Old English Sheepdog Breed Magazine - Showsight

and upper arms that are approximately of equal length, necessary for effortless and adequate reach of the front legs. Shoulder muscles should be long and fairly flat, not “beefy” or “loaded.” There should not be a wide space between the withers, which is often accompanied by a chest too wide between the points of the shoulders and “waddling” or rocking fronts. CO: The OES standard, as many breed standards do, calls for an arch of neck. When going over the front end of the Old English Sheepdog you want to be sure to check for layback of shoulder as well as return of upper arm to give the OES good reach. Unfortunately, like most breeds today, finding a correct front is getting more difficult. LS: The arch is required by the breed standard: “Fairly long and arched gracefully.” The neck should flow smoothly into the shoulders, which should be narrow at the points as required by the breed standard. This also contributes to the pear shape. 10. What is your understanding of size vs. size within the breed? How important is size alone? PBM: No one feature is going to be more important than the other. I want it all. I want an OES that comes close to the standard and could do its intended job. Size does enter into it, along with all the other aspects. A too small and fined boned dog would be just as bad as one that is too cumbersome. MAB: The Standard is very clear on this. “Type, character and balance are of greater importance and are on no account to be sacrificed to size alone. Dogs are 22" and upward. Bitches are 21" and upward.” Type is achieved by a dog having the squareness, and balance of all the components of breed specific characteristics. The head, amount of neck, height and length should be one har- monious piece. When you have judged your dog classes and bitch classes, you may find that you have a dog that is smaller in height and overall size than your bitch. Your dog is still masculine and your bitch feminine, but each remains square, balanced and compact; but with different heights. SC: The original standard called for an adult male to be about 65 lbs. Now our smaller bitches are that size. We should not be “supersizing” our dogs to make them more impressive. The bigger dogs are usually less agile. Could they herd sheep? Size is not important to me unless they approach Great Dane size. EDB: We do not have a size limit within our breed; dogs 22" and up, bitches 21" and up, as long as the dog is square and sound size does not matter. DM: My understanding of size is that the history of the breed was herding sheep and the smaller dogs could maneuver the rocky hills more easily than the larger dogs and the larger dogs worked well in flat areas or as drover dogs, taking the sheep to market. The standard allows for all sizes. As long as the same proportional criteria is assessed and met, there is no concern as to height as long as the dogs are at least 22 ½ " and the bitches are that or slightly less. Note: The OES standard is one of the only, if not the

only standard in the Herding Group that does not have a suggested ideal height on the lower and upper side. The original standard written in 1888 did not have an upper height suggestion. It said 20" and upwards but warned, “Great height is not to be encouraged, for it takes away the corkiness and cobbines of the dog.” In 1905, the standard was re-written because breeders were breeding to large dogs in order to improve bone and body and the founders felt the breed was getting too big and was losing its type. They put a disqualification of 26" in the standard that was later taken out in 1953, as more large dogs were being shown. EM: The Old English Sheepdog standard addresses ideal size as a minimum, so any size above that is correct, and below would be a fault to be considered with other faults and virtues. My interpretation is that the OES standard places more importance on the proper substance, bone, and shape being correct for the height rather than the height being the issue. MO: We have a minimum size (22" and up for dogs and 21" and up for bitches), but not a maximum height or even a guideline for maximum except the words “and up”. There was once a maximum height of 26” but that was abandoned in a revision of the Standard years ago. One of the breed’s English founders did not object to a 27" dog as long as type was maintained, but there are those who insist that OES type is sacrificed by the very size of dogs that large. However, we have often seen excellent dogs 25"-26" and some bitches of almost that size. Balance and other aspects of type are certainly more important than size, but the square, strong, compact, balanced require- ments of the breed are harder to breed and maintain in the very big OES. Generally, it’s easier for a big bitch to be feminine than it is for a small male to appear mascu- line, but quality is not to be sacrificed for size alone. The closest example of fidelity to the Standard is the OES that should be rewarded. CO: The standard, which describes the ideal Old English Sheepdog, has minimum sizes, so as long as an exhibit meets the minimum, it is correct size and this should be a moot point. This breed cannot be judged by size alone. What is more important is the shape, thickness, bone, substance and soundness of the dog...is it cor- rect for its size? Unless there is a breed disqualification, which there is not in the Old English Sheepdog stan- dard, it would be wrong to reward an inferior exhibit based on size. LS: Although the OES was never intended to be a large breed, the breed standard has no height limit; so regard- less, if the dog is 22" or 26", it has to be square and balanced. The breed standard is very clear: “Absolutely free from legginess or weaselness” so neither legginess or weaselness (long and low) is acceptable! Judges should check the length of the chest coat to make sure it isn’t hiding a leggy dog or trimmed to hide weaselness.

11. What is the number one thing that flashes through your mind when you judge the breed?

4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& . "3$) t

Powered by