Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Primary vs Secondary

Recent post on another one of my many chat groups had an interesting perspective on judging conformation dogs. Here’s the link to the poster’s original blog post:

I think it’s important as not only breeders but owners and exhibitors, that we do take a long hard look at our dogs for the primary characteristics vs the secondary ones when evaluating. I've seen way too many people-particularly judges of recent, get hung up on one particular secondary item and can’t get past it to see the overall virtues of a dog. For most breeds, the first paragraph of the written AKC standard is the best place to start for that primary look, where in the secondary can conflict with the first but also it adds to what is said. Ie, your first impression of a dog should fulfill the description in that first paragraph.

So here I go, taking from the very first paragraph of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Standard:

General Appearance: Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. General Impression-A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

Low set-to me that means a dog with short pasterns, low set on the hocks, excess leg will make the dog too tall.
Moderately heavy bone-not so heavy as to make clumsy when moving but with enough to appear substantial and not fragile.
Deep chest-as defined later on, it should sit well within the crevice created by the front legs-not up in the elbows but also not extending beyond the pasterns.
Long in proportion to height-so a rectangular dog that appears longer then tall.
Low tail set—okay folks, let’s remember what a tail SET is vs tail CARRIAGE. Too many judges do not understand that carriage does not equal set-an excited dog will carry its tail higher vs a scared dog who does not raise its tail off the ground.
Fox, brush like tail-not like a Labrador but also not like a golden with flowing feathering.

A handsome(pleasing to the eye), powerful(able to a variety of tasks during a normal long work day), small dog(within the suggested standard of size and weight), capable of both speed and endurance(structure allows for correct movement), intelligent(smart and easy to teach), sturdily built but not coarse(not too light as to appear breakable, but not too much bone to be clumsy, unable to move or unable to work efficiently).

So how did I do? Love your comments as I can always learn more and change my newbie opinion.

What I do find most frustrating is when judges form an opinion of a breed that is contradictory to the written standard? The even bigger issue is that when this is brought to light, many are “old school” judges or “untouchables” and even suggesting that they are wrong in their evaluations, won’t get you anywhere. Set in their ways and exhibitors that win under those types of judges, will continue to show and even finish dogs that are not meeting the primary characteristics of the breed and continue to breed more of the like!

Soooo....what do you think?

Later gators....

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