Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the National Owner-Handled Series Toy Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Robin Stansell: It is an honor to be invited to pass judgement on the dogs exhibited by these dedicated enthusiasts.
What does it mean to judge this singular event at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Robin Stansell: I have been involved with the National Owner-Handled Series since its inception, so it is indeed a special event to me. I am totally impressed by the number of exhibitors who attend and the distances they traveled to participate in this competition. I believe this clearly demonstrates the popularity of this event.
In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Robin Stansell: There are no championship points given for this competition. The only way these exhibits earn championship points is by winning in the regular classes, competing against both professional and amateur handlers. This competition is for the pride of successfully competing against their peers.
What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the NOHS Group ring?
Robin Stansell: There are certainly wonderful dogs exhibiting here!
Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and owner-handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Robin Stansell: I could feel the excitement of the exhibitors and the pride of their being there.
How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Robin Stansell: It is far less challenging to judge when you have a ring filled with quality dogs than when you have to pass on less correct exhibits. Perhaps it would be good to offer awards of excellence in addition to the current BOB and BOS placements, to give recognition to additional quality exhibits.
Do you have a word or two about your NOHS Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Robin Stansell: The NOHS winners class is a pleasure to judge. These dogs are competitive at any level of competition.
Are there specific ways in which the NOHS furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Robin Stansell: NOHS highlights the hobby exhibitors. It offers an additional opportunity for hobby owners to highlight their dogs. It gives AKC the opportunity to recognize the largest segment of enthusiasts competing in Conformation.
A show of this magnitude is a monumental undertaking. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the AKC and the show’s sponsors?
Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2023 show year? Any thoughts on the year ahead?
Robin Stansell: The 2024 show year will provide an opportunity for exhibitors and dogs to excel. I look forward with anticipation to see the current dogs develop and the new dogs to be introduced.
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