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Premier Judges

2017 UKC Premier
June 15-18, 2017
Kalamazoo, Michigan

United Kennel Club is pleased to announce the judges for the 2017 UKC Premier. For more information on each one of them please refer to their bios posted below.

Premier

View more information about UKC Premier.

Sharon Elkins

Calhan, Colorado
Obedience

Sharon Elkins

 

What are you judging this year?

This year I will be judging Obedience and Rally Obedience.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been judging for UKC for five years now.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

For almost 30 years I have been competing in Agility, Conformation, Obedience, Rally and Stock Work with my Australian Shepherds.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

My daughter and I also competed in showing Quarter Horses and saw the Aussies at some of these shows and also watched them helping on ranches.

what do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

I have been blessed to have attained multi titles on several of my dogs. One of these being a Supreme Versatility Champion in ASCA.
Several of my dogs are also Total Dog in UKC and several of these dogs were BIMS.

Good luck at Premier this year!

David Kittredge

Rochester, New York
Conformation

David Kittredge

 

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a judge since 2005.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I have been involved in dogs all my life, but started breeding Cocker Spaniels in earnest in 1973, and continued to breed and exhibit until I began judging in 1996.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I have been involved for 45 years.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

I have trained and competed in Obedience events.

How did you become involved with dogs?

I started breeding with my original mentor and later continued on my own after she retired. Instilled with her original guidelines, I was successful in producing happy and healthy Cockers, who were equally successful in the show ring, in performance venues, and happily sitting on someone’s lap. I did not campaign many dogs beyond their championships, although I handled some accomplished winners for others.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

Although I am very proud of the accomplishments of my dogs, I feel that my greatest contribution to the sport has been as a judge. I thoroughly enjoy the process of learning the fine points of breeds and applying those findings in the ring.
My approach has always been to put overall breed type above any single attribute. It is important to investigate all the points addressed in a standard when evaluating an exhibit. However, I feel that too often the overall picture can be ignored in the final analysis. Unity of structure, harmony of proportion, functioning of the structure in movement and correctness of all features for the breed’s intended purpose are of greater importance than any factors considered separately. Of course, as a judge, I want it all!

John Nelson

Cypress, Texas
Drag Racing

John Nelson

 

What are you judging this year?

I will be judging Drag Racing.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a UKC judge for five years.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I have been involved with dogs all my life and have been involved with UKC since 2009, so 8 years.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

Conformation, Agility and Weight Pull.

Patrick O'Donnell

Locke, New York
Conformation

Patrick O'Donnell

 

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I started judging in the early 1990's, so I have been judging for UKC for around 27 years.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs? And how long have you been involved with dogs?

I live in Locke, NY with my wife Suzanne. We have been involved with American Eskimos since 1981, we have had in the past American Pit Bull Terriers and Basenjis. We started breeding American Eskimos around 1983, we have bred several UKC Champions and Grands, and showed some in Obedience.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

We got involved in showing after purchasing our first American Eskimo dogs and subscribing to Bloodlines we found our first UKC show to attend. We had so much fun, the rest is history.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

I am very honored to say over the years we have bred and owned many UKC Champions and Grands. Among the honors in 1994 Premier our Basenji took a group 3, 1995 Premier our American Pit Bull Terrier took the first Group 1 for that breed, our Basenji took overall top ten second place in 2004. Our American Eskimo placed 4th overall top ten in 2011. Our biggest honor is having 2 Bred by in 2015, 2016 National Best Of Breed, National Grand Champions, American Eskimos.

Marilyn O'Neill

Canada
Conformation

Marilyn O'Neill

 

What are you judging this year?

I am very honored to have been asked to judge the Premier show this year. I will have the privilege of judging the Gun Dogs, Scenthounds, Sighthounds and Pariah Dog Groups and also the Companion dogs in the Top Ten.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I became a Canadian Kennel Club judge in 2000 and a UKC judge in 2005. I am on my permit for my last group with the Canadian Kennel Club so by next year I should be an all breed judge in both UKC and CKC.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I began in purebred dogs in 1971 when I purchased my first show American Cocker Spaniel. She was a little blonde Cocker named Candy. My husband, Larry and I immediately enrolled her in obedience before her show career began. We got so enthusiastic about obedience that we ended up starting our own obedience club with two other couples. Candy got her CD by the time she was 8 months old and then went on to become a Canadian Champion in conformation. So needless to say we were hooked.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

We went on to bred almost 100 champions under the "Larmaro" prefix with many having Canadian and American titles.

I could not be happier that I became involved with the United Kennel Club. I have had so many wonderful experiences judging UKC and meet so many wonderful people who care about what the sport of dog shows should be all about. I have looked at my judging as a career and feel that a judge can never stop learning. I try to attend as many breed specialties, seminars and top shows as I can. I have had the privilege of judging in many countries around the world but one of the most exciting is judging at Premier.

Good luck to all.

Laura Patton

Breckenridge, Texas
Conformation

Laura Patton

 

What are you judging this year?

This year at the United Kennel Club Premier Show I am excited to be judging the Herding Dog Group, the Scenthound Group, and the Sighthound and Pariah Groups.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

Belgian Shepherd Dogs were recognized and registered as one breed with varieties by the United Kennel Club in 1992. I believe I became a UKC judge that same year. Currently, I judge all breeds.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

For 48 years I have been breeding purebred dogs, mostly Belgian Shepherd Dogs, but have owned and bred Havanese for the past 5 years.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

In 1965 I purchased my first Belgian Shepherd Dog (G), CH Windsong O’Ebon Will, CDX. Through the years I have participated in Obedience, Agility, Herding, Rally and UKC Nosework, which I love.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

It is difficult to say what I feel is my biggest accomplishment with dogs. One has to be the wonderful friends I have made during these many years competing with my dogs. I am also proud of the many puppies I have bred and the joy and happiness they have brought to their owners.
As far as competition is concerned, I am most proud of winning the BSCA National Specialty 3 times, the first in 1980 and the last in 2010 plus being the breeder with co-breeder, Laura Gilbert, of the Best of Breed winner at the 2014 BSCA National Specialty.

Christine Reed

Cypress, Texas
Conformation

Christine Reed

 

What are you judging this year?

I will be judging Herding and Companion dogs

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a judge with UKC since the early 1990’s.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

Yes, I have been a Belgian Shepherd breeder since the early 1990’s.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I have been involved with dogs since 1989.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

I have participated in Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving, Earthdog, and Lure Coursing. My last Tervuren, Cabo, competed in Agility for several years and also ran in Flyball for 10 consecutive years, achieving the NAFA Iron Dog award for his efforts. I also own a Parson Russell terrier who competed in both Flyball and Agility.

How did you become involved with dogs?

The first dog I owned as an adult was a Belgian Tervuren. After one obedience class, we entered and won a High in Trial at our first trial. This started my interest in performance events. After attending local dog shows for obedience I became interested in conformation events and, later, breeding. As I became more and more involved in dog sports, and being originally from England, I started searching for quality blood lines to work with from Europe, finding most of my stock from Belgium and France.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

While I have competed in many venues, I feel my main focus and interest lies with the challenge of developing a successful breeding program. It is the most important and enduring part of what I have done with dogs.
My biggest accomplishment is in providing my puppy buyers with quality animals with whom they can fulfill their dreams and in always aspiring to breed healthy dogs that can live normal and happy lives.

Jamie Robinson

Three Rivers, Michigan
Weight Pull

Jamie Robinson

 

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

Yes, I have been breeding dogs since 1987.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I’ve been involved with dogs since 1995.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

Conformation, Rally Obedience, Obedience, Agility and Dock Jumping.

How did you become involved with dogs?

I grew up having and loving dogs. I recall the very first command I ‘accidently’ taught our dog. Every day after school I would come home and go over to our Doberman, Alissa, and I would push her to her side and say lay over and I would rub her belly. One day I said ‘lay over’ but I had not yet sat down to push her over and she did it. I was in pure shock and ecstatic she did what I said! As I got older and had children, they became involved in 4-H and that inspired me to do more with our dogs.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

We have had numerous RBIS, BIS, MWP and MWPP – all of which, we are very proud.

Renee Strong

Moravia, New York
Conformation

Renee Strong

 

What are you judging this year?

I am judging the Top Ten Guardian Breeds and Epagnuel Breton breed, Northern breeds, part of the Gun Dog breeds and Terrier breeds.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a UKC judge since 2002.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I have been breeding American Eskimo’s for the past 30 years, but have also had a litter of Basenji’s.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I’ve been involved with the American Eskimo’s since 1983 when I started showing in Junior Showmanship, since then I have continued with the American Eskimo’s and, in the past, have also had American Pit Bull Terriers and Basenjis.

How did you become involved with dogs?

I live in Moravia, NY. My parents are Patrick & Suzanne O’Donnell. I have been involved with American Eskimos since 1983, I have had in the past American Pit Bull Terriers and Basenjis. I started breeding American Eskimo’s at an early age and have bred several UKC Champions and Grand Champions.
My parents got involved in showing after purchasing their first American Eskimo and subscribing to Bloodlines. We attended our first UKC show and enjoyed it so much we are still here 30 years later.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

I’m very honored to say over the years I have owned/bred/handled many UKC Champions and Grand Champions. In 1994 I had the honor of taking the first Best Junior Showmanship at PREMIER. Among the honors in 1994 PREMIER our Basenji took a group 3, 1995 PREMIER our American Pit Bull Terrier took the first Group 1 for that breed, 2004 our Basenji placed 2nd overall top ten, and 2011 our American Eskimo placed 4th overall top ten. In 2015 and 2016 our biggest honor is having 2 Bred by National Best of Breed, National Grand Champions, American Eskimos.

Carol Tharnish

Cochiti Lake, New Mexico
Obedience, Rally Obedience

Carol Tharnish

 

Originally from Buffalo NY, I showed horses in numerous venues for more than thirty years. In 1967 my husband brought home a little ball of blue fur sent from Littleton, Colorado. When he was stationed in Colorado Springs, he had seen Jay Sisler do his act with a horse and Aussies.

This pup was Rita, a Badger/Queenie girl, and I was hooked. In 1985, I moved to New Mexico with my two Aussies, where we joined the Santa Fe Dog Obedience Club. Then I got into showing in Obedience and, later, Rally. In 1997, I started judging for ASCA and UKC. I had grown up with German Shepherd dogs but there is nothing nicer than the Australian Shepherd.

Kathleen Cook

Williamsburg, Ohio
Obedience, Rally Obedience

Kathleen Cook

What are you judging this year?

I feel honored to be invited by UKC to judge Obedience and Rally Obedience at this year's Premier.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I judged my first fun match in 1989. I continued judging matches and 4-H shows. I enjoyed this judging and applied to be an American Pit Bull Terrier Rally judge in 2002. I followed suit when AKC and UKC began offering Rally and also applied to be an Obedience judge. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people with the same passion for dogs and training me.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

My husband, Mike and I acquired our first AKC registered dogs in 1976 and, together, we started MIKA German Shepherds. As a result of having large breed dogs (German Shepherds and a Doberman Pinscher) I began reading books on how to Obedience train my dogs. “Formal” training at a local training club ensued and both Mike and I began showing in Obedience in 1984.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I occasionally breed and have produced several litters of German Shepherd Dogs. These litters have produced multiple OTCHs, Champion Trackers, and MACHs. I only breed dogs with OFA
hips, elbows, and DM free.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

My training interests have expanded over the years to include traditional Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Rally Obedience, and IPO (Schutzhund). I am proud to say my German Shepherds earn advanced titles in all, including an OTCh and have earned three perfect scores of 200, and I have earned being in the SchH 3 Club.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dogs?

I am a member of several local training clubs, including Clermont County Dog Training Club and Queen City Dog Training Club. I am also a member of The German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater Cincinnati and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. I own a successful dog training school, Blue Ribbon Dog Training Academy LLC.

Jean Conroy

Norfolk, Virginia
Agility

Jean Conroy

I would like to introduce myself, I’m Jean Conroy and I am from Norfolk, VA and am owned by four wonderful Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s.

What are you judging this year?

This year I will be judging Agility All-Stars AGIII and GRACH on Thursday, Friday will be AGII, Saturday AGIII and Sunday AGI. I am really looking forward to this. I participated with my now 10-year-old Corgi back in 2012 and had the greatest time. I was so pleased to see people respecting their dogs. The junior handlers were amazing as I witnessed two young men carry their Standard Poodles across the blacktop because it was so hot.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I started judging UKC back when it was still National Committee for Dog Agility (NCDA). I believe I became a UKC judge in 1994 or 1995. I have had a marvelous time meeting folks and the different dogs.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I used to breed German Shepherd Dogs and Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s but decided I had been exceptionally lucky in finding great homes for all the puppies and chances that after 12 years my luck may change.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I have always had dogs in my life, my grandmother raised Cocker Spaniels and I really enjoyed learning from her. But back in the 1950’s it wasn’t so easy to groom the dogs. My grandmother taught me so much. I just wish I had known about the obedience training back then.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

I am currently owned by four Pems, all girls, Winnie my 14-year-old, who is retired from Agility but still loves to play with the tunnels and contacts in the yard. MZ Lillian, my soon to be 11-year-old, has her UKC Altered Championship. She is a DIVA and knows it. If I get out the grooming table here she comes. She loves to be fussed over and made beautiful. She does have her AKC ORT in Nose Work. Next is my 10-year-old Sandy, who just finished in 8th out of 41 at the AKC Agility Nationals. Sandy has her UKC UGRACH2, UNJ, UCD and has the following titles in AKC: NADAC MACH PACH CD RE MXB MJS MXP5 MXPS MJP5 MJPS PAX OF T2B EJC EAC TN WV HP NW1 CGCA. Shelly is the baby as just 2 and a half years old. She has her AgI and NA NAJ.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

My biggest accomplishment, in my opinion is enjoying my dogs, friends I have met through the dogs and enjoying life. I have been responsible for many families enjoying the pleasure of German Shepherd Dogs and Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s. I enjoying teaching Agility and Obedience but I will admit Agility is my passion.

Melissa Kidd

Trinity, North Carolina
Conformation

Melissa Kidd

What are you judging this year?

For 2017 Premier I am judging Terrier Top Ten. I will also be judging Guardian, Scent, Sight and Northern Groups Friday through Sunday.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a UKC judge for 9 years.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I have been a breeder of American Hairless Terriers and Rat Terriers for 25 plus years.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I’ve been involved with dogs for 25 plus years.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

I also participate in Drag Racing with my dogs.

How did you become involved with dogs?

My family had German Shepherds for years before obtaining our first small breed dog, a Rat Terrier, around 1990. I was instantly in love with the breed for their versatility and their tenacious personality, maybe because they match my "terrier" personality! I was actively involved with two breeds as they became recognized by UKC, the Rat Terrier and the American Hairless Terrier, and have served on the board in numerous capacities of the AHT parent club. The love of life with dogs has kept me involved in the sport of dogs!

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

I don't know that I can list one biggest accomplishment. The biggest accomplishments with my dogs would include Best in Show wins (which validate my breeding program and the blood, sweat and tears that go with breeding), watching dogs from my breeding program accomplish great things in UKC and other venues, be it conformation or performance events (one dog we laughingly say "broke" UKC with too many titles to print on a certificate), and fostering the friendships that come with the years of involvement in the sport of dogs.

Lynne Nappi

Tallahassee, Florida
Obedience, Rally Obedience

Lynne Nappi

What are you judging this year?

I am judging Rally Obedience RO1 All Stars and Rally Top Junior competitions and all levels of Obedience.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been judging Rally and Obedience since 2009.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I have been involved with Performance Events since the 1970’s and Conformation since the early 1990’s.
What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are judging?
I participate in Agility, Conformation, Barn Hunt and Nosework—UKC, AKC, IABCA and NACSW.

How did you become involved with dogs?

My very first Alaskan malamute (1970) was an incorrigible 9-month-old rescue. Knowing nothing about the breed, other than it was a breed that always fascinated me and I always wanted—I, of course, took him in. It soon became apparent if he was going to be a part of our family, he was going to need some manners. I enrolled him in obedience school and it was there that I learned about “Obedience” and “Trials”. I knew that was something I would like to do. However, it was not until I got my second and third malamute (at the same time), that I became involved with Performance events—AKC, UKC and WWKC (World Wide Kennel Club).

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

It is hard to pick a single accomplishment, there has to be three. The one that I am most proud of is my Snowman was the very first dog and the very first Alaskan malamute to earn a Rally Champion Title with the World Wide Kennel Club. This was Bud Kramer’s “Rally-O”, before UKC Rally Obedience and AKC Rally Obedience. The second accomplishment, Snow earned his UKC Agility Champion Title at the “young” age of 11 and a half years old! He did not even start agility until he was 6 years old. And my third accomplishment was again with Snow; he was the only malamute invited to the Rally Obedience All Stars in 2011, ranking 21st out of the top 50 dogs in RO2.

Nancy Anderson

Paris, Texas
Nosework

Nancy Anderson

What are you judging this year?

At Premier this year, I will be judging exterior, container and vehicle Nosework.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I have been a UKC judge for about a year now.

Are you a breeder / how long have you been breeding dogs?

I have been breeding Schipperkes and Brittanys for 36 years. I have been actively involved in conformation and performance competitions since 1996. I have participated in field trials and hunt tests and I am currently involved in Conformation, Rally and Obedience along with Nosework.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

We had been raising hunting Brittanys and when my children were grown and out of 4-H and other school activities, I began showing in Conformation. I also taught pet obedience classes and eventually began to train my own dogs for Rally and Obedience competitions.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

Some of my greatest accomplishments in the dog world is achieving multiple Top Ten Status with Schipperkes and Brittanys that I have bred and raised. My schipperke, EN AH CH Bar Lo’s Wendi From Heartthrobs was the fourth dog to achieve the Elite Nosework title and is presently working on her Excellent title in Handler Discrimination. She was 12 in December.

Stanley Matsumoto

Oak Forest, Illinois
Conformation

Stan Matsumoto

I have been in the sport of Purebred Dogs for 40 plus years, having been a Professional Handler for the past 35 years of that time. I’ve bred Ch. English Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Silky Terriers and Pomeranians. I campaigned dogs from all 7 Groups, many of which ended up being nationally ranked in the top five of their breed system. I was a member of The Dog Handler’s Guild and a board member since 1985. I am, obviously, retired from professional handling and have been judging for UKC along with several registries in the U.S. and overseas. I have officiated at several Junior Handling competitions including 4-H events throughout the U.S. I have been conduction Conformation Classes in the Chicago land area for the past 35 years along with Junior handling.

Best wishes on a successful show.

Moyra Hamilton

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Lure Coursing

What are you judging this year?

I am judging the Coursing Aptitude for Meets 1 and 2 on Saturday, June 17th and the Coursing Tests and Regular Stakes on Sunday, June 18th.

How long have you been a UKC judge?

I’ve been a UKC Lure Coursing judge since the UKC started offering coursing in 2010.

How long have you been involved with dogs?

I’ve been involved with dogs for about 25 years.

What events, if any, do you participate in other than the event type in which you are Judging?

I also participate in conformation.

How did you become involved with dogs?

I became involved in dogs and dog sports when we got our first Irish Wolfhound in the early 1990’s. Seamus was a lean dog with a keen interest in chasing anything that moved and his breeder suggested we look into Lure Coursing. I did and that was the beginning of many years competing in Lure Coursing with Wolfhounds in both CKC and ASFA events. Eventually I started competing with Seamus in Conformation and continued to do so with our next dogs, eventually putting Conformation titles on the majority of our Irish Wolfhounds and Coursing titles on a few.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with your dog(s)?

I think my biggest accomplishment was having multiple conformation champion Irish Wolfhounds with field titles win Best Field Champion in Shows and one Best in Field Trial Conformation Show, where dogs competed on the field qualified then went into the show ring. Lure Coursing is not a “natural” sport for Irish Wolfhounds since they are bred for coursing much larger game than “bunnies.” Striking the right balance of encouragement; knowing when to train and when to leave them wanting more is difficult and my husband and I were able develop a good group of coursing hounds over the years.