Judges Standard

by Sally Wallis,
Zande Basenjis

First published in Basenji Owners and Breeders Magazine, October 1986

- to be approved by a Committee of Canines as soon as one can be convened

CHARACTERISTICS : The Judge, in the ring, should be easily identified as of a different species to that being judged. He/she should be upstanding in appearance, suitably clad and clean. A wrinkled forehead is permissible and movement essential. It should be remembered that only winners pardon (or fail to spot) faults in judges.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : The judge should appear human, and at least seem knowledgeable about the breed in the ring. He/she should remain awake, and if possible even alert, for the duration of the judging. It is desirable that the judge be able to move freely around the ring, and have eyesight adequate to determine the sex, if not the conformation, of each animal. Obvious soft-living is acceptable, even pardonable, but should not have changed the hue of the nose. Judges clutching their own anatomy whilst bending to inspect a dog are probably not fit. Weight is of little importance, so long as normal activities are not impaired by excess poundage. A female judge should appeal to male handlers without appearing to threaten those of her own gender. Male judges are permitted a certain amount of animal attraction, so long as they do not deter other men from showing. Judges should never forget that all handlers are of a lower form of life, and that a certain aloofness is expected from them. They should give at least the outward appearance of total impartiality, regardless of who fed them their last meal, or with whom they spent the night.

HEAD AND SKULL : The head should sit easily upon the shoulders, with the eyes positioned half-way down. The mouth should be visible, and used only for speech. The skull may be covered by hair, or some convenient headgear, according the the gender of the judge and/or the clemency of the weather. Bumps (of intelligence or otherwise) should not be obvious.

EYES : Eyes should not appear shifty, but should be able to shift around the ring. It is recognised that no judge will actually have eyes in the back of the head, but a certain amount of 'swivel', so that all dogs can be viewed whilst on the move, is essential. Colour is immaterial, but short sight should be compensated for by corrective spectacles. Sun-glasses should be avoided as tending to hide the expression of the eyes from handlers. Also it should never be heard later that 'the judge must have been blind......(not to see certain faults)'.

EARS : It is recognised that judges must have ears, but desirable that these remain firmly closed, from some time before the Show until immediately after judging. The ears must be capable of taking in genuine efforts on the part of the steward to keep the judge awake and alert.

MOUTH : The mouth should remain shut, except when instructions to handlers are required. Then it should be opened, and used to such effect that the handlers are in no doubt as to what is expected of them. A certain twist of desperation is forgivable, but a sneer should be avoided. NECK : The neck should be able to support the head, both in the forward, and turned positions. It may be scratched from time to time to lend a air of deep thought.

FOREQUARTERS : There should be two arms, one at each side of the body, able to pivot at the shoulder and the elbow. Hands should be used with gentleness. The shoulders should tend to be laid back, giving an upright appearance to the entire structure. A waist is permitted. In female judges, it is desirable, but not essential, that they be able to see their own feet. The desirable proportions of the judge are entirely dependant upon the relative genders of judge and handler.

BODY : The body-shape may vary according to age and gender of judge. It should be agile enough to bend whilst viewing an animal on the ground, and mobile enough to move around the ring. In the stationary, upright position, a Napoleonic stance is desirable. This should, however, add an air of authority, and not be suggestive of a search for parasites. A Nelson touch can be added with the closure of one eye whilst viewing the final line-up. The chin should be tucked well in even if this has the tendency to make the rear end, or tail, stick out.

HINDQUARTERS : These should be solid enough to support the judge in a sitting position, since it is recognised that a rest may be required after judging. They should, however, be clad in seemly fashion, commensurate with their size. Legs may be shapely, but must pivot from the hip and the knee. They should be capable of a swinging motion, one after the other from the hip, to promote forward movement. In some circumstances, backward, and even sideways movement may be necessary, and this facility should be available. There should only be two feet.

FEET : They must be large enough to support the weight, but not so as to cause the judge to trip over them. They should be kept clear of the exhibits at all times.

TAIL : The tail, together with horns and any other suggestion of a devilish appearance, should remain in the eye of the beholder.

COAT : The immediate covering may be wrinkled (with age or exposure to the sun). At all times, however, the judge should be dressed in more than 'natural' clothing. The weather may be allowed to dictate the nature of this temporary outer covering, and some shedding in the ring is permitted. It is desirable that the judge be smartly dressed, if only to distinguish him/her from the handlers.

COLOUR : There are few requirements - if a judge turns blue, further outer garments should be made available, or the entire charade moved to an inside location. Too much red pigment of the proboscis is definitely undesirable.

SIZE AND WEIGHT : These should not be of an order to frighten or deter handlers or dogs. If the judge does not need to bend to see the dog on the ground, the size is probably inadequate. Bending double to see the dog on the table would suggest an excessive height. The weight should not be such that the judge is unable to move without assistance.

FAULTS : An inability to direct the vision to the lower end of the lead is a grave fault. Judges who laugh aloud at specimens who fail to conform to their own breeding ideas should be discouraged. Female judges unaware of the possible effect of groping for a male animal's organs should be sent out of the ring for practise. An inaudible judge should try at least to articulate from 'one' to 'four' but too much discourse in the ring is discouraged. The use of gestures to avoid speech should be clear, and not reflect the opinion of the judge toward handler or dog. Judges accepting cheques actually in the ring should not be invited again. Pinching the hindquarters of female handlers is frowned at. Judges may not bite the exhibits, however badly they are provoked. A poor temperament is inexcusable.

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Sally & Marvin Wallis
Zande Basenjis
Email : zandebasenjis@btopenworld.com