Dr Ralph J Graff

Basic Information
Address: 
154 North Bemiston
Clayton, OH
United States
Phone: 
(314) 725 7778
E-mail: 
ffmdrj@slu.edu
Venue: 
AKC
Judge Number: 
5573
Judge Type: 
Conformation
Initial Breed: 
Great Danes

Judging Approval Dates

Breed: 
06/01/1996
Working Group: 
11/10/2009
Working Group Provisional: 
09/01/2006

Questions

As a judge, what are your personal preferences as they relate to the priority of judging this breed (movement, balance, head, front-end, rear-end, eye color, markings, etc...)
Balance.
Some judges look as the Rottweiler as a "head breed", although there is so much more to the animal, what specifically do you look for in a correct head-piece?
Many of the working breeds are considered head breeds. To be chosen, any working breed animal must have a head that is representative of the breed. Once an animal that I am judging meets that requirement, the quality of the head becomes only one component of its evaluation.
If judging two very similar dogs, what is the one characteristic that you'd look at twice to differentiate?
Movement
Do you consider clear markings a high priority component of judging or more a cosmetic characteristic?
Clear markings are eye catching, but I would give preference to structure and head (see #6).
As you have judged over the years, what have breeders improved upon? What is still lacking?
I feel that the quality of the breed has been maintained over the 15 years that I have judged Rottweiler’s. There was a period that short-legged Rottweilers were being produced (and put up). In recent years, I am seeing fewer short legged animals. I enjoy judging Rottweilers, I like what I see and I would not be so presumptuous as to tell you how to breed good Rottweiler’s.
How important is the role of the handler in presenting a dog?
Clearly, it is easier for an experienced judge to evaluate a well-shown animal. Early in my career, a good handler could fool me. That is no longer true. On the other hand a bad handler can made a good dog look bad. In the classes, I feel it is my responsibility to overcome poor handling. Many years ago I was judging an American breed Rottweiler dog that I felt was straight in the front, had a sloping top line and was over-angulated in the rear. When I moved the class, the dog that I just described, had outstanding movement. When the class was stationary and re-stacked, I asked the young handler to move the rear legs forward. The straight front, sloping top line and over-angulated rear disappeared. The dog was my winners and finished a few months later. I feel it is my responsibility to take the extra step when judging in the classes. I expect an animal to be shown properly in breed competition. The young handler that I just described was showing her Rottweiler like a Doberman. I recently judged a Breed class of Rottweiler’s and chose a Dog with indistinct markings over another dog with a straight front end, a sloping top-line and over-angulated in the rear (a Rottweiler being shown like a Doberman). I did not feel it was my responsibility to ask the handler to correct the placement of the rear legs in Breed competition.
When judging the Best of Breed class, how do you balance judging the dogs vs. the bitches?
I pick what I consider to be the best animal.
What is your procedure when a tailed Rottweiler joins in the competition in the AKC ring?
I have judged one tailed Rottweiler and he was terrible.
Any additional comments?
Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion.