Once upon a time…


When the honarable Lady Worldchampion “Pavesi Miss Aussie” noticed, that her first child pressed its way out, she gave birth on an Empire fauteuil, jumped clumsily down and laid down in the whelping box. There in short distance five more puppies were born.

She left the silent puppy on the chair without any view back. For her, he was obviously dead and his squeaking siblings needed her care. She was a pragmatical bitch.

In a short glimpse I realiazed how perfect he was; so harmonious, he was a great gift thanks to his breeder’s creativity.

I shook the newly born boy in order to get the eventually swallowed fluid out of his lungs. Carefully I took his little muzzle into my mouth, and sucked the last amniotic fluid out. Simultaneously I rubbed his floppy body without noticing at any moment, that he wanted to honour my efforts with at least the weakest sign of will to live.

Meanwhile I pressed him to my naked upper body, covered with a thick sweater of pure wool where the lifeless boy could at least feel my heart beat. Meanwhile I hurried from room to room, hoping my movement would induce him to own movement. But in vain. Minute after minute passed by, while my thoughts told me again and again:” give up, he is dead. You will not make it”., while I was desperately rubbing his little body.

There were still some last drops of “Respirot”, who should help to breath. I wondered, if they might be too old. I did not use it since years. I even did not remember how many drops can I give to a newborn puppy. Anyhow I dropped some Respirot on his muzzle. Repeating again and again my words, that a wonderful life was waiting to him, I gave him already his name “Heinmueck”, because as a child I thought that this fairy tail figure must be very strong.

More and more time passed by, while I whispered my promises and was rubbing him. Up and down I walked through these two rooms, I did not know how often I did it. Even, if he could neither hear or understand me, he should feel, that it was now time to live.

45 Minutes had passed since he was born, when suddenly out of the depth of his body came a dark tone and little cough. In my hand I felt a very weak, light tension in his body, nearly unnoticeable.

We managed it after all “Heinmueck” decided to live. While happy feelings overwhelmed me and I exhausted cried I felt a miracle had happened.

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That Is Our Life!

Breeder’s thoughts about his puppies’ way into life with his or her owner:

Of course, life should be pleasant. In no way the puppy should be bored and become a nuisance.
The fictive future owners must give him a task, according to his tremendous abilities and high intelligence. Nevertheless the owner’s sofa must be co-owned from puppyhood on.
Churchill’s ideas about “sport is murdering” are in no case valid for his future life. The partner of his life shall love long walks, sweat causing activities, be eager to spend endless week-ends on shows or training grounds.
Would it not be wonderful, if the puppy with all his instincts could choose his future owners? Certainly his instinct is wiser than all of our human thinking.
I am showing two very different ways of life.
In the end both – breeder and future owner are convinced: this dog is happy!

Gwen Shepperson’s Australian Cattle Dogs from KS-Ranch in Wyoming,USA are working companions of the Sheppersons.

“One of our herding Australian Cattle dogs is Sophie:
Sophie was actually given to me–a friend of a friend could not keep her due to a divorce, and I agreed to take her knowing only that she was 3 yrs old, red and was good with children. She turned out to be an Australian import with a nice pedigree and with an outstanding amount of natural ability–she had never seen a cow until I got her, and she worked as though she had been doing it all her life! She has a fabulous temperament and is now 9 years old, retired from hard work but I still take her to work on easy days so she still feels important. Otherwise, she is always at my side :)”.


CeCe deserves more credit than I can give her

We were moving cows to calving pastures that got trucked home from the winter farm pastures today, the cows were cranky, it was dirty cold, snowing to beat hell and she never quit smiling and being positive. There have been a lot of times I have seriously wondered why I kept her, but today I think I finally realized why…she is teaching me to enjoy our job, even on the days when it’s not the most enjoyable. Thanks CeCe

CeCe herding

Show dog CH KS Ranch Cowboy Up or Sit In the Pickup, aka Waylon becomes a hard worker

“I have her brother “Waylon” here now as well.He was raised as a puppy, then went to a show home–he was happy, liked showing, but once he had his title and was no longer traveling to shows, he became very bored and needed much more in his life to keep him busy. B/c his owner travels very much for her job with AKC, I agreed to take him back. When he got here, he was so happy to have lots of freedom and exercise, but he was very different from my dogs, even his sister CeCe. You see, he went away to a home that did not require him to think through situations or use his instincts/mental skills very much. He was well socialized but had no idea how to interact with other dogs at liberty. His life had been about basic functions–eat, poop, pant, and stacking for show, that’s about it. It took him many months to learn how to think like a working dog, even though his natural instincts were very good. In fact, he is still learning!


AUS/US CH Turrella Blue Sky, our guest for love duties

Their sire AUS/US CH Turrella Blue Sky, was here for the summer when I bred him to Sophie. He had never seen a cow in his life and at age 7, he went right to work with my dogs as though he was doing it all his life, and he LOVED IT!This is Turrella Blue Sky working here at the ranch.


Gwen’s conclusion about the nowadays ACD’s capability to work:
Here in the US I think the trend has been, that there are a lot of very small, lighter boned, weedy dogs, with narrow jaw/heads. Too big is not good either, they cannot travel very long, don’t have enough endurance to work.

Gwen:”Our dogs work very hard, in extreme heat or cold, many many miles–they get kicked, get sore feet, sometimes get teeth knocked out, sometimes worse injuries. Some people would think their life is torture or not as nice as the life of a city dog. Not every dog, even every ACD, is suited to the life we live, just like not every person is”!

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Video of Westminster Show 2014

Westminster Show 2014

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EURO Corgi Show 2013


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FCI World Winner 2014

FCI World Dog Show 2014 in Helsinki

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Crufts 2014

Last Chance to Complete Online Entries For Crufts 2014

The Kennel Club would like to remind exhibitors of dogs qualified for Crufts 2014 that the deadline for online entries is midnight on Monday, 20thJanuary 2014.

The final entry date for Crufts has been extended to enable dogs which qualify at Boston and Manchester Dog Show Society Championship Shows in 2013 and 2014 to be entered.

Crufts takes place from 6th – 9th March 2014 at the NEC, Birmingham. The breed classes are scheduled to take place on the following days:

Thursday, 6th March 2014 — Working and Pastoral

Friday, 7th March 2014 — Terrier and Hound

Saturday, 8th March 2014 — Toy and Utility

Sunday, 9th March 2014 — Gundog

Gerald King, Chairman of Crufts said: “We thank all of the exhibitors who have so far entered Crufts 2014, the world’s most prestigious dog show, and would like to remind all exhibitors that the final closing date is 20th January 2014, so there is still time to enter. We moved the qualification date for Crufts back so that exhibitors who qualify at Manchester and Boston can bring their dogs to Crufts in 2014, rather than having to wait almost 14 months for the opportunity.”

Postal entries have now closed but exhibitors can enter online by clicking here. The full qualification details for Crufts 2014 can be found on the website at http://www.crufts.org.uk/qualification-crufts-2014.

Tickets to the show cost £16.50 for adults in advance and £18 on the door. Weekend tickets cost £17.60 in advance and £19 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee. Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 338 0338, or online at http://www.theticketfactory.com.

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Last Chance to Complete Online Entries For Crufts 2014

The Kennel Club would like to remind exhibitors of dogs qualified for Crufts 2014 that the deadline for online entries is midnight on Monday, 20thJanuary 2014.

The final entry date for Crufts has been extended to enable dogs which qualify at Boston and Manchester Dog Show Society Championship Shows in 2013 and 2014 to be entered.

Crufts takes place from 6th – 9th March 2014 at the NEC, Birmingham. The breed classes are scheduled to take place on the following days:

Thursday, 6th March 2014 — Working and Pastoral

Friday, 7th March 2014 — Terrier and Hound

Saturday, 8th March 2014 — Toy and Utility

Sunday, 9th March 2014 — Gundog

Gerald King, Chairman of Crufts said: “We thank all of the exhibitors who have so far entered Crufts 2014, the world’s most prestigious dog show, and would like to remind all exhibitors that the final closing date is 20th January 2014, so there is still time to enter. We moved the qualification date for Crufts back so that exhibitors who qualify at Manchester and Boston can bring their dogs to Crufts in 2014, rather than having to wait almost 14 months for the opportunity.”

Postal entries have now closed but exhibitors can enter online by clicking here. The full qualification details for Crufts 2014 can be found on the website at http://www.crufts.org.uk/qualification-crufts-2014.

Tickets to the show cost £16.50 for adults in advance and £18 on the door. Weekend tickets cost £17.60 in advance and £19 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee. Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 338 0338, or online at http://www.theticketfactory.com.

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FCI World Dog Show Helsink 2014

FCI World Dog Show Helsinki

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Estonian Winner 2014

INT show Estonian Winner 2014 (qualifing for Crufts 2015)


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About Ambition and Joy to Show

Exitement is rising when coming nearer to the place of show. Here it will be evident if all the efforts in breeding will be recognized by this judge.It is the happy anticipation to this challenge with the competitors for the victory of this day. This is the irresistible stimulus to enter the own dogs to well frequented shows.
It is also the joy to meet competitors again with whom we will exchange ideas and experience about latest news of breeding and showing.
Already when we prepared our dogs for the show our joy was rising.
If possible we are watching with interest the unknown judge, while he is judging other breeds.What is most important for him? Each judge emphasizes what he likes best. I like it, if he observes the movement
especially often comparing the outstanding dogs for the qualification.
Unfortunately I am breeding a breed without too many special judges with a comprehensive experience in judging “my” breed at home and abroad. Therefore I look for experienced allrounders. Anyhow in both cases I try to enter my dogs to judges, who have judged my breed on several occasions.In both cases it only makes sense to enter the dogs to a judge with a comprehensive knowledge of the breed.
An interesting exchange of breeding discussions can only arise, if the relationship to competitors is a trustful one.
The interchange with others can be the alpha and omega of an improving knowledge of breeding details, f.ex. in health details.
Even if a breeder does not show by himself a dog bred by him, he will anyhow be very proud, if the dog will leave the ring as the winner of his class. It is the reputation for a good breeder, if ambitious newcomers can trust, that they will get a promising puppy.
Last but not least: also to lose in the ring belongs to good manners.
Actually it is taken for granted to receive the certificate as a Reserve Winner with a thank to the judge or the ring stewards. It is also a good custom to accept the congratulation of others in the ring.
Entering your dog means to buy the opinion of this judge on this special day within this class – not more and not less.
I wish all visitors and competitors of the coming 3 show days in Helsinki much pleasure!

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Video Westminster Show 2013

Video Westminster 2013

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Winner of Westminster Show 2013

Winner of Westminster Show 2013

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Primary Lens Luxation/ Animal Health Trust

AHTlogoPrimary Lens Luxation (PLL) is a well-recognised, painful and blinding inherited eye condition that affects many breeds of dog, particularly terrier and terrier-type breeds including (but not restricted to) Miniature bull terriers, Tibetan terriers, Jack and Parson Russell terriers, Lancashire Heelers and Chinese Crested dogs, also the Australian Cattle Dog, Jagd Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, Rat Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Tenterfield Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, Volpino Italiano, Welsh Terrier, Wire-haired Fox Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier.

In affected dogs the zonular fibres which support the lens breakdown or disintegrate, causing the lens to fall into the wrong position within the eye. If the lens falls into the anterior chamber of the eye glaucoma and loss of vision can quickly result.

Scientists at the AHT have identified a mutation that is associated with the development of PLL in several breeds of dog. The DNA test we are now offering examines the DNA from each dog being tested for the presence or absence of this precise mutation. It is thus a ‘mutation-based test’ and not a ‘linkage-based test’

Breeders will be sent results identifying their dog as belonging to one of three categories:
CLEAR: these dogs have two normal copies of DNA. Our research has demonstrated clear dogs will not develop PLL as a result of the mutation we are testing for, although we cannot exclude the possibility they might develop PLL due to other causes, such as trauma or the effects of other, unidentified mutations.

CARRIER: these dogs have one copy of the mutation and one normal copy of DNA. Our research has demonstrated that carriers have a very low risk of developing PLL. The majority of carriers do not develop PLL during their lives but a small percentage do. We currently estimate that between 2% – 20% of carriers will develop the condition, although we believe the true percentage is nearer to 2% than 20%. We do not currently know why some carriers develop the condition whereas the majority do not, and we advise that all carriers have their eyes examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist every 6- 12 months, from the age of 2, throughout their entire lives.

GENETICALLY AFFECTED: these dogs have two copies of the mutation and will almost certainly develop PLL during their lifetime. We advise that all genetically affected dogs have their eyes examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist every 6 months, from the age of 18 months, so the clinical signs of PLL are detected as early as possible.

Breeding Advice
Our research has also demonstrated that the frequency of the PLL mutation is extremely high in the PLL-affected breeds that we have studied in depth. This means that allowing only CLEAR dogs to breed could have a devastating effect on breed diversity and substantially increase the likelihood of new inherited diseases emerging. Therefore, we strongly advise breeders to consider all their dogs for breeding, regardless of their PLL genotype. GENETICALLY AFFECTED and CARRIER dogs can be bred with, but should only be bred to DNA tested, CLEAR dogs. All puppies from any litter that has at least one CARRIER parent should be DNA tested, so that the CARRIERS can be identified and followed clinically throughout their lives. This practise should be followed for at least one or two generations, to allow the PLL mutation to be slowly eliminated from the population without severely reducing the genetic diversity of breeds at risk.

Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions about the PLL test please see if you can find an answer in our list of FAQ’s on our website PLL Genetics

Samples submitted should be cheek swabs ( a non-invasive sampling method). Sampling kits are obtainable from the Animal Health Trust webshop AHT DNA Testing. Further information can be obtained by emailing e-mail

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Perfect Teeth for Perfect Showdogs

Beautiful and healthy

Presenting valuable show dogs at national or international Kennel Club meetings or Dog Shows is a full-time job: not only must the four-legged candidates be healthy, in top-shape and perfect form – also cosmetical aspects play an important role to win the Show and be a CHAMPION!

No Dog Show allows unhealthy dogs to be presented in the ring, and every effort must be taken to avoid any possible hazard of spreading infectious diseases between the show dogs. Effective control mechanisms, mostly under the supervision of veterinarians, are established at least in the larger and more important shows, to sort out dogs with diseases, fever or non-tolerable behaviour.
But who looks into the mouth?

Very often the judges inspect the oral cavity very meticulously, because a healthy, clean and correctly developed dentition and skull is a paramount part of the general appearance and status of any candidate. Skull, alveolar bones and dentition have to match the breed “Standard” of every registered breed. Missing or discoloured teeth, covered with slimy unhygienic masses or unpleasant odour from the mouth would not be a favourable precondition for a successful presentation.

Malinois 7 Ja  no plaque
© Roger Sjølstad UP: This 7-year old Malinois shows signs of use and wear (abrasions) but his teeth are clean, gums and periodontium are in excellent condition.

Gebiss schmutzig

© Roger Sjølstad DOWN:An “average mouth”: no signs of severe gingivitis or periodontitis are present, but unattractive discolorations and biofilms (plaque) are obvious; not good enough for a CHAMPION.

An unhealthy and unattractive dentition is in most cases caused by periodontal disease, which is the most common of all diseases in mammals. More than 80 % of all adult individuals – may that be cats, dogs or humans – suffer from it. The prevention of periodontal disease is a life-long struggle which includes home-care, appropriate nutrition and – if unavoidable – professional veterinary treatment.
As always – prevention is better than cure

Only approximately 10 % of pet dogs receive daily oral hygiene, this means that many dogs suffer from a very poor condition in their mouth, continuous active infection, associated with permanent pain, finally loss of function due to lost teeth and or even organ infection.

As a precondition for successful work with breeding dogs and show dogs, owners of these animals have a by far higher motivation (and education) and take good care of the overall health and dental condition of their precious dogs. Regular tooth brushing, appropriate nutrition, systematical controls and health checks at the veterinarians are of paramount importance. For every showdog, daily tooth-brushing with special toothbrushes and tooth-pastes is highly recommended. Never use human tooth-pastes, they are not only badly accepted by dogs, but also contain ingredients, which can damage the gums. If discolorations are detected, tartar-build up or halitosis is present, the veterinarian should be contacted.
Bad teeth – bad ranking

Not too long before important shows, the dog should be seen by a vet and – if necessary – get a complete dental check and prophylaxis , which means a thorough cleaning and removal of all soft biofilms (Plaque) and hard mineralised debris on the dental surfaces (Tartar, calculus). The teeth should be polished after cleaning to avoid rough dental surfaces after the procedures, which would allow new plaque to recolonise again very quickly, making repeated procedures necessary year after year. Dental plaque is highly pathogenic and the primary cause of both gingivitis and periodontitis or even tooth loss. In addition these aggressive plaque bacteria can enter the blood stream and be spread across the whole body, which may cause septicaemia and organ disease.

The accumulation of dental plaque on the dental surfaces is the primary cause of Gingivitis and Periodontitis, thus the key for success in preventing such periodontal conditions is control of the plaque -> no plaque – no gingivitis/periodontitis!

The benefit of professional periodontal therapy is short-lived unless followed by effective home care. Regular tooth brushing is the best method to achieve that, but both owners and dogs are not always able to handle this, also oral medications can help to reduce plaque.

The role of nutrition

Foods which encourage plaque build-up should be avoided. This includes snacks between meals, high carbohydrate foods such as table scraps, sweets and others unnatural food for dogs. Feeding specially formulated nutrition (specific dental diets, diets with an included dental benefit across the range, dental chewing sticks) is an additional effective way to reduce the amount of plaque in the oral cavity.

I recommend:

Regular professional check-ups and cleanings at your vet, once or twice a year
Daily tooth brushing and chewing toys
Feeding a diet that reduces plaque and tartar build-up

Dr.med.dent. Dr.med.vet. Peter Fahrenkrug
Dentist, Veterinarian and expert in Veterinary Dentistry

Dr. Dr. Fahrenkrug is one of the internationally leading experts in canine dentistry.

This educational article has been brought to you by EUKANUBA

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We Are Not Judging Statues

by Lisa Dubé Forman/The CANINE CHRONICLE ·

In my brief five years of judging, I cannot count how many times I have communicated to exhibitors that I am not judging a statue. I offer this as relaxing encouragement to them while they attempt to correct their dog’s stance as it is being examined. However, many handlers persist, sometimes in vain, to replace dog’s feet in positions that the dog has already decided were uncomfortable. Immediately after a correction, many dogs will then go on to move their other feet. At this point, it is my policy to recommend to the exhibitor not to bother fidgeting with the dog, as I politely tell the handler I can feel everything I need to feel, regardless if the dog has moved its leg or shifted its weight. Simply, I am judging a live animal and not a statue. Some exhibitors will listen, others persist perhaps because they perceive the dog’s movement as an affront to their handling skills. For clarity, references to handler is meant to be all-embracing, for any person showing a dog.

Here on this point, I offer a suggestion to exhibitors. I typically walk my dogs into their show stack. I usually do not fidget with their feet unless they are in an exaggerated stance such as “posting.” This allows the dog to feel comfortable with the process of examination, especially the Sighthound breeds who can be more averse to a stranger’s approach and hands-on exam. Moreover, walking the dog into a stance is much more relaxing as the dog usually will land and stand over their ground in a comfortable position. Remember, the sole purpose for dog shows is not a contest as to which dog can stand still the longest, in some cases in an excessively exaggerated posture. The purpose of a dog show is to select and adjudicate over the best of the stock to perpetuate the breed. I will quickly digress here to expound on my remark about exaggerated postures. One such profile example is frequently seen in Afghan Hounds, with many of the dog’s rear feet stacked well behind the seat bones of the hindquarters. If you dropped a plumb line from the Ischial Tuberosity (rear seat bones), it is supposed to touch the front of the toes of the rear feet, however, due to exaggeration in stance or construction, that plumb line, in some cases, is far forward of the rear feet. Commonly, when stacked in such a manner and before the dog can move, he must first bring the rear legs back up under his pelvis, with some returning to a normal stance before stepping off. Other dogs, while standing naturally or even four square, are able to lead off immediately with their front leg. If such exaggerated stances were correct for the structure of that breed, then that dog would have no need to bring its rear up and under him first before he could lead off on a front leg.

Not all exhibitors are skilled and simply fussing. My biggest point of disagreement while observing some exhibitors is the clumsy effort to correct a stack by reaching over the back, grabbing the loin and pulling the dog’s hindquarters towards themselves. This action does not achieve a relaxed stance in which the judge can reflect upon and appreciate a lovely silhouette. Instead, this grappling produces a dog who was just dragged into position and who now is flexed and tense. Never mind it is very uncomfortable for observers – effectively making us cringe – and usually the handler does not stop there. After they drag the back end of the dog over to a side profile, they begin wrestling feet into place. This struggle is no more graceful than the first as the exhibitor pushes and pulls, then drags feet backwards and forward. Sometimes it is comical as the judge gives up or is impatient and approaches the dog while the exhibitor is still wrestling with the feet, head bent down with their buttocks up in the air. A solution for inexperienced exhibitors is taking five minutes every day to work with the dog by teaching it to walk forward into a stack. The stack does not have to be perfect because, again, we are not judging sculpture. Teach or train the dog on its show lead — not a walking lead so they can differentiate when they are working — and train the dog to walk slowly forward as they place their front legs straight up and down with elbows directly under their shoulder blades, their hocks perpendicular to the ground. When showing, if one leg is back somewhat, don’t fret, leave it. If the dog’s stance is still unacceptable to you, correct it after the judge has completed their exam and not while the judge is examining the dog. After the judge is finished, quickly readjust or if it is a body shift then slowly walk the dog forward one or more steps to the desirable stance. Every judge should allow the exhibitor the few extra seconds, if the handler chooses to do so, to walk the dog forward a step to correct a bad stack. This is courteous to do so since it is the exhibitors hard-earned money paying the judge for the evaluation, not visa versa. Likewise, walking into a stack is a bonus for bona-fide judges, those not looking at their wristwatch, as most dogs tend to relax and settle into themselves quickly. No matter the handler’s choice, just please stop wrestling.

Conformation purebred dog events have been transformed into a showing and grooming contest. Today we observe many firmly established handling habits. Exhibitors will place huge emphasis on a dog’s stack while on the table or ramp. If the dog moves, the exhibitor constantly makes corrections, as if the judge will not be able to feel the placement, angulation and length of the bones and muscling, or quality of coat if a foot is out of place. Moreover, exhibitors need to remember that judging does not take place on these elevated platforms, only examinations. Dogs are only judged on the ground. If the opposite were true then each of these dogs would be exhibited on a table or ramp in the ring always. Perhaps this habit has manifested itself so widely because exhibitors follow the lead of many professional handlers who have perfected the ability to emphasize perfect, statuesque stacks. Consider an exhibitors reaction the instant a dog moves their head to look around while stacked in the lineup. Many have a death grip on the muzzle. A reminder to everyone in our sport, dogs should not receive extra consideration for being able to stand still the longest.

Other established and trying habits include handlers overemphasizing certain breeds abundance of thin, loose skin, wrinkles or folds. Short-coated breeds are “what you see is what you get.” Still, we have exhibitors over-accentuating by grasping and pulling the skin up and forward. The judge is not blind and can clearly see and feel the skin’s looseness, along with scapula placement, without the aid of the handler. As an extra factor, I have heard disapproving comments by spectators. Although we seasoned fanciers understand this does not hurt the dog, no amount of reassurance can change some people’s minds. Taking into account the purebred dog controversy in place today, we can do away with such unnecessary elaboration. Another annoying and dispensable habit during examination are handler’s stretching dog’s neck, pulling upwards, almost lifting the dog’s front off the ground and then flipping the ears over both eyes — all in a grandstanding effort to feature the neck on a smooth or short-coated breed. Speaking plainly, a judge is quite capable of discerning a proper neck without all this dramatizing, especially since most are approved to judge heavy-coated and long-coated breeds. If the judge requires or encourages such elaboration on a neck then they should reevaluate their role in our sport.

Dog shows were not meant to be a contest of animal or people showmanship. Our shows were not created or designed to determine who is the more flamboyant handler, for instance the handler standing out nearly four feet in front of the dog waving a piece of bait in their free hand. Some handlers claim that the dog who is posed looking very much like a sculptured bronze is, indeed, in a natural stance. Occasionally, this may be true and usually can be determined by directing the handler to move the dog around to the center of the ring and having them stop without touching the dog. Few times will the dog land as they were previously stacked. Many times, the dog will land and stand much more naturally, which a true breed expert will appreciate moreso than an over-dramatized stance. In truth, show dogs increasingly now are trained to stop and self-stack in dramatic poses without interference by the handler. Yet, what I would find most telling is if we were to see the same dog running and playing in the yard or field they most likely stop and stand in an entirely different manner contrary to dog show pageantry.

Aficionado judges appreciate the dog without the glamour and fanfare. An enhancement to this and what I consider exciting is to find a truly well-made dog who feels good under your hand who may not be the showiest entry in the ring but who epitomizes the breed standard. To be able to “find” a great dog in the show ring is the ultimate reward. My usual response is to quietly laugh when I read judges interviews or hear their commentary on dogs they have awarded. I am sure you all are familiar with, “The dog gave it their all,”; “The dog asked for it and could not be denied,”; “The dog showed beautifully,” ; “The dog was so on,” ; “The dog has attitude.” Conversely, “The dog did not perform that well,”; “The dog could have been more on.”

Taking into account these critiques, it is no wonder almost all exhibitors fret constantly about a misplaced foot, constantly adjusting and readjusting legs, death grips on the muzzles, stretching out necks, pulling the skin over the dog’s face and so on. These dispiriting comments all highlight the non-essentials of our sport. Why place more value on the dog flying around the ring at the end of their lead, many at incorrect speeds? Why do judges value the dog in an aggrandized, statuesque stance moreso than its competitor(s) who may fidget but who stands over their ground in a comfortable, confident manner sans embellishment? Doesn’t breed type and symmetry trounce being overdone and flamboyant? We should all worry about the general direction in which our sport has developed. It is deeply concerning and saddening for many veterans. Over the years, our sport has been steered towards glorifying and worshipping the most highly trained and unflinching statues. This is a show with live animals, not a statue exhibition. Though I would not nor am I suggesting a dog should be penalized for being perfectly trained and very stylishly shown, at the same time a judge should not bestow additional merit on this dog over its competitors based upon this ability to attract, in many cases, undue attention. However, we are very much aware of this or similar preferences by some judges through their critiques. Absent from reviews are conclusions on a specimen’s structural integrity, the virtues of that dog’s priceless breed type expounding on the near flawless shape, describing the breed’s topline and underline, discussing the prosternum, its fill and relative station and length of ribbing. Going into detail about the dog’s diameter and length of bone, the breed standard’s ideal length, strength and breadth of loin or the opposite, well-coupled with strong breadth of loin, or remarks on the symmetry of the dog’s conforming length and placement of scapula/humerus in relation to the femur/tibia, or any mention of superior muscling. On occasion, we do hear vague comments about headpieces as they are first discernible and easiest to describe. All the same, the comments provide little insight such as, “What a lovely head.” We do not read instructive remarks about proper length of planes with degree of desired stop, eye set and shape, width or shape of skull and muzzle.

Overall, in place of educational particulars, we are provided nebulous, frivolous comments. This may be due in part to judges’ inexperience with formulating and expressing their opinions, remarks and reactions to the dogs. Many quality judges with a keen eye instinctively know a good or great dog when they see one and have trouble conveying why, then there are other judges who skate by with a quick but insubstantial remark about, “how spot on” a dog was in the ring. What is the value of saying this? How does that have anything to do with the breed standard for which the dog is judged? It is no wonder that our sport is filled with uninstructed, naïve exhibitors and breeders. If they hear or read a judge’s explanations about the winning dogs and all they are offered are the aforementioned, meaningless comments, then it should come as no surprise that our sport has devalued. These comments undermine the importance of, the genuine purpose of our sport, why and how it began. It does not have to be this way. We judges can effect change, have a marked influence on breeder and exhibitor priorities which, in turn, will return focus on breeds’ standards of excellence. As I am very fond of repeating, we need to get back to the basics.

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