Showsight Presents The Poodle

poodle Q&A

WITH LUIS AIZCORBE, JORDAN CHAMBERLAIN, DORIS COZART, BRAD ODAGIRI & JOHNNY SHOEMAKER

Miniatures were probably the strongest variety when I started. Then they were diagnosed with PRA. It took a long time for the Minis to recover after that. I am so grateful that we now have a test for PRA. Standards were fairly strong when I started, they have continued to improve. Like all breeds, they evolve. We go through stages, when trying to correct a fault. We work on cor- recting one aspect and then lose another. BO: Since it was only recently I started judging the breed it is very difficult to make the comparison. However, since I started in the breed years ago, I can say they are better now and have improved. The main reason for this is that the breed bloodlines are more accessible internationally. The world is getting smaller in the sense that traveling, communication and shipping have improved tremen- dously. As more breeders travel abroad and attend major shows, they are exposed to see other bloodlines and their relationship with other breeders expands. This brings the world together in sharing their knowledge and blood- lines that have impacted and benefited the breed. JS: I started judging in 2001 and found that we have been going in cycles. At one time in both the Toy and Minia- ture Varieties we had definite problems with oversized dogs. This went on for years as some breeders bred to winners that were oversized without looking at the pedi- gree and doing their homework. This has improved. I see that we now have in size Toys and Miniatures. As I have said before we need to improve on our fronts but that will take generations to improve. Our breeders need to concentrate on this as some of our top Poodles have seri- ous problems with the fronts. I believe the Poodles have improved is many ways since when I first started judging. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LA: I have always thought that Poodle is a particularly dif- ficult breed for new judges to master especially due to the different colors, the various trims and the different manner in which each handler, professional or amateur, executes each trim. A dog may appear longer than he is or lower on leg if excessive hair is left in the wrong place. A gifted groomer can cover up a coarse backskull or camouflage a tail over the back, or make the rear end on a dog in English Saddle look straight even if the dog is cow hocked. Mentoring from someone who has been thru the wars either as an owner handler or a profes- sional is invaluable to learn how to judge this breed this breed. The previous being said, the areas in which new judges most often misjudge the breed follow: 1) Putting up a more common dog because he tracks true or covers more ground even if it moves like a Boxer over another of better type and the proper light springy gait which might not be as precise coming or going. 2) Needing to learn bone to size proportion. This problem becomes exaggerated in judging the Toy variety. 3) Falling prey to

the temptation of putting up the best dog even if the dog continues to drop the tail. As much as it may hurt; no tail, no Poodle. 4) There is a great tendency to underestimate the importance of a good Poodle head, because they are so infrequent that a reference is often unavailable. JC: The new judge must trust their hands, not their eyes, an artful groomer can hide many faults. DC: Many find the coat difficult. What I mean is they are somewhat afraid to put their hands into the coat. It won’t break and you must feel the dog. We are a glamorous breed but we are just a dog under the coat. It is hard to learn to see past the coat. I recommend that anyone who wishes to judge our breed attend the National Specialty. The judges education program is good. Plus you get to go over many Poodles. Every allowed color, trim in all three varieties. It is a great opportunity to learn. BO: New judges usually have a difficult time judging the breed, especially, examining the front assembly of exhib- its with mane coats. It is a dog show and the dogs are expected to be examined by the judges with their hands and eyes. The origin of the breed is a Sporting breed and they must be structurally sound throughout. Go ahead and go over the dog with the hands like any other breed and to use the eyes to see the overall balance and that the parts are functioning together. JS: I think most judges misunderstand that we have one Breed Standard for all varieties. Some say to me that they understand the Standards but have problems with the Toys and Miniatures. Depending on what breed the judge comes from I can understand that. It is true with any breed that has different sizes in their varieties, such as American Eskimos. I keep telling the new judges that this breed is mostly appreciated by the side movement, where you can see the sound movement with reach and drive, the head up and the body square with light springy action and strong hindquarters drive. It is “in the ring education” that you begin to learn more and feel comfort- able with judging all varieties or any breed. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LA: The Poodle is a very athletic breed, originally bred as a retriever. What differentiates it most obviously from breeds in the Sporting Group is the high head and tail carriage. Poodle carriage gives its unique elegance and is necessary to achieve the collected outline that is basic to the breed. Any deviation from a high head and tail car- riage detracts from the ideal Poodle. This is a breed that needs to be judged primarily on the go. One that looks beautiful stacked but drops its topline or loses its outline on the go by stringing itself out is of little value as a show dog and most often in the whelping box. The Poodle is an up on leg, short backed breed as it is square from its sternum to its shelf and its bone is slightly refined as compared to most breeds of comparable size

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