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A Judge’s Opinion on Judging Breed Type

There has been much discussion of Mrs. Edna K.(Katie) Gammill’s article entitled “Preferred Breed Type – Why The Stand-Out Best Dog Can Be A Loser.” Although there may be many people who, as exhibitors or spectators, feel that often the best dog in the ring will walk away the loser, not many people will publish their opinions in an article.

Mrs. Gammill strongly disagrees with the flawed philosophy, stated by another judge, of putting up winners that conform or the majority of the type in the ring. This type of judging, Mrs. Gammill warns, can only lead to what she has termed, “Perfection of Mediocrity.” Instead, she states that it is important, as a breeder or as a judge, to stay true to the standard, regardless of the “trend.” Mrs. Gammill is an AKC judge, whose initial breed was a Shetland Sheepdog. She judges the working and herding groups, as well as many hounds, junior showmanship, best in show and some of the toy breeds.

There is a brief excerpt from her article below. We thank the author for her permission to post the full article to our website.

To read the full article, found at The Dog Place on the Internet, you can use the link Preferred Breed Type

Carol Kearney
USKBTC Website Editor

Excerpt from “PREFERRED BREED TYPE – Why The Stand-Out Best Dog Can Be A Loser” by Mrs. E. K. (Katie) Gammill

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.”


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