My Thoughts on Judging the GDCA National Specialty
by Lowell Davis
First of all I would like to thank all of the Great Dane breeders and exhibitors who gave me the opportunity to judge Intersex at the most prestigious Great Dane event of the year. It was truly a tremendous honor and I enjoyed every minute of it. The venue was perfect. Large well lighted rings away from the cold rainy weather. The members of the show committee were outstanding and all of the judges were most grateful for the wonderful hospitality. My Ring Stewards, Diane Powers and Sam Houston MacDonald kept me on track all day. They were very efficient and they did a great job.
This was truly a showcase of the finest Great Danes in the World. There was a very large entry of about one hundred-thirty Danes plus move-ups and four veterans, and Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. The entries were almost evenly divided between Dogs and Bitches. (At most Specialties the Dogs are at least 60% of the Best of Breed Competition.) I would like to say that, with few exceptions, all of the entries were good examples of the breed. Almost all had Great Dane type and were deserving of their Championships. All six colors were represented, however there were fewer Brindles than I am used to seeing. Generally, the bitches were more typical and more competitive than the dogs. That is my overall impression of this wonderful group of Danes. Now I would like to go into some detail of my impressions of the top placements.
My Best of Breed was a striking bitch with good head planes, very well balanced with a good topline and very sound coming and going. She was a beautiful mover and she had a great attitude, a beautiful Fawn with a beautiful black mask and a dark eye. In addition she had the right amount of substance for a bitch.
Best of Opposite Sex came from the younger Veteran Class. He had a wonderful masculine head without being coarse, good substance good topline and was sound in mind and body. I was impressed with his parallel head planes, and nice strong back.
Best of winners was a nice young bitch with a good head dark eye and black mask. She had great movement, a very strong back and was very deserving. She had come from the Bred-By-Exhibitor Class, so she was automatically Best Bred-By in Show.
Best puppy was a large puppy bitch with plenty of substance without being doggy. I think she is very promising.
I was able to reward 12 Dogs and Bitches with an Award of Merit. I would have liked to have been able to award a few more, but that was not the case. The bitch awards included two Black Bitches (one was a veteran) three Fawn Bitches, and one Harlequin Bitch. The dogs that received an Award of Merit included one striking Harlequin, a Mantle, a Blue, a Black and a Fawn. All of these dogs and bitches were outstanding representatives of the Breed, and were deserving of top honors at any All-Breed Show. They were all sound and had beautiful color and markings. The Harlequin bitch that received an award of merit was shown for me in the Working Group in Oklahoma a couple of weeks after the National. I awarded her Group 1 in a strong Group and this win qualified her for the coveted Hall of Fame.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the breeders, exhibitors and members of the show committee for making this day and week the greatest and most memorable day of my life!