Our show scene has for too long suffered an acute lack of
confidence in many judging decisions. Aggrieved exhibitors have
generally suffered in silence however, with the development of the
internet during the last 20 years, criticism and anger is expressed
much more freely and much more frequently. Despondency and
frustration is now a greater and growing part of our show scene,
resulting in a continual reduction in show entries and many
exhibitors giving up the show scene altogether. The patently obvious
lack of newcomers coming into our sport simply and powerfully
illustrates the unwillingness of exhibitors to accept and tolerate
highly questionable judging decisions.
The old chestnuts that it is simply down the judges opinion, and you
can only judge the dogs performance on the day, and judges have
different opinions, and it is only sore losers that complain, may
all hold some truth, however these explanations or excuses should
not deter us from also understanding that we must seriously tackle
the genuine unabated damage that is taking place to our show scene,
through sheer frustration and anger at, what to many, certainly
appears to be corrupt judging decisions.
frequently hear the term “arrangements” before and after certain GSD
shows. This refers to some kind of arrangement between an exhibitor
and a judge. It may also refer to several “arrangements” between
several exhibitors and the judge. This becomes more vocal when a
“connection” is known to exist between the parties referred to.
Connections appear to be of paramount importance to success and
obviously this favours the long term exhibitor and of course those
exhibitors who are also judges. The saying “NO CONNECTION = NO
CHANCE” may not be totally true, however “MORE CONNECTIONS = GREATER
CHANCE” is most certainly true.
Do “arrangements” take place? Are all judges scrupulously honest?
The answers to these two questions need to be taken very seriously
indeed, for if we fail to grasp the problems we will fail to find
the solutions. And that is something our show scene cannot afford to
We can certainly improve the education and training of our Judges,
with greater emphasis on the need for honesty in all judging
decisions. We can also require more explanations of judge’s
decisions through verbal and written critiques. However these would
have minimal effect on judges and exhibitors who wish to abuse our
show scene for their own ends. They have had many years to polish
their systems and they know the impossibility of anyone proving any
wrong doings. Those involved will no doubt justify their actions by
taking the attitude that others do it so why not me? The problem is
almost certainly more widespread than any of us care to accept and
this creates a mutual support system from those involved in
“arrangements”, whereby those not involved in a particular
“arrangement” will defend any accused and call it sour grapes from
the antagonists, while also wheeling out every excuse and possible
explanation for the judge’s decisions. Many honest folk are drawn
into supporting these explanations and excuses because they don’t
want to accept the possibility of corruption or the possible
dishonesty of someone they know and possibly respect.
It may be impossible to stop exhibitors entering under Judges who
own the sire of their dog. It may be impossible to stop exhibitors
entering under judges who are their friends. It may be impossible to
stop exhibitors entering shows where they are on the committee. It
may be impossible to stop exhibitors who themselves are judges
making “arrangements” with other judges who also exhibit. It may be
impossible to identify all the potential arrangements between
exhibitor/judges, especially if they form a cartel and shuffle major
awards around the cartel to make it much less obvious than a
straight two way exchange of top awards.
What must be explored, and explored very urgently, is precisely what
can be done to make such “arrangements” much more difficult?
put forward a proposal which I consider will offer exhibitors much
more confidence in the judges awarding top honours at our GSD shows.
This will also give the winners of our top awards a much higher
regard for their success.
My proposal is that the Judge awarding the Champion Certificates
should be a different judge from the judge that has judged the
individual classes. This will mean that any attempt to make
“arrangements” for top awards will be made much harder by having to
have THREE people involved, the exhibitor and two judges, and we all
know TWO may be company but THREE is certainly a crowd. The risks
involved to anyone contemplating an “arrangement” are significantly
enhanced. Whilst this may not eradicate “arrangements”
altogether, it will most
certainly be a major deterrent and will, most importantly, also lift
the confidence of our exhibitors in our show scene, something which
is desperately needed if we are to attract more exhibitors and
retain our existing exhibitors.
The manner in which each GSD Show implements this proposal could
vary, depending how they organise the judging of the individual
classes. For example, if they appoint one judge for their show, they
can appoint a second judge to award the Championship Certificates.
If they appoint two judges to judge their show, one for each sex,
the judges could swap over when it came to the awarding of the
Championship Certificates. If they have three or more judges for
their show, they could have multiple possibilities open to them to
ensure a different judge awarded the Championship Certificates than
the judge of the individual classes. It is also open for show
committees to appoint a reserve judge who could be used in case of
difficulties, such as a conflict of interest arising in regard to a
This proposal may be difficult to implement within the Kennel Club
show scene, however I see no such obstacles within our newly
developing show scene through the GSD League/WUSV Regional Events.
sincere hope is for this problem of the lack of confidence in
judging decisions is fully recognised and taken very seriously by
our breed organisations, and that my suggestion is also taken very seriously
and considered; Other solutions for this problem should also be
sought and carefully examined. A solution is urgently required and
that means we have to think 'outside of the box' if we are to
hopefully resolve the problem. We must
address the genuine and serious concerns and frustrations of our exhibitors if we are to
maintain a viable and exciting GSD show scene here within Great