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Edward Gilbert, Jr., AKC Group Judge, Author and Hound Authority


This AKC judge makes a complicated issue simple – a contract is a contract and every dog show judge agrees to abide by the AKC Breed Standard!


I decided my car needed a new paint job. I took it to the body shop and we went through the paper work for the paint job. The paper work was signed and stated: “the car is red”.


Two days later I went to pick up the car – It was painted blue. I refused to pick it up and demanded they paint it red. They said they had a lot of blue paint, so they painted it blue. I said the contract says red. They then repainted the car red – in accordance with the contract.


Some exhibitors are upset with some judges who, in effect signed a contract with the Parent Club to judge in accordance with the Standard, seem to have ignored the Standard. These exhibitors ask how can a dog be a champion or GCH (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) when the AKC Breed Standard for over 125 years states: “The tail is docked”? Sounds like a blue paint job, except the damage cannot be repaired.


When the AKC Breed Standard states “the tail is docked” how does anyone know what a proper undocked tail looks like? Length, shape, color, coat, etc.


Could it be a foreign import from a country that requires undocked? OK, the dog can be used in a breeding program, but do not show this obvious major fault in an AKC show. Yes, major fault – “tail is docked” – what part of “is” do you not understand?


An AKC Champion with a docked tail cannot be shown in an FCI show. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.


There are excellent historic reasons for docking tails – it is not cosmetic surgery. Ask the German Shorthaired Pointer breeders, if you think it is cosmetic. They have photos of undocked tails bleeding, injured.


Many formally docked breeds in FCI countries, after about three generations are getting lower tail sets.


The judges contract with the Parent Club extends to all classes – Select is not an automatic award given just for entering. A judge can withhold a placement or award at any level. At an AKC Show dogs are to be judged in accordance with the AKC Breed Standard, not the FCI Standard.


My contract was honored – “the car is red.” But the AKC Breed Standard was ignored because there are AKC Champions and the tail is Undocked!  Who broke the contract?




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