Fox Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight



By Bill Potter

his article is one person’s observations regarding judging Smooth Fox Terriers, not a definitive guide. Detailed study of the Standard, mentor-

expressed in the measurements con- tained within the Size, Proportion and Substance section. It is essential to train the eye to see the balance called for, recognize that each dog’s height may vary from the ideal, but ensuring that, overall, the dog meets the proportional balance of the parts as spe- cifically defined. Th e quicker, and more accurately, that balance can be assessed, the more time the judge has to appreci- ate, and evaluate, the quality of the indi- vidual characteristics of the dog. When an SFT enters the ring, you should start with that assessment for the desired balance. 1. Is the dog square—the same height from withers to ground as length from point of shoulder to buttock? 2. Is the height from withers to brisket equal to the height from brisket to ground? 3. Is the length of his muzzle equal to the length of skull? 4. Is the length of his neck close to equaling the length of his head? It is important to confirm your initial assessment of balance on the move. SFTs are often very di ff erent in proportions on the move than when stacked by a handler. For that reason, I believe that it is impor- tant to move dogs around the ring prior to examining them on the table. I also believe it aids the examination by relaxing and acclimating the dog to the ring. Th e next step in the initial evaluation is asking the question: Does the dog have the requisite substance? Th e Standard describes the SFT as having the symme- try of a Foxhound (English), and goes on to compare him to a “cleverly made hunt- er.” One should think of a short-backed Hunter Jumper horse.

Once the dog has been set up on the table, the examination of the dog should start with the head. All the disqualification contained within our Standard relate to the head—ears, nose and mouth. Confirming the absence of disqualifying characteristics is quickly, and easily, accomplished: the ears should not be pricked, tulip, or rose; the nose should not be white, cherry, or spotted with considerable amount of either color; the bite should not be much under- shot or much overshot. Ensuring that the head possesses quality is a more di ffi cult task. Th e head should be examined both from the front and the side. Th e moderately narrow skull should be flat and be parallel to the plain of the muzzle. While the skull should decrease in width to the eyes, and the muzzle from the eyes to nose, the head should not be a wedge. Th ere should be fill under the eyes, but with chiseling to prevent a straight slope from skull to tip of nose. Th e eyes should be dark, and as close to round as possible. Th e muzzle should have strong upper and lower jaws, with teeth in a scissors bite. Ears should be V-shaped and break above the level of the skull. Th e ears inner edge should lie close to the cheek. Th e tip of the ear should be near the corner of the eye, not on top of the head. Do not expect that every dog will display attentive ear carriage while on the table. Dogs will often pull back their ears, turning them to the side, while being examined. Simply feel the ears to determine that their leather is of moderate thickness. Proper ear car- riage is much better assessed when the dog is standing on the ground taking in

ing with experienced breeders and detailed information from the Judges’ Education Coordinator(s) of the American Fox Ter- rier Club should be used to develop the knowledge necessary for the task. Th e Standard for Fox Terriers in America was approved at the time the American Fox Terrier Club was formed in 1885. Shortly thereafter, the Standard was amended to include measurements, in addition to weight, to describe the ideal Fox Terrier. Th e American Standard for Smooth Fox Terriers has changed little since that time. Reference to the Wire Fox Terrier coat was removed when Smooths and Wires were recognized as separate breeds it the 1984. Th e Standard was later reformatted to meet the American Kennel Club’s request for uniform formatting of all Standards. Th e American Fox Terrier Club’s Stan- dard for the Smooth Fox Terrier (SFT) is di ff erent than those approved by Th e Kennel Club (UK) and by the FCI. Th eir Standards use weight alone to define the size of dogs and bitches. It is not to say that they do not ask for a compact, short- backed Terrier, but their Standards do not set forth measurements on how that goal should be reached. Th e American Stan- dard does not have any size disqualifica- tions, but contains specific measurement for overall height and length, length of back and length of head. It then empha- sizes that the BALANCE of these parts and others described within the Stan- dard, which is the keystone of the Terriers anatomy. It is important that any judge, utilizing the American SFT Standard, be familiar with the relative proportions

“ should start with that assessment for THE DESIRED BALANCE.”

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