Page 72 - ShowSight - November 2019
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                                 From Excellent to poor what’s your take on rating ...
which guns were to be shot over while working out in the field and doing the job for which they were bred. The tucked tails were signs of temperament instabil- ity and that the standard itself stated the tail should be carried a certain way while moving and never tucked. These two handlers were thankfully gracious with accepting my decision and I am sure worked hard to correct the issues with their exhibits.
We all know the judging and evaluating of our dogs is fluid. Although the standard is the same for the breed the application and understanding varies great- ly not only among the breeders themselves but also the judges that evaluate them.
I do not see where requiring rating these dogs on any scale let alone using the statement “Excellent” helps anyone in the evaluation process. In theory I under- stand that the term may be appointed to signify that the judge believes it to be the best that day and deserving. But I also think a “good” or “very good” sends the same message.
I am sure what I have written here may not be taken as I intend it by some of my many friends and fellow judges that are from within the FCI system. I am just trying to share my own thoughts on the message the word “Excellent” sends to the exhibitor. As I stated earlier there will still be that special exhibit that comes along every so often that deserves that accolade, but I do believe Good to very Good more adequately describes what we see in the ring on a regular basis. What do you think?
   Walter Sommerfelt of Lenoir City, TN has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs since acquiring his first Old English Sheepdog in 1972. He is
a former professional handler as well as a breeder, and exhibitor of breeds
in all seven groups, most notably Vizslas, OES, Pointers, Bearded Collies and Weimaraners. Judging since 1985 he is approved for All Sporting, Working, and Herding breeds and groups, Junior Showmanship and Best in Show and has had the honor of judging on four different continents.
Mr. Sommerfelt has judged many of the most prestigious shows in the United States including the herding group at the 2014 Westminster Dog Show in New York City where he has judged on three separate occasions.
Mr. Sommerfelt was the founder and chairman for the St. Jude Showcase of Dogs from 1993 until 2009, a unique event showcasing the world of purebred dogs. This special event was the largest collection of various dog events in one location, featuring an AKC all Breed Dog Show, AKC Obedience and Rally Trials, AKC Agility trials, (prior to AKC adding agility NADAC trials ) One of the largest Fly ball tournaments in the U.S.A., Herding and go to ground demonstrations, A main stage featuring performances by Canines from Television and the Movies, Freestyle, Demos by drug and various therapy dogs, A full room of booths for meet the breeds, over 50 AKC judges seminars annually, Lure coursing, A fun Zone for Children, and other dog related fun activities for the general public and their dogs. Over the years the event not only raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, but also raised awareness of the many activities for people with their dogs as well establishing a voice for dog people in the Memphis area with regard to legislation. Many aspects of today’s AKC Royal Canin show can be traced back to the St. Jude event. Along with Carol his wife of 34 years they have bred well over 90 AKC Champions including Group, Best in Show and Specialty Winners, dual Champions and multiple performance titled dogs.
During the past 40 years Mr. Sommerfelt has been active in a number of dog clubs and is currently the President of the Tennessee Valley Kennel Club.
He is recipient of the AKC outstanding Sportsmanship Award and is also a career agent and financial planning specialist with Nationwide Insurance. The Sommerfelts’ have two grown children, both former Junior Handlers and they are still active breeders and exhibitors of the Vizsla breed.
512.686.3466 EXT.101
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