FOR RELEASE: Friday, May 25, 2012
Contact: David Frei (212) 213-3212

NEW YORK – In his more than 50 years in the sport of dogs, Michael J. Dougherty has done just about everything one can do. In 2013, he will be able to add to that list the ultimate honor in the ultimate event in the sport of dogs: judging Best In Show at the 137th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 11-12.

As a second generation dog show person and a second generation all breed professional handler, Mr. Dougherty competed at Westminster for many years as a junior handler, owner-handler, and professional handler. He won a number of Bests of Breed here over the years.

Mr. Dougherty becomes only the second Westminster Best In Show judge to have competed at Westminster in Junior Showmanship (the other was Sari Tietjen in 2009).

He started with his family in purebred dogs in 1961. He became a professional handler in 1974 and soon attained all-breed status, following in the steps of his father, Jack Dougherty.

While concentrating on handling, he also bred and owned, with his family, Whippets, Miniature Schnauzers, Smooth Fox Terriers, and Keeshonden. As a professional handler, he guided the careers of many top winning dogs, including Best in Show-winning Whippets and Bichons Frise.

In 1985, he retired from professional handling to devote his time to judging.

A graduate of United States International University in San Diego, Mr. Dougherty has been in the public relations and publishing industry for over 25 years. Presently he heads Dougherty & Associates Public Relations, an independent PR and marketing agency. He has represented and worked with such luminaries as Gore Vidal, Maya Angelou, Joseph Wambaugh, Tom Wolfe, Robert Ludlum, Larry King, Donald Trump, Dick Morris, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, James Clavell, Richard Reeves, Nancy Reagan, M. Scott Peck, William Manchester, Dick Cavett, Timothy Leary, Irwin Shaw, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Dr. Robert Atkins, Rex Reed, Ben Stein, and Alvin Toffler, among others.

Mr. Dougherty heads a panel of 43 judges from 18 states and three foreign countries presiding over the dog world’s most prestigious event.

Group judges are Ms. Karen Wilson of Sperryville, VA, Sporting; Mr. Luc Boileau of Burlington, WI, Hound; Mr. Robert Vandiver of Simpsonville, SC, Working; Mr. Jay Richardson of St. Charles, IL, Terrier; Mr. Dennis McCoy of Apex, NC, Toy; Ms. Florence Males of Pleasant Hill, CA, Non-Sporting; and Mr. Charles Trotter of Carmel, CA, Herding. Mr. Jason Hoke of Madison, WI will judge the Junior Showmanship finals.

Two breeds will be eligible for Westminster for the first time in 2013, making a total of 187 breeds and varieties in competition. Those breeds newly-recognized by the American Kennel Club are the Treeing Walker Coonhound in the Hound Group and the Russell Terrier in the Terrier Group.

Here is the entire 2013 Westminster Kennel Club judges panel (subject to American Kennel Club approval):


Mr. Paul Campanella, Center Moriches, NY: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Ms. Debbie Campbell, Ventura, CA: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Boykin Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels.

Mr. Jason Hoke, Madison, WI: Pointers.

Mr. Jamie Hubbard, Bloomington, IN: English Setters, Cocker Spaniels (all Varieties).

Mr. Douglas Johnson, Bloomington, IN: Brittanys, Golden Retrievers, Spinones Italiano.

Mr. Frank Kane, Cleveland, UK: Curly Coated Retrievers, Flat Coated Retrievers, Irish Red and White Setters, Clumber Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, Field Spaniels, Irish Water Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels.

Ms. Gretchen Schultz, Bethel Island, CA: Vizslas, Weimaraners.

Ms. Beth Sweigart, Bowmansville, PA: Labrador Retrievers.

Mr. Elliott Weiss, Durham, CT: German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, American Water Spaniels, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.


Mr. Espen Engh, Lier, Norway: Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Otterhounds, Salukis. Whippets.

Mr. Jamie Hubbard, Bloomington, IN: Basset Hounds, Dachshunds (all varieties).

Mr. Douglas Johnson, Bloomington, IN: Beagles (both Varieties), Borzoi, English Foxhound, Harriers, Petit Bassets Griffons Vendeen.

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chicago, IL: Afghan Hounds.

Ms. Paula Nykiel, Washington, MO: Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Mr. Charles Olvis, Bristow, VA: Basenjis, Norwegian Elkhounds.

Mr. Jeffrey Pepper, Palm Beach Gardens, FL: American English Coonhounds, Black & Tan Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Bluetick Coonhound, American Foxhound, Pharaoh Hounds, Plotts, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhound.

Mr. James Reynolds, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Scottish Deerhounds.


Mrs. Dorothy Collier, Riviera Beach, FL: Black Russian Terriers, Boxers, Cane Corsos, Mastiffs.

Dr. Espen Engh, Lier, Norway: Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands.

Mr. Jason Hoke, Madison, WI: Great Danes.

Mr. Norman Kenney, Westford, MA: Bullmastiffs, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers.

Ms. Kimberly Meredith-Cavanna, Pleasant Hill, CA: Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Komondorok, Kuvaszok, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Siberian Huskies, Tibetan Mastiffs.

Mrs. Paula Nykiel, Washington, MO: Giant Schnauzers, Samoyeds, Standard Schnauzers.

Mr. Charles Olvis, Bristow, VA: Doberman Pinschers, Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers, Great Pyrenees.

Mr. John Ramirez, Downey, CA: Portuguese Water Dogs, Rottweilers, St. Bernards.


Mr. David Alexander, Corral de Tierra, CA: Bull Terriers (both Varieties), Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Russell Terriers, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, West Highland White Terriers.

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chicago, IL: Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers.

Mr. Merle Taylor, Hammond, IL: American Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Terriers,
Cesky Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Scottish Terriers. Sealyham Terriers, Standard Manchester Terriers.

Mr. Gary Vlachos, Sweickley, PA: Airedale Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, Welsh Terriers.


Mrs. Michele Billings, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels,

Mrs. Anne Bowes, Duxbury, MA: Pugs.

Ms. Debbie Campbell, Ventura, CA: Affenpinschers, Brussels Griffons,
Japanese Chins, Silky Terriers, Toy Fox Terriers, Toy Manchester Terriers.

Dr. Espen Engh, Lier, Norway: English Toy Spaniels (both Varieties).

Mr. Peter Green, Bowmansville, PA: Chihuahuas (both Varieties), Miniature Pinschers, Papillons, Shih Tzu.

Mr. Jason Hoke, Madison, WI: Chinese Cresteds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers.

Mr. Douglas Johnson, Bloomington, IN: Pekingese.

Mrs. Shirley Limoges, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Havanese, Italian Greyhounds.

Mrs. Charlotte Patterson, Destin, FL: Toy Poodles.


Dr. Espen Engh, Lier, Norway: Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Lundehund.

Mr. David Kirkland, Sanford, NC: Chinese Shar-Pei, Tibetan Terriers, Xoloitzcuintli.

Dr. Michael Manning, Rumson, NJ: Chow Chows, Dalmatians, Keeshonden, Schipperkes. Shiba Inu,

Ms. Elizabeth Muthard, Bristow, VA: Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Tibetan Spaniels.

Mrs. Charlotte Patterson, Destin, FL: Boston Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Standard Poodles.

Ms. Joan Scott, Wilmington, DE: American Eskimo Dogs, Bichons Frise, Lhasa Apsos,


Ms. Anne Bowes, Duxbury, MA: Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Shetland Sheepdogs.

Dr. Espen Engh, Lier, Norway: Finnish Lapphunds, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norwegian Buhunds.

Mrs. Debra Gschwender, Oxford, MI: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren, Bouviers des Flandres.

Mr. Rick Gschwender, Oxford, MI: Briards, Canaan Dogs, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Pulik, Pyrenean Shepherds.

Mr. David Kirkland, Sanford, NC: Collies (both Varieties).

Mr. James Moses, Carrollton, GA: Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, German Shepherd Dogs.

Mr. James Reynolds, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Australian Cattle Dogs,
Bearded Collies, Beauceron, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Old English Sheepdogs, Swedish Vallhunds.

JUNIOR SHOWMANSHIP PRELIMINARIES: Ms. Emily Bisso, Brooklyn, NY, and Ms. Beth Sweigart, Bowmansville, PA.

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all breed, benched dog show held every year at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The show is America’s second longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. For additional information, log on to