Top judges of times past lay down the law.

From the February 2016 AKC Gazette

  1. Thou Shalt Observe the Gait

“It is only in motion that the true anatomical structure of an animal can be observed. In motion the anatomical faults can’t be concealed by clever handling.” —Dr. E.S. Montgomery

  1. Thou Shalt Know Thy Standard

“Many well-experienced judges go over their breed standards each time they judge no matter how many years’ experience they have in the breed. This is only fair to the exhibitor who is paying for the judge’s opinion.” —Robert J. Berndt

  1. Thou Shalt Have an Eye for a Dog

“If you’ve got an eye for a dog, you’ve got an eye for a dog. Give me a Bible for three weeks and I can learn a chapter or a psalm, but that doesn’t make me a priest.” —Roy Holloway

  1. Thou Shalt Not Freak Out

“A judge who flounders or becomes flustered, or obviously suffers from indecision, can hardly be called confidence-inspiring or a credit to the fancy.” Anna Katherine Nicholas

  1. Thou Shalt Not Fault-Judge

“All dogs have faults. The great ones carry them well.” —Bea Godsol

  1. Thou Shall Not Be Timid

“If I find a class dog of sufficient merit, I never hesitate to put him over a special.” Alva Rosenberg

Dog show judge Alva Rosenberg awarding ribbon to Annie Rogers (Clark) with black toy Poodle

Tampa Bay KC, 1958: Judge Alva Rosenberg and future judge Anne Hone Rogers (Clark).

  1. Thou Shalt Not Be Hoodwinked by Clever Handling

“The best handling is the least handling.” —William Kendrick

  1. Carefully Shall Ye Mark Thy Judge’s Book

“Check it carefully, make sure of your absentees and your 1sts, 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths, and then ask your steward to check it for you.” Anne Rogers Clark

  1. Thou Shalt Honor Thy Steward

“Good stewards are tremendously helpful. The least a judge can do is to be polite and pleasant about the job, with a word of thanks a perhaps a drink if the bar is open at the end of the day.” —Tom Horner (England)

Jane Forsyth judges Rottweiler at 2005 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, 2005: Jane Forsyth appraises her choice for Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show, Rottweiler Ch. Carter’s Noble Shaka Zulu.

  1. Thou Shalt Have Fun

“I think you owe it to the exhibitor to be pleasant and have some fun. I may bark, but I don’t bite.” Jane Forsyth

Below: Rare video footage of legendary judge Alva Rosenberg at the 1948 Morris & Essex dog show. This is a clip from a newsreel produced by British Pathé, the leading name in news footage for the U.K. market between 1910 and the rise of BBC television. The silent snippet is just 45 seconds long, but it packs a lot of dog show history into its brief running time. At 0:31, Best in Show judge Rosenberg (taller than he looks in still photos) strides to the center of the ring, turns, and beckons to his winner, the great Bedlington Terrier Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William A. Rockefeller and handled by famed Bedlington specialist Anthony Neary. There’s a quick cut to the rambunctious Rocket—obviously shot earlier in the day—and then a cut back to the BIS ring, where Neary and Rocket are seen striding toward the winner’s platform. Mrs. Dodge approaches Rosenberg to shake the hand of the great all-rounder. At 0:42, we get a lovely shot of Rocket on the platform. Neary stoops down to give the fleecy Bedlington a few quick flicks of the comb. Mrs. Dodge holds the Percy Rockefeller Trophy.