Showsight Presents the Siberian Husky

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kAthleen kAnzler, jA

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cker & sheri wright

They have a very strong way of playing that other breeds don’t necessarily understand.

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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