Showsight Presents the Siberian Husky

JUDGING THE SIBERIAN HUSKY By Donna Beckman

I n judging the Siberian Husky, the fi rst thing to remember is his job: carrying a light load at a moderate speed over great dis- tances in a very cold climate. Th e essence of breed type for the Siberian includes all of the char- acteristics required of an athletic, endur- ance sled dog. Standing back to form that initial impression of the dog, the judge should be asking if the length of the dog is slightly longer than the dog is tall; if there is slightly more daylight under the dog than the apparent depth of the body; if the dog has well laid-back shoulders and matching angles in the rear; if the neck is well arched and of su ffi cient length; if the topline is strong and level; if there is a slope to the croup and a well set-on tail; if the head is in balance and pleasing; if the coat does not obscure the outline of the dog. Th is observation should give the judge an idea of how the dog will move, and what the judge will discover during the physical examination; the judge will form an impression of the dog’s strengths, and potential concerns. When approaching the dog, it is best done from the front so as not surprise the dog. A Siberian could greet you with kisses or reserve. Be aware that few Siberi- ans will stand still as statues! You should, however, not expect shyness or aggression. Although Siberian breed type is not limited to his head, you will fi nd a num- ber of our treasured breed characteristics in the head. Th e Standard for Siberian Huskies calls only for a scissors bite. So, checking the bite is a very quick process.

In looking at the Siberian’s head, you should see an intelligent, interested, even mischievous gaze—which is signi fi cantly due to the almond-shaped, tri fl e obliquely set eyes. If the eyes are round, the quizzical expression will not be there. Th e length of muzzle and distance from stop to occiput should be approximately equal. And, although a treasured Breed characteris- tic, Siberians’ ears are often a barometer of their mood; as Siberians can do many things with their ears. Th e Standard calls for an ear that is high on the head, medium, thick, trian- gular, strongly erect, pointing straight upward, and well furred. Th e head attaches to the body by a well arched medium length neck. Although the Standard does not mention the proster- num, a correctly built Siberian needs a pro- sternum that you should easily be able to feel. Th e width of chest between the front legs should not be broader than the width of your hand. Th e Siberian Standard calls for well laid back shoulders, and although not speci fi - cally mentioned in the Standard, the shoul- der blade and upper arm should be approx- imately equal in length. Due to the coat, you will need to use your hands to “mea- sure” these bones, as well as the angle of the shoulder layback. Look for the position of the forelegs, which should be “well under” the dog. Never forget the importance of the front assembly in a working sled dog. Th e feet of a Siberian are one of his greatest assets in the snow. Th ey should be medium sized, oval in shape, toughly pad- ded, compact, and well-furred.

The Siber ian Husky’s ears should be of medium size, tr iangular in shape, and set high on the head. The eyes should be almond

shaped and set a tr ifle obl iquely. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hubbach.

Although proportion is easier to see from afar, the physical examination helps determine the depth of chest, and distance from elbow to top of withers. Th ick fur at the withers may make a dog appear taller than he actually is. Th e Siberian Standard has an upper height disquali fi cation, but no preference should be given to either extreme OR the middle of the provided range. If you have ANY doubt an exhibit’s height, please measure the dog! A correct Siberian coat is a smooth- lying, dense, double-coat, and should nev- er obscure the overall outline of the dog. In order to be assured of the limits of the body and the overall structure of the dog, feel through the coat. In doing so, you can also determine the dog’s muscling, weight, the correctness of the coat, as well as the shape

“A correct Siberian Husky SHOULD NEVER APPEAR ‘HUSKY’ IN HIS BUILD.”

214 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014

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