SEARCHING FOR BREED TYPE When Judging the Siberian Husky By Donna Beckman B reed type is not only found in the head or in the more cosmetic characteristics of a dog, but rather in all aspects that set that breed apart
your ring. He may act silly or aloof. He may kiss you or wiggle as you examine him, or he may pay you no attention at all. He may be fascinated by bait, or spit it out. But, most likely, if that bait were thrown, he would not stand and stare at it—he is not a Doberman. More likely, a Siberian will leap in the air to get the bait, or completely ignore it. But, a Siberian will rarely remain like a statue in your ring. Th is is a breed that is rarely still, but must be expected to be examined and gaited. Most importantly, a Siberian should not show signs of aggression or shyness. Of course, a young puppy may be a bit more unsure of himself in the ring for the first time, but this slight wariness is not the same as fear. Head Many of the treasured hallmarks of the Siberian are found in his head. Th e char- acteristic mischievous expression and the almond-shaped, oblique eyes are a result of a muzzle that is equal in length to the distance from the stop to the occiput. Th e well furred, triangular, slightly rounded erect ears are set high on the head of the Siberian, immediately di ff erentiating him from any of his Arctic cousins. Th ese facial characteristics help the Siberian survive in the cold climate of his origins. Movement It is the characteristic “smooth and seemingly e ff ortless” gait of the Sibe- rian that proves the correct outline and conveys the athleticism of the Breed. Although many Standards call for simi- lar movement, no other breed moves like a well moving Siberian. Th e movement is balanced, controlled, with a firm and level topline, a slightly dropped head, no wasted movement, and good reach and drive. It is ground-covering but without any waste of energy.
from others. Th is is especially true in Work- ing breeds, where the function of the breed drives the form to make the Breed success- ful at his job. It is the judge’s job to find the entry possessing the best of that elusive thing called Breed Type, di ff erent in all breeds, and to do this in the two minutes allotted per dog. Th is can be a di ffi cult task. So, with acknowledgment to the late Richard Beau- champ’s Rule of 5 , here are some hints that will help identify those qualities to look for when judging the Siberian Husky. Outline Th e first things to consider are those characteristics that enable the Siberian to perform his job as an endurance sled dog. Many of these structural characteristics are visible in his silhouette. Th e correct Siberian silhouette shows a dog that is slightly longer (from point of shoulder to rear most point of croup—pelvis) that his height at the withers. Unlike many dogs in the Working Group, the correct Siberian silhouette will show legs slightly longer from the elbow to ground than from elbow to top of with- ers, and the chest should not extend below the elbow. Th e Standard calls for a well laid-back shoulder, so the silhouette of the Siberian should have the forelegs set under the withers. Th e neck should be of medium length with an arch. Th e topline should be firm and level from withers to croup. Th e tail should either be over the back in a sickle curve or dropped, but set on below the level of the topline, with a sloping croup. Temperament Th e temperament of the Siberian should be apparent as the exhibit enters
The outline of the Siberian is integral for his job as a long distance endurance sled dog.
The gait of the Siberian should be smooth and seemingly effortless.
Coat Th e coat and markings of the Siberian are di ff erent from any other breed. Most notably are the number of colors, from white to black, the vast variety of mark- ings, and the common eye color combi- nations. Th is wide variety can prove a challenge for judges to see the dog beyond the color and markings. Th e double-coat of the Siberian is di ff erent in length and texture from the other Arctic Working breeds, with the key factor being that the Siberian’s coat should never obscure the outline of the dog. And, judges should remember that the correct Siberian coat should never be trimmed, as trimming causes the coat to lose its insulating qualities important for the survival of the Breed at work. If you keep these high points in mind, you will be able to find those exhibits that show correct Siberian Husky Breed Type.
222 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014
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