MR. MICHAEL J. DOUGHERTY of Hot Springs, NC started with his family in purebred dogs in 1961, acquiring his first Whippet in 1963. By 1974 he was approved by the American Kennel Club for a limited handler’s license, attaining all-breed handler status in 1977 – teaming with his father, Jack. In 1985 Dougherty retired from professional handling to pursue a dog judging avocation, again following in his father’s footsteps.
He is currently approved by the AKC to judge Best in Show, the Hound Group, the Terrier Group, eight Non-Sporting breeds, and two Toy breeds, and Junior Showmanship. This is his seventh Westminster judging assignment, including the Hound group in 2007 and Best in Show in 2013.
Dougherty has been in the public relations and publishing industry for over 40 years. He and his wife, Michelle, reside in western North Carolina.