AFTER spending the past 42 years breeding and showing dogs, Molong man Don Mahoney is thrilled to be named Australia’s latest all-breeds dog judge.
The qualification will allow Mr Mahoney to join an elite club of about 300 Australians qualified to judge any breed of dog at a championship level.
He started studying to be a dog judge in 1978 and judged his first dog championship in 1982.
Mr Mahoney says this latest qualification, awarded earlier this month, has been a long-time coming, but is a testament to his ongoing passion for dogs.
“I’m fascinated by them and the history behind them,” he said.
“I also love the companionship they give me away from the ring.”
Next month Mr Mahoney will travel to New Zealand to judge its national championships, and will judge Japan’s festival of dogs in December.
Over the years Mr Mahoney has bred a variety of dogs including Labradors, papillons and Irish setters, and currently owns two Jack Russells and two cocker spaniels.
Despite owning a number of breeds over the years, Mr Mahoney admits Irish setters are his favourite, in part due to their beauty.
“I also like the fact that they’re constantly trying to outwit human beings,” he said.
When it comes to the best family dog, Mr Mahoney says it is hard to go past Labradors.
“Their coats are easy to keep, they’re intelligent and they’re easy to get along with,” he said.