Jim Shea has been instructing conformation classes and holding breed and all-breed seminars for over 35 years. He began teaching conformation drop-in classes at TCOTC in March 2016. Since then, he’s developed a following of students who rely on his 40 years of experience showing and handling multiple breeds professionally in the ring.
“I do it because I enjoy it,” says Jim about instructing. “I enjoy the idea that people who train under me can win. I train people to win by helping them understand what the judge wants to see.”
Jim started out as an all-breed handler, but today breeds and shows his beloved Samoyeds. His current pride and joy is Luda, who won the Top 20 Invitational at the 2016 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty show in Oregon this month, and also won Best in Show at the 2014 Rochester Kennel Club competition. In all, Jim and his wife, Elfie, have produced 44 American Samoyed champions, 10 Canadian Samoyed champions, and numerous American and Canadian obedience, agility, rally, herding and lure coursing titles. Some of the most memorable include multiple All-Breed Best in Shows, multiple all-breed AKC Owner-Handler Best in Shows, multiple regional Best in Specialty Shows, multiple Working Group Ones and multiple Working, Herding and Non-Sporting Group placements. Jim and Elfie were also recognized with the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award in 2009.
Jim encourages lovers of purebred dogs to consider show competition, emphasizing that not all show dogs are handled by professionals. Many owners of companion dogs compete, too. He advises anyone interested in conformation to attend an AKC licensed conformation show and watch ringside judging of their dog’s breed. This gives them a basic idea of the showing of the dog and ring procedures.
He adds, “If you like what you see, you’re athletic, determined and have a dog with the right personality, try it!”
Of course, it helps to have a mentor who wants you to do your best. Jim has said repeatedly, “I never give up” on someone willing to put in the time and effort. So, if conformation is something you’re considering, then consider dropping in on Jim at TCOTC for one of his classes. Visit the conformation page on our Web site for dates, times and prices.