Introducing our National Dog Show Judges for 2016....

Claudio De Giuliani (Italy) - Working, part Gundogs, Dachshunds and BIS

Claudio was born in Forno di Zoldo, a little town in the Dolomites, known around the world for its beautiful mountains. He has always had dogs as companions: as a child he went hunting with his father and later became a hunter himself, first with a hound and later with a pointer. In the 1970’s he bred his first German Shorthaired Pointers, and had many wins in show competitions. He also bred German Longhaired Pointers and some of his dogs became important in the show ring and in hunting.

He was the first Italian breeder to import German Longhaired Pointers to Italy and had the first German Longhaired Pointer Champion in Italy.

Claudio began judging in 1979 and became an All Rounder in 2004. Delegate of the Italian Kennel Club in the CID (German Wire-haired Pointer) and also a member of the pure breed book of the Italian Kennel Club. A member of the Italian Kennel Club Committee and the Italian Judge Committee.

Claudio has written articles for popular an Italian dogs’ magazine. Also writing 12 books and producing a video. He enjoys hunting and hiking in the mountains and photographing nature. With his wife Manuela he breeds Dachshunds, with great success and with many show champions. He has judged extensively including; in Argentina, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, USA, Australia, South Africa, Japan and China. Also judging in the European Dog Show in Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Holland, Romania, Switzerland and the Czech Republic in 2014 and in Norway in 2015. WDS in Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark, Austria, Budapest, Helsinki in 2014 and Crufts in 2010.

Nancy Liebes (USA) - Utility, part Gundogs and Hounds and Toys minus Chinese Crested Dog, Italian Greyhounds

Nancy grew up with English Springer Spaniels, and her first showdog was a Komondor imported from Hungary in 1970. After finishing her championship, and that of her son, she acquired two more Komondor bitches in the late 1970’s and bred her first litter in 1979.

After moving to Denver from Philadelphia in 1980, Nancy bought a large boarding kennel with a grooming shop, continuing to show her dogs, run a handling class and breed the occasional litter. She branched out to sighthounds and also tried her hand at obedience competition and field trials.

During the 1980’s Nancy won many Bests In Show and National Specialties with her Komondor bitch. Also winning groups with other Working breeds and Hounds. Nancy moved to Texas in 1990, stopped handling and started judging. Since then she has produced more than 50 champions in Komondors, plus many more in Ibizan Hounds, Vizslas, Whippets and Cavaliers. Producing 4 Best In Show Komondors, something nobody else has ever accomplished plus 7 National Specialty winners who garnered a total of 12 National Specialties. She also produced a National Specialty winning Ibizan Hound and a Best In Show Cavalier.

In 1988 Nancy was approved to judge her first breeds in the Hound and Working Groups. I have served on the education committees for the national Komondor, Puli and Vizsla clubs. In addition to traveling around the country judging and presenting breed seminars, she developed an Advanced Handling Seminar for the serious enthusiast.

Over the years she has been honoured to judge many National Specialties in both the US and Canada. Also judging in many FCI countries, including China, Korea, Japan, Belgium, Australia, Sweden, Columbia, and Mexico.

An AKC approved judge all Working and Sporting and Toy breeds, plus breeds in the Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting and Herding groups, Misc., Junior Showmanship and BIS. Nancy is currently working on her education in Terrier breeds and Hounds.

Nancy currently lives in Indiana with 2 Komondors, 3 Cavaliers, 4 English Toy Spaniels, 1 Russell Terrier, 2 cats, 7 chickens and a parrot.

Elena Agafonova (Russia) - Non-Sporting, Terriers, Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhound and part Hounds

Elena was born in Moscow, Russia. She received a PhD and MBA degree in biology from the Moscow State University. She also a graduate from the well-respected RKF-FCI Cynological courses.

She started breeding in 1995 with the Russian Borzoi, Italian Greyhound and Central Asian Shepherds. Elena established her own Kennel “Giardini dello Zar”.

In 2006 she married Italian judge Salvatore Tripoli and moved to Rome, Italy where she lives and works today.

Elena is an experienced and responsible breeder. Dogs from her kennel have gone on to be winners in Italy, Europe and other countries.

An All Rounder judge, Elena gives lectures on dog breeding and is the author of articles in Russian and Italian magazines. Judging CAC and CACIB in many countries including; Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, India, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Finland and the Philippines. Judging CH of CH in Israel, Portugal and Russia.
Elena is fluent in Russian, English, Italian and German..

Susan Sheppard (NZ) - Working Trials

Thank you to the New Zealand Kennel Club for asking me to judge at their UD trial. Good luck to all the competitors.

I began my judging career in 1990 when I became an Obedience and Agility judge and I am now on the Test C Obedience Panel and Agility Judges panel. I joined the Working Trial Panel in 1993 and am on the TD panel.

We currently own five Kelpies and I am presently training a young chocolate Kelpie in all three disciplines. She has yet to make an appearance in the ring but we are progressing steadily with her working trials career. Anyone who has experienced Working Trials knows there is no greater “high” than competing a successful track. Hopefully we will see a few during this trial.

Leigh Gibson (Australia) - Junior Handler

I am thrilled and honoured to be invited to judge this Junior Handler final for the New Zealand Kennel Club - Thank You.

I have previously judged the Queensland junior handler state final at the Brisbane Royal show, but this will be my first time officiating junior handlers outside of Australia.

Having been exhibiting and breeding for close to 35 years, it has always been a regret that I was too old for junior handlers when I started showing.

Being mindful that today's "Juniors" are the future of the dog world, I feel that sportsmanship and good dog sense are just as important as technical handling ability.

I have always prided myself on being an Owner Breeder Handler. I have handled dogs that my wife Helen & I have bred under our Karakush prefix along with a few high quality dogs bred by other respected breeders, to in excess of 150 Best In Shows - including Best In Show at the 2007 Sydney Royal and Runner Up to Best In Show at the 2016 Sydney Royal. We have also bred in excess of 130 individual champions for in excess of 200 championships.

I have been fortunate enough to handle many different breeds and in many different countries around the world. I have bred or owned and campaigned Afghan, Beagle, American Cocker Spaniel, Chinese Crested, English Foxhound, Fox Terrier - Smooth & Wire, Italian Greyhound & Saluki, as well as handling many other breeds for their owners.

I look forward to being impressed today with the finest Junior Handlers New Zealand has to offer.

Jean McErlane (Auckland) - Puppy Stakes and NZ Bred Stakes

I grew up on a Waikato farm and have been involved with dogs and horses all my life. I have owned and exhibited pedigree dogs since 1969, my first breed being Labradors, registered under the “Tanglewood” prefix, using stock carefully selected from England and Australia.

Dalmatians were bred and exhibited for many years under the “Tantara” prefix, with many imports from England and Australia. Homebred stock in both breeds were campaigned to New Zealand (NZ) and Australian titles with special pride in breeding and exhibiting the first New Zealand Grand Champion Dalmatian.

Other breeds owned and exhibited include Cocker Spaniels, Bichon Frise, Pointers, Smooth Fox Terriers and Saint Bernards. First judged in 1975, then extensively in NZ and Australia. Following appointment to the All Breeds Panel in 1991 judging assignments have taken me to over 15 countries worldwide. Also judging Speciality shows in, Dalmatians, Labradors, Rottweiler, Poodles. A highlight was the Australian National Dalmatian Speciality in Canberra in 1995.

Club involvement includes many years as Club Secretary of Rotorua Kennel Association, Chair of NZ Kennel Club Judges Assn and Convenor of Judges Training Programme in Bay of Plenty and Auckland areas, as well as executive positions on All Breeds and Specialist Committees. Appointed to NZKC Judges Panel of Examiners in 1998 and also prepared theory exams and conducted Judges’ Practical exams in both Malaysia and Taiwan. Life Member of New Zealand Kennel Club, Rotorua Kennel Club and The Labrador Club.

Self-employed in my own Floristry business in Auckland..

Alistair Kirk (NZ) - Special Beginners, Test A, Test C

Hi there, this year I have been honoured with an appointment to judge the dog obedience competition at the National Dog Show to be held in Christchurch.

I consider this to be one of the highlights of my 25 year stint on the Judges Panel, and I would like to express my appreciation to the New Zealand Kennel Club.

It all began in 1987 when I purchased my first dog, a German Shepherd named “Shaft”, a year later he won Special Beginners at the National Dog Show. It was not until I lost him at the tender age of 4 years that I realised how good he was, by then he was an Obedience Champion and already had 10 Challenges.

Since that time I have been lucky enough to have owned several wonderful dogs which have had lots of success at all levels of competition. I have judged in most areas of New Zealand and have met some wonderful people and established many long term friendships.

My favourite exercise in obedience is heeling, and I believe it is the most important aspect of obedience competition and so I am look forward to judging happy, animated and precision heelwork during the National Dog Show.

I look forward to meeting lots of people and canines from throughout New Zealand.

I would like to wish all attending the upcoming National’s the very best of luck and although we can’t all win we should remember we do it for the sheer joy of working together with the furry friends we love so much. How could we be anything but winners??? .

Kate Winters (NZ) - Novice & Test B

Thank you to the NZKC for, once again, inviting me to judge at our prestigious National Dog Show.

I have been judging obedience for almost 20 years now and at the same time, have taken several dogs through to Test C and two English Springer Spaniels to Obedience Champion status. At the present I am working my 3 year old Springer/Border Collie X (Trampoline of Aratere) in Test B and my young Border Collie bitch in Novice.

It is always a pleasure to judge obedience in the South Island. I’m looking forward to a good National competition as well as catching up with a few of those good Mainlanders.

Good luck to all competitors. May your dogs work as well in the ring as they do in training.

Ann Davis (NZ) - Rally-O

It is an honour to be asked to judge at the 2016 Nationals.

I began the sport of dog training in the1970’s at the age of 15 at Akarana Dog Obedience with my red Dobermann.

I have competed in Obedience with Dobermann’s, German Shorthaired Pointers and currently Irish Water Spaniels.

Always enjoy competing with my dogs and judging. Have been on the Obedience Judging panel for many years and then decided to become a Rally judge. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and supporting competitors achieve Rally titles with their dogs. I have qualified with my husband’s Newfoundland and Weimaraner with RN and Caoilfhionn who has achieved her RAE title.

It will be a pleasure to judge the dogs compete at the Nationals, watching dogs and handlers work together to achieve qualifications..

Miriam Dobson (NZ) - Reserve Judge for all tests

First of all thanks to all concerned for my invitation to be reserve judge at the National Dog Show this year. I regard it as a great honour.

I originally was a Field Trial judge for many years and it wasn’t until I retired from the Field Trial panel that I took up Obedience judging. I just love judging and competing in Obedience. When judging there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a dog and handler with complete rapport and with the dog working happily and tail wagging.

I own and work Golden Retrievers - the only breed I have worked and shown and I am a great believer in the dual purpose golden having owned, worked or bred three dual show and obedience champions as well as breeding, handling and training a grand obedience champion, an All Breeds Best in Show winner and two Specialist Best in Show winners.

I now only own two goldens and I am currently working an eighteen month golden in Test A – my swan song - and what a delight he is. He keeps me young and competitive.

I have made many loyal friends in the “dog world”. We dog people are a wonderfully loyal and supportive people.

I wish everyone who is entering this prestigious show all the best. Even though I may not be judging I will be watching with interest from the side lines.