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How to judge pose shows

For those of you curious about how I judge my petz shows, or maybe for those who want to judge their own show, but aren't sure how to do it.
Questions? Comments? Want to add your own little section about how you judge? Don't hesitate to email me!

The entries - where and how to put them, and a note about "fair judging"
I recieve my show entries via email, and I put them into three folders on my computer: catz, dogz and dali. I name the pics after the petz' show names. If the names have a charcater in their name that can't be used in a file name, such as /, I use other symbols to help me remember. I mainly use - for / and ! for ?. Why I name the files likes this? Basically because when making the awards, I don't have to check and look for their names, I know it right away.

When I'm ready to judge the show, I open a program like FrontPage express, or maybe even MS Word. Why? Easy, here I can open all of the pics and put them beside each other (by creating a new web page, which is never posted on the net or even saved) so that I can compare them with each other. Another important reason is that by doing this, I can't see the petz' name. Why is this important? Well, in an attempt to be a fair judge, it's easy to let only one of a person's pet place, instead of perhaps three, even though this person has really great petz - but that's not fair to the others, right? Letting one person win perhaps BIS, 1st and 2nd? WRONG! If the poses deserve to win, it's unfair to the owner of these show petz to not win, just because he/she happens to be good at getting several good poses OO; Since I can't tell the petz names when opened in FrontPage, I won't have to worry about it. I have no idea who owns which pet!

Starting to judge!
When I've put all "good poses" in my show in one pile and all "bad poses" in one, I begin to *really* judge the good ones - the bad poses are out of the show. This is the hardest part! Now I've looked at the most important part of the pose: the general appearance. These are good poses, I know that. Now it's time to look at the details and decide who's best. There are some things that I mainly look at (I have also included pics of the general pose of each kind): 

Dogz and catz alike:

  • Condition: Is the pet fat, skinny or perfect? Is it brushed or all fuzzy?

  • Is the pet aligned with only two legs showing (+ second hind leg for most catz)?

  • Is the pet alert and active, without eyelids drooping (mutts and calicos, mostly)?

  • Does it look happy and "serious", or is it staring at me, not posing right?

  • How does the topline look? Differently, depending on breed, but it should generally be a good, nice curve.

NB's Dark Kitten

  • Is there space between the legs? There should be as much space as possible between the hind legs. BUT it varies from breed to breed. A chinchilla persian, no matter how hard it tries, cannot have has much space between its legs as, for example, a tabby! I look more at how much distance there is between the legs, rather than the space!

  • What does the tail look like? Is it straight, heavily bent or slightly bent? Slightly bent is best, after that comes straight. It's a little different for each breed, though! I want a slight curve upwards :)

  • Is the head positioned right and looking directly at the photographer, with the ears matching each other (does not apply to alley catz, since their ears are of different size).

  • Does the cat look proud and agile?

  • Some judges prefer no eyelids showing. This, to me, is rather unfair, since some breeds can't pose with no eyelids showing (B+Ws, for example). I prefer like above: a little eyelid showing, it should be showing the same amount on both sides. I take away a little, little bit for angry eyelids, but imo, scared/sad eyes are worse than angry. To get a pose with eyelids showing like above, use the door-method (more on this under Petz Tipz)

NB's Hazel Orbs

  • If normal/dogz pose: Is the head turned to the side, with only one eye showing, looking at the photographer? The head should be held as high as possible. To me, the general appearance is more important than just one eye showing, but in a perfect pose, you can only see one eye.

  • If front pose/dali pose: Similar to catz - is the head positioned right and looking directly at the photographer? Are the ears aligned nicely? The chin should be pointing as straight down as possible. 

  • Are the eyes open and alert, but with at least some eyelid showing? Eyelid should be visible!

  • Is the chest puffed out nicely? Applies especially to bulldogz!

  • Is the tail curled? Some hexed breedz do not have a curved tail, but most dogz do. Dogz can also have docked (bobbed) tails. If so, what's rest of the tail should be standing right up. Droptails sort of stand out - down, remember that :)

  • Does the dog look proud, get gentle? Harmony is important!

About taste, knowledge and experience
When I have gone through all of this, I usually have 5 or perhaps a few more pics to choose from, pics that have everything I want (unless low quality on the entries). Now, this is the hardest part, and probably the one that takes the longest to decide... Who should win? I usually start with BIS. Hard hard hard. Which pose is REALLY the best? Sometimes, two poses of two different petz (often of the same breed, to make it even harder, it seems!) can be truly great, with no real faults at all. So how to decide? Well, if they really are just equally good, there's not much else to do than use your own taste. Which one do you think should win? The dali, or the bulldog? The bulldog has cuter eyes, you say? Well, place is first then! One thing you should always remember is that you shouldn't be afraid to place any dog you feel like winning. When a person enters your show, the ask to have their petz judged by you, to know what YOU think, and shouldn't complain if they don't win. It has happened that I've thought that I deserve a high place in a show, but perhaps I didn't place at all! Did I complain? No, I didn't. I respect the judge and what he/she thinks. I just try again, perhaps with a new pose or another pet! You have to remember that different persons are good at judging different breedz, and have different experiences. A breeder often learns a lot about his/her breed. I've bred B+Ws shorthairs for a long, long time, and I know quite a bit about them. I know how one should look, all of their colours (except perhaps eye colours) and what varieties there are in the breed. Therefore, I can judge them properly. Take another breed, like orange shorthairs. I haven't bred those, and I don't know that much about them, so I can judge little more than their pose, while I can say more about the B+W. I don't know of a single person who has successfully bred all breedz there are, especially not with all hexed breedz around! So depending on your experience with a breed, you judge differently. Take danes as another example! I have only bred danes on a small scale, but I know how hard it can be to get a good pose of an adult dane. Therefore, I recognize a good dane pose when I see one, knowing that that person has most likely worked hard to get it! Personally, I think front poses / dali poses are quite a bit easier to get than normal poses, where you have to worry more about the head. All dogz can give an okay dali pose, but not all (dalis, for example!) can get a great normal pose!

I have the BIS-winner... Now what?
Go on, place 1st, 2nd, 3rd and HM. If you want. Or use your own places. BIS, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and HM is part of the EPCPS show system, (the same one that has a point system that ranges from Rc to SGCh. Lately, more titles have been added, but I don't use those at the moment). When you have decided the five winnerz, you are more or less done with the judging. Now all that remains is to make the awards, and (if you are a good boy/girl) to tell the entrants that you are done, and perhaps even email out the awards. Post the awards on a website, if you have one, and breath out - you have successfully judged your petz show!

Anything you want me to add? Should I explain something better? Email me with your comments and suggestions!

How another judge, Sarah, judges her shows!
I've been judging for a couple years now, and at first, I did what you do (make a "non-existant" webpage with the pics), but after a while it got a bit annoying because I only accept 6 entries per show (raising that number, my site's more popular finally lmao). Soo, I open MS Paint and make the white space as big as possible without having the lil scrollbars. Then, I save it as "Dogz" or "Catz". When entries come in, I paste the pic into the big file, flip it the way I'm planning on putting the petz on the awards (makes judging easier too lol), and underneath the pet I type it's showname and it's owner's email address. Then, when I go to judge, I look at all the pics and choose the pic that's the worst, and "x" it out in red so I don't have to look at it anymore. THEN I get to judging. I take a moment to really stare at every part of each pet. I don't group into different breeds, because I'm not judging on how good Fluffy is compared to Fido, I'm judging on how good Fluffy is (Nova's note: I don't compare them to each other either, I divide them into breeds and judge them by comparing them to their "standard" if I get many entries of one breed). Once I have in my mind how good each is, I look at the petz' coloring. Say I have two red Great Danes. But one has a spot on it's side and a light blue eye and a nice smile. And the other's simply red with regular blue eyes, and it really has no expression. If their poses are the same, I place the "special" one higher than the other. Then I just go down the line, comparing each of the "leftovers" until I get to only one pet left, which means he/she is HM lol. I suppose it makes sense for YOU to not see the owners' names, but I only accept 2 entries per person (otherwise, one entire show could consist of the same owner's petz) so it's easier lol. That, and I have the rule that if you re-enter it has to be a different pic. Once I even disqualified my best friend's cat because her tail was winging way out away from her head and her eyes were closed lol.