Veteran judge goes to the dogs
Jeffrey Pepper travels across the country and world to judge dog shows. This week, he spent a couple of days in New York City for the most prestigious one in the nation — the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.
The suburban Boynton Beach resident judged the Hound Group on Monday night. Pepper had more than 30 dogs to evaluate and had to decide which most closely conformed to the individual breed standard.
Pepper looked at size, color, temperament, how the dog should move and what its job is.
“It’s a blueprint of what that dog should look like,” said Pepper, 74.
He gave first place to a 5-year-old borzoi named Lucy. Second place went to a 6-year-old bloodhound. Pepper awarded third place to a 4-year-old, 15-inch beagle and fourth place to a 2-yearold whippet.
Pepper felt right at home in New York City. The borzoi comes from Palm Beach County and belongs to Michele Molnar, Jamie Danburg and Minoru Kato. The owners could not be reached Wednesday.
The borzoi moved up to the Best in Show competition with the winners of the Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding, Sporting, Working and Terrier groups. But the borzoi’s luck ended there. A 5-yearold bichon frise named
Flynn from the Non-Sporting group claimed Best in Show, according to The Associated Press.
Pepper described his judging experience as “wonderful.”
“It was an amazing honor to be asked to do the group,” he said.
This was Pepper’s third time judging at Westminster. He also has judged competitions in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand and South America, according to a news release. In addition to hound breeds, Pepper is approved to judge all sporting breeds, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and Best in Show.
In 1985, Pepper received his first American Kennel Club license to judge golden retrievers, his first breed.
Pepper still manages to make time for his own furry animals. He owns two Champion Cavalier King Charles spaniels named Angie, who’s 12, and Hugo, 3 1/2, and a whippet named Quill, who’s 4 1/2.
Jeffrey Pepper, a veteran judge, evaluates a 5-year-old borzoi named Lucy at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday. Lucy won the Hound Group.
Lucy, the borzoi that won the Hound Group, is owned by Palm Beach County residents Michele Molnar, Jamie Danburg and Minoru Kato.
A 5-yearold bichon frise named Flynn, from the NonSporting Group, claimed Best in Show in the prestigious event.