Old English Sheepdog Breed Magazine - Showsight

SC: We have become the gray/white Bichons. Unfortunately the clean, well-groomed, shaggy dog is not what is being rewarded. If you do not trim and rat the coat—you prob- ably will not be in the winners circle. EDB: The OES is a shaggy breed; the standard calls for neck well coated with hair, the hams densely coated with a long jacket in excess of any other part, this does NOT mean a 2-inch coat all over which is seen lately as a new fad, this should be severely penalized; we all shape, but the extreme is wrong. DM: I want my OES to have a shape. The standard calls for a dog that is narrow at the point of shoulder and broader at the rump. The head is to be well covered with hair. These points should give a pear shape when seen from above. Some dogs carry a lot of neck and shoulder coat that gives the dog a more tubular look. Therefore they need to be thinned so they don’t look stuffy or loaded in the shoulder. I like dogs presented in as natural way as possible. Not trimmed all over and striped and scissored short, to give the appearance of neck. Properly construct- ed OES do not need a lot of grooming or stripping. EM: I am a bit of a purist and over-stylized grooming of ANY breed where the standard describes correct grooming/ trimming is objectionable to me. It’s a tough issue, to be sure, because rewarding an inferior exhibit simply because it is not overgroomed does the breed no good, and yet rewarding exhibits that are overgroomed leads others to believe that is acceptable and encourages oth- ers to follow suit. It’s a no-win situation and we are to be judging breeding stock, not what people did to it. There are many breeds where overgrooming has become the expected (correct) presentation, and I find it sad that the OES is heading down that route. MO: Grooming styles are NOT hereditary. Never forget that the purpose of conformation dog shows is evaluation of breeding stock. The task is to judge the dog, not the groomer or the current fashion. The more “naturally” groomed dog that does not catch the eye like the more stylized one next in line may actually be the best dog in the ring. Or maybe not. The stylized one may be the one most true to the Standard in the attributes that are passed down the generations in the DNA, and that’s what must be found and rewarded. Proper coat is a matter of DNA; grooming is not, although it may influence what is rewarded, correctly or incorrectly. The reality is that every single OES in the ring today will be more “styled” than those of past decades. A judge may express displea- sure about the grooming and ask for a different presen- tation the next time the dog is shown to him, but if it is otherwise the best in the ring it should be rewarded. The reality of 2016 is also that judging more than ever requires good knowledge of our breed and a good way to find the best specimens to carry the breed forward. The OES community, working together through the Judges Ed Committee, must do all possible to help judges under- stand the correct OES, understand what exhibitors and breeders want them to look for and emphasize, and how best to find it.

CO: The Old English Sheepdog standard does not call for excessive trimming... other than tidying up feet and the rear, the exhibit should be presented looking as natural as possible. LS: OES novice exhibitors today are no longer taught that the OES as stated in the breed standard should: “Neither the natural outline nor the natural texture of the coat may be changed by any artificial means except that the feet and rear may be trimmed for cleanliness.” The OES should be presented clean and groomed—no mats! Grooming should enhance the breed characteristics without being artificial—no sculpting or teasing! 6. How do you evaluate OES movement? PBM: I want to see a free and powerful gait, not exaggerated and not at a fast speed. I like to see the amble; this was a breed that drove stock long distances and they should have the big, fancy, open gait of other breeds. MAB: OES movement is not traditional. When the OES moves at an easy trot, it should not go too fast, you watch for several characteristics: equal reach and drive from balanced angles front and rear; that the body remains square while moving and the dog does not get longer and lower from a short rib cage and a long loin; that the topline remains visible and the back does not become flat—the rise is still visible when the dog moves; and watch for a slight shift from left to right over the loin that is often called the “roll” of an OES. Yes, you watch for all of these features while the dog moves wearing a very heavy coat! SC: Loose lead, not too fast and in a straight line. EDB: Movement is evaluated at a trot. DM: I evaluate side gait by looking at timing. Do the front and rear legs extend to the furthest point at the same time? Does the dog overreach, which is how the other two legs meet under the dog? Balance is extremely important. Many dogs are over angulated in the rear and therefore compensate in some way with their front. When coming at you, the dog is evaluated by watch- ing how straight the leg is coming off of the shoulder and reaching out to place its foot toward a centerline. The leg should not break, high step, swing out or flip. It should be a straight line. In the rear it’s a similar evalua- tion. Seeing the pads of the feet can tell you whether the leg is converging toward a centerline. Again you want a straight line coming off of the hip to the ground, with no kick, but strong easy movement. EM: It’s the same as any breed... the OES should have strong, sound, easy movement with great reach and drive (every- one should see “bear like movement” showing wonderful extension, front and rear). MO: This is where the “eyes” have it! In that first go-around of a class, the ring reveals a lot. I look for free and power- ful movement that is essential in a Herding dog and is the ultimate test of correct conformation. Movement should be easy and effortless. If the dog has to work hard to get around the ring, all is not as it should be. Then I ask for the usual patterns. Down and back: with the dog

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