Page 168 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 168

The process for approving AKC judges has come a long way and may continue to evolve. From an era when decisions were made by a single individual, deciding whether an applicant would receive the breeds they
applied for, or less, or more; the process has evolved through use of various methods to ensure expertise. These methods included proctored closed book testing on Standards, hands on testing with live dogs, and open book testing followed by interviews with AKC Field Representatives. In the early 2000s, in order to qualify to apply for regular status for a breed, a provisional judge was required to judge the breed, with dogs present, five times. For a time, the process limited applications to a “one for one” process: an applicant who was eligible and approved for only one breed to start with, was only able to apply for one additional breed after obtaining regular status on the first breed. Those who were eligible for more than one breed could subsequently apply for that same number of breeds. How quickly most judges were able to move forward was, at that point, largely dependent on two factors: how many breeds were approved on the first application and how quickly five assign- ments with dogs present were completed for each application cycle. The process became generally more objective, but it was, for many, extremely slow, and shows were increasing in numbers and judges were aging and retiring more quickly than they were being replaced by this system.
A new system was put in place in September 2015 based on the theory that anyone who wanted to judge should be able to move forward at their own pace. While still required to participate in breed specific education, the new system provided for applicants to move more quickly to apply for additional breeds. For the first time, applicants were allowed to apply while some breeds were still in pro- visional status. The process to apply for additional breeds required passing an open book test, engaging in minimal breed specific edu- cational experiences, and passing an interview with an AKC Field representative. New judges were observed by AKC Field Represen- tatives to ensure their ring procedure was adequate and appropriate, and on a yearly basis for how they were making judging decisions in a breed. Judges who had significant complaints or problems could be subject to additional observations. The speed with which some judges were progressing became a concern for some, as did the fact that some of those progressing rapidly were relatively unknown breeder judges whose overall experience with the breeds they were now adjudicating was uncertain.
In response to those concerns, modifications were made to that process as of January 2018 to create the current judging approval process. The educational process is a more stringent process that requires study, testing, and options for many types of education in a breed prior to any interview or consideration of an applica- tion to judge for each breed. AKC has continued to move forward to provide study aids within the Canine College and to stream- line the application process using that same platform, allowing >
 166 • ShowSight Magazine, noveMber 2019

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