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! he question of how to approach judging Poo- dles is one to which I have dedicated much thought. Although judg- ing is at its core the eval- uation of breeding stock, the dog show in its modern incarnation often obscures this basic intent. With so much attention paid to “the glamour” at shows many times the flashy or dramatic exhibits steal the show to the detriment of this basic tenet of judg- ing. Although they may appear to be the same, constraints of time and procedure separate the judging experience from eval- uation in the role as a breeder. Th e standard for the breed is your touchstone, however a simple reading is not enough, rather, it should serve as the framework and a starting point for study and conversation in order to reach under- standing of how to apply it to the actual dog. What I would like to introduce here is nothing new or original; simplify things to make them memorable and accessible, keep the breed history and function at the heart of your decision making pro- cess, and finally always remember to ask the question: if I were breeding this breed which one would I take home? Keep it simple; distil everything down to its most basic. Dog people are by and large visual people; this commonality is like part of our genetic code and why we find a beautiful dog appealing in the first place. Focus on breed related basic shapes; the outline or silhouette is a shape defined by the arrangement of anatomi- cal components. Get the shape right and the pieces and parts are usually arranged properly. Details are also shapes, the eye, the foot, the profile of the head, even !"#$%&'(#)*+&(,*$#%-&..&/'*0%/-* !""#$%&'()*%+,& 12334
the negative space from underline to the ground between the front and rear legs is a shape relating information pertinent to evaluating a breed. Be familiar with and apply basic ideas; the Poodle temperament, attitude, and presence governs so much of the way it is perceived in the ring. How it greets its environment, people, places and things is central to the concept we term Poodley. Th e Poodle outlook is self-assured, inquisi- tive, and unflappable. Th is outlook is the
key to why it carries and presents itself in a proud and elegant fashion. Breed history is paramount. What a breed looks like is the result of many gen- erations of selective breeding that began with the desire to mold a dog ideally suit- ed for a specific purpose. Although our breed wears many hats, its adaptability grows from traits emphasized to meet the requirements to perform well in its origi- nal role of water retriever. Each aspect of the Poodle relates to this history.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2014 • 291
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