It was commented that the GSD should be more angulated than the ACD because they patrol perimeters. The GSD is NOT more angulated and the ACD in-fact their shoulders are permitted to be at an angle of 90-110° therefore the GSD can be legitimately less angulated according to the standard. The hind-legs of the GSD are even more open at 120°. It is not the angulation but that greater length of bones and the sloping top-line that gives the illusion to the untrained eye of greater rear angulation.
The recent comment that ‘most judges do not know what they are looking at’ absolutely INFURIATES me. Yes, there are a few judges who are not as knowledgeable, but as a judge I can honestly say that 95% do know EXACTLY what they are looking at and can clearly identify both the virtues and the shortcomings of the dogs before them. Judging is a process of weighing up the good with the bad, and then making an on balance judgment.
Judge’s training is extensive, exhausting, methodical and definitely NOT easy. The criteria to train and pass are not for the faint heated. If you don’t have an eye for a dog, if you can’t articulate what see and you don’t know your standards you will NOT pass. Judges are required to attend lectures and write 1,000 word essays on EVERY breed in the group. They must judge and write written critiques on over 100 dogs all before they can even apply to gain a licence. Then they must pass an extensive written test on the standards and a practical examination under the scrutiny of three experienced assessors who know what they want to hear from the candidate. If you can’t place the dogs correctly and justify why, you don’t pass. If the JTS was easy then there would not be such a high dropout rate.
It greatly angers me when I hear people complain and criticise a judge’s knowledge if their dog is given a less than desirable critique. Let me say that judges are encouraged through the whole education process to be POSITIVE and constructive in their comments. We don’t feel powerful or take pleasure in saying negative things about any dog.
A critique is intended to give an appraisal of the dog before us on the day.
If as an exhibitor you receive a negative critique then LISTEN, understand why and take it on board. Is it not a personal attack on you or your dog it is meant to be a learning tool. You have paid for this person’s educated opinion. You can take it or leave it. Jumping up and down and claiming that the judge is used to seeing a particular ‘type’ in their own country and so that is what they will ‘put up’ is poor form.
Recently there were Australian judges in Europe and their judging was criticized in this way. Can I say that I have exhibited under these people. They are all extremely experienced senior level judges and furthermore although not their breed, they all have extensive experience judging ACDs.
There is not one particular TYPE ‘running around now in Australia’ and ACDs have NOT CHANGED in recent decades. The same types are running around now as there were here 40 years ago, at least there has been in the country of origin. There is not a ‘new fangled heeler’ that has recently been invented for the show ring.
All Judges have a picture in their mind of what the ideal specimen of each particular breed looks like and then they look for the dog that not only most closely fits the static picture and also moves the way described in the standard. They consider the presence/absence of breed hallmarks and then lastly overall presentation and performance.
A judge can only judge what is put before them! If there is not an ideal dog in the class you close your eyes and you say to yourself…OK so which one looks like a Pomeranian or a GSP, or whatever the breed is you have before you.
Judges do not live in the bubble of knowing about only one breed. They might not be an expert on the finer points of every bred they can judge. But they know damn well what correct structure and correct movement constitute for that breed. And believe me that can mean a very different thing from one breed to another. For example; the OES should ‘amble’, the British Bulldog must move unevenly with specifically the ‘right’ shoulder in front. The Chow has ‘stilted’ movement, the Dobermann has ‘rotary’ action, the Min Pin must ‘Hackney’ in most counties.
The defining things that constitute breed type are paramount. Head type is essential if judging for type amongst similar breeds. Sometimes the only difference in a written standard between similar breeds such as spaniels might be the absence or presence of fluting, the shape or position of the eyes or ears. Identifying correct breed type that distinguishes one breed from another (and I am not talking about the obvious things like coat and colour) take a great deal of skill and experience. I am not saying judges get it right all of the time but credit where credit is due please.