JUDGING THE BELGIAN SHEEPDOG
tiring, exhibiting facility of movement rather than a hard driving action. He tends to single track on a fast gait. The backline should remain firm and level. When you move the dog down and back you should be looking for single tracking movement. When viewed from the side the front legs should extend to about the nose and the rear should be in balance with the front. A square dog can move as cleanly and easily as any breed. The difficulty is the front and rear angles; with a square dog the angles must be proper and in balance. You just don’t have as much body to cover up movement faults. TEMPERAMENT The Belgian Sheepdog is not required to be friendly with the judges, but is expected to be approachable. The standard says, “He should not show fear or shyness.” Please do not award points to a dog that displays poor
triangular ears are necessary to help define the proper type. In the standard we ask for a full complement of strong white teeth, evenly set meeting in an even or scissors bite. Be aware that the Belgian Sheepdog standard does not mention faults when it comes to teeth or bite. We do want you to look at the bites and the standard does ask for a full complement of teeth. When examining the mouth we want you to check (or have the handler show it if you prefer) the front of the mouth for even or scissors bites. Then, gently lift the side of the lips and check each side for evenly set premolars and molars. We don’t expect you to pry open the mouth as you would in a Rottweiler or Doberman. If there are missing teeth, most likely they will be the small premolars. Since the standard does not address missing teeth there is no reason to open the mouth. BODY The standard is pretty clear on the body and it is not that different than many of the herding dogs. We are looking for a strong level topline. The lowest point of the brisket should reach to the elbow. With the coat you will not see this, so you must check for it with your hands when judging. Front feet are round (cat footed), toes curved close together, well padded. You may find white on the tips of the front toes, it is allowable, but a fault. Rear feet are
slightly elongated and well padded. White is acceptable on the tips of the hind feet. Please check for flat feet, the well padded feet are necessary in a herding dog. COAT This is a long coated breed, but the coat should never be so excessive that it would interfere with the working ability or mask the elegant outline. Coat texture is more important than the length and amount. Bitches seldom carry the same coat as males, but they should always be given equal consideration. I often describe the difference in male and female Belgian Sheepdogs as the difference in a lion and a lioness. Do not let the coat get in the way of finding the best dog or bitch. COLOR The Belgian Sheepdog is a black dog with white allowed in certain areas described in the standard. I hear many people saying it is hard to judge a solid black dog. Please look at the outline and remember the standard. While a solid black dog may not look as flashy in the Group ring, it may be an excellent example of the breed. What makes an excellent Belgian Sheepdog are the characteristics discussed in this article and we would love your consideration in the Group ring as well as the Breed ring. MOVEMENT Proper movement is essential in a Herding breed. The standard describes it as smooth, free and easy, seemingly never
The Belgian Sheepdog is not a high profile breed at the AKC shows, but we who are dedicated to the breed care about its future. We would ask all judges that wish to judge our breed to take our standard as seriously as we the people who own and love this breed do. The Belgian Sheepdog Club of America’s Judges Education Committee has an online illustrated standard on the parent club website. The link is http://bsca.info/judges- education/judges-responsibility/ .
BIO Linda Robey is the Judges Education Chairperson for the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA). She is also a member of the Judges Education Committee for the American Belgian Tervuren Club. Linda has been judging the Belgian Breeds since 1995 and is currently approved for the Herding Group, Sporting Group, 26 Working breeds, Dalmatians, the Miscellaneous breeds, and Best in Show. Linda has had the honor of judging the Belgian Sheepdog National twice, the Belgian Malinois National twice, and the Belgian Tervuren National twice.
180 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020
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