- Guidelines & Commentary on the Judge Rating System

  We feel strongly that the state of judging is such that it is warranted to introduce a system of this nature.    And we feel that the quality of judging in our fancy is important.  See the quote at the bottom of this page. We hope that judges see what is said here as valuable feedback on how they are perceived in the fancy. I would add that some of my favorite judges are getting relatively low ratings. The solution is to get more ratings - hopefully the cream (so to speak) will rise to the top.

Several Issues have arisen about this Judge Rating System, and I want to address these and make a few other comments about this endeavor:

  1. No Flaming! If you make a negative comment about a judge, please back it up with rationale and specifics. Always remember that people are sensitive about public criticism. Phrase negative comments the way you want the judge to hear it. Comments that cross the line will be edited by the site management.

  2. Be Constructive and Diplomatic. Not only are you addressing other exhibitors about the judge, but you are likely addressing the judge him or herself. Say what you would like for the judge to know about how they are perceived, but try to avoid being offensive.

  3. Be Objective. It is remarkable how often judges get a combination of high and low ratings. It is useful for us all to remember that the same action can appear very different from different perspectives. We ask that members be as objective and fair-minded as possible.

  4. Be Specific. We encourage exhibitors to report specific details and instances they feel exemplify or represent objectionable behavior and attitudes by judges, or reflect poor knowledge, including things judges say. However anything of a serious or "malfeasant" nature should be addressed to AKC.

  5. We realize that it is common for judges to very good in some breeds and relatively uninformed in other breeds. For now we can only give an aggregate rating to each judge. Eventually we hope to be able to do this with greater "granularity" - to rate judges by breed or at least by group. In general it is probably too easy for judges to get additional breeds.

  6. To say that a judge is political or politically motivated is at least over-used. In many cases it may be a matter of training or other factors, or simply a matter of perception. Professional handlers often have good dogs too. The psychology of judging is complex and certain tendencies are understandably insidious, often unintentional. So, we ask that people making comments about judges to have consideration, to try to be more descriptive than just saying a judge tends to be political, and refrain from impugning judges' intentions unless clearly warranted.

  7. We ask readers and exhibitors to keep in mind that a single comment has limited meaning. If you base your exhibiting decisions on what's said here, look for trends, never place too much emphasis on a single comment.

  8. We also ask judges to keep in mind that exhibitors have strong feelings and very uncomplimentary things are often said at ringside. What is said here is generally a pale version of what the person is really thinking. When one undertakes to judge, the consequence is - being judged.

  9. We invite kennel clubs to consider what is said here in making hiring decisions.

  10. If you want to address specific question or scenarios to the expert panel, please send an email to the site manager, and it will be forwarded to the judge expert panel. This is not for asking the panel's opinion of a particular judge.

  11. Many judges feel they can act with impunity in a certain respect, that there is no effective recourse for the average owner-handler who feels their judging is not fair or competent. Part of the intention of this facility is to give some power to rank-and-file exhibitors.

  12. We encourage judges to make comments here - they can explain anything they want exhibitors to know before showing to them. Or they can address comments made here about them by exhibitors.

  13. Many of the comments made here are anonymous, especially negative comments. It is unfortunate that exhibitors feel that they might be punished by a judge if the judge knows the source of criticism. And it is indicative of the prevalent feeling that judges often consider factors other than the quality of the dogs being shown.
Please feel free to make comments, suggest things that should be addressed, or to suggest alternate verbiage on these points.

"Bad judging is a serious matter. It puts the future of the sport at risk because it creates the image that conformation competition lacks integrity and objectivity, and that it is highly political. That drives away participants, discourages newcomers, and besmirches shows’ public image. It may well play a role in declining entries. Most steady exhibitors and professional handlers know of numerous instances. No matter how difficult, the problem needs to be addressed on an objective and unbiased basis." - Dr. Gerry Miesels