Judge and Be Judged

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The Breed Standard is the written description of the perfect cat that a breeder uses as a guide in their breeding program and that a judge uses to evaluate the cat on in the show ring. The Standard is like an architect's blueprint... it helps you envision the final product.

Most cat breeders are all familiar with the standard for their particular breed... or at least they should be :-)

Recently, a (somewhat renegade) group of cat fanciers decided that another written standard was desperately needed for judges- not FOR the use of judges, but ABOUT the judges themselves. Judges are so important to the cat fancy that breeders are beseeching their registries to accept a written standard of perfection for the judge too.

Below is the proposed Judge's Standard... Please read carefully! :-)

GENERAL APPEARANCE - The first impression of a good judge should be that of a tough-minded but fair, alert and gentle specimen. Muscular fitness and nimbleness are desirable but not mandatory as soft living seems unavoidable in the breed.

The judge should be stamped with a look of nobility and justice - difficult to define, but always unmistakable after the show. The good judge has a distinct personality marked by a direct and fearless - but not hostile - expression of self confidence and that certain aloofness which does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships... or at least does not admit to such friendships until later back at the motel.

Secondary sex characteristics should be strongly marked, least, when the judge hands you a ribbon, you can say "Thank you , sir" or Thank you, Ma'am" with confidence. The question of monorchids or cryptorchids should be left to your florist.

COAT - In cold climates the judge should be equipped with a double coat. Underwear may vary with the season. At no time, however, may a judge shed in the ring.

PROPORTION - The most desirable proportions for a female judge are 38- 23-36; however you may settle for a 23-23-23 or, as I have at times 22-35-48. The shape of a male judge is less important - but great bulk and commanding appearance is greatly preferred.

PIGMENT - Let's not get into this again. ALL colors are permissible! I have not personally seen a blue judge, but there is always a first time.

SIZE - The judge should be neither too tall nor too short. As a rule of thumb, if he must sink to his knees to handle a Cat, he is probably too tall. On the other hand, if he must jump into the air to test for testicles, he is probably too short. Measurements should be taken from the top of the head, with the hair parted or pushed down so that it will show only the actual height of the judge's frame or structure. A judge of desirable sex and proper flesh should average between 70 and 340 lbs, depending primarily upon sex and how fat he or she is.

In Motion for the Finals - Judges who tend to do their finals on all fours should be avoided, as should those who stagger and fall down a lot. Forward motion should be achieved by placing one foot in front of the other... hopping is also permitted and, in fact, often makes for better showmanship.

STANCE at Finals - While viewing the cats, the judge should stand facing the cages, feet spread as at "parade rest", the right hand held firmly in the left armpit with the left crossing over under the right armpit... the chin must be tucked solidly into the chest, eyes squinting. Once the judge has assumed this position, the steward should count the number of times he/she takes out the cats/kittens. If that count should exceed 20,he might then unobtrusively poke the judge in the ribs. Older, more experienced judges have been known to doze off in this position while younger specimens, particularly members of the party-going set, might be still so nimble as to fake no problems from the night before.

MINOR FAULTS - Muteness: It is preferred if a judge can speak in audible tones, but his vocabulary may be limited to phrases such as "Nice class!" or , "Okay!!". If this is impossible, a set of flash cards should be provided. Deafness is no fault in a judge, in fact slightly impaired hearing faculties are a distinct advantage as the judge cannot hear the rude comments from the ringside and will be able to literally turn a deaf ear to whispered propositions, suggestions, etc., from the handlers.

BLINDNESS - It is an advantage if the judge has full use of both eyes, however, some best-known specimens manage to get by without any apparent eyesight at all and, as this does not seem to hinder their careers in the least, perhaps sight requirements are due to be revised and excluded from the standard.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS - Judges who whoop, holler and point, or who laugh hysterically at an exhibitor entering the ring with a particularly poor specimen should be disqualified. Likewise, a judge who delays proceedings while exhibitors make checks out to him in the ring is not permitted to participate further. Any judge who attacks an exhibitor in the ring is warned three times in writing after which he must be dismissed. As is any judge using more than 45 minutes for their Final.

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