Stephanie Hedgepath - Parent/Regional Specialty & Junior Showmanship

 

I am a breeder/owner/handler and still breed and show.  Over the years I have owned and shown dogs mostly from the Herding and Sporting Groups plus a few toy breeds.  I started out showing dogs from the Herding Group, but as a hunter, I always had a “bird dog” and thus also showed Brittanys, Pointers, Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters over the years. I have finished dogs in several other breeds from the Sporting and Toy groups but my main focus is on the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  As to my background as a judge, I have been judging since 1988, the Sporting Group since 2006.

I started my judging career in 1988 with AKC approval to judge German Shepherds, Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.  I judge the Herding, Sporting, Toy and Non-Sporting groups.  I have been fortunate enough to have judged dogs all over the US and Canada and also in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, China, the Philippines, Mexico and the United Kingdom. In 2011, I was accorded the supreme honor of being asked to judge the Welsh Corgi League show in the UK and in previous years both the Cardigan and Pembroke Nationals in the US and the Pembroke National in Canada.  I have also had the honor of having judged many National and Regional Specialties for breeds I did not breed, own or show from the four groups I am approved to judge throughout the years, an assignment I always enjoy!

Some of the highlights of my judging career have been judging at Westminster Kennel Club in 2006, doing the Herding Group at the Rose City Classic in Portland which was shown on Animal Planet and more recently, The Beverly Hills Kennel Club, shown on NBC.  I have judged the national specialties for Clumber Spaniels, Field Spaniels, and the Top Twenty competition for the Golden Retriever Club of America.

I first became aware of the Spinone Italiano when attending Crufts in the 1990’s.  I was trying to watch two breeds and was hurrying through from one ring to the other when I saw a dog standing in front of the bench being groomed.  I stopped dead in my tracks, took a quick photo and went on.  On my way back, this magnificent dog was standing in the ring having a photo made of his BOB win.  I stopped to talk with the owners about what breed he was – his name was SH CH Gallowdyke Wreckless Eric at Sundeala.  I was extremely impressed with him, and with the breed.  When studying the breed to apply for permission to judge them, I had the pleasure of visiting with a few breeders, one of whom had a litter of ten puppies.  We sat on the floor of her basement kennel area and evaluated each of the pups.  I can still visualize those puppies running and playing around us. Several years ago, when I was happy to get to sit with her ringside so we could talk about the entry I had judged the day before.  Of course, I went home and purchased her book!  I really like the breed.  I am a hunter, and actually had Brittanys before I had Pembroke Welsh Corgis, the breed for which I am best known.  I purchased a Brittany when seriously dating a fellow who had a hunt preserve.  Even then, I showed dogs, and wanted a dog I could both show and hunt.  When I am evaluating a gundog, after assessing it for breed character and movement I usually choose the dog I would hunt behind.

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