In parts one and two of my “Aspiring Judge’s Journal,” I gave readers a little overview of beginning the AKC judges’ approval process and a look at the AKC Judges Institute. For part three, I pose a couple of questions about what is required to apply for AKC judging approval and a number about the finer points you must know to pass the test, so to speak. Are you ready to be a judge?


1. How many ring stewarding assignments are needed as a prerequisite in the three years preceding the date of your application for judging approval?

     a. 4
     b. 6
     c. 3
     d. 5

2. How many dogs are novice judges expected to judge per hour?

     a. 20, or three minutes per dog
     b. 25, or 2.4 minutes per dog
     c. 30, or 2 minutes per dog
     d. Being thorough is more important when you first start judging.

3. What constitutes a conflict of interest?

     a. Any influence other than the merit of the dog.
     b. A dog that you no longer own, but bred.
     c. A member of your handler’s family showing to you before the four-month moratorium is completed.
     d. An attendee of your conformation or obedience class.
     e. All the above.

4. What is the procedure rule for a dog’s “change in appearance?”

     a. You are in charge of your own ring. You can decide on the severity of the offense and act accordingly.
     b. Dismiss the dog and mark your book “Excused for Change In Appearance.”
     c. Automatically disqualify the dog by filling out the form “Disqualification for Change In Appearance” and following ensuing steps to disqualify.
     d. Call for an AKC field representative for council.

5. You’re having trouble measuring a dog with the wicket. After the first attempt, the dog doesn’t want you near it with the wicket. What should you do?

     a. Step away from the dog until the handler can get his dog under control.
     b. Tell the handler to gently, but firmly, hold onto the dog’s head. If time allows, ask the handler to walk away with the dog, then come back and reset the dog, but only one additional time.
     c. Change your position by allowing the dog to see you. After you are sure the dog has seen you, approach the dog without hesitation.
     d. Call for an AKC field representative for council.
     e. None of the above.

6. Your ring is your own. However, while moving dogs on their individual exam, what procedure is the most efficient for seeing the dogs at their best?

     a. Up and back on the diagonal, then around the ring.
     b. The “L” pattern, allowing full view of both the up and back and side picture.
     c. The tried and true “triangle,” which allows full view of both sides of the dog while moving.
     d. None of the above.
     e. All of the above are equally acceptable.

7. You are judging an Open show. With one puppy in the 4-to-6 class you can only readily find one testicle. You:

     a. Pretend that didn’t happen and continue judging.
     b. Ask the age of the puppy and act accordingly.
     c. Excuse the dog and mark your book accordingly.
     d. None of the above.

8. Which one of these descriptions is available to describe your judging on the AKC Judges Evaluation report?

     a. Does Not Meet Expectations – Lacks understanding of breed type and unable to discuss entry.
     b. Marginal – Seems to understand, but does not consistently prioritize. Inconsistent with placements.
     c. Meets Expectations – Understands and consistently prioritizes. Is able to discuss entry and decisions accurately.
     d. Strong – Consistently prioritizes and demonstrates some understanding of finer points of the breed.
     e. Exceeds Expectations – Consistently prioritizes according to finer aspects of breed specific characteristics. Demonstrates in-depth understanding.
     f. Insufficient – Doesn’t count towards the three required observations.
     g. All of the above.

9. What are some of the descriptors of dogs that are considered shy or vicious by the AKC and should be “Excused as unable to examine”?

     a. Menaces
     b. Threatens
     c. Exhibits any sign that it may not be safely approached or examined in the normal manner.
     d. Growling
     e. Snapping of teeth
     f. Rolling of eyes
     g. All of the above.
     h. None of the above.

10. What verbal protests are allowed while you are judging?

     a. Exhibitors at ringside may protest any suspected lameness of dogs in the ring by paying a small fee to the show secretary.
     b. A dog with an obviously altered appearance.
     c. A professional handler showing in the Amateur-Owner-Handler class.
     d. A dog that you believe is oversized or whose weight is inappropriate per the standard.
     e. All of the above.

Here are the answers:

1. b. Six times within three years of applying.

2. a. The expectation is that seasoned judges will judge 25 dogs per hour. New judges are cut some slack and only expected to judge 20 dogs per hour.

3. e. Really? Please tell me no one got this wrong.

4. c. No discretion on this, people. If your dog’s got bands on its teeth and the like, you are out of here.

5. e. I was a little surprised about this one myself. It’s “out and done.” The book is marked “Excused, unable to measure.” Hmmm. Which is better, excused or disqualified? Just sayin’…

6. a. I could never do the changing the lead/side of the dog jazz anyway.

7. a. Breed standard disqualifications including no testicles are not to be considered at Open shows. Open shows are formal matches with AKC approved judges. It’s practice, people.

8. g. The door is open on this for me. I’m not so sure I understand what finer points of a specific breed would mean from one rep to the next. Maybe it’s more about the explanations of why you did what you did. How you “talk the class.” We had a pretty well known judge at the Poodle Club of America National Specialty whose verbal critique consisted mostly of, “This is the make and shape of dog that I like.” He sounded like a crazy robot. My wife and I still make fun of that statement when we look at dogs together. I think he’s a really good judge and I have huge respect for him. Can he talk a class? Uh, no.

9. g. Yep, all of the above. Wow! They’re all just flat out wrong. This should not be left up to a judge’s personal interpretation. There are too many temperament mutants out there being bred. “It snapped,” is a term for pet owners and should never be used to describe a show dog. You are judging breeding stock. How important is it, I ask you, to rid a breed of the freaks?

10. d. And protests are only allowed by an exhibitor showing in the same class and only before the rest of the dogs in the class have been examined and gaited.

Let us know how you did in the comments section of the post.