The GDCA National competition was fierce this year: so many nice dogs, only so many awards to give out. I found it fascinating to watch the final choice on all three days: a giant ring filled with at least 20 dogs or bitches, with a surprising variety of size, color, and especially type. Every one of them had at least parts that fit the Dane standard, and every one of them met that standard in a slightly different way. Some moved well, some had terrific heads, some had incredible angles. More than that: some looked radically different from the others in type. There were tall dogs and short dogs and skinny dogs and dogs built like tanks (bitches too).
An artist friend and mentor once said to me that I had to learn the “Shakespeare Principle:” there are some things that are good whether you like them or not. I think that is applicable to the dogs I saw at Nationals. I learned that which sort of dog you like, and which you breed, is a matter of taste. I had to acknowledge there were dogs there whose type I didn’t care for–but who were beautiful in their own way. You have only to look at the dog I take into the ring to know what type I like. And I hope that people who don’t like that type can still acknowledge that he’s a nice example even if they wouldn’t breed to him.
Now if someone were to ask what kind of judge I think is the best, I’d answer: the one who understands the Shakespeare Principle and can live by it in her selections.