Meet the Dog Judges: Chris Walkowicz

In this recurring column we will profile some of our judges: their background, how they started, who their mentors were, which breeds they have been involved in, and their thoughts on how our sport can be improved.

Chris Walkowicz
Sherrard, Ill.
Currently AKC approved to judge the Sporting, Working and Herding Groups, BIS, Miscellaneous and Ltd. Juniors.

Background: We bred German Shepherd Dogs and Bearded Collies. I’ve written more than 1,000 articles and columns and 11 books on dogs. A day without learning something is a day wasted!
We bought the first dog in 1965 and started showing the same year. I became a provisional judge in 1995.

Mentors: So many mentors. From one I learned courtesy and kindness, from another keeping a sense of humor. And: “If a dog is built right, it will move right.” (And vice versa.)


Breeding activity: We probably bred about 40 litters ourselves. In addition to those, we likely co-bred another 10. We rarely showed specials, concentrating on our breeding program.

I was proud of all pups and encouraged owners to show in performance events as well as conformation. Among them were the Bearded Collies Ch./OTCh. Walkoway’s Frosted Flakes UDX, OA, NAC, NJC, STDs, HS, HIT, CGC and U-ACH Walkoway’s Vixen CD, U-CD, RN, HIC, HT, PT, HS, HSAs, HCT, JHD, HTD1gs, HRD1s, STDs, OTDs, NA, NAJ, OA, OAJ, AGI, AGII, NAC, CL2-R, CL2-S, CL2-F, CGC, TDI, VX.
My husband was a professional handler, mostly of Shepherds. I handled most of the Beardies as an owner-handler. I am no longer breeding or showing. We recently lost our last dog and we want to wait until we move before we get another. We’re also undecided about what breed. We like so many!

Any pet peeves that you wish exhibitors to be aware of? It doesn’t take a heck of a lot of effort to bring in a clean dog with clean teeth! This starts you out with an advantage. In addition, be prepared.
How many AKC shows do you judge per year? From 40-50.
Foreign judging: From 1998 on, I have judged in Finland, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Colombia, Mexico, Canada and France.

All-time favorite assignments: Any national specialty. I have judged the Bearded Collie national three times.

Favorite dogs judged from the past: So many — so I’ll just name the three Beardies I’ve given BOB at our national: Ch. Windfiddler’s Still Cruisin’ (“Bubby”), Ch. Tailwind Papaw Scoonie Penn (“Scoonie”) and GCh. Tolkien Raintree Mister Baggins (“Roy”).

Biggest problem currently facing the sport of dogs?
1. The lack of interest in learning. We used to see hundreds at seminars.
2. The quick turnover of newcomers. Why? The economy? A feeling of not being welcomed?
3. The huge decrease in competition. Breeds that used to have large numbers, perhaps 50 or more at local all-breed shows, might now have five or 10. There is not the pleasure or challenge for either exhibitors or judges when you have classes of 1-1-1-1…


From the July 2012 issue of Dogs In Review magazine. Purchase the July 2012 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs In Review magazine.

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Dogs · Lifestyle