Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

After being in this beautiful breed for over 35 years and being lucky enough to see & Judge them around the world, my question to put to the members is.......
....
We all have our different interpretations of the breed standard & what we like to see BUT.... isn't it better to have a Specialty judge with some standing, experience, exposure in the breed rather than a novice that cannot offer the serious breeder/exhibitor some insight or feedback as to the direction that they are going.

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Of course it is better to have an experienced judge, but all of those had to start somewhere. Experienced judges were not born experienced.
Alenka
Totally agree. Here in the States, there has been a tendency to start judging in the Sweeps at the Specialties. That way breeders can get experience judging a nice sized class but without so much of the structured scrutiny. Sweeps are a great thing in my opinion, but if there is no Sweeps offered in some countries, puppy class is a good start.
JMHO.
Jelena
Here in Australia we used to have "Open Shows" All Breeds where non champions were shown. This gave the new judge plenty of experience. Unfortunately this practice has been discontinued to the detriment of gaining experience. Only Specialist clubs are able to conduct "Open show" for their breed. This can only be done yearly per state per club.So engaging a well experienced "Specialist breed judge " we hope to draw a large entry . This would enable the less experienced judges /breeders/ exhibitors to see a large entry & watch a well regarded Judge sort them out ! with the opportunity to discuss the dogs in the ring & the results of the judging with others breeders or Judges ringside.
Anne-Marie
Very true Alenka, but when you are talking about the premier Specialist show for the year it is paramount that you have the most knowlegeable person judge that is available. Experience in the ring should be gained judging at the less important (for the breed ) All Breed shows.
Anne-Marie
The way your question was put I could not say that you mean an important specialty show. I thought you mean just any show. Of course for specialties we all try to invite judges with experience, preferably a breeder or exhibitor of that breed. At all breeds shows you can only get a specialist judge when entries are large enough. Otherways it is up to the organisers and they tend to invite the judges who can do more breeds.
Alenka
Not so Ginger,when judging it only takes a few minutes to "get your eye in ' on the type preferred in other countries. The breed standard must be adhered to when making decisions but personal preferences as a breeder can influence placings. Eg, as a breeder I have a distinct preference for an animal with a good head ,eye & expression, but as a judge you must look at the overall dog not just a particular point. In the USA for example there is not enough emphasis placed on the head of an Irish.
Anne-Marie
I agree with you to a point. Sometimes a specialist judge will concentrate a lot on one point he/she thinks needs improvement in the breed that other things are being ignored. Specially I see that many do not give enough importance to movement. We have a gundog breed. They were bred primarily to hunt and to do that they must have correct movement so they minimize the use of energy. Of course it is difficult to see that in a small ring or on slippery floor, but stil the basics are there.
On the other hand an all-breeds judge may not have enough experince judging our breed. Of course there are some with a great eye for a good irish, but there are some where you look at the line-up and think it should be just the other way around.
Well nobody forces us to enter under a certain judge. It is our money and we spend it the way we want.
Alenka
I concur Alenka, it never ceases to amaze me that we are forced to exhibit our Gundogs either indoors or on a totally false, slippery surface where the animals cannot move as they are intended to do. The dogs that are placed because they are true "coming & going " instead of great extension & drive makes my heart cry !
But as you finish up with ... we have the choice to whom we show our dogs to. It is our money & if we want to waste it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anne-Marie
the problem overhere in the Netherlands is , especially with the gordon setter , that the popularity is so small , so less Gordons at show , that they mostly invited All Round judges , otherwise it will be to expensive to get a judge from abroad only for 15 gordons , at the clubshow they do invite breed specialists , normally the entry will be a 60-80 gordons , i rather would have a breed specialist for each breed but i can inmagine that that is not always possible because of the costs.
Yes, usually the costs are the biggest problem. The traveling expenses that is as the judging fee perscribed by the FCI is 25 EUR a day. The bigger shows look for judges who can judge all the days of the show and also judges that are popular so they get big entries. It is a bit different in the countries like Germany where the breed clubs also help to organise the big international shows. Then they invite judges, usually specialists, but they also must cover the expenses of such judge so unless he/she does not get enough entries the club looses money.
Alenka
It is nice to have a specialist judge BUT let's take judge XY. He/she breeds smaller size dogs with wavey coats for example. What are the chances that he/she is going to like your slightly bigger and straight coated one, how beautiful ever the dog is? Or the way around? I am sure it is not meant to be evil but this judge will just put your dog out, because he/she prefers and is used to smaller size and wavey. I experienced this once and it was not a nice feeling (not because of not winning, believe me!). The dog who won was just nothing special, he wouldn't even run but he was the one most resembling to the judge's own breedings (who are nice, by the way!).
My opinion is that we DO need non-breed judges as well. I am sure that there are several very good all-rounders/non-breed-specialists out there who could contribute to the breed at a high level (in case they do know the standard of course). Who notice general faults in the breed that we Irish Setter people are blind for - as we are used to them, so to say. Like shoulder blade and overarm placement on the ribcage or incorrect tail sets or high tails or faulty, non-Irish-Setter-movement, like the flashy overreaching one or hackney (or the one caused by bad handling: "hanging" the dog, causing very short steps and a movement like a fox terrier - a good judge would ask the handler to move the dog on a loose lead), just to name some.

Hope that nobody misunderstands me :-) I really like breed specialists, who are out for the best dogs shown. But we shouldn't underestimate the value of the others either.
Thanks for listening.
I agree with what you wrote. Although a judge should compare the dog to the standard and not to what he/she has at home it is just what often happens. It is actually quite understandable. If you have showed and bred one type for say 20 or 40 years you probably like that type. And lets face it - some people tend to be kennel blind. Allrounders who travel to shows all over the world will more likely be able to accept and see past different types, differnet grooming styles and different presentation. Most of you have seen the photos in Eve Gardner's book of a dog groomed and presented in "British" and "American" style. Looks like a completely different dog, doesn't he.
Alenka

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