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Think Outside Your Breed

By Jane Myers

Photo by Theresa Lyons

How many exhibitors leave the dog show after losing the breed? How many exhibitors win the breed and do not place in the group? How many exhibitors will proclaim, “That judge doesn’t like hairy dogs, that judge only puts up his friends, or that judge doesn’t know my breed?” Well, here is the $10,000 question, how many exhibitors or handlers for that matter, have read every breed standard in their respective Group? Is it fair for the exhibitor of the Standard Poodle to pass judgement on the Bulldog? Or vice versa? They are two breeds with completely different make and shape, as they should be.

Being a breeder/exhibitor should not end at the breed level. All dogs have some redeeming qualities and, if you want to compete, it is up to you to identify these qualities with an open mind. We can all read the breed standard and apply it to our dog, but do we apply it with an unbiased opinion? Or do we give here, take there, accentuate the good and ignore the not so good, thereby creating, in our mind, an unbeatable exhibit.

Now, what about that Bulldog that seems to be defeating you in the group week-in and week-out? Jeez, he is wide on front, shaped like a pear, has a dip behind his shoulders, he is undershot and rolls and shuffles when he gaits… How can this dog possibly defeat the Standard Poodle with a perfect scissors bite, level topline and beautiful reach and drive? You think to yourself, “Well, my Poodle may have a light eye, but that surely isn’t as offensive as the shuffling gait! Right?” Hmmm, Bulldogs should shuffle, Poodles should have a very dark eye, and exhibitors should know this, and they would if they stayed and watched the Group with Breed Standards in hand and took the time to learn the other breeds.

There are so many opportunities in our sport to educate ourselves. AKC has wonderful online education available in the Canine College, and the breeder courses are free! Many National Specialties are held in conjunction with all breed shows. Wow! Can you imagine the chance to see 50 Sussex Spaniels in one place? You should never miss an opportunity like this. I do believe that as breeders, exhibitors, and handlers, we owe it to the sport of purebred dogs to go the extra mile, take advantage of educational opportunities, and Think Outside Your Breed.

I’m Jane Myers and that’s the way I see it.

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=214613

Posted by on Oct 13 2021. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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