A dog-Breed-show judge
is a person that is qualified to evaluate dogs
at a conformation show
. At small shows, there might be only one judge for all breeds and classes. At larger shows, there might be several judges, with each responsible for only certain breeds or classes.
Because dogs are judged based on how well they conform to their breed's breed standard
, a judge must be intimately familiar with the particular breed
's standard and must be able to analyze the qualities of the dog to determine its relative quality.
Usually a license as a dog judge is granted by either a breed association or a kennel club. The license specifies the different breeds over which the judge is qualified to officiate. Judges may study and, over time, apply for a license to judge a single breed, multiple breeds, or all recognized breeds. A judge who has successfully completed the requirements for judging all of the dog groups is known as a group judge. A judge who is licensed to judge all breeds is often referred to as an "all-rounder".
Judges are most commonly licensed specifically to the registry with which they are affiliated (for example, AKC
judges judge AKC shows). However, some registries choose to recognize licensed judges from other registries and organizations. Judging outside of one's country or registry is often an indication of a particular appreciation of that judge's skills and knowledge.
Some judges who are regulars at the larger English or American dog shows become well-known among dog show participants and breeders
and gain respect from large audiences for their ability to recognise good examples of the breeds that they judge.