Meet the Dog Judges: Colonel Joe and Murrel Purkhiser

A profile on Colonel Joe and Murrel Purkhiser

Joe and Murrel PurkhiserIn this recurring column we will present some details of the judges’ background, how they started, who their mentors were, which breeds they have been involved in, etc.

Joe & Murrel Purkhiser
San Antonio, Texas

Currently AKC approved to judge the following:
Joe: BIS, Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Non-Sporting, Herding, Miscellaneous Class, Juniors.
Murrel: BIS, Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Smooth/Wire Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collie, Bouvier des Flandres, Cardigan/Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Collie, Finnish Lapphund, Norwegian Buhund, Shetland Sheepdog, Swedish Vallhund, Miscellaneous Class, Juniors.

Please give a thumbnail profile of yourselves and your background in dogs in less than 25 words:
Joe grew up with Smooth Fox Terriers, Murrel with Coonhounds and a small white Spitz-like dog. They bred and showed Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Smooth Fox Terriers.

When did you get your first dog?
Joe says he was born with a Smooth Fox Terrier on the bed. Murrel received her little Spitz, Trixie, when it was bigger than she was. In other words, we’ve had dogs as long as we can remember.

What year did you become actively involved in dog shows?
In 1965 with Rough Collies and Shelties — our sons’ choices.

When were you first approved as AKC judges?
Joe: 1977. Murrel: 1998.

Did you have any mentors when starting out? If so, who were they and what was the most valuable lesson they taught you?
Yes. Bill and Judy Lawson and Steve Field, all eminent Collie breeders. They taught us that every dog is not a “show dog,” but it still deserves a caring and loving home, so be responsible for every litter you breed.

Which breeds have you been actively involved in?
Collies, Shelties and Smooth Fox Terriers were whelped and owner-handled with TLC in our home versus in a kennel, with very few co-ownerships.

Please mention at least a couple of dogs you bred and their claims to fame.
The Smooth Fox Terriers Ch. Toofox the Caribe Chief Spy and his daughter Ch. Caribe Agent Ninety-Nine. “Burt” was the top Smooth all systems for two years, won four owner-handled BIS, twice BOB at Westminster and six Specialty Bests, with one being BOB at Montgomery with “99” going BOS to him. Burt was bred by the Dossetts, the rest by us. Ch. Caribe the Ambassador (“Dinger”) won 10 BIS with owner Sharon Boyd.

Are you still actively breeding and/or showing? What dogs do you currently have at home?
No, none.

Do you have any pet peeve that you wish exhibitors to be aware of?
1. Everyone comes to the dog show in hopes of winning and we pride ourselves on placing dogs that we feel best conform to the standard. If you cannot take your losses with the same dignity as your wins it says a great deal about your character.
2. Flip turns at the end of the down and back. It just tells you that the exhibitor is ashamed of his dog’s front!

Approximately how many AKC shows do you judge per year?
Seventy to 80.

Have you judged abroad? If so, where?
Yes, in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

Please mention one or two all-time favorite assignments.
Joe: Montgomery County, Collie Club of America and AKC/Eukanuba.
Murrel: American Fox Terrier Club floating specialty, Collie specialties and AKC/Eukanuba.

Could you mention one or two all-time favorite dogs from the past that you have judged?
Two beautiful Smooth Fox Terriers immediately come to mind: Ch. Broxden Rio Oso Best Dressed (“Tux”) and Ch. Sethfield Salutation (“Wendal”) are the two best Smooths that we ever judged. There are still some great ones around, but these two were in different strata.

What do you feel is the biggest problem currently facing the sport of dogs?
Too much worry over ratings, rather than having fun showing one’s dog and learning from each other. Commitment to the sport is on the slippery slope… It is all about “me” these days.

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