Showsight Presents the Siberian Husky

HUSKY SIBERIAN

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

PUREBRED DOGS A Guide to Today's Top

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Questions & Answe rs: SIBERIAN HUSKY

DONNA BECKMAN

ANN MARIAH COOK

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in Cal- ifornia. I am a retired Director of Software Engineering. I have had Siberian Huskies over 40 years, showing them all that time. I have been judging ten years. I have served the Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., in

I split my time between a residence in northern New Hampshire and a horse train- ing camp in South Carolina. We own and compete Event horses and I am a profession- al writer. I’m going on my 38th year in dogs, I started showing right away and also racing sled dogs right away. I attained my initial judging approval in 1994. DAWN EISELE

many elected and appointed capacities, including as Presi- dent, Treasurer, Show Chairman, DWAA-winning Newsletter Editor and SHCA’s Delegate to the American Kennel Club. Cur- rently, I am SHCA Judges’ Education Chairman. I am approved by the AKC to judge a number of breeds and has judged and educated fanciers and judges in the US and other countries, including having judged the SHCA National Specialty. SANDY WEAVER CARMAN

I have been in the sport of purebred dogs for 36 years. I have served a variety of capaci- ties within our National Club and local Spe- cialty Clubs. I am an active Steward Club member and currently the President of my local All-Breed Kennel Club. Today I serve

as the Public Education Chair for my national breed club, The Siberian Husky Club of American. I live in East Islip, NY, which is on the south shore of Long Island. We have been in Siberians 36 years. We are also owned by a Schipperke and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. We have been in the sport of showing for 35 years and in addition to conformation have dabbled in obedience and more recently agility. We par- ticipated in mid-distance sledding for over 20 years with our Siberians and thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of our breed. The Siberian is still a natural breed and in terms of history not all that far from their original beginnings. I have been judging the last 4 ½ years. MARIE FALCONER

I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area, a hot- bed of dog sports. This is my 37th year in purebred dogs. I started out with a bad example of my lifelong-favorite breed, a Siberian Husky. After making nearly every mistake in the book with him, I quickly had

a 7-month-old brat on my hands. I asked my veterinarian to put me in touch with people who lived successfully with the breed, because I was failing miserably. She directed me to members of the Greater Washington (DC) Siberian Husky Club and the dog sports bug big, hard! Through the years, I’ve finished Championships, bred Champions, run my dogs in agility, obedience, rally, canine musical freestyle (danc- ing) and now barn hunt. I’ve put working titles on them and several of them have excelled as therapy dogs. I was granted regular status for Siberians in 2013 and will be applying for more Working breeds this year.

I have been breeding and exhibiting Sibe- rians Huskies for 38 years; in which I have handled and finished over 340 dogs. I had the pleasure of owning and showing the Nation’s Top Siberian of all time, BIS BISS Ch Seeonees Point Blank CGC, aka “Rocky”.

Together we have broken many Siberian records—and still holding. I continue to have progeny being shown out of him and his granddaughter was #1 Siberian female in 2014. I enjoy judging and have been to several countries to officiate their

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movement in dogs. I always love Siberian Huskies and got my first one in 1984 and I entered my first dog show in 1985. My sister-in-law (Nanette Wright) was involved in showing Japa- nese Chins and she got me interested in becoming involved in dog shows. I was approved to judge Siberian Huskies in 2010 and I have not applied for any other breeds. I greatly enjoyed judging the breed and have judged quite a few spe- cialty shows including Specialties in Italy and Australia. 1. Although bred as powerful sled dogs, the Siberian is very popular as a companion. Which traits lend themselves to this? DB: Actually, many of the Siberian’s treasured personal- ity traits can prove challenging in a pet. The Siberian, by his very nature as a long distance endurance sled dog, is intelligent and independent and loves to run. A Siberian that will countermand a musher’s command if he knows it to be dangerous, is the same dog in the yard that decides to ignore his owner’s request to come inside. And, his desire to run is expected as a sled dog, but means he cannot be trusted not to run when off lead. What we prize and expect in a sled dog, we must deal with at home. So, the Siberian, just as every other breed, is most successful with an owner who understands his true nature and can meet the challenge it brings. How- ever, as a team dog, Siberians are usually agreeable with other animals and their dense double coats usually keep them free from “doggy” odor. SC: Siberians are a pack breed. Human beings count as pack members and they love to spend time with their people. There is a popular misconception that Siberians aren’t trainable, but that springs from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the breed. Siberian Huskies were bred to work well ahead of and running away from, their human—the person on the sled runners behind the harnessed team. The most valuable dogs, from a survival standpoint, were the leaders who could think for them- selves. If the Chukchi hunter told his dogs to cross rotten ice, the smart leader ignored that order and kept the team and sled on viable footing. The most valuable dogs were the ones that were bred, so smarts and independent decision-making became part of the breed. Fast-forward to today and Siberians still think independently and also still value teamwork. Harness that desire for teamwork, add a dash of fun and they love to learn and play games with their people. They make great running partners and love to pull their people on skateboards, skis, sleds or any other contraption you care to harness them to, in addition to being great at the “normal” dog sports like obedience, rally and agility. AC: I have to confess that most people are initially attracted to Siberians because they are both luxuriously pretty and also have the cachet of owning a dog that looks like a wild animal. Having admitted that, their personalities can clinch the deal for the right person. Siberians are brave, independent, athletic, inventive and they have

national show. I have been judging for 9 years. I am licensed for Non-Sporting and Herding groups and have most of the Working group with a few other breeds. I live in Ludlow, MA and work in medicine. KATHLEEN KANZLER I live in the northeast corner of New York state. I enjoy watching my dogs and horses and reading suspense thrillers and spy nov- els. I love “Antiques Roadshow” and visiting with my friends and family. I have had more than 60 years in purebred dogs; 56 years of breeding, sledding and exhibiting Siberians. I have been judg- ing since the early 70s. JAN SIGLER

I live in a suburb of Kansas City. I was a high school history and language teacher. Hobbies include travel and movies. I started showing my first dog, a pet quality German Shepherd in 1960. While he never got a point, he was my Junior Showmanship

dog. I began showing Siberian Huskies in 1967 for a family friend and continued until I started judging in 2000. I judge the Working and Non-Sporting Groups.

DELBERT THACKER

I live in Union Grove, Wisconsin. I am a retired Speech Pathologist but recently began working part time at an adult care facility. I have had Siberian Huskies since 1978. I began showing in 1979 and judging in 1995. SHERI WRIGHT

I live in Michigan. I’ve had dogs almost my entire life. I also had horses growing up so I had a good background of learning about and taking care of animals. When I was a teenager I learned a lot about structure of horses and movement. It gave me a good

background when I got involved in the dog world and I could easily translate what I had learned in horses to structure and

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an incredible sense of humor. They are exceptionally cheerful dogs, even when faced with dire circumstances. They can put a smile on anyone’s face. They do best with people who share the same traits. In many respects, they are cat-like, but they have the added benefit of being affectionate like dogs. DE: The Siberian is naturally a pack animal by virtue of their history and their temperament should hold true to that. While they may be aloof at times, they should never be aggressive or shy. The Siberian can certainly test you and be clowns, but the naturally friendly personality and affable nature lends themselves to be popular as a companion. But don’t be fooled, you need to be in charge or the Siberian will take advantage of you and get into mischief. They love to dig and run. MF: They are very family-oriented and are pack animals with lots of fun, play and great longevity. KK: They are great companions because they are cheerful, adaptable to all climates, good with kids and they are funny. JS: First of all, the Siberian is an attractive breed, with romance tied into their historical role as a tough, arctic sled dog. They are moderately-sized, good-natured, generally healthy and once you learn to handle the shed- ding, they are an easy dog to maintain. People who get a Siberian fall into one of two categories. They either become devotees of the breed or they can’t understand why anyone would have one. The devotees love the intel- ligence, the independence and the comical side of the breed. Those who do not understand the breed find them “untrainable” and difficult. Developing a bond with these dogs makes all the difference. Another positive for the breed is longevity. It is not uncommon for the breed to reach 14 or 15 in pretty good health. The Siberian Husky Club of America starts Veteran classes at age 9 and has three age groups: 9-11, 11-13 and over 13 years of age. The breed is pretty hardy. DT: The Siberian is always up for an adventure. I feel this makes them an excellent companion. They want to be with you. SW: Though the Siberian has a strong and independent per- sonality, they also have a very comical and endearing one as well. A well-bred and properly raised Siberian can give many years of enjoyment as a loving and loyal compan- ion. They are energetic, playful and very loving to their family. They can be quite talkative, even a little sassy, but always entertaining. 2. There’s a major motion picture being made about a member of this breed. What gives every Siberian Husky that movie star quality in the ring? DB: I think that the Siberian, as a breed—due to the smaller size relative to many other breeds, as well as the utilitarian build and furnishings—sometimes has the tendency to get a bit lost in the Working Group. By the

breed’s appearance and nature, it may not be as flashy and eye-catching as some other Working breeds. I think, however, that within the breed, there are individual specimens that stand out in the Breed, Group and Best- in-Show rings. These are the dogs that epitomize our breed standard; not in the extreme; but rather in their soundness, movement and breed type. Whereas those of us who have spent a lifetime with Siberians think that the breed is outstanding, great examples of the Breed are seen as standouts by all. SC: The very first dog show I ever attended was in 1979— Rock Creek Kennel Club—and I had no idea how it all worked. A new friend was explaining what class was in, what the judge was looking for, how Winners worked and by the time the judge finished the classes, I was pretty confused, but impressed by all of the beautiful dogs. When Best of Breed went into the ring, it was a large class by today’s standards, but one dog stood out. I could not take my eyes off of him. I told my friend that even though I had no idea what was going on, that dog would be my winner if I were the judge. That dog was CH Innisfree’s Sierra Cinnar and it clearly didn’t take a genius to pick him! He had movie-star quality in the ring and many other Siberians have it, too. Siberians are gen- erally friendly, inquisitive dogs, which makes it fairly easy to train them to bait and look adorable. The best ones float around the ring, wag their tails and love to show off. Hard to take your eyes off of a dog like that—and by the way, Cinnar won that day. AC: They love showing off! They show with smiles on their faces and a quick, light step that says, ‘Look at me!’ They are huge hams and often enjoy upstaging their handlers. DE: Siberians always believe they should be in charge and while they are quick learners, they do not necessarily feel the need to acquiesce to every command or direction. Siberians believe they are the star. MF: They are very much an athlete and companion Working dog with lively expression. KK: I adore my breed, but I do not know if they have a mov- ie star quality in the ring. They are one of the most con- sistent breeds for soundness. Siberians have been used for years in the movies—my first recollection was the TV show “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon” and many movies including Iron Will and Eight Below. People love to watch them on the screen and in person. I do not think of my beloved breed so much as glamorous—more like captivat- ing. They are so close in look and some behaviors as their wild cousins like the wolf and coyote. I marvel that we are allowed to live and enjoy their company and antics. So, maybe it is their closeness to wildness that keeps owners and the audience captivated by this wonderful breed in person and on screen. JS: That’s easy… the good looks and the vibrant personality they can exude. DT: The Siberian’s temperament fosters a star quality.

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SW: Not every Siberian Husky or even every champion has movie star quality in the ring. There are always those special ones that demand your attention and have a special presence about them that draws people to them. The movie to which this question refers is one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs. 3. Describe the breed in three words. DB: Endurance, arctic and sled dog. SC: Moderate, arctic and sweet. AC: Our Standard provides these three words: power, speed and endurance. DE: Moderate, moderate, moderate—we need to keep in mind that the Siberian is bred to carry a light load at a moderate speed over great distance and often times in harsh conditions. Their structure and outline should begin to bring you to that conclusion. And your hands on examination should confirm that.

since these also are essential to them doing their work safely and effectively. DE: The Siberian is a true athlete and one must keep that in mind when looking at the Siberian. The Siberian is a Working dog and as such must have a good front in order do its job in harness and survive. Correct proportion with the length of the body from point of shoulder to rear point of croup being slightly longer than the height of the body from the ground to top of withers. The Sibe- rian coat should be a double coat with the undercoat soft and dense and of sufficient length to support the outer coat. That coat should be medium in length. Trimming of the coat should not occur and must be severely penalized and should never be rewarded. MF: Proper length of leg to body, prominent prosternum and angled shoulders with strong back. Northern protective traits, well-muscled and no excess weight. JS: Dogs and bitches must be moderate as defined in the AKC standard. They must be sound in movement. They must have correct temperament. And you must recognize that they are a Siberian Husky… not a Malamute, not an Alaskan, not an Akita, etc. DT: Good temperament, good proportions, attractive type and soundness are my “must have” traits. SW: Proper proportions, smooth and effortless movement in a show dog. A friendly, outgoing personality. Well-bred and healthy. 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? DB: My biggest concern is that we are losing good shoulder assemblies in our breed. This, when coupled with the tendency toward shorter legs and longer bodies, changes the structure and outline of the dog from the functional athlete called for in our Standard. SC: As with most breeds, we have our challenges with unbalanced angles—it’s very tough to breed a great front assembly. But we have a lovely range of styles in Siberi- ans and I don’t see any one style predominating at the moment. It’s wonderful to judge in different parts of the country and find great examples of the breed every- where. One trend I just hate is coat-trimming—according to the Siberian Standard, it’s to be severely penalized, yet there seems to be a lot of it going on. Siberian coats are a lovely, important functional part of their arctic heritage and shouldn’t be sculpted. AC: It is not so much an issue of exaggeration as an issue of misinterpretation. The best way to understand essential traits of Siberian Huskies is to watch them work in their original environment. As humans become more and more distant from nature, they are less apt to consider the traits that allow any animals to survive and to work and more likely to emphasize what is pleasing to the human eye. As a result, you get “cute”, short, cobby Siberians that look like stuffed toys and lack the attitude required

MF: Northern, effortless and moderate. KK: Functional, balanced and moderate. JS: Intelligent, independent and inquisitive. DT: Athletic, adaptable and clowns. SW: Independent, strong and stubborn.

4. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? DB: Although with Siberians we often take it for granted, temperament is most important. Siberians are team dogs that must be able to work in harmony with dogs and people and have the desire to run. They must have the correct structure, beginning with the shoulder assem- bly (good shoulder layback and bone length) which is matched by the hindquarters. These angles, along with the correct proportion called for in the Standard (slightly longer than tall; legs slightly longer than the depth of the body) and moderate height with proportionate weight enable the Siberian to carry “a light load at a moder- ate speed over great distances.” And his “arctic” traits, including the double coat, muzzle and skull proportions, toughly cushioned paws, among others, make certain of the Siberian’s ability to live and thrive in its original environment. When put together, we see the “basic bal- ance of power, speed and endurance” reflected in the Siberian’s “smooth and seemingly effortless” gait. SC: Assuming you’re talking about breeding stock—proper proportions, balance and arctic characteristics come first. Okay, first, after the hips and eyes have been certi- fied as clear of genetic abnormalities. Temperament is very important. I value a dog with a great work ethic, a friendly demeanor and a normal, stable temperament. Too shy, fearful or sharp isn’t something I want to play with—either in a dog I own or one I breed to. AC: Proper proportions, since this is the absolute key to them being able to perform in harness. Proper attitude— a booming, outgoing personality, which gives them the attitude to carry out their work. Proper coat and feet,

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for work. The alteration in size and attitude may make them more pleasant to keep in an apartment, but then, they are not really Siberian Huskies. DE: I often worry that our emphasis on “moderate” will be viewed as an acceptance of an average specimen. I too often see that. Moderate clearly does not equate to average. We should not accept average—so when our standard calls for that desired proportion and balance or for example, a leg slightly longer from the elbow to the ground than the distance from the elbow to the top of the withers, do not accept anything less and reward and overall average specimen. MF: Too straight in shoulders, which results in a choppy gait and not proper reach and drive. JS: Not really. In the last 15 years, Siberian breeders have worked diligently to get dogs with more leg and less body than we frequently saw in the late 80s and 90s. Today they have better proportions, but occasionally we are seeing dogs that are too refined. We don’t want a Mala- mute, but neither should it look as refined as an Alaskan. The Siberian is a moderate breed. DT: I believe side gait is completely misunderstood, overrat- ed and responsible for our breed losing our sound down and back movement from ages ago. SW: I’ve seen many trends come and go in the breed. Prob- ably the most damaging are straight shoulders and over angulated rears. I quite honestly don’t see too much over exaggeration in either of those areas these days. 6. 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? DB: Unfortunately, due to a number of factors—economic, societal, timing—we all know that the Sport of Dogs has lost some of its popularity. I am not sure this has been good for the overall quality of this breed or any other. As longtime breeders retire, mentors disappear, the fancy produces fewer dogs and entries drop, much of our breed knowledge is being lost and I think that is reflected in the quality of the dogs being shown. In the days when it took 25-30 dogs for a 3-point major, many good dogs never finished their championships. Today, when 7-11 dogs are needed for 3 points, some mediocre dogs are becoming champions. Education is the key. I think we need to do everything we can to make sure that today’s and tomor- row’s breeders and judges learn their breeds and work together as a community to understand, recognize and preserve the essence of each breed. SC: I haven’t been judging that long, but what I do see is that there is a difference in size and quality, depending on what part of the country I’m in. When I judged in the Pacific Northwest, I was blown away by the deep quality in the entry. It’s always nice to have too many great dogs to choose from! Dogs that might have won in different competition walked out of the ring without ribbons, or with a low placement.

AC: I think the breed had hit a low point just before I started judging. There have been distinct highs and lows over the years. Before World War II, most Siberian Huskies were working dogs and their owners showed them as a summer past time. In those days, some of the fine points of the Standard were completely overlooked. We had things like curly tails, woolly coats and bad ear sets on winning dogs. In the 70s, some of the dogs were so heavy in bone that they resembled short Malamutes. Proportion was an issue when I was starting to judge. We had a lot of dogs that were short in leg and/or long in body, with straight shoulders and flat croups and while we still have this issue, I think a revival in the number of Siberian teams we have racing in sled dog events and an emphasis on how form follows function in our national club’s breeder and judges education programs have improved the quality of at least some entries in the ring. There is always something to reward these days. I can’t say that was so when I started. DE: It certainly is an interesting, and often times difficult, assessment. I first want to say there are very nice qual- ity specimens of our breed today. However, I think the depth of those quality specimens is not as prevalent as they once were. I attribute that to the same challenges we see throughout the sport of purebred dogs, with fewer long-term breeders and stable gene pools to work within. We are lucky to still have several dedicated and long-term breeders, but they get to be fewer and fewer. MF: Yes, I believe we have achieved the beauty and ele- gance, but have also lost some of the proper balance and movement to just be clean coming and going. The side gait is still most important in the Siberian Husky—correct reach and drive! KK: There were many wonderful dogs in the past, but the current overall consistent quality of type and movement of the Siberian is much higher than in the past. JS: The breed is more uniform today than in the past, but I’m not sure the dogs are always as sound as in the past. Today’s Siberians have better proportions, but folks say we have lost our shoulders. It waxes and wanes. Breeders improve one thing and loose something else. The good news, Siberian breeders by and large are always “working on it.” Occasionally we find dogs that we consider stand- outs, but with smaller entries, it can be harder. The larger the entry, the more likely we are to find something we really like. There have been outstanding dogs throughout the years, but then and now, they are in the minority. Isn’t that true in all breeds? DT: Decades ago the Siberian owners, breeders and handlers were told numerous times that the Siberian was the most sound breed in dogdom. That is not the case any more and consequently, I feel soundness has taken a back seat for other “show” desirable traits. SW: In some ways they’re better and in some ways they are not. I feel that breeders have done a very good job in

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improving on proportions as a whole. That said, we have lost much in the way of sound movement and smooth and effortless gate. Fronts are not as consistently good as they used to be. Sadly, when you lose fronts in a breed, you don’t get them back. 7. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? DB: Many years ago, I taught English and I answer this ques- tion with a grammar lesson. Siberian Husky fanciers do not refer to their dogs as “Huskies,” rather we prefer to call them Siberians. This is because the word “Husky” is really a generic term meaning a northern-type dog, short- ened from “Eskimo” dog to “Esky” to “Husky.” Although we don’t call our dogs by this generic term “Husky,” we do want you to know that the “Husky” in our name is the noun “Husky”—this generic term for an arctic dog—NOT “husky” the adjective—meaning big, bulky or burly. Rather, a Siberian should NEVER appear “husky” in build. We encourage all judges to remember that Siberians are not “husky” the adjective, but rather “Husky” the noun and ask that rather than rewarding a burly-looking speci- men, please try to find the one that looks like a long- distance runner. SC: Tail carriage is always a point I’m asked about. Our Standard describes what we don’t want, “The tail does not curl to either side of the body, nor does it snap flat against the back”; but, is a bit confusing where “proper carriage” is concerned. We want a tail that comes off the body slightly lower than the topline and then does what it wants to do, so long as it doesn’t curl so tightly that the tip drops below the topline when carried up, or snaps flat on the topline. I’ll add that a dog with its tail on its belly should also be faulted, but for temperament, not tail carriage. If the dog wants to stand still or move with the tail pointed at the back of its head or the tip touch- ing the topline, that’s fine. If the dog wants to stand still or move with the tail straight up in the air, that’s fine. If the dog wants to stand still or move with the tail trailing out behind, that’s fine. If the dog wants to stand still or move with the tail fairly low, that’s fine. There is no preferred tail carriage and the tail can be a wonderful barometer of the dog’s feelings. The tail set—a slightly sloping croup brings the tail off slightly lower than the level of the topline—is very important. Tail carriage, as long as it’s not one of the “no-no” positions described in the Standard, isn’t. AC: On the whole, I think the new judges are doing a great job. The rise of companion-animal activities like agility is helping new judges to understand the importance of work in a Working breed. A constant stumbling block in our breed is color and markings. Though our Standard allows any color from all white to all black, non-breeder judges have perpetually awarded symmetrically marked, open (white) faced grey, black or red dogs. They are afraid to put up a dog that does not look like a poster-

child for the breed. In response to this, our national club’s education program makes a big effort to present less conventionally marked Siberians to the student judges. It is really some of our older judges, who attained approval in the various times when it was difficult to find a well-proportioned Siberian, to say nothing of an unconventionally marked Siberian, who are not putting up Siberians that truly fit the Standard. This causes an unfortunate trickled-down, as many younger judges are keying off what they see being put up by older judges. I would prefer that younger judges learn only from breeder-judges. DE: We have a height disqualification at our top end of the span of the height range and I see a tendency toward rewarding lesser specimens toward the bottom end of that range. We would prefer a judge measure our breed if there is a question in their mind and reward the better specimen. We also are “colorblind”—both in coat and eye. Any color or marking combination is acceptable and one should not be given preference over another. The actual double coat and texture are critical and are an important factor when a dog is in those harsh conditions. When viewing the dog, a judge may find it a challenge to simply visualize the structure and outline when a range of color and a variety of markings is present. The physical examination and gait should be utilized to determine cor- rectness. We need to be colorblind. MF: Some get hung up on the trailing tail and throw out some very correct dogs because they do not know the tail. The tail sickled up over the back is totally correct. Yes it is very pleasing to see a trailing tail, but do not put up a bad dog over a excellent dog based only on the tail. KK: Sloping toplines and incorrect, excessive side gate and rocking and rolling and shaking over the shoulder—these faults are infecting the show Siberian lines. These faults go against the very essence of the breed and are detrimental to the correct outline and movement of this wonderful breed. The numerous incorrect side gate issues impede proper working ability in harness. Some may think they look wonderful in the ring, but are absolutely unhelpful on the trail. When topline and improper side gate issues become pervasive, they are like a disease that is hard to cure. Scissoring the coat, especially the underline, to give the appearance of more leg. All dogs have faults, you need to believe in the good qualities of your dog and hope they will outweigh the negative. The Siberian standard is very explicit: “Trimming, other than feet and whiskers, is to be SEVERELY PENALIZED”—what does that mean? The way I read the standard is this “man-made” fault is worse than other faults. Except for the disqualification of being over standard. Shame on the handlers and shame on the owners and breeders for not making it absolutely clear that if scissors (straight or thinning) are used on the dogs in an illegal manner people will lose the right to show them. This statement has been in the official SHCA standard

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that’s designed to run all day at a moderate speed, pulling a light load. They should be able to do it day after day after day, which means that any heaviness or clunkiness should be faulted. Think of a marathon runner—the Sibe- rian is the canine equivalent. Speed isn’t that important, but endurance is. All of the parts should flow together, be moderate and should be wrapped in a jacket of arctic characteristics as described in the Standard—oval eyes set slightly obliquely, medium, triangular, well-furred ears, muzzle the same length as the back skull and a well- textured double coat for insulation. Add thick footpads under oval feet and you have a dog that can work in arctic conditions. AC: As a person who worked and raced my Siberian Huskies, I have always delighted in exposing other judges to teams in harness. If an interested judge contacts our national club, I can guarantee he or she can find a club member who will volunteer to take them for a sled dog ride. There are even sled dog clubs in sunshine states. There, they use wheeled carts or ATVs to train their teams. The judges who have come for rides have their eyes opened to the essence of our breed and they become better judges—plain and simple. DE: The Siberian has a proud history. Looking back at the 1925 Serum run dogs and seeing that drive and instinct into today’s Siberians is comforting. We do not want to lose that. Understanding that and why our standard calls for and describes each characteristic is essential to understanding and correctly judging the breed. From our well-furred, triangular, medium-in-size, thick erect ears set high on the head to the placement and carriage of the fox brush-shaped, well-furred tail set on or just below the level of the topline—each is critical to the survival in the harsh weather and ensuring the dog can perform its function. That holds true for all our breed characteristics. They each serve a defined and critical purpose. MF: Handlers and some owners chop up the coat to give the appearance of more leg or tuck up, but this totally destroys the natural beauty of the breed. KK: I have loved my breed fore more than 56 years. They are not the most compliant breed for the average dog owner (a bit like teenagers who just want to party). They need a strong den mother and someone with a sense of humor. If you are a very serious, rigid, rule follower, do not get a Siberian. DT: If there are novice readers of this article, I would urge you to get to know the Siberian before purchasing one. Furthermore, find someone to give you a sled ride. Visit the home of a Siberian kennel and read the many books about the Siberian’s temperament, care and needs. SW: They’re like potato chips, you can’t have just one. All kidding aside, they do better with a companion. They are very social dogs and thrive with constant companionship. They do very well with their own kind.

since 1971. Scissoring changes the quality of the coat and the ability of the guard hairs to protect the undercoat from getting wet. This is a survival issue. I know most Siberians do not sleep out in the snow nor have to go through over- flow, but trimming needs to stop. It has become rampant all over the world and several top multi-BIS winners from US, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Asian countries are trimmed. If you want to trim dogs, then exhibit dogs that are to be trimmed—such as Poodles, Kerry Blue or many others. JS: 1) We have more than one look or style that adheres to type. 2) They don’t always understand what Siberian breeders perceive as moderate. 3) They get hung up on “pieces”—the head, the coat, etc. I was listening to a judge discuss a “two-part” dog. I told her I didn’t understand. She replied, “You wouldn’t. Siberians are a one-part breed.” Siberian people are looking for “a whole package”; i.e.—how the dog comes together. DT: I believe new and old judges forget that the function of a Siberian is to pull a sled for long distances at a moder- ate speed. This thought should be in the forefront, which lends itself to choosing Siberians with good legs and length as well as proportions. SW: I don’t think that new Judges (and many judges in general) understand the importance that the SHCA puts on the workability of the breed. We are very proud of the fact that our dogs are still competitive sled dogs. Many purebreds are incapable of competing in the type of work they were bred to do. It is important to us that we retain the traits that make a Siberian Husky a good sled dog. Many judges look too much at how pretty and showy they are and don’t consider the kind of athlete the Siberian Husky is supposed to be. Every judge would ben- efit from riding on the back of a dogsled to watch a team of dogs and how they work. It gives you a whole different perspective. 8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? DB: One of the most beautiful aspects of this breed is when a well-built Siberian gaits around the ring. His movement should be easy; ground-covering without exaggeration; smooth with no rolling, pounding, lifting or kicking up; balanced and as our Standard states, “seemingly effort- less.” And, this movement should be accomplished at a moderately fast trot on a loose lead. When you see this harmony in the ring, it is breathtaking and you know you are seeing a Siberian Husky. SC: In this breed, more than in some, there is one type but many styles. Some have shorter, tighter coats and some are longer-coated without being wooly. Some have plainer heads and some are drop-dead gorgeous. Some have more refined bone, some less so, but both are still within the “moderate” definition in the Standard. They should all look like long-distance athletes. This is a breed

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DT: I feel temperament, type and soundness (proportions) are the top priorities. SW: Type, movement and conditioning. 10. What area(s) of the Standard (the essence of the Breed) are breeders and/or judges not adhering to, much to the detriment of the Breed? DB: The Siberian Standard calls for the distance from the elbow to the ground to be slightly more than the distance from the ground to the top of the withers, with the deepest point of the chest being just behind and even with the elbows. The Standard also calls for dogs to be between 21" and 23 ½ " and bitches to be between 20" and 22" at the withers, with a disqualification for being under height. Both breeders and judges should keep the accept- able height ranges and proportions in their thoughts, because a Siberian should fall within that range and with correct proportion in order to be successful at his job. Please remember that, when in doubt, we encourage judges to measure that tall-appearing dog, because it may be well within the Standard for height and possess the correct leg proportion. SC: Coat-trimming is a problem. The Siberian has the gene for a wooly coat and if a coat is trimmed, there’s no way to know if the dog has the appropriate working coat or one that is so long that snow and ice could pack up in it, causing the dog to freeze to death in arctic conditions. I would love to see more emphasis on proper propor- tions—length of leg slightly more than depth of body and length of body slightly more than height at the withers. AC: Proper proportion. Proper head type—we are seeing round eyes and wider ear sets. We see a lot of dogs with a flying trot, which is not an efficient gait for a sled dog. Coats are being scissored, which is very disturbing in what is required to be a natural breed. In fact, there is a lot of misunderstanding about proper Siberian coat texture. We are losing our double coat and many dogs now have a plush, one length “rabbit fur” coat. Finally, younger breed- ers are confusing a proper sickle tail with a saber tail. DE: Remembering the function of our breed can sum up the essence of our breed. The Siberian performs that original function in harness carrying a light load at a moderate speed over a great distance and in oftentimes harsh con- ditions. Everything from that point should be viewed to ask, “Can that dog perform that function? Would I want that dog on my team?” The descriptions in our Standard pull together that total dog that would—and could—do that job. MF: They forget about the length of leg proportions and strong, short back. KK: Sifting through the various body and face markings can be difficult. Also the coat can be very deceptive, some dogs have a slightly longer coat and some have a slightly shorter coat (both still correct), but can give you a completely different look with some dogs looking

9. What are the Judge’s three top priorities when judg- ing the Siberian — those most important traits that define a Siberian? DB: First, I am looking for an athletic dog. The essence of breed type in the Siberian is characterized not only by the arctic traits, but very significant to the breed’s ability to do its job is the athletic conformation called for in the Standard. A Siberian must have correct leg-to-body pro- portions, correct body length-to-height proportions, good angles and bone lengths on both ends and a straight, level topline, without coarseness or fragility. If this basic body structure is correct, the Siberian will move soundly front and rear, as well as laterally. And, of course, a Siberian must look and behave like a Siberian. SC: Speaking only for myself, proper leg-to-body propor- tion, proper movement and proper arctic characteristics. When I find all of those attributes in a dog, it makes my job pretty easy. AC: Proper proportion—well defined in our Standard; prop- er movement, which includes the light, athletic, springy, silent step that is characteristic of the breed and a head type that adheres to the arctic parameters defined in our Standard. Small, well-furred, triangular ears, almond- shaped eyes, close fitting lips and a muzzle length neither too long or too short are all features that keep an arctic animal from freezing body parts in harsh conditions. Beauty is not a consideration on our Standard. Survival is. DE: Always go back to the function of our breed. Look for the type that is described and made up from the char- acteristics in our standard. Ensure the dog is correct in proportion—slightly longer than tall. There should be enough daylight beneath the dog. Let your physical examination confirm the structure. And that the dog moves then true in his gait to the correct structure—with a loose lead at a moderate pace (Siberians should not race around the ring) with good reach in the forequarters and good drive in the hindquarters. The Siberian does not single-track, but as their speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the center of the body. The topline should remain level and firm. MF: Northern heritage (thick triangular ears, almond eyes, fox brush tail and double coat), more length of leg than body and strong shoulders and topline. KK: Proper outline with a level topline, correct quiet over the shoulder side gate, appropriate length of leg. JS: 1) Finding a moderate dog or bitch, meaning anywhere within our range not necessarily in the middle of the range that is properly proportioned. 2) Sound, balanced, effortless movement that the dog could do all day. 3) Then consider the best head, tail, feet and coat from the dogs that have passed #1 & #2.

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JS: Probably the most frequent mistakes we see in judging the Siberian are: 1) thinking the fastest dog around the ring is the most correct moving. Smooth and effortless is more important in a breed that has to go distances. 2) Failure to understand size in the breed. We occasionally find a dog or bitch over the standard, but it is not often. Most of the dogs and bitches in the ring today are medium to smaller in size, which is fine; however, if a dog appears taller than the competi- tion, don’t assume… wicket. The Siberian standard allows a range of height 20-22 inches for bitches, 21-23 ½ inches for dogs. This translates into a variance of sizes in the ring. Don’t ignore… wicket. 3) Inability to evaluate dogs that are of non-traditional colors and/or markings. DT: I would encourage them to ask themselves, “Which Sibe- rian would get me home in a 10-inch snow storm?” SW: A good final thought to have would be to envision which dog you think would be the most likely to be able to physically get you home pulling a sled in a blinding snowstorm. If you had to rely on that dog to take you many miles across the frozen tundra to the safety of home, which of the dogs you are judging would be the most likely candidate? 12. How are Siberians different from any other breed you judge? DB: Although all breeds are proud of their history and purpose, I think that the Siberian fanciers truly want judges to keep in mind the breed’s purpose when judg- ing them. Our Standard is one written to describe the actual original imports and their offspring—our Stud Book dogs—that were amazingly good at their job. We strongly believe that “form follows function,” and want judges never to lose sight of the characteristics required to guard the workability of the Siberian. SC: Well, of course I think they are the very best breed! This is the year I’m applying for more breeds so this question doesn’t really apply, but in studying prior to applying, it’s nice to find a lot of similarities—emphasis on proportion, physical and mental soundness and proper head type. Even though the Siberian coat isn’t as long as breeds like the Samoyed, Bernese or Komondor, it is long enough to trick the eye, especially compared to breeds like the Akita, Rottweiler and Great Dane. AC: I have a sign in my kitchen that says, “The more, the merrier.” My mother used to say this about entertaining. Siberians are very pack oriented and their philosophy on life could be described with that phrase. They are inclusive. Any dog, any human—and sometimes any crea- ture—that wants to have fun can join. DE: The Siberian today is still a natural breed that has main- tained its instinct to perform that original function. We do not want to lose that or have it wane. Today there are Siberians that aptly and admirably still work in harness. And while not in abundance, we see many of those same

possibly too heavy bodied or slightly short legged. Some judges are confused about what is a proper tail carriage for a Siberian. When moving the Siberian may stand and/ or move with the tail either down and trailing or up and over the back in a sickle shape. Many judges are under the mistaken impression that when a Siberian moves that they must move with a trailing tail. That is wrong. They move with the tail up and over the back or trailing. Both positions are correct. DT: I feel Siberians that are much too small and unsound are the two areas being ignored. I also feel little is being done to recognize trimming and other coat altering meth- ods (plucking guard coat and burning). SW: I see too many judges rewarding poor moving dogs. The essence of the breed is in their athleticism. A smooth and effortless side gate and clean single tracking down and back are primary in this working breed. If you lose those, all you have is just another pretty, fluffy show dog. 11. What advice would you give a judge as a final thought on selections in the Siberian ring? DB: When making your final selections, please remember the purpose of this breed: “carrying a light load at a moderate speed over great distances.” This is an athletic breed; they are distance runners. Which of the exhibits do you think could run very long distances day-after-day? SC: Ours is a moderate breed—there shouldn’t be anything that’s exaggerated about the dog. We’re not looking for a huge, open side gait, a head the size of Texas or bone like a Rottweiler. Find the moderate, well-proportioned, well-moving Siberian with great arctic characteristics and you’ll find the right dog. And in the Siberian ring, you’ll often be rewarded with more than one of those from which to choose. Lucky you! AC: At least see a film of Siberians in harness, or better yet, get a ride on a sled. When making those crucial place- ments, ask yourself, “Would I put this dog on my team?” When you focus on that arctic athlete with the big per- sonality, you know you’ve got the dog. DE: First and foremost, always keep in mind that these are working sled dogs bred for carrying a light load over a long distance. Our structure and type should be just and that not really be changed from that original dog and purpose. Reward those dogs that would trust to carry you through those harsh conditions and terrain. Proper structure is essential to survival—theirs and yours. Do not accept aggressive or shy behavior and do not reward a dog that has been trimmed. MF: Correct profile with effortless side gait and correct coat. KK: Find people who will be honest about dogs that you can go over. Both of my daughters, Trish and Sheila, are always willing to let you go over dogs and talk about positive and negative aspects of dogs in their trucks. Please ask.

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