“JUDGING BICHONS IS A PLEASURE NOW; The Breeders are To Be commended for The improvemenTs in This wonderfuL Breed.”
AP: That’s a difficult question. When a judge starts judging a new breed, they usually have a different view than after having judged the breed for a few years. When I first started judging the Bichon Frise, I had different thoughts than I do today. Having said that, I feel that overall they are slightly better than when I first put hands on the Bichon. Today, I find a somewhat better structure under the coat. I am also seeing better movement and toplines. Also, I am of the feeling that as exhibitors understand what I am looking for in a Bichon, they will bring me dogs that are of a caliber to satisfy those attributes I find essential in the breed. MW: We have gone from one extreme to the other—from Basset to Poodle. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LB: New judges possibly misunderstand coat and the proper expression. AP: There seems to be a great deal of not only misunder- standing but also misconception that the faster the dogs go around the ring, the better the dog is and the better the dog will look. Nothing is further from the truth. The judge who allows the handler and dog to race around the ring does quite a disservice to the breed being judged. Also, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding about show- ing bites. There is absolutely no reason to yank the mouth open to see the teeth and the bite of the Bichon Frise. All that is needed is a simple and relaxed lift of the lip. MW: New judges may think that we are a breed of illusion. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LB: I have been fortunate to judge the Bichon National two times—in 1995 and in 2012. In the 17 years between, I saw a huge improvement in the breed. Bichons now are in size and coats are in better condition with proper texture. I was very concerned about short tails at the first national; some of the examples barely had a tail. I stated in my critique the breeders needed to watch the length of tail as it is a big part of the outline of the dog. I am happy to say the breeders have come a long way, not only with proper tail length, but also with more uniform size, proper coats and pretty heads. Judging Bichons is a pleasure now; the breeders are to be commended for the improvements in this wonderful breed. AP: The Bichon Frise is one of the breeds I just giggle at as I judge them; they tickle me so. Fortunately, I had a true breed expert as my mentor and she taught me well. I always will consider her words when I walk into the Bichon ring. Most of all, I truly enjoy the breed!
MW: Do not, and I mean do not, pry open the mouth of a Bichon—just lift the top lip.
7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LB: I have been judging 35 years so I have had a lot of funny things happen in my ring. One of the funniest experi- ences took place at a Dalmatian Specialty many years ago. I had one brace and as the two, a dog and a bitch, were going around the dog decided to mount the bitch. I quickly said, “You’re first!” Some years later while judg- ing a Dalmatian Specialty I was again judging a Brace Class and after I awarded the ribbons, one of the handlers said, “Do you remember these two?” I said, “I sure do!” However, they were much better behaved this time. AP: I have had quite a few funny things happen in my short dog career, but the funniest—and most embarrassing— took place about 5 years ago. At a show, I needed to take time out to visit the water closet. I was rushing back to my ring as I did not want to be late for the start of my next set of breeds. I was walking very fast when I heard a very good friend of mine (and the Show Chair) call my name and beckon me over to her. Once there, I explained I was rushing as I did not want to be late and she whis- pered in my ear that I was trailing toilet paper out the back of my skirt. We both had the biggest laugh over this, as I went to put myself back together and ran back to my ring. No, I wasn’t late and no one until this day has heard this tale! MW: There have been many, from having a judge tell me that he could only find one testicle (and it was a bitch) to having my puppy decide to play dead and roll over on the down and back.
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