SETTING PRIORITIES AND EVALUATING THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG AS YOU JUDGE by MARY ANNE BROCIOUS W hen judges enter the ring a fresh thought process begins for each
neck, front legs and thighs, and he must have a shaggy appear- ance the methods used to arrange and present the coat varies from dog to dog. From this first look you will have to determine which dogs have a shaggy appearance and appear strong, compact, square and balanced. The next step will have your class circle the ring to get your first glimpse of their movement. You are watching for the motion of an agile dog with movement that is free, powerful and effortless. The dogs should have “good reach and drive and cover maximum ground with minimum steps”. Be aware that the coat can distort your impression of the movement. You must watch for the exten- sion of the front and rear legs for balanced reach and drive. Watch to see that the body stays square and that the topline is visible when the dog is in motion. Yes, these assessments have to be done with a dog that is covered in a blan- ket of coat and in about 20 sec- onds! You will watch the legs, body and topline as you would any other breed and learn, with time, to see through the coat. No, you won’t acquire x-ray vision, but you will begin to see how the dog will push from his rear feet and extend forward with his front legs using correct front angles. You will be able to determine if the dogs tend to get longer and lower as they move and lose squareness. In addition you will want to see the gentle rise over the loin as the dogs trot.
breed. Of course there is a dif- ferent breed standard with each breed and different functional- ity for the respective breeds. We think differently with each breed. What are the primary Hallmarks of the breed in front of us that make it what it is and which dog is most compliant to those characteristics. How do we get there with each class of dogs? Many judges often wait to add the Old English Sheep- dog to their credentials after they have had more judging experi- ence. The coat and certain char- acteristics seem more challenging than most breeds. The OES is still a dog with the usual canine anat- omy and breed specific features that we look for in every breed we judge. The AKC has approved you to judge the Old English Sheepdog, you know the breed standard, you know canine anatomy, you know ring procedure and I will help you organize your thoughts when judg- ing the OES. Percy Roberts once said, “The Breed Standard is the Blueprint, The Breeder is the Builder, and the Judge is the Building Inspec- tor.” So, let’s get down to inspect- ing what the breeder has built! When your class enters the ring the first thing you will realize is that the OES is not a silhouette breed. Each exhibit looks differ- ent by virtue of various styles of grooming. While the breed stan- dard calls for coat on the head,
258 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2018
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