"This is what we do. This is an avocation if you will," said Colonel Joe Purkhiser.
|Take a Look at the AKC Show from a Dog's Eye View|
He's been judging dog shows for 27 years.
"Oh, I gotta have an open mind," he said.
It's a talent, according to his father, that he was born with.
"My father bred dogs, and he told me that there was a fox terrier on the bed when I was born," he laughed.
On Sunday, he's judging the Best in Show, the creme de la creme.
"This show is unbelievably good," he lauded.
So, what's he looking for?
"Each one is judged against itself, not against each other. It's judged against what is should be," he said.
An important part of judging involves feeling the whole body of the dog... the entire body.
"You feel the mouth, the testicles," he said.
"What?" I asked.
"I said you feel the testicles," he laughed.
"Come on colonel!" I responded.
"You can cut that part if you want," he laughed.
Part medical exam, part beauty pageant, the finalists don't seem that nervous. The handlers on the other hand are diplomatically savvy.
"Colonel Joe is a good dog person," said one man.
And strategically alert.
"He's looking for high energy and expression," said a finalist.
The winner? An Australian Shepherd, described by Colonel Joe like a classic car.
"She moved beautifully, just great," he marveled.