi, English Foxhounds, Harriers, PBGVs and Pekingese, has also had success in the final at Westminster. Two dogs he bred have gone Best in Show there: in 1996 the Clumber, Ch. Clussexx Country Sunrise, handled by Jane Myers for Judith and Richard Zaleski, and in 2009 the Sussex, Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, handled by Scott Sommer for Ceil Ruggles and Beth Dowd.
Elliott Weiss, judging Shorthairs, Wire Pointers, Gordon and Irish Setters, American Water Spaniels and Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, won the Group in New York in 1984 with Irish Setter Ch. Meadowlark’s Anticipation, owned by Judy Boston-Payne and Cindy Trefrey. Beth Sweigart, judging Labrador Retrievers, also has a big history at the Garden. She won two Groups with Irish Water Spaniel Ch. Mallytree Triple Expectation, in 1990 and 1991. The first year he was owned by Gemma Carey, and in 1991 Joe and Kitty Vaudo shared in the celebration as owners. Beth also won two Groups with the little Norfolk sensation, Eng. Am. Ch. Cracknor Cause Celebre, in 2004 and 2005, for owners Pam Beale, Elisabeth Matell and Stephanie Ingram. Beth, along with Emily Bisso, will also judge the Junior Showmanship preliminaries.
For the record, two of this year’s Group judges have also taken home Best in Show ribbons from Westminster. In 1990 Luc Boileau piloted the Pekingese, Ch. Wendessa Crown Prince, to Best in Show for Ed Jenner, and in 1991 Dennis McCoy handled Standard Poodle Ch. Whisperwind On a Carousel to the final win for Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Hartsock. Dennis won six additional Group Firsts at the Garden: in 1985 with Toy Poodle Ch. Fairview’s No Nonsence, owned by Joan Hartsock; in 1996 and 1997 with Dalmatian Ch. Spotlight’s Spectacular, owned by Isabel Robson; and in 1998, 1999 and 2000 with Standard Poodle Ch. Lake Cove That’s My Boy, also owned by Mrs. Robson.
Two judges from overseas and two Canadians will join the 39 Americans on the panel. Frank Kane from the U.K., who among other prestigious assignments did Best in Show at Crufts this year, will judge Curly Coated and Flat Coated Retrievers, Irish Red and White Setters, and Clumber, English Cocker, Field, Irish Water, Sussex and Welsh Springer Spaniels. Espen Engh of the very successful Jet’s Greyhounds in Norway, also a well-regarded judge worldwide, will be on hand to do his own breed, as well as Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Otterhounds, Salukis, Whippets, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands, English Toy Spaniels, Finnish Spitz and Norwegian Lundehunds.
Jim Reynolds, no stranger to American rings, will be in from Canada to judge Scottish Deerhounds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Bearded Collies, Beauceron, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs and Swedish Vallhunds. Shirley Limoges will also come from Canada to judge Havanese and Italian Greyhounds.
Rounding out the panel: Michele Billings (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians), who judged Best in Show in 1988; Dottie Collier (Black Russians, Boxers, Cane Corsos and Mastiffs), who judged Best in Show in 1997; Paula Nykiel (Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Giant Schnauzers, Samoyeds, Standard Schnauzers); Jeff Pepper ( American English Coonhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, American Foxhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds and Treeing Walker Coonhounds); Norm Kenney (Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers); Kim Cavanna (Akitas, Malamutes, Anatolians, Komondors, Kuvasz, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Siberians, Tibetan Mastiffs); David Kirkland (Shar Pei, Tibetan Terriers, Xolos, Collies); Charlotte Patterson (Poodles, Bostons); Michael Manning (Chows, Dalmatians, Keeshonds, Schipperkees, Shiba Inu); and Rick Gschwender (Briards, Canaan Dogs, PONS, Pulis, Pyrenean Shepherds).