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Training seminar ‘landmark’ for joint clubs

In July 2001 delegates of the committees of the Finnish Spitz Club and Society held an inaugural meeting to discuss the formation of a Joint Judges’ Sub-Committee to deal with all things pertaining to judging the breed in an attempt to procure better future co-operation between the two organisations, writes John Blaber.

This initial was successful and in December the first proper meeting of the Sub-Committee was held. Two items were agreed immediately, ie. the unification of the two Judges Lists, long overdue for they had been at variance for over 20 years, and the organisation of a Judges’ Training Seminar to comply with the Kennel Club’s requirements for the Judges’ Criteria. The seminar was deemed essential to enlighten future judges of the finer points of Finnish Spitz, of which they should be specifically aware when judging the breed, and to correct any possible misinterpretations that have crept into judging.

Since the early 1980s a number of Judges’ Training Seminars have been held separately by each organisation. This seminar, the first to be jointly run by the club and society, included an assessment test and was duly held on Saturday 21st September at Shenstone Village Hall, Staffordshire. Primarily it was aimed at those on the Joint Judges B and C Lists, especially those who were unable to attend the last Seminar and those who have been added since the formation of the joint Judges’ Sub-Committee.


Dolores Gatti, a championship show judge who was a very successful exhibitor in the 80s and early 90s, was and she gave an excellent talk about the approach to judging the breed and the finer and specific points of which prospective judges should be aware. This was followed by a ‘hands-on’ session with a few Finnish Spitz exhibits that owners had kindly brought along for them to be picked over, not only to be criticised but also to be praised.

A written Assessment Test (only one of the previous seminars included such a test) was an essential part of this Seminar in order to comply with the Kennel Club’s requirements for the Judges’ Criteria, ie. every prospective judge must have attended a breed specific seminar and passed an examination or assessment. This took place after lunch and it comprised a number of questions in three parts, ie. the Breed Standard, the various points of the Finnish Spitz and finally some illustrations that were required to be placed in order with the writing of adequate critiques using wherever possible the wording in the breed standard.

The seminar was the first ‘land-mark’ venture jointly run by the club and society. Quite a number of people were sufficiently interested in learning a little more about judging Finnish Spitz with 28 attending and 14 actually sitting the test and from this point of view it proved to be an unmitigated success. Despite previous pitfalls co-operation is not insurmountable and, with continuing effort from members of both organisations, all other pitfalls will be surmounted and co-operation will be continuing.