PCA 2024 National Specialty – Meet The Judges

BARBARA PESSINA
2024 National Specialty Judge

I have been involved in the sport of dogs since the early 70’s when I began training a German Shepherd in obedience and decided I was hooked on the “competition.”   I discovered Pulik in the mid-70’s, was instantly attracted to them because of our shared Hungarian heritage, and have focused on this breed since that time under the Moonshadow prefix.  We have bred and owned multiple BIS and Best in National Specialty Show winners, as well as top producers in the breed.  In the early 90’s we added Norwich Terriers to the mix,
and campaigned one as a multiple group winning, top ranked Norwich, who was also BOS at Montgomery.  Not an easy feat in the Terrier Group, loaded with Professional Handlers.  We currently live with 6 Pulik and one incredible German Shepherd. I am currently approved to judge the herding and terrier groups, and have judged the Puli Club of America National Specialty in 2002, 2008, 2014, and 2019 as well as the Puli Championship Show in Great Britain, and been privileged to judge Norwich Terriers at the Montgomery Kennel Club, and multiple herding breeds at Westminster in 2023.


VICKI SANDAGE
2024 National Specialty Judge

I was nine years old when I decided I was going to be a Veterinarian who bred and showed dogs as a hobby. Both of those plans took a while to take shape. I owned a Golden Retriever but thought Flat-coats and German Shepherds were interesting. I did not know what a Corgi was and was not allowed a second dog anyway. Eventually, my 4-H leader offered me a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named “Chucky”. I trained him through Utility and showed him in the breed ring where he got his championship despite the distraction of starting college at Michigan State University in 1981. I acquired my first Pembroke bitch in 1983 to show in both performance and breed. My first Pembroke litter was in 1985 and produced the first “Sandfox” Champion. Since that time, I have been blessed with many Pembroke champions and performance title holders. I have taken some great dogs and bitches into the ring as well as had some wonderful producers.
In the past 25 years, I have had the honor to judge several specialty Sweepstakes for my breed including the 2003 PWCCA Sweepstakes which remains one of my most treasured memories.

In 2014, I decided to obtain AKC approval to judge regular classes. I find tremendous enjoyment in going over beautiful dogs. I quickly added Cardigans, once I was approved for Pembrokes, as they are often judged together at International events and I loved our “cousins” anyway! With discovering that I enjoy judging so much, I have decided to pursue learning about other herding breeds. As I have progressed, I have gotten to love all our herders! I appreciate all the unique differences in each breed and what makes “type” in each breed. I also appreciate what breeders in each breed would prefer us, as judges, to place emphasis on in judging their breed. I look forward judging, eventually, all the herding group as I developed an understanding and appreciation of them in the coming years.

I am currently practicing veterinary medicine in Ashland KY in my own practice for dogs and cats. I am still active breeding and showing my Pembrokes. I am an avid birdwatcher and travel a lot to bird watch and show dogs. Now that I am judging, I have yet another reason to travel and fortunately, enjoy it a great deal!


CHRIS A. LEVY
2024 National Specialty Sweepstakes Judge

I’ve been showing dogs since 1973 with Miniature Schnauzers and German Shorthaired Pointers.  We also had a few Cairns and Shiba Inu.  In 1998 I went to the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland and fell in love with a breed I’d never seen before – a Pumi.  A year later we had our own Pumi from Hungary – a male so we’d not be tempted to start breeding.  But we fell in love with his temperament, size, and coat (non-shedding, easy to groom).  There were no Pumi breeders in the US, and in fact, almost no Pumik.  In order to establish our breeding program, over the last 25 years we imported 13 Pumik, (12 from Hungary and 1 from Sweden) along with importing frozen semen from Sweden, Finland, and Hungary.
When we got our first Pumi there was almost no information in English on the Pumi, so we relied on two methods to learn about the breed.  One method was to learn all we could about the Puli – the first cousin to the Pumi.  I attended a Puli seminar at the PCA National in 2001, and have attended 3 additional Puli Nationals, one was in 2015 where the Puli and Pumi clubs shared Eukanuba Hall in Ohio for their respective Nationals.  Since 2001 I have attended 5 seminars on the Puli and two more when I was there to give a comparison with the Pumi.
Our second learning method was to go to Europe as frequently as we could to learn from the breeders there.  In 2004 in Kecskemét, Hungary we attended a 2-day seminar on the Puli and met a Puli and Pumi breeder, István Menyhárt (Cseri-Subás).  We visited his kennel a few days later and got a Pumi puppy from him.  We’ve visited Hungary many times and have visited with many of the Pumi breeders.  We’ve attended the World Dog Shows ten times (and have 7 World Winner tiles), and have watched the Puli judging both in Europe and in the US many times.  In 2013 when the World Dog Show was in Budapest, they offered a 5-day herding camp in Hortobágy for the 3 Hungarian herding breeds where we had instruction in European herding methods and in between those classes were instruction in Hungarian history and traditions.  At the end, our Pumi passed the herding test.  The camp was one of my life’s highlights.
In the last few years I’ve developed a PowerPoint comparison of the Puli, Pumi, and Mudi.  (I’ve judged the Mudi National twice.) To help me develop the presentation, I compiled a comparison of the FCI standards of the 3 breeds compared to the AKC standards and in some cases went back to the Hungarian version of the FCI standard to help me understand any translation issues.
I’ve been judging since 1994 and judge the sporting, terrier, and non-sporting groups plus the Pumi and Mudi.  I’m looking forward to judging the Puli Sweepstakes!


MARIA ARECHAEDERRA
2024 Regional Sweepstakes Judge

I first began in purebred dogs as a child showing a Siberian Junior Showmanship and Conformation. I bought the AKC book of dog breeds and saw my first Kuvasz. It was love at first sight.
After graduating  Law School I obtained my first Kuvasz around 1990. Because of my love of all Hungarian breeds, I became involved in the Pumi in 2014. For me, part of being a responsible breeder means being  actively involved in the Parent clubs for the Breed.  I have volunteered in service for decades to both the Kuvasz Club of America and more recently the Hungarian Pumi Club of America.  Among the offices in the KUVASZ CLUB OF AMERICA I have held are President (2 Terms), Vice President , Board Member (Multiple terms), National Specialty Chair,  AKC Delegate, AKC Gazette Columnist, Breed Standard Committee , Judges’ Education Committee, Constitution Committee. In the HUNGARIAN PUMI CLUB OF AMERICA I have held the offices of President, Board member, and Conformation Committee member.
In 2022 I was approved by the American Kennel Club as a Judge for Kuvasz and Pumi.