Showsight Presents The Rhodesian Ridgeback

rhodesian ridgeback Q&A WITH DIANE JACOBSEN, DANIELLE SAND, DENISE FLAIM, JOHN ARVIN AND DUDLEY HACKNEY

“FOR JUDGES, THE RIDGE IS HALLMARK OF OUR BREED. THERE ARE MANY TYPES AND SHAPES THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE—SEE THE ILLUSTRATED STANDARD. ONCE A RIDGE IS DEEMED ACCEPTABLE, JUDGE THE DOG UNDERNEATH IT.”

someone has been feeding pigeons in the park, so scat- tered and random are the names on that piece of paper. It’s tough to find a quality male with a correspondingly good pedigree to breed to. JA: I decided to retire from breeding. I don’t want my dogs outliving me. 4. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? DJ: Read the standard every time before you judge the breed and apply that instead of personal preferences. Liver- nosed dogs and light-wheaten dogs are part of that stan- dard. New breeders should also read the standard, and when contemplating breeding, consult a breeder with more experience and listen to what they say instead of breeding to the top-winning dogs regardless of whether they will be complimentary to their bitch. DS: The most important advice to both is to attend a parent- club breed seminar and to take a refresher course in dog anatomy. The internet is no substitute for listening to experienced breed mentors and participating in hands-on education. For judges, the ridge is hallmark of our breed. There are many types and shapes that are acceptable—see the illus- trated standard. Once a ridge is deemed acceptable, judge the dog underneath it. DF: To the new breeders: Make your first goal figuring out what you don’t know. Be prepared for the segmentation that happens when you first start to really understand the breed: You’ll begin to see it in pieces—shoulders, ribcage, croup, rearquarters—as you begin to learn about them. Then, once your knowledge fills in, the whole dog will reappear for you. In other words, before you see the forest, you have to spend some time on the trees. For judges: Don’t be perplexed by the many styles within type. Work to find a dog who inhabits that middle ground between those extremes I talked about earlier, and use

that as your template. This is a very straightforwardly constructed breed with no frills. Don’t get hung up on the ridge—make sure it’s there, make sure it’s adequate, and then move on. JA: New breeders: Read the breed standard over and over and over and over again. Listen to your mentors, but don’t be afraid to question them, especially when you disagree or do not understand them. If your breeder just yells at you to do whatever they say, then you might want to find someone with whom you can have a candid discussion. New judges in my breed are being told things that are not part of our standard. I know this to be true because pro- spective judges have complained to me about it. Always remember this: If you don’t like judges coming into your breed’s ring and not judging to your standard, then don’t do it to other breeds. DH: Take advantage of seminars and really educate your- selves—not just in your own breed, but in canine struc- ture in general and all facets, i.e. how does structure, cor- rect or not, effect movement? Why does our standard call for a round eye? How do these elements work together to form a Rhodesian Ridgeback true to the standard and the purpose of the breed? Also, go to kennels of breeders having studied their pedigrees to understand and discuss their breeding goals. Read and discuss breedings with other breeders whom you respect. Never stop studying! 5. What’s the most common fault you see when travel- ing around the country? DJ: Lack of bone, too sighty and really bad tail carriage. DS: Upright shoulders and short upper arms, short rib cages, soft back lines, flat feet. DF: There are several: Straight, coarsely set fronts matched with overangled rears that create an out-of-balance sil- houette. Shallow ribcages and lack of any front fill—you put your hand in between the two front legs and it disap- pears. Incorrect silhouettes, especially square dogs that

290 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2018

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