Showsight Presents the Siberian Husky

with donnA beckmA

n, sAndy weAver cAr

mAn, Ann mAriAh co

mArie fAlconer, kAt

ok, dAwn eisele,

hleen kAnzler, jAn s

igler, delbert thAck

er & sheri wright

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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