When I received my invitation to judge Junior Showmanship classes at the 1971 Royal Agricultural Society Easter Show, I felt greatly honoured and probably a little apprehensive realising the responsibility entailed. Finally when the children and their dogs were before me in the ring, and I was confronted with full classes of excellent handlers I realised that my task was to be even more difficult than I had envisaged.
The dress and demeanour of all were excellent, and with few exceptions the children w e r e able to move and stand their dogs as requested. Most executed triangles and T turns with skill, and both in stance and movement rarely obscured the view of their dogs from the judge.
Answers which I consider necessary for a good handler, such as age and breed of dog being exhibited, were given, on the whole, clearly and without hesitation. Yet I have known adult handlers to fall down on these questions, and have occasionally come across a child handler who has not known the breed he is handling-"It is not my dog". However, the children could not be caught, although many raised an eyebrow when asked the breed. They must have thought: "What kind of judge is this, not to know the breed of dog 1 have?"
Some dogs are easier to handle than others and some are better trained. This, however, does not necessarily determine the handling ability of the handler, but when judging showmanship classes these factors must be taken into consideration.

  Parents would be well advised to consider this aspect when entering their children in showmanship classes. An unruly dog just doesn't give a child a fair chance in strong competition.
The winners stood out, especially in the 10 to 14 year olds, although the Championship Award finally went to Miss Brenda Beves from the seven years old and not exceeding 10 years class. She is an excellent handler and both she and her dog were in perfect unison throughout the judging. Master P. Frost, winner of the 10 years old and not exceeding 14 years had a more difficult task with his Dobermann. He gained my admiration because of his patience and mastery of the dog. He had some excellent handlers to compete against and placings in this class were very close. Wonderful showmanship throughout.
Something which struck me throughout the judging of both classes - although quality of exhibit is not taken into consideration, good showmanship on the part of the handler can make even a mediocre dog catch the eye and, in some cases, awaken particular interest in a breed. That children should have this ability is I feel, highly commendable.
I find it hard to be critical of any of the children I judged. However, I do feel larger breeds are better gaited with the lead controlled by both hands, while still allowing the dog to move on a loose lead. It gives better balance to both dog and handler. I would also advise against any exaggerated movement on the part of the handler in gait, as this tends to distract attention from the dog. The girls in particular would be well advised to make sure that their footwear allows complete freedom of movement.

Mrs Cramer presenting her award on 'Children's Day'.

  While on the subject of dress, although it doesn't apply to the children I judged in these particular classes (they were beautifully attired), up and coming handlers should be warned that short skirts, when bending over exhibits, usually reveal far more than realised. It is supposed to be the anatomy of the dog which is on show and I would advise that they remember this as they grow older. The boys have it much easier; however, shirt tails are unsightly and should be kept in place.
Because I considered each child deserved an award for good showmanship I disliked having to choose six or seven placegetters from the respective classes. I would prefer to see the classes divided into four instead of two. From these classes one, or perhaps three places could be awarded, with t h e remaining children receiving a certificate of merit.
To conclude, I would like to again congratulate my winners, and to assure the children who were unplaced that their ability was much admired.

   I would also like to thank the Chief Steward, Mr. G. Ross, and my Stewards, Messrs J. Maude and L. Erickson for their assistance in assembling the children.

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