Dale Suzanne Tarbox
Let me start by saying...I did not choose to judge dogs and bitches together!!! When the board was put up on Wednesday for people to change conflicts they might have had, Danes were grouped by number, giving no thought to sex. By the time I found out about it on Saturday morning prior to the start of judging, it was too late to make any changes as there were people now in the later groups who weren't even bringing their Danes over to the building until the afternoon. it would have been a big , time consuming mess to try to fix it at that point. Believe me when I say...it was not the way I would have wanted to judge. You get a mindset going for males or females and it is difficult to go back and forth.
I will say this, I do not compare dogs to each other until late into the judging. The first few cuts are done by comparing them to the standard.
It is an overwhelming to think about judging 145 Great Dane Champions. It is a job...but for a breeder, it is also a delight. There were many Danes present that I have seen in magazines ( who can help it??? ) but, had never seen in person or never had my hands on. We all know that pictures can lie........but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised.
The first group walked in the ring and I was off ...with purpose. I am probably not your "typical" breeder-judge. I'm sure that is no secret. I look for overall balance and love a good moving dog. I know and love a good head when I see one....the kind the Standard describes......not the exaggerated ones that have become so popular. I am a firm believer that if you try, you can have it all.
That said, I found that I often had to give up on movement on many of the males and try to find the best overall, the ones with a quality that made them stand out......the quality that made them "special".
Bitches were better moving overall and easier for me to justify in my mind as I was going along.When it got down to the final 20 Danes, there were several that were in contention for Best. Let me also take this moment to say....Awards of Merit were not given in any particular order. All 20 Danes in the ring at the end had qualities I felt I wanted to reward. But, alas, I could only give 14 AOM.If I could have only had 3 more they would have gone to the fawn bitch of Debbie Deniston, the big EIO dog and the showy harl male with Jeff Lawrence. I was sad to have had to let them go unrewarded.
The Mantle dog caught my eye when he walked into the ring the first time. He was no disappointment in the movement department either, a square dog with good angles front and rear, built correctly and moved to prove it! His color was striking. The two harl bitches had lovely type and soundness. The bitch handled by Tristan Lawrence had such beautiful movement, her timing and footfall was perfect. Thinking back I finished her dam who had similar movement".Felicity" has always been a bitch I admired and even having just had a litter, she looked good and moved well. The fawn girl from Arizona is my kind of girl, she moved well , has good size and substance and is pretty. After finding out who she was, I realized I had given her dam a BISS. The black dog from California is a handsome dog and a real showman. He catches your eye and his head is lovely. The fawn bitch, Helga, is from my area and I had seen her shown a few times at Specialties. This was the first time I had been close up and personal with her and find her to be well made and very correct. A good example of form following function. The eight year old veteran brindle bitch was a standout. She had beautiful breed type and got around the ring well, not just "for her age"movement, she moved well ! Her top line was impressive. The blue bitch was another that is typey and sound. She is square and has a very pretty head. Toni Gerhardts male is a big, pretty headed guy who makes a lovely profile. Two other males with handsome heads and good profiles were the brindle Shill Rest male , "Rowdy"and the fawn dog , "Sachs", both are well angled. The fawn male,"Summit" felt good to my hands. he was solid and in great shape. He is a big dog and makes an impressive profile.Jose Ribo's fawn bitch is really pretty headed and has a lovely length of neck.....she seems quite full of herself and makes you take that second look. The young Rojon bitch is smooth and tight and what a headpiece she has!! She is immature, but I see great potential in that girl.
Best of Opposite male, Gable" is that combination of type and soundness that I spoke of above. He is well angled front and rear and because he is made right he moves right.His head is lovely and complies to the Standard. He is a "specials" dog . I was not surprised to hear that he won and All-Breed Best In Show last weekend.
Best In Specialty was the lovely "Eva". She, like "Gable", is the combination of type and soundness. Add to that her willingness to show and you have an almost unbeatable combination. She was presented in impeccable condition, hard bodied and in great weight and coat. She has size without losing any of her femininity.
She is a very deserving bitch and has represented Danes well these last 2 years.
There were many nice Danes shown that did not make it to the final few, but who are very nice Great Danes. Some had handler changes and did not show themselves as well as they should have when it was down to the final cuts. But I was happy with much of what I saw. I do think more attention needs to be spent on fronts and this year I saw more bad rears then ever before. Too many !
Thank you all for the honor and pleasure of having been able to have my "hands on" experience with your Danes. It was exhausting, but it was fun!!!
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to say that Joe and Lynda did a great job in pulling this National together in fine fashion. From what I saw it was a great week .
It was both and honor and a privilege to judge at the Great Dane Club of America National Specialty hosted by the Central Division in Louisville Kentucky.
First of all I would like to Congratulate all of the winners of the Futurity, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch (and the Reserve winners), the Best of Breed, Best of Opposite, Best of Winners,and the Award of Merit winners, as well as Best Bred By, Best Puppy, and winners of the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes.
For my part of the judging of Dogs, I thoroughly enjoyed having your dogs in the classes, to see the improvement of the quality (Congratulations Breeders), and to be able to have the animals to select from in Winners. It was truly a pleasure when taking the picture of my Winners Dog ( I really liked him) to find out the breeding and then to find out the 2nd place dog in his class and the Futurity winner were all littermates. It was also a great pleasure and enjoyment to Judge the Stud Dog class and to have the excellent quality exhibited there.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the class winners, because it could have been you that won one of those awards and you made the first step.
Next, I would like to say “Thank You” to all of the Breeders, Owners, and Exhibitors, as well as those who came to observe, because without all of you, your Great Danes, and all of the effort that you put into this game, we the judges would have nothing to do.
We all really owe a huge “Congratulations” to Joe, Linda, and the entire Central Division team for pulling off a Great National, especially in the face of a great deal of adversity. As I said to a number of the Central Division people, they may have seen a few problems, but the general public did not, and if they did, they probably do not remember what it takes to put on a National (it is not just a Show-It is a huge event that all of us get to enjoy). SO, “CONGRATULATIONS CENTRAL DIVISION”
From a personal perspective, the only drawback (if you can call it that) is that I did not get as much of a chance to talk to those many friends and acquaintances as normal.
Thank You, for allowing me to judge at the National Specialty.
ON TO NEXT YEAR.
First , I would like to thank and congratulate the division on an incredible job of pulling this National Specialty together with the odds stacked so much against you. The hospitality and attention to detail was terrific, my experience and stay in Louisville was comfortable and it appeared that the site was perfect for the dogs and exhibitors. If I hadn't known of all the previous problems , I would have never guessed they existed. Again, a huge thanks and a job very well done!
As for my experience with judging the bitches, I can truthfully say that I was impressed with the overall quality. Sorting through many of the classes, I found exhibits that had great virtue and deserved rewarding beyond the 4 placements that I was allowed. I was especially pleased to see all the young puppy bitches coming up, so hopeful and with such quality throughout. My winners bitch was exactly what I was looking for in such an entry, sound of mind and stood 4 square on her legs, sound going and posessed a depth of type and correct properties in her head. I was pleased to discover that she was breeder , owner , handled, what an honor for her owner, and an accomplishment. In the winners class with few exceptions,I would have been pleased to have given the winners ribbon to most of the bitches , the quality was that superb.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the breeders, owners, handlers and participants for making this an experience that I will never forget. Although I no longer share my life and space with a Great Dane, it is the breed that captured my heart and my attention and has always done so, along with this great breed, comes an extrordinary group of people as well.
Thank you for the honor and privledge of being a part of another "great" national, it was terrific to see so many friends and to be part of such a successful event!
Best In Futurity
When I was told I’d been picked as one of the judges for the 2008 GDCA
Futurity, I was greatly honored. To be chosen by the GDCA membership was,
and will continue to be, one of the highlights in my Dane career. When given the news, I perienced a wide range of emotions—thrill at the prospect of having the pleasure of judging our upcoming hopefuls, nervousness, excitement—and did I say nervousness?
Time passed quickly from notification to the actual date of the show. Soon it was time to leave for the airport. I left my husband and dog-sitter with a litter of puppies, two bitches in season, several adult Danes and wet, cold weather, and hopped on the plane. Travel to the National was uneventful, other than it took all day as I had to take three planes to get to Louisville. Once there, I was amazed at how wonderfully warm the weather was. I’d gotten there a day early just to “hang out” and hopefully acclimate a little to the time change. I actually found myself at loose ends! It’s not very often that I have no dogs to care for.
At the Welcome Party the evening before judging, Sue Mahany and I did the draw to determine who judged dogs and who judged bitches. I got dogs—which meant a really early ring time for me—7:00 a.m. Kentucky time, but 4:00 a.m. my time!
Morning came quickly, but I had no problems waking up due both to excitement and to the fact I brought my own coffee along. I was escorted to the ring by Linda Ridder and introduced to my very capable and helpful ring steward. Phil Grey did a wonderful job singing the National Anthem and then it was time to bring the first division of puppies in. I LOVE baby puppies and I love the fact we include them in our Futurity. I
was very pleased with these up-and-coming youngsters. They all acted like they’d been in the ring a million times before and showed like little troopers! As each subsequent class came in, I was continually impressed by the ring manners and training of the vast majority of entrants. Prior to judging, one of the things I’d worried about was having to excuse a puppy for refusing to be examined. I’m happy to say not one puppy shied. One or two backed off a little, but once reassured came through it fine.
Overall, I was very happy with the quality and temperament of the puppies exhibited. In many of the classes I had difficulty making a decision because there simply were so many deserving dogs. I was very pleased with the puppies, and again, very honored to have been chosen for this assignment. I was asked by a couple of people about mouths (bites and dentition) and I am glad to report that I saw only one or two very bad bites A few dogs had some missing teeth, but overall most had full dentition.
My choice for Best in Futurity was a lovely fawn bitch, Ch. Rojon’s Let Them Eat Cake V Moonriver. I felt she had great breed type and a wonderful show attitude. I was pleased to find out she had already completed her Championship. I thank Sue for finding her among her bitch entries.
In closing, I’d like to thank the hosting division for their “the show must go on” attitude. They surmounted all the trials and tribulations they faced, and did a great job. I’d like to also thank the many people who made me feel welcome. The hospitality and graciousness extended by the GDCA members made this a most pleasant and memorable
I would like to begin by thanking you all for giving me the honor to judge the Futurity. I have to say that this was one of the highlights of my Great Dane career.I was quite pleased to walk into the ring and see the quality of the bitches. Most
were well presented and well trained. In the puppy classes there were many very beautiful bitches that were of winning quality, but as they say, “you can only pick one”.When I walked into the ring and saw Treasure Hauer’s beautiful puppy bitch, I
knew she would be a strong competitor, and as it turned out she was my best puppy
bitch and Georgia’s best puppy. In junior bitches, there were some beautiful bitches again. Now that I have had a
chance to look at the catalog, I am impressed with the consistency in litters. My best junior was Lynn Adams gorgeous bitch, perfectly presented by Steve Cochran. She has it all….beautiful type, attitude and movement. She ended up going on to Best in Futurity and received an award of merit.
I was very proud to look into that best in futurity ring and see that my 2 winners were there. I very much enjoyed this assignment and thank you all for giving me the privilege to judge these beautiful dogs.
We would like to thank all of the Judges for taking the time to share their experiences with us.