Showsight Presents the Newfoundland

q&a newfoundland

with Linda BerBerich, Meredith cavenna, Betty McdonneLL & Joan ZieLinski

hold for quite a period while I taught school. Judging on the east coast on a Sunday did not fit with teaching school Monday morning on the west coast. I've traveled all over the world and have admired so many breeds of dogs world- wide. I've seen some remarkable Newfoundlands in Italy and Scandinavia. I'm currently the president of the St. Bernard Club of America and emphasize advances in health and temperament. How can one have giant dogs without these characteristics? 1. Describe the breed in three words. LB: Sweet expression, clean moment and well balanced. BM: 1) Fabulous temperament: sweet, smart and biddable, 2) large size with considerable substance and 3) balanced athlete. JZ: Massive, benevolent and sweet natured. 2. What are your "must have" traits in this breed? LB: Muzzles with equal depth and length are very hard to find, but I have—also, sweet expression and dignity. MC: I look for large, well-balanced dogs with a massive heads, correct outline and proportions that have 4 good legs and are in condition. Breed type must always come first, therefore I will forgive faults for excellent breed type. There are no perfect dogs. I always try to judge on virtues, and not on faults. There are faults in every great dog. I am an admitted “front freak” so always look for correct shoulders/upper arm and chest development, which results in good reach when moving. Correct front- end assembly is by far the hardest thing to breed and the easiest thing to lose. I also love a good head with a pleas- ing expression. You have to look at them on the couch every day and who wants to look at a head and expres- sion every day that is not pleasing? BM: Must have traits in the breed: 1) Typical sweet and con- fident temperament that brings many to the breed. 2) Sound of body—natural athletes capable of water res- cue and draft work. (Not all Newfs are instinctive natural swimmers, but most can be taught with patience.) 3) Balanced, well angulated dogs with strong toplines. JZ: A beautiful expression, heavy bone, sound and able to perform his historic tasks as a water rescue dog. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LB: Head pieces that are not as standard states, lack of sweet expression, bug eyes and exaggerated crown. MC: As with many breeds, the tendency for “long and low” seems to be more of a problem than in the past. Toeing in the front while moving has always been a problem in the breed. Yes, they are swimmers. No, this does not give them permission to have bad fronts. BM: I prefer the moderate ideal head type described in the standard. There is a tendency to breed for an exaggerated Saint Bernard-like head with more than a moderate stop and the depth of muzzle greater than the length. (But I certainly do not want a longer-muzzled, Setter-like head- piece.) There has been an exaggeration in rear angulation that is not always in balance with front angulation.

These dogs are often raced around the show rings with exaggerated, inefficient movement. Although unintend- ed, many specimens are straight shouldered and narrow through the chest. JZ: Yes, over angulated rears not matching the fronts result- ing in sickle hocks. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? LB: Absolutely, I see more breed type that I didn’t see when I first began, and I do enjoy really having to dig through my entries until I find my ideal. MC: I think there were certain heydays of the breed and in particular, certain parts of the country. I still see many really good ones. It is a wonderful breed that I always love to judge. BM: The dogs of today are far better in consistent type than they were when I got started in the breed over 50 years ago. Although movement today is not as good as it was 15 years ago, it certainly is better than the unsound dogs of the early 50s and 60s. Dedication in health examina- tions among breeders has definitely improved soundness. When OFA began registering hip clearances, it was a rare champion that could x-ray normal. Newfs of an earlier time were often long in body, short of leg and many toed in and were out at the elbow. Unfortunately tempera- ments are not always sterling. I’ve known some dog-to- dog aggression as well as unstable dogs afraid of environ- mental situations. These dogs should never be rewarded or bred—no matter how beautiful. JZ: Yes, I do. Why or why not? I believe there are more qual- ity dogs on average in the ring than when we first began. It's a pleasure to be able to choose from amongst a group of quality dogs. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LB: They are a breed that was meant to work and save humans, they must have the strength an ability to swim and rescue people, and have a sweet disposition; as they are for saving people, they love their humans. MC: I do not feel that I should make any comments about my fellow judges. Each of us interprets the standard in our own way and we all have different priorities. As I always say, if the judges all liked and rewarded the same dogs, no one would enter dog shows. BM: I would like judges to not emphasize speed or flashiness. Instead, look for the correct structure and functional movement. Look for the correct, benevolent expression in the eyes that says, ‘I am confident and sweet natured.’ A correct coat should never be color enhanced, but coat should be healthy, clean and tidied up to reveal the cor- rect structure of the dog. Dogs must be felt for structure; underneath the fluffed-out coat must be heavy bone, proper substance and strong toplines. Remember that although Newfoundlands are known for their great size, they should not be judged by the pound. The giant dog is not always the best dog. Judge the total dog, looking for

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