Header - 2021 National Specialty Landing Page

Nationals conformation will begin on Tuesday with Sweepstakes, and regular classes will be held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, October 6-8th.

  •    Wednesday, October 6th: Sweepstakes and Dog Classes
  •    Thursday, October 7th: Bitch classes
  •    Friday, October 8th: Junior Showmanship and Intersex


All conformation classes will be held at the Allen County Fairgrounds, 2750 Harding Highway, Lima, OH. This is 1.4 miles from the host hotel, a drive of about 5 minutes.

Route from host hotel to fairgrounds


  •    Wednesday: Sweepstakes - Judge Ellen Ferguson, LaBelle, Florida.
  •    Wednesday: Dogs -  Judge Penny Swan, Aurora, Illinois.
  •    Thursday: Bitches -  Judge Joanie Rush, Sacramento, California.
  •    Friday: Junior Showmanship and Intersex - Judge Sylvie McGee, Olympia, Washington.

Judge Biographies

Ellen Ferguson Judging Sweeps

Ellen Ferguson (judging Sweepstakes) was fortunate to have parents that were involved in the sport of dogs. At a very early age she learned handling skills and obedience training tips from her father and their standard smooth dachshunds. Her first time in the conformation show ring was in 1962.

From that early start, Ellen moved into the horse show arena with hunters and jumpers, then to Great Danes, and in 1986 landed on the perfect breed for her: Basset Hounds. She has been a member of the BHCA since 1987 and breeds under the prefix Kaleidoscope. Ellen has titled many conformation champions and also worked to earn obedience, rally, agility and scent titles on her dogs. She feels it is important for her bassets to have titles at both ends of their name.

Ellen is also a committed volunteer. She is an evaluator for a national therapy dog organization and all of her dogs are certified therapy dogs. She regularly visits schools, hospitals and a program for convicted felons re-entering society.

Ellen served two terms on the BHCA Board and was solely instrumental for the addition of agility to the annual National competition. She has previously judged sweepstakes classes for many of the local clubs across the country, and is honored to have been voted to judge sweepstakes for the 2020 BHCA Basset National.

Note: Links will be live as pages are completed.

Penny Swan Photo

Penny Swan (judging Bitch classes) says: I have been breeding Basset Hounds for about 35 years. My kennel name is Feenreich, which in German means land of the fairy tails. I have bred many Champions and dogs with performance titles over the years.

I enjoy training in conformation, obedience, rally, agility, nose work and barn hunt. Most of my dogs work in two or more of the performance classes.

I also enjoy photography. I mostly try to capture wildlife animals, and I have won some awards for my photographs.

In 2004, I was granted my judges status by the American Kennel Club. Since then, I have judged many specialties across the country. I have enjoyed every assignment that I have judged. I'm excited to have been chosen by members of the Basset Hound Club of America to judge our national specialty show. Thank you for your vote of confidence!

Joanie Rush - Dogs Judge

Joani Rush (judging Dog classes) says: Jerry and I attended our first dog show in 1961 and established our kennel prefix, Pinedell, while living in No California until Jerry’s company transferred us to Dayton, Ohio in 1966. We exhibited in Ohio until 1969 when we were brought back to No California on a promotion.  We have always handled our own dogs finishing numerous champions, ROM’s and Top Producers.  We consider our dogs are a family hobby and still exhibit about 60 shows a year, now with our daughter Monica.  Jerry was approved to judge in 1984, now Emeritus status since 2017 and Joani was approved in 2006.  Our daughter Monica is currently a permit judge for Bassets; I believe we are the only mother/daughter BHCA judges.

I have judged the Nationals Sweepstakes and Futurity/Maturity.

I have served on the BHCA Board as the Corresponding Secretary for 4 years.  We have both served the club as Historians, Joani from 2005 –2007 and Jerry from 2007 until present, now I co-chair the BHCA Historian committee.

I have also served on various committees including 1977 Nationals Raffle Chair, JEC for 11 years, Life Committee Chair, Hospitality Chair for the 1998 Nationals, 2009 Nationals Committee, 2015 Nationals Coordinator and proudly chaired the recent Ramp committee to get AKC to include mandatory use of the ramp during all levels of judging. Group/BIS/Jrs.

I was honored to receive BHCA Life Member in 2011.  In addition we are Life Members of our local club where we have served numerous years as officers/directors/show chair and other committees.

I am extremely honored to judge the dog classes at the 2020 BHCA Nationals.

Sylvie McGee - Breed Judge

Sylvie McGee (judging Intersex and Junior Showmanship) says:  I grew up with dogs that included several mixed breeds, a St Bernard and then an Irish Wolfhound.  I came to Basset Hounds initially when my then-partner and I were trying to find a dog we could agree on. Big dog (for me). Short stature (for her). Initially our Bassets were rescue dogs. Then seeking a healthy, well-socialized pet, we were introduced to a breeder who is to this day my mentor, and obtained Phoebe, who we agreed to “try showing for a year”.

Phoebe (CH. Sasquatch’s Equinox Moon) became our foundation bitch and led to a true love affair with the breed. For just over two decades, I have bred and shown Basset Hounds under the HeavenScent kennel name, and enjoyed my dogs at home and in the conformation ring. I love the relationships I have with families who have dogs that I have bred, and the friendships I've developed through the BHCA. I have served the club in a variety of capacities, as well as serving in local all-breed clubs and the Western WA Hound Association.

My love of Bassets led to my love of hounds in general, and I am thrilled to judge most of the hound group, and recently a couple of working breeds.  Every breed is unique and learning about each breed deepens what I know about others, including our own beautiful, smart and determined (that was a nice way of saying head-strong!) Basset Hounds.

My goal in the ring is to have every exhibitor feel that their dog was given a good and fair evaluation and the opportunity to showcase their strengths. I am humbled to be elected to judge the breed at this year’s National Specialty,  and I sincerely thank you for your confidence in me.