By Clyde Morris


When I got the call asking me if I would like to judge the 2007 Great Dane Club Of Calif. Specialty, I was very excited. This is the club I started with as a rank novice exhibitor 44 years ago. Now I had come full circle and I was going to judge their wonderful specialty. The next thought that crossed my mind was what kind of an entry I would get. The suspense mounted as the closing date approached. To my pleasant surprise I drew an entry of 131. This made it the largest specialty in the US outside of the week of the nationals.


When we arrived in Calif. the show committee of Debbie & Bruce Bent greeted us. One could not have had more gracious hosts. They anticipated our every need and treated us like royalty.


The morning of the show we were transported to the show grounds to wait for the completion of the sweepstakes being judged by Judy Nichols. I am sorry I don’t know the results of her judging.


The time finally came for me to enter the ring for my assignment to judge this large entry of gentle giants.  The venue was beautiful. A beautiful park that had a level showing surface and plenty of trees. The first thing I noticed were the faces of all those people I had known over the years. They were all smiling, so I knew I was in for a great day. Barbara, my wife, took a seat ringside. She was quickly greeted by one person after another. She was having a ball.


I started into the dog classes. Many hard decisions had to be made. Sometimes you wished you had more ribbons. One class stood out in that the dog I liked wouldn’t stop pacing. Everything the exhibitor did was to no avail. This caused him to slip into second. I was surprised there were so few brindles. This is a color that I had been very successful with through my years of handling. When I got to the Winners Dog Class I narrowed down the finals to three dogs, a black and two fawns. The nod went to a large fawn dog from the open fawn dog class. He was very sure of himself and did best when left standing on his own. His name, from the catalog, was “Surfside Lera Ripcurl”. I understand that this win finished his championship. My Reserve dog was a fawn dog from the 12 to 18 month dog class, “PBJS You And What Army”


After a wonderful lunch and visiting with Kitten Rodwell, an old-time dear friend, it was time to start judging the bitches. Bitches are usually my favorites. Again I had many hard choices to make. In winners it came down to a fawn from the 9 to 12 months class and the open brindle. The puppy was very sure of herself and covered the ring smoothly. The brindle was not showing as well. I think the heat was a factor. The nod went to the puppy. Her name was “Dun Roman’s Element Of Earth LMLD’. This puppy was beautifully handled by a young lady. She and her family should be very proud of her. The reserve went to the brindle, ‘Ashlex’s Caribbean Soul V Legacy”.


Next came the veteran’s classes. Eleven of them. These old guys and gals always almost bring tears to my eyes. I made sure I talked to each one of them along with a scratch and a pet.


Finally the crème de la crème, the Best of Breed competition. The class was so big that I split it up into dogs then bitches. I examined and ran each exhibit. Nice. I made a cut first in the dogs and then in the bitches. I reexamined the remaining competitors and made a final cut to two dogs, two bitches and the winners dog and bitch. After careful consideration I awarded the Best Of Breed to beautiful black bitch “ Ch. Longo-Miller’s Star Studded”. My Best Of Opposite Sex to a handsome black dog “Ch. Dana Tlbrk Darkside Of Fireside”. I understand the two are related. Best of Winners went to the puppy bitch. The winner’s dog decided he had had enough and would rather lay down than show. The award of merits went to “Ch. PCH Start The Commotion” a harlequin, and Ch. Dun Roman’s BRQT Pi” the mother of the winners bitch. I must say that my Award Of Merits were good enough that on any given day they could have won the best of breed award.


Wonderful entry, wonderful dogs. My only comment might be that the breeders should try to improve in two areas. Top lines and length of body. Remember that this is a square breed. Way too many dogs are too long in loin.


So the came the end to a long and wonderful day. Truly the best in my short judging career. A breed I truly love and whose future I wish the best. We attended a wonderful judge’s dinner and fell into bed tired and happy to a long night’s sleep.


Sorry that I don’t have the results of Sunday’s judging.


Barbara and I spent the next day wandering around the show visiting. It was great talking with so many old friends. Monday we flew back home and reflected on and treasured what was a wonderful weekend.