My name is Andy Seguss and I’ve owned performance bred American Pit Bull Terriers at scale for over 29 years. Over this time, I’ve titled many dogs in the ADBA with my most well-known being G/C X TD Lucio and his father Sniper POE. I’ve been an ADBA conformation judge since 2015 and I've judged 26 events since then including 8 international assignments. I’m the 2017 ADBA Dogman of the Year award winner as well as the ADBA’s most requested judge in 2015 & 2017. I don’t say this to boast, but to give some insight as to my experience with the breed, both inside & outside of the show ring. Experience that can’t be obtained by skipping steps and being impatient. I’m a student and protector of the American Pit Bull Terrier and they have been an inseparable part of my life since childhood.
The most common question I get after judging a conformation show is: “What didn’t you like about my dog?” My response is always the same. I simply tell them, “It’s not that I did not like your dog. It’s that there were other dogs in your class that more closely fit my interpretation of the ADBA’s written conformation standard.” You see, as a judge for the ADBA my job is not to choose my favorite dogs. My job is to assess each dog and determine which dogs most closely fit the written standard set forth by the ADBA. If there was no standard to evaluate the dogs against, the selections would likely be much different.
The ADBA’s written conformation standard calls for a balanced, structurally sound dog with breed type. Breed type is the essence of a breed. It is the collection of specific characteristics, when taken together, separate one breed from another. If a dog cannot perform the task for which it was developed, it cannot represent its breed. If you are not familiar with the ADBA conformation standard I urge you to study it if you are serious about competing in the conformation ring. Understanding what conformation judges are looking is the first step to selecting which dogs will give you the best chance to win.
In 2014, I attended a seminar given by the late Pat Hastings; a world renowned AKC conformation judge. She was an expert on structure and movement and how it applies to performance and longevity. This quote by Pat beautifully summarizes the importance of type in our breed. “Purpose is an essential component of type, whether the breed still does what it was bred to do. We are the guardians of these breeds and maintaining proper type is one of our most fundamental responsibilities.”
I’ve dedicated my life to the American Pit Bull Terrier. I’ve sacrificed more than most can ever imagine for this breed. As such, I take my responsibilities as a breed judge very seriously. Judging dogs is not an exact science. It is subjective. Each show comes with many variables which can alter the results. The judge’s acumen, the competition, the weather, handling (or lack thereof), etc. I could go on forever as the variables are seemingly endless. As a judge, I only have a few minutes inside the ring to examine each dog. Will all of my selections be perfect? Probably not… but nonetheless perfection is the goal. Remember, judging dogs in the conformation ring is ‘subjective’. Everyone will not always agree with my choices and I understand that. At the end of the day I have to a moral obligation to the breed, the competitors, the ADBA and to myself to be unbiased, fair and diligent. The best representatives of the American Pitbull Terrier should be placed and I should be proud of my selections. That is what I intend to do every time I enter the show ring to judge. It's important to understand that I will not be meticulously searching for imperfections in your dogs. All dogs have imperfections. Some more than others; but they all have them. I will be on a quest for dogs of virtue. Dogs of substance. Keep in mind, an absence of faults does not guarantee a presence of virtues… and a lack of virtues is the greatest fault of all!