Showsight Presents The Bichon Frise

THE BICHON FRISE

I was asked to write an article about the Bichon and judging. This is what I would like to say: The Bichon is a breed of illusion. A good groomer can make a mediocre dog look wonderful...and God bless them. They have a talent. But, get your hands in there. Feel the dog. Look into their faces; always from the front. not the side. Never pry open the mouths. Why would you...what for? Don’t spend time picking up each leg to check for pads. If a pink pad is the basis of a decision, reevaluate your priorities. Remember that puppies can have color. They will outgrow it. They can be under 9". They can drop their tail. (This only applies to puppies.) Give them a second chance. Remember the first line of the standard. Their coat can be softer. They are puppies, make it fun. So when I judge, I watch each dog walk in. I want to see a sense of self, a sense of assurance. Then I look at each dog’s head. I want that expression that says, “Here I am. You don’t have to go any further!” Then I stand back and look for type, and have them go around—never, ever racing. I am too old to get whiplash watching a handler run! I put each dog on the table, look closely at the face, do my stop measurement, check the bite, feel the sternum, run my hands down the legs, measure the layback, see how tight the elbows are, measure the back, check the tail set, feel the rear angu- lation, step back and look at the face again, thank the handler, and say to myself after the examination, “Well, this dog feels real good. Now let me see what he/she thinks of him/herself.” This is when I look for free and easy movement, head car- riage, tail carriage, and that sense of self. In essence, I examine a dog on the table and judge a dog on the ground. I want to see a show pony. I want that merry little dog that carries its tail jauntily over its back. Sometimes a dog just jumps out at you. Sometimes you find one that gives you chills. These are the moments we all cherish.

The Bichon is a breed of illusion. A good groomer can make a mediocre dog look wonderful...and God bless them. They have a talent. But, get your hands in there. Feel the dog. Look into their faces; always from the front. not the side.

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2020 | 205

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