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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