Nominated Judges

Al Bianchi

First, I thank you for this nomination and your trust in my ability to judge our breed fairly and competently.

My focus in judging includes the picture of the entire dog – proportion and outline, breed-specific features, and soundness; and, all without preference for any one color.

I’ve been judging our breed for many years.  I have been fortunate to see and award many of our best Shelties at both specialties and all-breed shows all over the country.

Having attended more than 35 ASSA Nationals, I have had the continuing opportunity to observe our breed and interact with breeders and exhibitors in all venues.

I hope you will consider that the commitment I’ve made to the judging and studying our breed and other breeds, serving as a breed mentor, service to our organization, and judging experience support my credentials for this most important assignment.

Thank you so very much.


Yvonne DeFreitas (Krystalyn)

I am again honored and humbled to be nominated to judge the ASSA 2026 National Show. My judging focus remains on the breed standard. I pride myself on remaining consistent and non-partisan, regardless of color. My judging assignments today include both Shelties and Collies. It is my goal to identify and reward the best entered in each category. I still find judging a thrill and as rewarding as my first time in the ring! I’ve been judging since 2008 and a member of ASSA since 1987. During my 40+ years in Shelties, I am proud to have bred numerous Specialty winners, however, my greatest accomplishments will always be, producing 3 ROM bitches and BOB 2008 National.

THANK YOU again for your consideration.

Lloyd Graser  ( Blue Heaven and Century Farm)

I have been a member of the American Shetland Sheepdog Club for 45 years.

Along with my wife Lisa Graser and we currently show and breed shelties under the kennel name Blue Heaven. We have bred/owned/finished 125 American Champions, over 110 of those being homebred.

In 2022 we were Awarded Breeder of the Year and Top Producing sire and the OFA  Champion of Health Award. In 2020 we were Awarded the ASSA 3 Top Breeder Awards

Breeder of the Year, Top Producing Sire and Top Producing Dam. We have been the breeder/owner/handler of the 2018 ASSA National Specialty Best In Futurity, Reserve Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Bitch. We have had 3 National AOM winners, 30 Best in Specialty Show dogs, 9 Champion ROM’s , 4 Top Producing Dams, Top Producing sire and two All Breed Best In Shows.

I bred and owned 21 Champions under my previous kennel name “Century Farms”.  In 1978  I started handling professionally. I have won 160 Group 1’s on Shelties and 22 Best In Shows. I handled the #1 Shetland Sheepdog in the US in both 1990 and 1995.

I am currently licensed to judge the Herding and Working Groups,  BIS, Pomeranians, 25 Sporting breeds and 3 Non Sporting breeds.

Thank you for this nomination. It would be an honor to be chosen by my peers to judge the  2026 ASSA National Specialty.


I discovered shelties in 1983 and started Enclave in 1984 as a small hobby kennel.   I have developed and maintained it ever since.  Over the years I have bred, owned and finished dogs of every color.

I’ve been fortunate to acquire and grow my Sheltie knowledge over the years through several passionate, dedicated breeders.  They have generously shared their wisdom, experience and insights – all of which have helped shape my judging philosophy of finding excellent breed type and rewarding dogs with the highest degree of virtue.

I have been judging since 2013 and had the honor of judging dozens of specialties here in the U.S. as well as in Canada and the Brazilian National.  In 2018, I was privileged to judge dogs and junior showmanship at the ASSA National. I am humbled to be nominated again by my fellow members to judge the 2026 National.  Thank you all for your consideration.

Lyn Leininger

Growing up, I was surrounded by Labrador Retrievers as my father  bred, trained, exhibited and later judged them in Field Trials. This  started a love for pure bred dogs that has never ended.

I began showing Shelties in the mid 1970’s in California under the  kennel name Villager. I was lucky enough to visit some of the top  breeders/kennels at the time and was able to go over their dogs, look  at their puppies, and learn what was important to them in their  breeding program. I had several wonderful mentors who taught me  the importance of breeding a “family” - looking ahead generations,  and planning breedings to certain animals to bring in characteristics  they needed while keeping keeping qualities they valued. In 1979, I  was able to purchase a well bred puppy who became my first owner  handled champion, CH Grelore Village Goldsmith. With a lot of work  and luck, “Robert Redfurred” as he was known, went on to win 111  Best of Breeds, multiple specialty BISS’ and an all breed Best in  Show. I have always enjoyed showing beautiful dogs and over the  years, I have handled and finished many Shelties (and a few Collies)  for others.

I have had a very limited breeding program and have bred, owned  and shown multiple specialty winning Champions in all colors,  including Winners Dog at the 2013 National. I value where the breed  has been in the past and where we are now, always keeping in mind  those special qualities such as head type, expression, balance, and  correct movement. When judging, my greatest thrill is having that  special one walk in the ring and shine - the perfect combination of  type, form and function.

Thank you for the nomination. It would be the highest honor to judge  the 2026

Amy Massey

It is with heartfelt thanks I accept this nomination from the members to be considered for the honor of presiding at our National Specialty.

My mom (Jeannette Powers-Hodson) founded Kell Shelties in the early 70s and under that moniker we have bred many champions, ROMs, national winners, and performance champions. I grew up with Shelties at my side, cultivating an abiding love for the breed. Under the tutelage of the breed’s custodians and curators, I   am a lifelong student of our standard of excellence and those details that define our lovely breed. It is with this standard in mind that I would adjudicate the ring if I were elected.

Robert Olsen (Bare Cove Shelties)

Thanks to the ASSA membership for nominating me to judge breed at the 2026 ASSA National.  My breeding and showing of shelties started in the late 1970’s with the acquisition of Babinette Barbette from Libby Babin of Babinette shelties in Illinois.  Barbette produced 2 champions for me.  My kennel name, Bare Cove, is the original name for the historic town of Hingham, MA founded in 1633 by English colonists. I have lived in Hingham most of my life, but for 5 years when I was in Louisiana pursuing my MS degree in Wildlife Management at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and then working for three years at an environmental firm in New Iberia, LA. I have had a small breeding program since 1978.  I became a member of the Colonial Shetland Sheepdog Club, serving as president and trophy chairman, and a member of the ASSA in the early 1980’s.  So far, I have bred/owned a total of 13 American champions and handled and finished many champions for other kennels including Aylmere, Rockwood, Ringsend, Heatherland, Genesis, Cindahope, Shelhaven, and Allusiion.  I am also very proud that many of the shelties that I bred had excelled in the performance ring, especially agility including several that have been on the USA Team at the World Agility Trial.

I have judged quite a few sweepstakes at sheltie specialties in the past and was honored to judge the ASSA Futurity in 2015.  I pursued my sheltie judge license in 2020 and have so far judged shelties at 10 sheltie club specialties and 1 all-breed show.  I would be honored if selected to judge the regular classes at our National.

Jackie Parisek

I started out in performance showing in obedience, 4-H, and as my passion grew through the years, I was further drawn to conformation.  After meeting my husband, Jerry, we decided to seek out the conformation world and purchase a show dog.

Through our first Champion, we made a connection to lifelong mentors who became family. Since that time, we have bred and finished many champions in several different breeds.

After having our two daughters, the focus of our family was even more geared to Shelties, Junior Showmanship, and attending as many Specialties and National Specialties to learn as much as I/we could. I started judging Shelties and Junior Showmanship in May 2014. It is a great honor to be nominated to judge the Sheltie National, and an experience I would cherish.

Further, I am involved in several breed clubs, including board member for the Dekalb Kennel Club, board member for the Southeastern Miniature American Shepherd Club, lifetime member of the Fox Valley Dog Training Club, and a past member of Chicagoland Shetland Sheepdog Club.  I have been a member of the ASSA for over 25 years, and an AKC Breeder of Merit.

My biggest accomplishment was being awarded Winners Dog at the ASSA 2023 National – such an honor to be recognized by my peers and the frosting on the cake was having bred him as well!

I would love to have the honor of Judging your beautiful Shelties!

Jerry Parisek

It’s very difficult to write a biography on myself when everything surrounding Shelties, in fact even animal related, was created with my family (it’s a team effort for us).

My love for Shelties came when I met my wife, Jackie.  She introduced me to the world of show dogs. I started out in the performance arena and ventured into the breed ring.  Since then, we have bred and finished many champions of several different breeds under the prefix of “Two J’s”.

I started judging Shelties and Junior Showmanship in January 2014 and continue to educate myself on different aspects of the breed as I feel one can never learn enough!  For me it’s an absolute honor to even be asked to judge the Sheltie National.

I am involved in several breed clubs, including board member and treasurer for the Dekalb Kennel Club, treasurer for the Southeastern Miniature American Shepherd Club, lifetime member of the Fox Valley Dog Training Club, and a past member of Chicagoland Shetland Sheepdog Club.

My biggest achievement was being awarded Winners Dog at the ASSA 2023 National! What an amazing honor for our bred by dog to be recognized by my fellow breeders. I have been a member of ASSA for more than 25 years and am an AKC Breeder of Merit.

I would be honored to Judge your beautiful dogs!

Johanna Primeaux

It is a great honor to be on the slate to judge the 2025’ ASSA National.  I have been an Honorary Member of ASSA since 1981’ & SSCNC since 1971’.  Joining the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern Calif. 50 years ago has lead thru many of my experiences of raising Shelties, and has taught me mostly enabling me to judge this breed equivently . The presumptuous Joan Surber of Wyncliff Shelties was my beginning mentor.  I have served as President of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern California these past 5 years, now VP, and also in multiple positions of the club.  I have been ASSA ringside Mentor at the Nationals many times.  It’s such a joy to allow me to teach first hand the sheltie breed.

Primo Shelties, (my #1 breed), boasting over 55+ Sheltie champions of all colors, and along with 30+ champions with Dachshunds, Poodles & Collies.  My experiences with judging shelties is over 22+ Specialties throughout the USA and also overseas has been an absolute joy.

My biggest thrill was the pleasure of owning, & showing History making, ASSA’s National 5x’s straight Award of Merit,  ASSA’s National WB and then on to B.O.B., BIS, BISS, Ch. Victory’s Hidden Treasure, ASSA’s Century Club.

“Vanessa” sports 52 Sheltie Specialties.  Another pride & joy was ASSA’s RWD, Ch. Primo Grand Slam. I’ve bred and owed 2 ROM stud dogs. BISS CH. Primo Trojan Prince, CD ROM, & BISSCh. Primo Role Model Treasured, ROM.  I have handled other people’s dogs in shelties and other breeds to finish their championships.

I am so excited & honored to be possibly be elected by my peers to judge Regular Classes as it was a thrill to have judged the non regular Veteran’s Classes this present year in April. Please read my recent critique.

Going over the dogs thoroughly, fair & equal with a soft hand in my judging is something I am most proud of.

Thank-you all for giving me this wonderful opportunity!

Yvonne Samuelson

To say that I am thrilled, honored, and kicking up my heels at even being nominated by my peers to evaluate your stars and future stars of the breed is a huge understatement.  It is such a wondrous thing to observe those fierce little pups and proud adults as they strut their stuff around the ring.  Whatever the end result, I want to pay tribute to all the breeders who show faith in their breeding programs every year by competing in the ring. And oh how I live for the moment when that dog or bitch takes my breath away!

I thought that being honored with Life Membership was the Ultimate, and it has been, but judging the National is certainly the crowning glory of every breeder judge’s dream.  My deepest thanks to all who nominated me, but a reminder to all, I do not look up the leash ever, it is only the search for the best dog or bitch that matters. I am also pleased to say that my health is as good as it’s ever been.

I’m not going to brag about my accomplishments; they have all been published elsewhere.

It is my sincere hope that the membership will find three judges that will serve them well.

Debra Tessmann Van Leaven

I started in obedience taking Am CH Woodbridge Main Event UD to her Am UD and Can CDX titles. With encouragement from Gail Carpenter, Woodbridge Shelties, my interest turned to conformation and breeding.

I've never kept more than four dogs. Keeping only bitches, my girls have done me proud. They’ve produced 20 American champions, many during a time when it took 20+ for a major! Among those Champions are MBISS CH Macdega Notorious ROM, ROMC, CH Kymric Fantasia Celestial ROM, Macdega Rendezvous ROM, 4 ASSA Award of Merit winners and numerous regional Specialty winners.

When judging, I am looking for a Sheltie that fills my eye with balance, outline and symmetry. I believe that the virtues of our breed should stand out … the Sheltie should be both elegant and athletic, with an efficient and effortless gait, a pleasing expression and a well detailed head … and exhibit all that in a moderate package.

I'm approved to judge Shelties, several other Herding breeds, all regular Obedience classes and Junior Showmanship. I judged Obedience at ASSA in 2018.

I’ve been an ASSA member for almost 40 years, and am a founding member of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York.

It's every judges’ dream to judge their breed's National, and it’s long been a dream of mine. I hope you’ll vote for me to be on the ASSA 2025 National judging panel.

Debbie Wyman

I am a passionate and knowledgeable Sheltie owner and breeder for over four decades beginning in 1973 with my first high-in-trial dog. Throughout the years, I have found that my dedication to Shelties lies in their intelligence and fierce loyalty, and have continued to grow my passion and expertise.

My foundation bitch was a Banchory Reflection Daughter from Bob and Gale Carpenter of Woodbridge Shelties and she was the dawn of Country Lane Shelties. In my time, I have prided myself on my small, intimate, kennel, only ever keeping less than ten Shelties at a time. My beloved dogs, many of whom are champions, have always lived out their entire lives with my family and me..

Through the course of my time in the breed, I was instrumental in the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York as a founding charter member and as the current president for over five years, I am proud to say we will be hosting our 50th Independent Speciality in 2024.

Over the years, I have actively stayed involved with the everchanging growth of the breed by making an effort to attend as many Nationals as possible beginning with my first in 1981. In 2012, I reached a lifetime goal of becoming an AKC judge and have spent the last decade traveling the country, judging over 21 specialties in places such as Hawaii, Texas, and California. Through my time with Shelties, I have cultivated wonderful friendships and mentorships and look forward to my ongoing journey.

Futurity Judges

Terry Jennings Bailey

The greatest honor is being selected by your peers in this instance to judge the ASSA National Futurity.  It would be a privilege to be elected to judge the breed I have

been involved in my entire life. My grandmother and mother both we involved and so the passion started as a child. We had a boarding kennel and collies and chihuahuas were the initial breeds. However, a family friend bred shelties and gave me my first one. Although far from our Shetland sheepdog standard , she was the start to a love of the breed and my commitment to attempt to breed for a better quality sheltie.

I have had numerous championships on my own dogs and clients dogs. I always had a limited number of dogs but have been successful having bred best in show and national winners. I been a member of ASSA since 1985.

Thank you to the members who have selected me for this opportunity to judge. It would definitely be a privilege and thrill to be elected to judge.

Mendy Gleason

I must state that I am humbled by the nomination to judge the futurity for the ASSA National.

I acquired my first Shetland Sheepdog in 1985.

I have been so fortunate to have many supportive breeders / teachers, including the opportunity to apprentice for Guy and Thelma Mauldin of Kismet Kennels.  This apprenticeship allowed me to meet many of the great specimens that have blessed our breed and gave me the opportunity to dissect and learn the standard with a great mentor.  There is nothing more impressive to me than running my hands through that beautiful, chiseled skull, or watching a sheltie effortlessly move thru the ring.

I have handled numerous dogs for so many others to their championships and have finished multiple champions of my own.  I have been blessed to have and or pilot multiple winners – top ranked, multiple specialty winners and  producers.

My personal highlight was handling the national winner BISS CH Solange La Dolce Vita to BOB at the 2018 national.

I am passionate about this breed and the future of this breed.  I have the utmost respect for all of those that share this passion, as well as the other nominees!

I am blessed to have been nominated for this assignment and would consider this an opportunity of a lifetime.

Jennifer McFarlin. 

I have bred and exhibited Shelties under the prefix of Karosel for the past  28 years .  I became a member of ASSA in 2013 and have tried to attend most of our National  Specialties each year.

I feel honored to be nominated to judge futurity in 2026 and am so thankful for the opportunity.  I had my first sheltie when I was 10 years old and have loved the breed ever since.  In my twenties my mom, Robin McTaggart, got a couple of Shelties and did obedience with them.  My mom of course was hooked and began her conformation journey under the mentorship of Mona Simmons (Simmore Shelties).

I  went with my mom to shows and began helping her show.   I myself was mentored by my mother and Susan Ferroni Keleher.  Susan taught me to groom and answered a million questions while I learned about this beautiful breed.  I can not leave out my friend Kathleen Schmutz who also taught me many things about breeding and caring for Shelties while giving me the opportunity to show some of her best dogs.  I bred my first litter in the year 2000.  I have continued to breed and show in conformation.  I have judged many sweepstakes and continue to accept assignments so that I will keep learning .  Together with my mom , Karosel has over 50 home bred champions.  I can not even put to words how important the sheltie is to me and my family.  I am beyond blessed to even be considered to judge futurity and will never forget this opportunity.

Thank you for your consideration,

Marty Miller

I am both proud and honored to be place on the ballot to judge the future of our sport.  What a privilege it would  be to examine and evaluate what breeders, exhibitors and handlers have invested tirelessly for many months and years for this event.

I have been involved in the sport of dogs now for over 30 years, starting with my wife Michelle in 1992.  We have produced several All Breed Best In Show dogs, Specialty BOB’s and a National winner.  I started handling professionally in 2015 along with many other breeds I have finished over 100 dogs in that time.  Handled several dogs to Best in Show wins, specialty BOB wins and in 2023 handled my sheltie to a National specialty BOB and to number 1 in our breed for the last three years.

This is an assignment that is selected on by the peers in our breed, which in itself would truly be an honor of a lifetime.  Thank You

Stephanie Trautman Riley

I’m incredibly honored to receive the news that my peers have submitted my name for consideration as the 2026 National Futurity judge.

The Sheltie breed became entwined with my life when I purchased a two year old Ch. Macdega Maserati daughter during my Junior year in college (1991) while a pre-vet student at the University of Florida. She was to become the catalyst of Trilliant Shelties. I am a past member of the SSC of Southeast Florida, a current member of the Tampa Bay Area SSC and the Nashville Kennel Club. I joined the ASSA in 2002 and until very recently, served as Trophy Chairman for several years. Currently I am serving on the board as a Director At Large. Under the Trilliant kennel name and with a small breeding program I have bred, co-bred, or owned 25 AKC breed champions to date. I have finished a Ch./MACh/VCX myself and am the breeder of the 2019 ASSA Obedience High In Trial & Reserve HIT - Sheep winner. I’m the proud breeder of 2 ASSA AOM winners, a Runner Up to Best in Futurity winner, a co-breeder of a champion ROM, and most recently breeder of the ASSA’s 2022 Top Producing Dam.  While most know me with AOAC’s, I’ve owned and loved sables and I take pride in judging the dogs according to the breed standard. I sincerely thank you for your nomination.

Kathy Wilkins

It is an honor to be nominated to judge ASSA Futurity in 2026! I am a 25+ year member of ASSA. I have owned Shelties under the kennel name of Lochlyn for about 30 years. I have bred Champions in all colors and have bred and/or owned ROMs in all colors.  For me color doesn’t matter and neither does the handler.  Its only about the quality of the Shelties.  Judging Futurity is extra special because you get to have hands on the puppies that are the future of our breed. Thank you for your consideration.