Showsight Presents The Cirneco dell'Etna

THE BROKEN RECORD OF FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

photo by Gaetano Toscano

photo by Inka Luonmanmãki

photo by L. Prieto

photo by Inka Luonmanmãki

photo by Inka Luonmanmãki

photo by Jane L. Moore

The Cirneco Breed Standard contains a hierarchy of tools for evaluation: “Disqualifications,” “Severely Penalized,” “Undesir- able,” and “Less Desirable.” The only trait with the label of “unde- sirable” (not “disqualification” or “severely penalized”) is “Gait: Tendency to throw feet sideways or hackney action.” Obviously, movement is important. But what is the movement? A hunting dog that works on rocky terrain, whether rocks along a river, hills and mountains or simply rock walls dividing fields, places where rabbits are likely to reside, is a dog with a short fore- arm and a lifting motion. “Springy trot” is the expression used to describe the action imposed by this short forearm, necessary for sure-footed climbing and working on rocky slopes. The cultural divide: no reach and drive. The breed standard specifically states: “Springy trot without excessive extension.” To further shock the sensibilities, the traversing of irregular terrain is not severely ham- pered by the lack of a perfect springy trot. A dog too straight in the shoulder can still perform its function with movement that is hackney or a paddling motion. Hackney action or throwing of feet sideways is not the most efficient of actions and, for this reason, is “undesirable.” But it also is not a characteristic that impedes func- tion, as would size. Size impedes the ability to access prey, eat, and survive. “Undesirable.” There are many references within the standard to “fault” and “severe fault” but, again, those terms are not found in reference to movement. Yes, movement is important insofar as

the ability to fulfill function. But it is necessary to first correctly envision the function to be accomplished. The deviations from the Breed Standard for the Cirneco dell’Etna are here summarized in order of severity: DISQUALIFICATIONS: • Size: Height not within the stated limits. Dogs 18-20 inches; Bitches 17-19 inches; • Eyes: Walleye, an eye with a whitish iris or blue eye(s);

• Ears: Totally hanging ears or bat ears; • Mouth: Overshot or undershot mouth; • Color: Black nails.

Total depigmentation, self-colored brown or liver, brown patches or hairs, brindle coat: or any presence of black, whether patches, hairs, or pigmentation including of mucous membranes. SEVERELY PENALIZED: • Eyes: Brown or yellow iris; • Body: Excessive tuck-up; • Tail: Curled over the back. UNDESIRABLE: • Gait: Tendency to throw feet sideways or hackney action. LESS DESIRABLE: • Color: A white collar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR M. Lucia Prieto is a member and President of the Cirneco dell'Etna Club of America, and a member of the Società Amatori Cirneco dell'Etna, Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana, and Cirneco dell'Etna Club (UK), and an AKC Silver Breeder of Merit. In the breed since 1996, she has imported close to 50 Cirnechi, bred 35 litters, founded the Cirneco dell'Etna Club of America in 1997, and mentored the breed through ASFA and AKC recognition.

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2022 | 205

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