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Judging Panel


Mrs. Paula Nykiel

Mrs. Paula Nykiel of Washington, Missouri will select America’s Dog at MSG, The World’s Most Famous Arena, on the evening of Tuesday, February 11. 

Veteran breeder and owner-handler Paula Nykiel has been involved with the sport of purpose-bred dogs for nearly 50 years. She has bred over 50 Pointer Champions under her Sydmar banner, including the breed’s all-time top producer, Ch. Sydmar the Heartless Wench. Paula owner-handled her Pointers to the #1 ranking in 1978, 1979, and 1982. 

She transitioned to judging in 1990 and has since judged 33 National Specialties in the Sporting, Hound, and Working Groups. International assignments have included Sweden, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

A person with light hair, tied back, smiles while wearing a dark zip-up top. They stand in front of a brick wall, exuding an air of confidence that judges might appreciate.

Paula is a lifetime member of the American Pointer Club, a current member of the Judges Education Committee, and a founding and lifetime member of the Missouri Rhineland Kennel Club and the Gateway Sporting Dog Association.

The 2025 Best in Show assignment will be Paula’s ninth at Westminster. She previously judged the Sporting Group in 2005 and 2017, as well as the Working Group in 2009 and 2023. Recently, Paula received the esteemed “Judge of the Year” honor in the 2023 Show Dogs of the Year Awards.

Judging Panel

Masters Agility Championship

Mr. Paul Moore of Welford Northants, England

Mrs. Michele Fletcher of Pikeville, Tennessee

Junior Showmanship Preliminary Judges:

Mr. Adam Peterson of Seagrove, North Carolina

Mrs. Kellie Williams of Riverview, Florida

Junior Showmanship Finals Judge:

Mrs. Elizabeth Jordan-Nelson of Sacramento, California

Hound Group Judge:

Mr. Harold Tatro of Crowley, Texas

Hound Breeds Judges:

Mr. Joseph Buchanan of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania: Basenjis, Cirnechi dell’Etna, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Whippets.

Mrs. Linda Clark of Tulsa, Oklahoma: Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Ms. Patricia Cruz of Coram, New York: Borzois, Scottish Deerhounds.

Mr. Laurent Heinesche of Klaukkala, Finland: Norwegian Elkhounds.

Mr. Ryan Lee Horvath of Oakland, California: Basset Hounds, Beagles (both Varieties), Dachshunds (all Varieties).

Mr. Juan Miranda of Mexico City, Mexico: American English Coonhounds, American Foxhounds, Azawakhs, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Bluetick Coonhounds, English Foxhounds, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, Harriers, Irish Wolfhounds, Otterhounds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Plotts, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, Redbone Coonhounds, Sloughis, Treeing Walker Coonhounds.

Mr. Jose Luis Payro of Mexico, D.F., Mexico: Afghan Hounds, Salukis.

Toy Group Judge:

Mrs. Angela Pickett of Chuluota, Florida

Toy Breeds Judges:

Mr. Larry C. Abbott of Fairview, Texas: Affenpinschers, Biewer Terriers, Brussels Griffons, Chihuahuas (both Varieties), English Toy Spaniels (both Varieties), Toy Manchester Terriers.

Mr. Laurent Heinesche of Klaukka, Finland: Chinese Cresteds, Maltese, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles.

Mrs. Tammy K. Jackson of Bristol, Connecticut: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillons, Pekingese, Pugs, Russian Toys.

Ms. Margaret Reed of Wilton, Connecticut: Havanese, Italian Greyhounds, Japanese Chin, Miniature Pinschers, Shih Tzu, Silky Terriers, Toy Fox Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers.

Non-Sporting Group Judge:

Mrs. Vicki Seiler-Cushman of Xenia, Ohio

Non-Sporting Breeds Judges:

Mrs. Vicki L. Abbott of Fairview, Texas: American Eskimo Dogs, Chinese Shar-Pei, Cotons de Tulear, Dalmatians, Lhasa Apsos, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Terriers, Xoloitzcuintlis.

Mr. Philip Capozzolo of Babylon, New York: Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Chow Chows, French Bulldogs.

Mr. Lauernt Heinesche of Klaukkala, Finland: Miniature Poodles, Standard Poodles.

Mr. Jussi Liimatainen of Klukkala, Finland: Bichon Frises, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Lowchen, Norwegian Lundehunds, Tibetan Spaniels.

Herding Group Judge:

Ms. Janina Laurin of Ashford, Connecticut

Herding Breeds Judges:

Mr. Larry Adams of St. Louis, Missouri: Beaucerons, Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Berger Picards, Border Collies, Bouvier des Flanders, Briards, Canaan Dogs, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Lancashire Heeler, Miniature American Shepherds, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs.

Mrs. Linda Clark of Tulsa, Oklahoma: Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Bearded Collies, German Shepherd Dogs.

Mr. Jussi Liimatainen of Klaukkala, Finland: Finnish Lapphunds, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Norwegian Buhunds.

Mr. Charles L. Olvis of Lake Wales, Florida: Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren, Mudik, Old English Sheepdogs, Pulik, Pyrenean Shepherds, Spanish Water Dogs, Swedish Vallhunds.

Mrs. Marilyn Van Vleit of Salem, Oregon: Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collies (both Varieties), Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Pumik, Shetland Sheepdogs.

Sporting Group Judge:

Mrs. Virginia Murray of Island Lake, Illinois

Sporting Breeds Judges:

Mr. William Alexander of Milton, Ontario: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, English Setters, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Irish Red and White Setters, English Springer Spaniels.

Mr. Michael Faulkner of Center Cross, Virginia: Pointers, German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, Vizslas, Weirmaraners.

Mr. Jussi Liimatanien of Klaukkala, Finland: Bracco Italiano, Lagotti Romagnoli, Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes, Spinoni Italiani.

Ms. Kathy Lorentzen of Chesaning, Michigan: Flat-Coated Retrievers, American Water Spaniels, Boykin Spaniels, Clumber Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels (all Varieties), English Cocker Spaniels, Field Spaniels,  Irish Water Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels.

Ms. Elizabeth Muthard of Lake Wales, Florida: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers.

Mr. Richard W. Powell of Palmyra, Pennsylvania: Barbets, Brittanys, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Curly-Coated Retrievers, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Wirehaired Vizslas.

Working Group Judge:

Mr. Niksa Lemo of Zagreb, Croatia

Working Breeds Judges:

Mrs. Sioux Forsyth Green of Pinehurst, North Carolina: Bernese Mountain Dogs, Black Russian Terriers, Boerboels, Great Pyrenees, Mastiffs, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs.

Mr. Laurent Heinesche of Klaukkala, Finland: Dogos Argentinos, Dogues de Bordeaux, Great Danes Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies.

Ms. Victoria M. Jordan of The Villages, Florida: Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Bullmastiffs, Cane Corsos, Chinooks, Doberman Pinschers.

Mr. Jussi Liimatainen of Klaukkala, Finland: German Pinschers, Komondorok, Kuvaszok.

Mr. Jay Richardson of Elgin, Illinois: Boxers, Giant Schnauzers, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Leonbergers, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Standard Schnauzers.

Terrier Group Judge:

Mr. David Kirkland of Sanford, North Carolina

Terrier Breeds Judges:

Mr. Larry C. Abbott of Fairview, Texas: Standard Manchester Terriers.

Mr. Randy E. Garren of Apex, North Carolina: Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers.

Mr. Jussi Liimatainen of Klaukkala, Finland: Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Smooth Fox Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers.

Mr. Richard W. Powell of Palmyra, Pennsylvania: American Hairless Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Cesky Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Rat Terriers.

Mrs. Allison Corn Sunderman of Hanover, Minesotta: Airedale Terriers, Bull Terriers (both Varieties), Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Russell Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. 

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