Rick I've tried over the years, even when I thought the judge made a terrible call, and/or the placements made absolutely no sense, to be positive, assume they are honest and knowledgeable, but man sometimes you just can't make heads or tails of any of it.
In this particular case once i'd discussed it with you I looked the judge up to see what their history was as far as placements in the past. Since I'd attended several trials they have judged as well as run under them I felt I had a pretty good background on them and could come to an understanding without any bias. I did so and found that both my memory and the way they'd placed dogs in the past and solidified my understanding.
First I can say this. I know this person and I believe they think they are honest judges. I do feel however, however inadvertant this particular judge has a different way of judging than makes sense to me. I think this person sees and expects certain things from different breeds and will put up a dog that's done a "lesser job" than one of a different breed because they are using different judging criteria for dogs.
Maybe it makes more sense this way. I believe they see one set of rules defining what a performance for that breed is, another set for what is the best performance of another breed, and perhaps even a third way to evaluate a third breed.
In this scenario I believe that in their mind they are putting dogs up rather than how well they do overall in the stake, they are doing so by separating dogs into breeds and then putting up the best dog based on what they expect from each of the breeds.
Let's say wer'e talking GSP, Britt, and Vizsla, Well the GSP did the best of the dogs that ran but they expected more out of the GSP. The Britt did the almost the best best it could "for a brit" and the V an outstanding V.
If this was the case then this person would put the V in first, the Britt in Second, and the GSP in third.
This is bad judging in my mind, you take the dogs you have, the course you have, and the performances the dogs have and without any regard to which breeds they are actually place them according to how they performed in relation to the basic requirements for that stake.
This probably doesn't come off as clearly as it should because I'm beat. Maybe I'll work on it tomorrow. CR