Old English Sheepdog Breed Magazine - Showsight

LS: Yes, Jim and Marge McTernan were my first mentors. They were very generous in sharing their knowledge and passion for this wonderful breed. 3. Are you intimidated by the grooming of the coat of the OES? PBM: Heck no, I am infuriated with the overgrooming. MAB: I was never intimidated by the OES coat. If you are going to own even one OES the coat is something you must prepare for. An OES coat requires time and atten- tion. Get the correct tools and learn how to use them. This is where a mentor can help you; not just with the correct way to brush, but the preparation details for ring presentation. A well-groomed and conditioned OES is a thing of beauty! SC: No. EDB: Of course I am not intimidated by the grooming of the OES; I love the grooming aspect, and as a judge I put my hands straight down to feel body and structure. DM: No, I am not intimidated. As long as you groom regu- larly it never gets out of hand. If it does get away from you, just work on it for a few hours at a time and go back to it until it’s done. Persistence is the keyword. EM: No! I do not find the coat of any breed, including OES, “intimidating.” The coat is part of the breed, and you are not going to mess up a good coat by feeling the dog underneath the hair. A judge, however, should know the proper way to examine a coated dog. MO: No question about it, the OES coat and the way it is groomed can be intimidating. The challenge is to find what is actually underneath the coat, and one of the first admonitions to those whom aspire to be good judges of the breed is, “Don’t be afraid to mess up the coat! You must get your hands in there!” As is true for many coated breeds, eyes are not enough to find what’s really under- neath it all. However, the Standard is not all that com- plicated, and with familiarity with canine anatomy and the hallmarks of the OES breed in mind, eyes and hands working together can get the job done without too much stress! CO: I do not find the coat of the OES intimidating, it is an integral part of the breed; you need to feel the dog under the coat to be able to correctly judge an OES. Many people cannot see past the hair of a coated breed; it is crucial that a judge be able to “see” the whole dog and not just the hair. LS: Not at all—it is the coat and their temperament that attracted me to OES. 4. What impression would you like exhibitors to be left with, with regard to your familiarization of the key points of the breed after your examination of the entries in your ring? PBM: I hope they can tell I am looking for all the key points with my examination—proper shape, topline, capacious skull, bone, coat and muscle tone. MAB: I first want each exhibitor to think that I have given each dog an equal evaluation. Each entry is thoroughly

examined, moved at its best advantage, and is given equal consideration. When my final decisions are made I want the dogs to reflect a similarity in type, style and breed specific characteristics. SC: That I know the key points: soundness, square dog, slight rise over loin and low set hocks. EDB: I would like the exhibitors to understand that as a breed specialist I know the finer points of the breed, that they should learn the faults in their own dogs as the “perfect dog” still has to be born. DM: That soundness is of the greatest importance—good coming and going and balanced side gait. I consider the head qualities that the standard calls for. Proper top line with a well-muscled, loin that is slightly higher than the withers. The entire dog needs to be in harmony. Form follows function. EM: Exhibitors can tell immediately if a judge understands the breed by the way the judge examines the dogs. Does the judge look for and reward the characteristics that are important to that breed? Of course I would like exhibi- tors to feel that I understand their breed, judge fairly and reward the better dogs. MO: The most common complaint from OES exhibitors is that judges are not thorough enough in their hands-on examinations of this very hairy breed. I hope that exhibi- tors can understand what I look for and believe that I have thoroughly examined their dogs—standing and on the move—with the hallmarks of the breed and knowl- edge of the Standard always in mind. CO: I would hope that exhibitors feel that I know the breed, hope that they can tell my examination of the dogs is breed specific and that I am rewarding the exhibits with the qualities that the breed standard requires. LS: That the OES has unique breed characteristics called for in the breed standard that they MUST have. As a drovers dog, they must be balanced and as a HERDING breed and must have the sound legs and stamina to go all day. 5. How important is the stylized grooming of the breed outside of the animal being clean and the trimming restricted to that allowed by the Standard for OES? PBM: Well, the dog definitely should be mat-free and clean, but the over stylized grooming makes me crazy. They have a profuse coat, not excessive as the standard states, but it should be trimmed like a Kerry either. Somewhere in between what we saw in the 70s and now would be good. I think Jere Marder does an excellent job. MAB: The OES does not have a standardized method of grooming and you will see different grooming styles when your classes enter the ring. The breed standard discusses four areas that are well coated with hair: the whole skull covered with hair; the neck well coated with hair and the forelegs well coated all around; the hams densely coated with a thick, long jacket in excess of any other part. None of these areas should be excessively stripped or scissored. The OES should keep its shaggy appearance.

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