Top Notch Toys August 2018

JUDGING THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND by Cecilia Resnick, IGCA Judges Education Coordinator

W hen judging the Italian Grey- hound, there are several crite- ria to consider. Let’s start first with three key elements that define the essence of an IG. The first, and most important is the movement. There is no other breed that moves like the IG. The normal show ring speed is a trotting gate. At this speed, a handler should never run with this breed. The front and rear feet move on a parallel track, converging towards a center line. The legs should never cross either in the front or back. From the profile, at this speed, the front legs should extend with drive from the rear. In this trot, the dog should reach with the foreleg almost parallel with the ground and have a slight bend in the pastern. This movement should be smooth and ef- fortless. An IG moving should be the picture of grace and elegance, as if gliding on air. Shoulder angle, or layback, is the key to proper movement. We are looking for long and sloping shoulders. The angle of shoulder must match the rear angulation thus giving a balanced dog. A straight shoulder will create a shuffling or stilted movement if there is not sufficient angle of the shoulder to permit the foreleg to reach out and

cover ground. An IG with a hackney or high lift action will not be able to reach out and also cover ground. Goose stepping is also undesirable. We are looking for a smooth reach to produce their unique gait. The next element of judging an IG is assessing the topline. Nothing is pret- tier than an IG stacked on the ground showing off their lovely angles, how- ever do not judge an IG’s topline stacked on the ground. The IG stan- dard states that the back should be “high at the withers”. Thus, the high- est point of the topline is the withers. The correct topline is necessary to evoke the flexible back needed for be- ing able to glide through their double extension gallop. The double exten- sion gallop is a leaping gate. In this gate, all four feet are off the ground at the same time. The hind legs pro- pel the dog in the air then followed by the front legs propelling. Think of the Greyhound in full extension as pictured on the side of a Greyhound bus. It is necessary for a fast dog to have the ability to flex its back from that straight position to the arched or collected position. The flex position is the arched position, or a collected position. If the back has a permanent arch, the arch is inflexible. Therefore

a dog who is higher in the curve above the loin then the withers, cannot fully extend the back to stretch and reach. We are looking for the highest point over the withers, not the highest point over the loin. The muscles of this mo- tion are the muscles of the shoulder, rear and back. For this reason, the topline can only be evaluated when the dog is moving. The third element of judging the IG is elegance. The IG is a series of smooth curves. It is similar to the Greyhound but smaller and more slender, with finer bone. An IG gliding around the ring and free stacked should give you the picture of refinement and grace. Although these three elements define the essence of the breed, there are several other criteria to consider. The purpose or function of this breed is for chasing and hunting small game and also fulfill the function of a com- panion. They are loving companions for their family but may seem aloof to strangers. They are intelligent and active. They will permit a stranger to touch them, but they do not welcome it. When judging an IG, it is impor- tant to keep this disposition in mind. Always approach the IG from the front and examine them with light and gentle hands. Cold hands, strong

64 • T op N otch T oys , A ugust 2018

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