2021 AKC National Championship Judging Panel Now Available

February 11, 2021 9:00 AM EST

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Kennel Club® (AKC® ) is pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2021 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, 2021.

The 2021 event will showcase the top canine athletes and will also include popular attractions such as the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals, and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes. The show will once again take place alongside the AKC Agility Invitational and the Obedience Classic, with junior events in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Rally.

Leading the charge as Best in Show judge for the 2021 National Championship is Mr. Dana P. Cline of Albany, GA and Mr. Elliott B. Weiss of Novelty, OH will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show. The judges for the National Owner-Handled Series Finals and the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be announced at a later date.

"The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin continues to be a world-class event, and with Dana and Elliott heading the panel, this year will be no different," said Show Chairman Dennis B. Sprung. "The 2021 event promises to be an exciting competition for breeders, exhibitors and judges."

Judges for the seven variety groups and the Miscellaneous Classes at the AKC National Championship are:

SPORTING – Elizabeth "Beth" Sweigart – Bowmansville, PAHOUND – Mr. Luc Boileau – Lake Geneva, WIWORKING – Mr. Norman B. Kenney – Crossroads, TXTERRIER – Mr. Edd E. Bivin – Ft. Worth, TXTOY – Mr. James A. Moses – Roswell, GANON-SPORTING – Mrs. Susan St. John Brown – Divide, COHERDING – Mr. Charles L. Olvis – Lake Wales, FLMISCELLANEOUS CLASSES – Pamela S. Lambie – Phoenix, AZ

BEST JUNIOR HANDLER – Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen – Yates City, IL

JUNIOR PRELIMS – Miss Kimberly A. Langlands and Jeffrey M. Hanlin, Jr.

Judges for the seven Bred-by-Exhibitor variety groups are:SPORTING – Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen – Yates City, ILHOUND – Pamela S. Lambie – Phoenix, AZWORKING – Mr. Terry Stacy – Chapel Hill, NCTERRIER – Mr. Lawrence Cornelius – XX, CATOY – Dr. Gareth Morgan-Jones – Auburn, ALNON-SPORTING – Mr. Timothy Catterson – New Castle, INHERDING – Mrs. Cathy H. Daugherty – Bethlehem, CT




Ms. Pluis Davern

Barbets, Brittanys, Lagotti Romagnoli, Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes, Spaniels (American Water), Spaniels (Boykin), Spaniels (Clumber), Spaniels (Cocker – all varieties), Spaniels (English Cocker), Spinoni Italiani, Wirehaired Vizslas

Dr. Donald Sturz Jr.

Pointers, Pointers (German Wirehaired), Retrievers (Curly Coated), Setters (English), Vizslas, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Pamela S. Lambie

Pointers (German Shorthaired), Spaniels (English Springer), Weimaraners

Mr. Elliott B. Weiss

Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay),

Setters (Gordon, Irish & Irish Red and White), Spaniels (Field), Spaniels (Irish Water), Spaniels (Sussex), Spaniels (Welsh Springer)

Mr. Carl Gene Liepmann

Retrievers (Flat Coated), Retrievers (Labrador), Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)

Mr. Jamie Hubbard

Retrievers (Golden)



Mr. Eugene Blake

Afghan Hounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, Borzois, Cirnechi dell'Etna, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Harriers, Ibizan Hounds, Otterhounds

Mr. Terry Stacy

American English Coonhounds, Foxhound (American), Basset Hounds, Plott Hounds, Redbone Coonhounds, Treeing Walker Coonhounds

Mr. Harold "Red" Tatro III

Azawakhs, Dachshunds (all varieties), Foxhound (English), Sloughis

Mr. Timothy Catterson

Basenjis, Pharaoh Hounds, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds

Mr. Thomas S. Powers

Beagles (both varieties), Irish Wolfhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens

Mr. Clay Coady

Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Whippets

Mr. Norman B. Kenney

Rhodesian Ridgebacks



Mr. Edd E. Bivin

Akitas, Black Russian Terriers, Boerboels, Boxers, Chinooks, Newfoundlands

Mrs. Abigail (Abby) S. Patrizio

Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

Mr. William (Bill) P. Shelton

Bullmastiffs, Cane Corsos, Great Pyrenees, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Portuguese Water Dogs, Siberian Huskies

Mr. James A. Moses

Doberman Pinschers

Mr. Gary K. Newton

Dogos Argentinos, Dogues de Bordeaux, German Pinschers, Giant Schnauzers, Komondorok, Kuvaszok, Leonbergers, Standard Schnauzers

Pamela S. Lambie


Mr. Darryl Vice

Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Samoyeds, Tibetan Mastiffs



Mr. Clay Coady

Airedale Terriers

Elizabeth "Beth" Sweigart

American Hairless Terriers, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Manchester Terriers (Standard), Rat Terriers, Sealyham Terriers

Jamie Hubbard

American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers (colored & white), Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Russell Terriers, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Mrs. Rosalind Kramer

Cairn Terriers

Mr. Elliott B. Weiss

Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Fox Terriers (Wire), Miniature Bull Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers

Mrs. Bergit Coady-Kabel

Fox Terriers (Smooth), Miniature Schnauzers, Scottish Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Mr. Thomas S. Powers

Glen of Imaal Terriers

Mr. Harold "Red" Tatro III

Lakeland Terriers



Mr. Timothy Catterson

Affenpinschers, Biewer Terriers,

Mr. Edd E. Bivin

Brussels Griffons, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians

Ms. Lauren A. Payne

Chihuahuas (both varieties), Pugs

Mrs. Rosalind Kramer

Chinese Cresteds, English Toy Spaniels (both varieties), Japanese Chins, Toy Manchester Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Pekingese

Ms. Wendy L. Paquette

Havanese, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Silky Terriers

Mr. Darryl Vice

Italian Greyhounds, Papillons, Toy Fox Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers

Mr. Clay Coady

Poodles (Toy)



Mr. Robin L. Stansell

American Eskimo Dogs, Boston Terriers, Coton de Tulear, Keeshonden, Norwegian Lundehunds, Shiba Inus

Ms. Wendy L. Paquette

Bichon Frises

Mr. Philip Capozzolo

Bulldogs, Chow Chows, French Bulldogs

Stacey La Forge

Chinese Shar-Pei, Finnish Spitz, Lhasa Apsos, Löwchens, Tibetan Terriers

Mr. Norman B. Kenney

Dalmatians, Schipperkes, Tibetan Spaniels, Xoloitzcuintli

Mr. Clay Coady

Poodles (Miniature & Standard)



Mr. James A. Moses

Australian Cattle Dogs, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Briards, Canaan Dogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Pyrenean Shepherds

Nioma Stoner Coner

Australian Shepherds

Ms. Minna-Liisa Koltes

Bearded Collies, Berger Picards, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Old English Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Swedish Vallhunds

Mr. Robert Stein

Beaucerons, Finnish Lapphunds, Norwegian Buhunds, Pulik, Pumik, Shetland Sheepdogs, Spanish Water Dogs

Mrs. Debbie L. Melgreen

Belgian Lakenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Bouviers des Flandres, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Mr. Thomas Coen

Border Collies, Collies (both varieties), Miniature American Shepherds

Mr. Edd E. Bivin

German Shepherd Dogs

*Panel subject to final approval.

About Best in Show judge Mr. Dana P. Cline:Dana P. Cline, of Albany, GA, received his first Great Dane from his parents in the late 1960's, and from that moment he knew that he would have a lifetime of involvement with this breed and with dogs.

As a young child he exhibited in 4H, training in both obedience and conformation. He found the dog show world in his teenage years, spending nearly every weekend traveling to shows and helping professional handlers. While his main interest was always in Great Danes, he worked hard to learn about other breeds and to become more active in all breeds. All of his weekends spent at dogs shows eventually led him to a career as a professional handler, where he specialized in Danes and sight hounds, but also handling various other breeds along the way.

Breeding has always been a favorite aspect of this sport for Mr. Cline and he currently breeds and exhibits Tibetan Mastiffs and Italian Greyhounds. He has bred nearly 100 champions in a variety of breeds, primarily Great Danes, but also Borzoi, German Wirehaired Pointers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Beagles, Italian Greyhounds, and Tibetan Mastiffs and is also a Breeder of Merit. He was a long-time member of the Great Dane Club of America and is currently a member of The American Tibetan Mastiff Association.

Mr Cline is an All-Breed Judge. He has judged in a number of foreign countries, multiple National Specialties, as well as many of the country's top shows. He was also the Recipient of the 2017 AKC Judge of the Year.

About Best Bred-By-Exhibitor judge Mr. Elliott B. Weiss:Elliott B. Weiss, of Novelty, Ohio, was born in New York City and grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. The very first show he attended was the 1956 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It was love at first sight.

He began exhibiting dogs in 1963, and from 1965 through 1968 he was an apprentice handler to the late Ted Young Jr. Mr. Weiss became a licensed professional handler in 1969. In a 1985 Kennel Review poll, the fancy voted Mr. Weiss among the top 10 handlers of the time. He has owned and bred Cocker Spaniels, Clumber Spaniels, Giant Schnauzers, Pointers, and English Setters. He was a charter member and founding president of the Monticello New York Kennel Club. 

Mr. Weiss retired from handling in 1993 and began his judging career the following year. He is approved to judge Best in Show; Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting groups; and several additional breeds from the Working and Herding groups. He has judged the Terrier, Sporting, and Toy groups, Best in Show (2010) at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and Best in Show in 2018 at the AKC National Championship. Mr. Weiss owns, exhibits, and occasionally breeds English Setters under the Wyndswept banner.

About the American Kennel ClubFounded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health hasand well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.  For more information, visit

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

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About Royal Canin USARoyal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has 50 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. Royal Canin diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit and "LIKE" us on Facebook at

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SOURCE American Kennel Club

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