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MEET THE JUDGE: SANDY THOMPSON

I started raising and showing collies in 1972, just two years after I graduated from high school and one year after I got married to Ken. My first collie was a combination of Parader, Cul-Mor, and Arrowhill by way of Sunnyhill. It took me two shows to realize that she was not show quality and I immediately quit showing her. I did breed her though and she produced my first champion male and my foundation bitch. She was then placed in a pet home where she would be the main attraction.

I have finished several champions over the years but I remain a very small kennel. I have taken pride in the fact that I have bred two Best in Show winners who did a lot of specialty winning as well. All of our dogs have been able to compete at both levels. I think my proudest accomplishment was to produce Ch. Kendras Hearthrob!, ROM, who has produced nine champions.

Why did you become a judge?
To me it just seemed to be a natural cycle of my life in dogs. Since I had been breeding and showing collies since I was 20 years of age, had a measure of success myself, had handled, and taught others, I felt that it was time to give back to the sport that has been so fulfilling to me. I loved judging sweeps and matches and I loved the thought of being able to go over MANY different dogs from various parts of the country.

I felt this would be a great opportunity to learn more about what virtues are found where. Fact of the matter is, when you are exhibiting there isn't enough time to actually go over all the dogs. When you are judging you are able to see and feel so much more, thereby learning so much more than you can as an exhibitor.

What is the measure of a successful judge?
I think one thing is when you are able to leave the show and in honesty know that you did what was right for the breed. If you go home having second thoughts about your choices then you probably made the wrong one or made your decision based on something other than the quality of the dogs. . .

What dog have you seen that comes/came closest to embodying your vision of the Standard?
There are many that I have judged, both rough and smooth, that embody my vision of the standard. However, since I think it would be unwise to mention the names of dogs still living, due to the fact that some may be showing under me in the future, I will only mention dogs from the past.

Two bitches that really stand out in my mind are Ch. Starr's Blue Jeans and Ch. Lee Air's Amazing Grace. They were both balanced from every angle, had neck, coat, body, movement, bone, and were impeccably conditioned. A male that was one of my own personal favorites was Ch. Kendras Double Attraction. Again, beautiful coat, neck, bone, balance and his movement was amazing. Even had he not been mine he would have taken my breath away.

As time passes it has become much easier for people to combine their lines and come out with great ones. Some people say that the days of GREAT ones are gone, but I totally disagree. I think that the competition has increased and the quality has improved tremendously, and that has lessened the gap that there was when I first started. I know that I have seen some wonderful collies who are living today and am certain that there will be many more in the future.

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