SaTaMu - Chinese Crested Dogs 

Judging Cresteds

Judging Chinese Crested Dogs

I would like to link to Sally Johnson, Xioma Chinese Crested Australia for this article.  She has done, in my opinion, an outstanding job on explaining the breed standard.

Below are two articles that I particularly love. 
I have been given approval by The Dog Press to publish them on my website.  For more interesting articles on the dog world, please check out their site.


The first discusses the role of the confirmation judge and whether the decisions that the judge makes are for the betterment of the standard of a breed, or whether the decisions made are leading towards  a generic show dog that emphasises 'faults' that are not part of the standard and/or lessening specific breed qualities.

The second article looks at Breed Type and How to Breed it, Select it and why, although it may be a magnificient example of the breed,  that dog is often very difficult to title.




AKC Judges:
Are You Part of the Problem?
Are You willing to be Part of the Solution?



It used to be that the purpose of dog shows was to showcase your best breeding stock.  In my opinion those days are mostly a thing of the past.  It seems that shows today have become so political and so money oriented that the dogs themselves have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Sadly, the dogs are often stripped of their dignity by the “win at any cost” tactics put upon them.  With that said, I believe it is reasonable for all exhibitors entered at a dog show to have the expectation that their entry will get an equal and unbiased assessment by the judge based on their breed standard.  An exhibitor has the right to expect that their entry has an equal chance of going Best of Breed whether their entry is a class dog (that includes 6-9 puppy!) or a Special.  The AKC Judges Guide tells judges they should, “Always judge dogs solely on the basis of their condition as they are presented in the ring on show day.” (emphasis AKC).  The judge is responsible for judging each dog by the breed’s standard. (emphasis mine)


In most cases, entry fees are the same for all dogs entered.  (Some clubs will give price breaks to puppies and bred by).  The judging guide does not state that if there are price breaks for certain classes that those entries receive less consideration and are not eligible for Best of Breed.  In fact, no where does the guide state that the Winner’s Dog/Bitch shall receive less consideration for the award of Best of Breed.


In theory, since a dog show judge’s duty is to select the best representative of the breeds exhibited to them, you would expect a dog show to be an equal opportunity sport.  You would expect that every exhibitor should feel confident that they are getting a fair shake, but are they?  With the above facts in mind:


Are you a judge who, if you disagree with a breed standard, will not hesitate to award your personal preference, even in some cases when your preference is a fault?  Just two examples are:


1.  having a preference for a specific color and never putting up other equally allowed colors.


2.  ignoring the breed standard for minimum/maximum heights


If you answer “yes”.  You are part of the problem.


Judges should be professional and their personal preferences should be set aside.  The breed standard is the rule not a guideline.  If the standard states that there is no color preference, what right does a judge have to assert their preference for color? It is unfair to the exhibitors that have paid their money for equal assessment.


Judges should not penalize dogs for size when the size of the dog is in standard.  Statements like, “I prefer them bigger” (who cares?) is fine as long as the “bigger” is equal or better and preferably In the standard.  Too often, that is not the case.  For example, if a Samoyed looks to be the same size as an American Eskimo, that probably means that you have a Samoyed bitch at the bottom of the standard.  The bottom for Samoyed bitches is 19” and the top for the American Eskimo male is 19”.  Both are correct, neither should be penalized just because you dislike one end of the standard more than the other.  In the case of the Samoyed, a judge will often put up a dog or bitch out of standard, (on the big end) or a dog of lesser quality rather than reward the more correct dog that looks like an “American Eskimo”.  This is not judging a breed by its standard and it hurts the breed when judges insert their personal preferences.


Are you a judge who believes you have the right to interfere with a dog owner’s right to decide what is best for their dog by withholding the award the dog deserves?  In other words you have a dog/bitch that should win BOB, but you have decided that the dog is too young, too old, the owner too novice, etc., etc. to go to the group?


If yes, you are part of the problem.


Judges are to judge dogs in their ring based on their standard.  Whatever might happen in the Group should not be of any concern of the breed judge.  The breed judge is supposed to award BOB to the best dog.  That is what exhibitors expect and that is what they pay for.  Exhibitor’s do not need nor want judges denying their dogs the award they deserve due to the judge’s personal speculations on who is ready for the Group ring.  A judge who does this interferes with the dog owner’s right to make their own decisions regarding their dog.  Judges who do not just judge dogs, but insert their personal feelings as to who might look better in the Group actually change the outcome because the Group judge is deprived of actually judging the best dogs.


Are you a judge that knows or has strong suspicions that a dog has been groomed illegally and you ignore it?  Examples might be wigs in poodles or over trimming in the Golden Retriever and Pomeranian, etc.


If yes, you are part of the problem


Judges have the obligation to investigate any suspicions they may have.  The AKC guidelines state, “In reviewing a class, avoid excessive rearranging of a dog's coat, whistling, gesturing or baiting. However, do not hesitate to feel out a suspected fault beneath a highly groomed coat.”  Over grooming has become epidemic.  Almost everything in a breed ring today is “sculpted”.   A friend of mine recently relayed a phone called she received from a friend of hers who is a Field Rep.  The Field Rep. asked, “what the %&*#@ is going on with Newfoundlands?  She was very angry and said, “They all look like cookie cutters in the ring!!”  Frankly, I don’t know why breeders and handlers make more work for themselves on dogs that should be shown in a clean, groomed and natural state.  If judges would not reward this, it would not continue.



Are you a judge that faults a dog based on your speculation of what the dogs height, bite, or color might be later?



If yes, you are part of the problem



The Guideline states, “Give absolutely no consideration to what a dog's quality may be at some future time, or what a dog's condition might have been were it not for some disease or accident”   Enough said.



Are you a judge who, regardless of the quality of competition, always puts up the ranked dog even though it may not be the best on that day?



If yes, you are part of the problem



Please stop it.  This common practice is a total disservice to exhibitors and to the sport of purebred dogs!



I have heard some lame excuses for this.  One is they do it out of respect for the dog’s show record.  They do it because of all the money spent on advertising.  IF there is a better dog, please do the ethical thing and award that dog what it deserves on that day. That is a judge’s duty.



Are you a judge that will not put up a dog unless it “asks” for it?


If yes, you are part of the problem.


Not all breeds are the bubbly, crowd pleasing, free stacking stars that “ask” for it.  Several standards state that the breed is reserved/conservative with strangers or when out of their territory. (Judges are strangers!)  Some of those breeds are Rottweilers, Kuvaszok, Samoyeds, Clumber Spaniels, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Caanan Dogs and Anatolian Shepherds.  The Rottweiler standard specifically warns judges not to penalize dogs that are aloof or reserved, “as this reflects the accepted character of the breed.”  The Mastiff standard states, “Judges should also beware of putting a premium on showiness.”  If there have been a few dogs in one of these breeds that were exceptions to the standard’s description, that is all it is, an exception and the rest of the breed should not be judged and compared to the “exceptions”.  Since the “exceptions” are not displaying the typical character/demeanor as described in the “breed standard” some might consider that in itself a fault.  Judges should be mindful of the breed standards and the descriptions of character and temperament.  Frankly, I’m tired of hearing, “well, it is a ‘show”.  Unfortunately, it is that kind of thinking that has turned the purpose and priorities of dog shows (including the character and temperament of some breeds) up side down.  As an experienced breeder, who would select the dog that simply has to “ask for it” over the dog that has the best overall qualities of the dog you’re looking to breed to?  Not all breeds are going to “ask” for it, but are still exquisite representatives of their breed and should be appreciated and rewarded when they deserve it.  That is a judge’s duty.


If you answered “NO” to the above questions, most of us probably already know who you are and appreciate your dedication to our breeds and more importantly to our breed standards.  It takes an honorable and ethical person to set aside personal feelings and reward the exhibitor what they deserve on that day.

Gini Addamo [email protected]





Why The Stand-Out Best Dog Can Be A Loser


E. Katie Gammill / © TheDogPlace January 2009 - The Best of the Best or one that looks like the rest? Let’s be honest. Something called “preferred type” is flooding the rings today and in many breeds, it has little to do with the Breed Standard. When “current type” does not equal correctness, the best dog can lose because in many rings, the fatal flaw is being a stand-out.

"The best dog you’ll ever breed may be the hardest dog you ever finish!”

A dog show friend, absent from the sport for several years, attended some local shows with me. Welcoming the opportunity to view dogs in general after her sabbatical, she became visually distressed. Her despair increased when a “less than average” class dog received BOB. The waning quality in her beautiful breed breaks her heart. She stated it would be wasted effort to show a dog correct to the standard today, as some judges feel compelled to award dogs conforming to the majority of the entries.

Observing other breeds, she remarks on the lack of neck, restricted front movement and the lack of rear follow through; we discuss “gay tails” and breed type variances. We watch faulty movement and see coats dragging the ground. Weak pasterns and sickle hocks complete the picture. She wonders what causes this to happen to functional dogs in such a short time. It seems the correct dogs have fallen victim to what one may refer to as the “Perfection of Mediocrity”.

Today, many breeders and owners turn to performance, choosing not to participate in a “crap shoot” where such variety in type confuses both judges and ringside. I make this statement at the expense of being tarred and feathered but increasingly, the best dog you’ll ever breed may be the hardest dog you will ever finish. It will be the “odd man out” and look different from the majority of dogs represented in the ring. Why? Some judges, insecure in a breed and therefore lacking courage, choose to walk “different” dogs rather than stick their neck out. Understandable, but should those lacking confidence be passing judgment on another’s dog?

My old mentor said, “The pendulum of type swings to and fro, but those remaining true to the standard triumph in the end.” Those dedicated breeders have the knowledge to restore a breed to its initial form once it hits bottom.

Should a judge reward a dog to suggest it could possibly assist in correcting breed faults? NO! It is a breeder’s responsibility to incorporate such animals into their programs, regardless of success in the show ring. Judges are to judge to the written standard to the best of their ability, fairly and efficiently. They avoid awarding “drags of a breed” when possible but judges have little insight into the Pandora’s Box of breeding.

A respected dog person of long standing approached me with this statement while at a seminar. “A judge CAN NOT GO WRONG by putting up winners conforming to the majority of the type of dogs in the ring on a given day.” My response was “Surely not!” Well, I believe it now! After observing an all breed judge from ringside, I watched two outstanding individuals “walk” because they looked different from the rest of the short neck, sickle hock, smaller than average dogs lacking side gait that toddled around the ring like fuzzy little caricatures of the breed.

This strange “look alike” perspective takes over in many breed rings and not just among judges. Asking a breeder what their standard said about head planes, the response was: “What are parallel planes?” We discussed the occipital bone, short and medium muzzles, balanced heads, etc. Reading a standard and applying it can be two different things.

Judges should have the ability to articulate why one dog wins over another. So is that why they make terminology common among standards - to make it easier for judges? If anyone can describe a bulldog and an afghan using the same language, please step forward. Removing the “point system” from the old standards has had a negative affect. In a final decision between two comparable individuals, one has an idea where to hang their hat regarding prioritizing.

Should we just BREED TO WIN or should we BREED TO THE STANDARD and expect judges to judge to the Standard?

It is a "Judas Kiss" to any breed when a judge puts up a dog simply because it looks like the majority in the ring. It encourages people to breed to “winners” rather than to a breed standard. In judge’s education, they address soundness but type takes priority. Educators assume that new applicants understand structure and corresponding movement. Type without soundness is as detrimental to a breed as soundness without type. A bad front and bad rear working in sequence produces “balance”. Do two wrongs make a right? The goal is “a balance between type and soundness”. A breed must be able to walk to the water bowl without falling over its own feet!

This brings us to the next question. Are not judges “protectors of the breed standards?” Judges education is NOT at fault. Perhaps the problem is what some judging applicants do NOT bring to the table! It is a privilege to pass judgment on a breed but one has the responsibility of understanding “Basic Dog 101”. The AKC’s required anatomy test neither assures someone’s knowledge nor is it any guarantee a judge has the ability to analyze structure and movement.

Some breeder judges today send dogs with a handler giving little thought as to their quality or future effect on a breed. Shouldn’t breeder judges be especially careful to send correct dogs for public observation? Breeders have a responsibility to put out “the best of the best” rather than a dog that wins simply because it “looks like the rest.” By so doing, they are sending false signals to both ringside and new judges.

When judges say, “This must be what the breeders want as the ring is flooded with this type” it is detrimental to any breed. It IS NOT about “what breeders want.” Breeders and judges have a responsibility to breed and judge to standard.

Should handlers show dogs for clients when they KNOW the dog or bitch is not a good representative of the breed? Breeders and exhibitors have a responsibility to promote only dogs that DO represent their breed standard and to sell as pets those who do not! A good handler should make every effort to finish a dog but they too are responsible and should be more selective regarding client dogs. Handlers who read the standard and who have the courage to turn down an inferior dog are to be admired.

Advertisement does not always mean a dog represents “breed excellence”. Handlers do not always present “good dogs”. Advertising carries some influence and if a judge selects winners on advertising alone, they do a disservice to the breed and it reflects on their ability as a judge.

“Priority judging” can be detrimental to breeds as Judges become caught up in selecting for individual virtues be it eye, ear set, feet, or coat color. That is why some specialty judges “put up pieces” rather than the whole package. Virtues are important, but a dog should “fill the eye”. A single virtue cannot take precedence over a plethora of faults! Priority judging explains why many judges take so long to judge a class.

Dismayed exhibitors approach me with serious concerns regarding the direction of our sport. Time and effort is required to understand what makes a breed “breed specific”, and what constitutes “breed excellence”. There is no short cut. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. However, it should be a knowledgeable opinion. Personal preference only enters in when two dogs are equal according to the breed standard.

Another issue is “spot entering”. Granted, today people enter under specific judges where they feel there is a chance of winning. However, why on a four-day weekend, do we see one point on Thursday, a major on Friday, one point on Saturday, and a major on Sunday? Should not one support the person who supports them by entering all four days? If there is a major, don’t break it by not attending. Don’t bump up a bitch or dog to BOB without first asking the other exhibitors their preference. Many people drive miles only to find someone failed to show up ringside or” bumped up” a new champion and broke the major. This co-operation is something we used to be able to count on. Today it is “iffy” at best. This is “sportsmanship”!

Watch dogs go around the ring. Some are structurally inefficient. Some shoulders do not open up, the dog reaches from the elbow. Ask yourself why one dog out-moves another. Go analyze short coated dogs. Take this knowledge to your own breed ring and “look beneath the coat”. Understand top lines, body shape, breed specific movement and toy/moderate/ giant. Do some study and then some soul searching. Ringside observers and breed enthusiasts look on in dismay today, wondering where the functional dogs of the past have gone. Sadly, some faults are so prevalent today they are viewed as “virtues”.


"Winning because of an exceptional breeding program takes the breed and breeders toward breed excellence. That should be the goal yesterday, and today."

Requested to address this issue, I decided to take time to sit back and see the “big picture.” The “big picture” is upon us, folks, and it is not pretty! My reason to become a judge was the challenge to select the best of the best according to a written standard. I love dogs! I love SOUND dogs with BREED TYPE! Both virtues, believe it or not, can be present in the same animal! Through combined efforts and a willingness to call “a spade a spade”, our breeds WILL survive. Breeding for the sake of winning is a downhill slide. This alone assures the future of our breeds. Turning things around will take dedicated breeders and judges, critical handler selection, and educated exhibitors. Our sport deserves nothing less than the best of our intentions.


  1. Why do breeder judges “put dogs with handlers when they know the animal does not represent breed excellence?

  2. Why do handlers accept such dogs knowing once they finish, they will be “petted out”?

  3. Are you kennel blind and do you breed to standard?

  4. Should breeders and newcomers read the standard prior to stud and bitch selection?

  5. When will more mentors open up to newcomers?

  6. And lastly, are “gas money” and “filler” dogs destroying our sport?

Putting a breed back on track requires ETHICAL HANDLERS, DEDICATED BREEDERS, AN UNDERSTANDING OF BREED STANDARDS and KNOWLEDGEABLE JUDGES WITH THE COURAGE TO MAKE RESPONSIBLE SELECTIONS. Being a judge is not for the faint of heart. Sending the best dog to the next level and being a part of its journey to the pinnacle of success is a thrill of a lifetime.




 Author bio, illustrations, photos:



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Rhonda Brown
Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
Phone : 0412591353
Email : [email protected]

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