So you want to judge household pets?


What qualifications do I need?

Basically none" As it stands at the moment anyone can judge household pets, they just need to be asked. Judges include committee members, pedigree judges, HP exhibitors, pedigree exhibitors, breeders, friends of the show managers, judges' partners, even sometimes local celebrities etc etc. Of course not everyone makes a good judge and as HP exhibitors mostly pay the same entry fees as pedigree exhibitors it is only fair that the HP judges should at least have some idea of what they are looking for etc.

A guide to what to look for when judging household pets plus a breakdown of class titles and awards etc can be found here. A good HP judge should be able to follow and apply those criteria fairly, they should be able to judge the cat in front of them on the day and disassociate themselves from any known or suspected connection they may have with that cat - it may belong to a friend, it may be one that they regularly compete against if they are an HP exhibitor themselves - but that should NOT bear any relation to how they judge the cat. They should be able to assess the cat fairly against the criteria and not be afraid to mark up, or down, a cat that they may know or that belongs to a friend or even a rival, they should not automatically award a well known and successful cat merely on the criteria that "it always wins", nor should they seek to diminish that cat on the same basis,  if that cat IS the best in that class on the day it should win, if it is not, then it should not, regardless. 

An HP judge should also be prepared to travel at their own expense, often a considerable distance, as unlike pedigree judges, HP judges are not generally expected to claim expenses although they do get a free lunch and a free catalogue. They should also be prepared to stay around long enough after judging has finished to be approached by exhibitors to discuss their cats and/or their cats awards with them if the exhibitor so wishes and provided they approach the judge in a polite and respectful manner. Judges should also, and especially, be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time after the show writing up critiques on the cats according to at least  the minimum requirements laid down and submitting them to the GCCF within the allotted time - usually 28 days. 


Where do I start?

So, you have read the guidance and feel that you can apply it fairly and would really like to have a go at judging. How do you obtain your first engagement?

That can be a tricky question as, generally, judges are not allowed to "solicit" judging engagements, or at least pedigree judges are not, HP judges are slightly more of a grey area. Either way, it will do no harm to let it be known generally that you are able (hopefully!) and willing (definitely!) to judge, and hope that word gets to the "right" people, ie show managers. This can be via friends who are on committees, friends who know show managers, general word of mouth via social media etc etc.  There is also an unofficial list of HP judges that you can ask to go on (please email our secretary if you wish to be added to this), this is available to show managers upon request, but it is not yet widely in circulation so at the present time word of mouth is still the best way.

Once you have judged once or twice, if your judging is viewed to be fair and in accordance with the criteria, and especially if your critiques are full, read well, include more than the minimum requirements and are submitted and published very soon after the show, you could find that slowly you become more and more in demand