Show Dog Judges Profiles


, Mr Michael J California,



    Donnybrook, Vagabond
  • AKC:

    Hound, Terrier

Michael 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 status in 1977 - teaming with his father, Jack Dougherty. While concentrating on handling he also bred and owned, with his family, Miniature Schnauzers, Smooth Fox Terriers, and Keeshonden, as well as Whippets. As a professional handler, he guided the careers of many top winning dogs, including Best in Show winning Whippets and Bichon Frise. His handling focused mainly on breeds in the Hound, Terrier, Non Sporting, and Toy Groups, but also included many breeds in the other three groups. A graduate of United States International University, Michael has been in the public relations and publishing industry for over 30 years. He has represented and worked with such luminaries as Gore Vidal, Maya Angelou, Joseph Wambaugh, Tom Wolfe, Robert Ludlum, Larry King, Donald Trump, Dick Morris, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, James Clavell, Christopher Isherwood, Richard Reeves, Nancy Reagan, Doris Day, M. Scott Peck, William Manchester, Dick Cavett, Timothy Leary, Irwin Shaw, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Howard Fast, Frankie Laine, Josh Logan, Dr. Robert Atkins, Michael Murphy, Ben Stein, John Rechy, and Alvin Toffler, among others. 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, Manchester Terriers (Toy), Bichon Frises, Boston Terriers, Dalmatians, French Bulldogs, Keeshonden, Lhasa Apsos, Poodles, and Tibetan Terriers, plus Miscellaneous Classes and Junior Showmanship. He has judged at shows across the nation such as Westminster (including the Hound Group in 2007), Montgomery County (including Best in Show in 2007), Morris & Essex, Westchester, Bucks County, Eastern, Ladies, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hatboro, Devon, Old Dominion, Greenwich, Maryland, Detroit, Beverly Hills, Del Valle, Great Western Terrier, Sir Francis Drake, and Santa Barbara. His international judging assignments have taken him to Australia, Taiwan, Colombia, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. He and his wife Michelle, an artist, reside in Escondido, California, where they own a pet resort - the Windsong Resort ... for Pets.