Judges

RASV is pleased to announce the following 2019 Royal Melbourne Show All Breeds Championship Show judging panel:

CONFORMATION

ESPEN ENGH (NORWAY)

Group 1a (Toy) Griffon Bruxellois

Group 3a (Gundogs) Clumber Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels (American), Field Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, Irish Water Spaniels, Lagotto Romagnolos, Sussex Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels

Group 4 (Hounds) and GROUP 4 SPECIALS

Group 5a (Working Dogs) Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Kelpies, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs

BEST IN SHOW

Born into a family where Greyhounds were part of everyday life since 1955, Espen has been very actively involved with dogs from a very early age. The first litter carrying the prefix Jet’s was bred by Espen and his late mother Kari in 1975.

The Jet’s are the top winning Greyhound kennel of all time, having made up 212 individual homebred champions with more than 770 champion titles in 62 different countries, including 103 FCI International champions. Over the years 47 individual homebred Jet’s Greyhounds have won Best in Show.

Espen has imported several international champion Whippets and has also co-owned several Afghan Hound champions with his life partner Åge Gjetnes. Their latest venture is Griffon Bruxellois, where several Jet’s homebred champions have been made up, including the first ever English and American champion bitch in the breed. Espen was the top Griffon Breeder in the UK in 2017.

Espen judged his first dog show in 1984 and was approved to judge at championship show level in 1987. He was authorized to judge all breeds by both the Norwegian Kennel Club and the FCI in 2011. He has officiated at events in more than 85 countries across six continents, and he has judged all breed championship show Best in Show appointments in more than 60 countries.

Espen, is also approved to judge 112 breeds with CCs by The Kennel Club (London), all groups and Best in Show. Appointments in the UK include more than a dozen breed club championship shows over three groups, with some five Best in Show appointments at all breeds shows. Espen is also approved for All Breeds and BIS by the American Kennel Club and has judged a number of National Specialties, together with all groups and BIS on a number of occasions.

Espen has officiated at 14 World Dog Shows, Westminster Kennel Club, a number of European Dog Shows, the FCI Centenary Show in Dortmund, and Crufts UK on a number of occasions. Other notable appointments include more than twenty FCI title shows, including World Shows and several FCI European, Asian, American and Caribbean shows.

A veterinarian by education, Espen finished his doctoral thesis at the Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine and was Associate Professor of Comparative Medicine at the University of Oslo, and more recently Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Kennel Club. Currently he is Director General of The National Committees for Research Ethics in Norway.

It is near 20 years since Espen visited Australia. RASV is delighted to welcome Espen Engh, a world credentialed and highly respected judge, to the 2019 Royal Melbourne Show.

MICHAEL FORTE (IRELAND)

Group 3b (Gundogs) balance of breeds and GROUP 3 SPECIALS
Group 5b (Working Dogs) balance of breeds and GROUP 5 SPECIALS
Group 6a (Utility) Bernese Mountain Dogs

BEST PUPPY IN SHOW  

Michael’s first dog as a child was a Cairn Terrier. After this, he grew up with German Shepherds, English Cocker Spaniels, and Rough Coated Collies. He has bred, shown, and made up Champions in Old English Sheepdogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Tibetan Spaniels.

Michael’s judging career began in 1981, and he became an all rounder in 2008. He has judged at a number of high-profile events, including several World Dog Shows (Michael judged at WDS 2017 in Germany, and will also officiate in Spain, 2020), several European Dog Shows, Crufts, and International Shows in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Canada, parts of Africa, together with Japan and several other Asian countries, and nearly all countries in Europe.

In Australia he has previously judged at Adelaide, Perth and Tasmanian Royal Shows, plus the Sydney Kennel Club with his last visit being in 2014 at the Perth Royal. This will be Michael’s first visit to Melbourne.

Michael has been involved with the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ireland for some 30 years and is now President. He has also taken on roles with the Irish Toy Dog Society, the Bichon Club, the Cavalier Club, together with the OES Club. Michael has served the Irish Kennel Club on the Judges Committee, the General Purposes Committee, and as a director.

Michael is an experienced dog person and he is very much looking forward to the Royal Melbourne Show. He wishes all exhibitors good luck, but most importantly that they enjoy the show.

VICKI ABBOTT (USA)

Group 1b (Toys) balance of breeds and GROUP 1 SPECIALS
Group 7b (Non Sporting) balance of breeds and GROUP 7 SPECIALS

BEST BREEDERS GROUP IN SHOW

Vicki L. Abbott, of Fairview, Texas, has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs as a breeder, handler, and judge for more than 40 years. She has bred Maltese, Pekingese and Shiba Inu.

Vicki has handled some top-winning dogs, including the top Maltese Dog of all time and the Westminster Toy Group winner for 1992 – Ch. Sand Island Small Kraft Lite, “Henry”.

She has bred and shown her own Scylla Maltese Best in Show winners, as well as handling top dogs for other breeders. A few highlights of her career include: five different Maltese Westminster breed winners, a Westminster Toy Group Winner, four National Specialty winners, and over 450 Group Firsts and over 135 Best in Shows with a range of different Maltese.

Vicki is an American Kennel Club judge of many breeds and multiple groups including Best in Show. She has judged several times at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship, and she has judged many national specialties of different breeds. She judges extensively in the United States and internationally.

Vicki has been seen on television judging Best in Show at the Portland Rose City Classic on Animal Planet and Best in Show at the Kennel Club of Philadelphia National Dog Show on NBC. She has authored books on dog breeds, is a speaker at many events, and continues to write articles for national canine publications.

RASV is thrilled to welcome Vicki to the Royal Melbourne Show on her first visit to Australia and hope she enjoys evaluating dogs at the Royal Melbourne Show.

NEMANJA JOVANOVIC (SERBIA)

Group 2 (Terriers) and GROUP 2 SPECIALS
Group 6b (Utility) balance of breeds and GROUP 6 SPECIALS
Group 7a (Non Sporting) Boston Terriers

BEST BABY PUPPY IN SHOW

Nemanja Jovanović is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and judges nearly all FCI Groups and BIS. His first dog was a Boxer, and this was followed with terriers, Labradors and a number of toy breeds.

Under the prefix Heartily, Nemanja breeds West Highland White Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Boston Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. Many of his dogs have won the World, European, International, and multi country championships, and include World winners and European winners.

Nemanja started his judging career with a license to judge Boxers and followed with FCI Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid Breeds and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs). He is now an international judge for nine of the 10 FCI groups and Best in Show, being licensed for all groups, except Group 7 (Pointing Dogs).

Nemanja has judged at international shows on most continents including in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. He has had the honour to judge at the World Dog Shows in Helsinki, Moscow and Amsterdam, the European Dog Shows in Brno, Brussels and Warsaw, plus Interra (famous Terrier Specialty) shows in both Budapest and Split, Croatia.

The RASV is excited to welcome Nemanja, who comes with high recommendations, on his first visit to our shores. We hope he enjoys judging our quality Australian dogs.

SWEEPSTAKES

IRIS GLYNN (SA)

Iris, together with her husband Harry, first entered the dog world with Dalmatians. Breeds that followed included English Springer Spaniels and Pointers. Currently, Iris and Harry are enjoying their time exhibiting Cairn Terriers and their latest breed acquisition, the Affenpinscher. Iris and Harry have had great success exhibiting their dogs under both Australian and international judges.

After years of judges training, Iris gained her All Breeds Licence in 1999. Iris is an experienced judge, having judged in all states of Australia, and internationally throughout Asia, North America and South Africa.

Iris’ judging has included Specialty Shows for a range of breeds including English Springer Spaniels, Weimaraners, Samoyeds, Dalmatians, together with setters and spaniels. Iris has previously adjudicated at Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Royal Shows.

Iris is a life member of the Dalmatian Club of SA, together with the All Breeds Dog Club of SA. She is currently an examiner in the South Australian Judges Training Program.

RASV is delighted to welcome Iris to the 2019 Royal Melbourne Show Judging Panel.

ACTION DOGS

KIM HOULDEN (VIC)

OBEDIENCE

Kim became hooked on obedience after she brought home her first Golden Retriever in 1988. Kim took her to the local obedience club and watched other members training for UD and Open and decided that’s what she wanted to do. Cleo the Golden gained her Novice and Open Obedience titles.

Kim took up tracking with her second Golden, who also gained his Novice Obedience title. After competing, helping and stewarding at trials for years Kim gained her Tracking licence in 2004.

Kim was later encouraged to start obedience judging and gained her CCD licence in 2008 but after twelve months chose not to go any further as it was decided there wouldn’t be enough time for her own dogs. In following years Kim trialled two Golden Retrievers from Community Companion Dog through to Open titles.

Kim added licences for Track and Search in 2009, Rally Obedience in 2011 and after more encouragement, Novice and Open Obedience in 2015 and 2016. Kim undertook training for both UD and UDX classes and passed the final exams for both these levels in June 2017 and is now a full panel obedience judge.

Judging and trialling in these disciplines during the year and taking part in conformation shows keeps Kim very busy. Kim’s five Golden Retrievers are dual champions – Conformation and Tracking, Track and Search Grand Champions, the eldest of these five has obedience and rally titles also and the younger dogs have recently gained Rally Novice titles and CCD passes.

At the time of writing one of these dogs is very close to gaining his Neuter Grand Champion title which will also make him a dual Grand Champion (Neuter and Track and Search).

Kim was a committee member of Hastings and District Obedience Dog Club for many years, Treasurer of The Tracking Club of Victoria, Secretary and is currently Vice President of The Golden Retriever Club of Victoria. Kim has been awarded life membership by each of these clubs.

Kim has judged in several states of Australia and is very much looking forward to judging the Obedience Trial at the 2019 Royal Melbourne Show.

JULIJA KINGHORN (VIC)

AGILITY AND JUMPING

Julija is very excited to be invited to judge Agility and Jumping for 2019 at the Royal Melbourne Show.

Having grown up with dogs, it was natural for Julija to begin a career working with them. At university she studied zoology, animal behaviour and wildlife management and went on to complete a dog training and behaviour course. Julija has been training dogs and their owners at a professional level for the last 17 years. Taking puppy class through to advanced obedience, working with problem dogs and teaching tricks, one of Julija’s favourite aspects is pre-performance – getting dogs and owners ready for competing. Julija loves seeing the work that goes into training a dog to be ready for the ring.

Julija was introduced to agility in 2005 when she got her first Border Collie. Learning the fun of this great canine sport, she was bitten by the bug and every dog thereafter has also been destined to play agility. Julija is now training her fourth agility dog and looks forward to competing with her in the not so distant future. Julija has also trained and competed in other canine disciplines like conformation, rally, obedience and endurance.

It was in 2012 that Julija attained her Agility and Jumping judges licence. She felt that this was a wonderful way to give back to the agility community. Although she has judged primarily in Victoria, Julija has also judged in Tasmania and Queensland. Laying fun courses and watching each dog come and give it a go is very rewarding for her. Seeing the variation in each of the dogs running the courses, the handling options that are decided, and the work that goes into every run gives Julija a buzz every time. Agility showcases the amazing bond between dog and handler.

Knowing the ring at the Royal Melbourne Show has helped Julija design what she believes to be some fun, flowing courses allowing you to showcase the sport with your dog. Enjoy and “may the course be with you”.

PETER HOFTO (TAS)

AGILITY GAMES AND OPEN JUMPING

Peter and his wife, Veronica, became ‘hooked’ on dog sports 20 years ago.
They participate in Agility and Jumping, Obedience, Tracking, Track and Search, and Conformation, and have been lucky to travel the country both competing and judging.

Peter has judged in every state and territory except the Northern Territory, including at a couple of Agility Nationals. Peter’s first trialling dog was Vern, a stunning Borderfame Border Collie. Vern was an all rounder - a double Grand Champion in the show ring (these days a Supreme Champion), winning multiple BIS awards; Tassie’s first Tracking Champion; Masters Agility and Jumping Dog; and competed in UD Obedience. He was a member of the infamous Tasmanian Team that won the 2007 Adelaide Agility Nationals Teams Event - a feat achieved by a ’Steven Bradbury-esk’ strategy in the days before the other states cottoned on to how the penalty system worked.

These days Vern lives on through his daughter Gidget and son Haggis, both bred from frozen semen. They have their father’s intelligence and drive, and Haggis has his fathers’s looks, winning Challenge Dog at the 2018 Melbourne Royal at less than two years old.

Peter knows the sport of Agility has changed significantly in the past few years, with the new training regimes and handling techniques “raising the bar” in agility competitions, adding excitement and professionalism to the sport.

Peter hopes you have fun running his courses, and wishes all competitors the best of luck at the 2019 Royal Melbourne Show.