Judge Honey Anne Glendinning (right) inspects Storm

It’s a dog’s world for judges

To say they have passion might be an understatement for the people who train their dogs daily, drive for hours to attend competitions, and meticulously comb, curl and scrub clean their pooches’ bodies when there — all done for the 2.2 minutes they will then get to spend with their dog in the competition ring.

To say they have passion might be an understatement for the people who train their dogs daily, drive for hours to attend competitions, and meticulously comb, curl and scrub clean their pooches’ bodies when there — all done for the 2.2 minutes they will then get to spend with their dog in the competition ring.

But if that commitment signifies extreme passion, then dog show judges might just be barking mad with it.

To become a dog show judge requires not only a history in the competitions, but also three to 12 years of study, exams, and apprenticeship before one is deemed ready to separate a first-place dog from the also-rans.

It is a commitment that Jeff Lunder was only too happy to take on. The Delburne man has been in the “dog world” for 40 years and judging for 24.

And as an organizer of the Red Deer & District Kennel Club dog show and obedience trials, he takes judging very seriously.

“We’ll bring judges in from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany; we’ll bring them in from anywhere. The judges that we hire make or break the show. We usually try to hire our judges for five years in advance, because you can’t get good judges if you don’t,” explained Lunder.

He judges obedience, which means when a dog and handler are in the ring together, he is fixated on whether a dog is keeping in perfect step with its owner, how quickly it reacts to commands, and even whether it ever flinches out of shyness or resentment.

He is on a list of about 90 obedience judges across Canada, travelling around North America to judge at about five shows a year.

Honey Anne Glendinning, meanwhile, usually judges a confirmation show twice a month. Judging has taken her around the world, from China to Colombia.

“It’s a hobby that’s turned into an absolute love,” said the Langley, BC woman.

Glendinning had to study for years to become a judge, learning the particulars and history of approximately 200 different breeds.

“You’re learning the reason why the dog was created … Who sat around and said, ‘I need a dog to do this purpose. How shall it be built? What shall its temperament be?’”

In the ring, she watches not only how a dog behaves, but its colour, bone structure, teeth, girth, shape of the head, and power of the jaw. Her job is to evaluate which canines have the best attributes for each particular breed.

In her 30 years of judging, she has seen plenty of changes, from certain breeds surging in popularity because of movies, the lessening of breeding consistency, and the increase in smaller dogs due to peoples’ housing limitations. But perhaps the greatest change she has seen is in shifting gender patterns, both among humans and their furry friends.

Whereas male dogs often won the day at shows, now females have risen to the top in a number of breeds.

And among the handlers, Glendinning said there is now absolutely no gender prejudice in dog shows, with women far outnumbering men at the Red Deer event.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

$1 million fraud case in court

Sylvan Lake bank loan officer accused of obtaining fraudulent loans

Renovations underway at Lacombe emergency department

Emergency department temporarily relocated to acute care unit

Highway 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange is now open

Work began on the $80-million interchange in 2016

Witness testimony delayed until this afternoon in Red Deer murder trial

Jury dismissed on Monday morning while evidence issues discussed

Curlers’ behaviour ‘unacceptable’ and ‘disrespectful’ at Red Deer Curling Classic

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Laine’s hat trick lifts Winnipeg Jets to 6-3 win over Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER — Eighteen games into the season and Winnipeg Jets right-winger Patrik… Continue reading

Peterson, Luff lead Kings to 2-0 win over Blues

ST. LOUIS — Teammates and friends in the minors, Los Angeles Kings… Continue reading

Scorsese feted at MoMA by friends De Niro, DiCaprio, Hill

NEW YORK — Many young boys grow up with superheroes adorning their… Continue reading

The Rolling Stones plan 13 US live dates next year

NEW YORK — The Rolling Stones will be rolling through the United… Continue reading

Tkachuk, Gaudreau lead Flames over Golden Knights with career highs

Flames 7, Golden Knights 2 CALGARY — Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau… Continue reading

Death of young Thai kickboxer brings focus on dangers

BANGKOK — The sight of two preteen boys pummeling each other with… Continue reading

Teenage driver survives spectacular crash at F3 Macau GP

MACAU — Teenage driver Sophia Floersch was set to undergo surgery Monday… Continue reading

David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy, but your order is safe

David’s Bridal is filing for bankruptcy protection but there is no danger… Continue reading

Most Read