“JUDGES CAN PUT UP DIFFERENT DOGS FOR DIFFERENT REASONS,
and as long as they can articulate why they chose a certain dog, then it is the right dog for them.”
It’s amazing to me how many times a class enters the ring and my first thought is “Wow, this is a good class” only to find when they move they are lacking reach and/or drive, going off in the topline or tailset, bouncing, or any of several other problems. The search for the best Doberman just got a lot more difficult. So, in the first few minutes when they have entered the ring and then gone around, you have made some major decisions, and it wasn’t on one attribute like square. You have decided which ones have the best profile and can move while keeping that profile. Fortunately, many times there are several dogs that rise out of those first two decisions... profile and move- ment. They have passed the first two “must haves.” A full body evaluation is next on the priority list. Now is the time that you start setting priorities. This is when “I made my first cut on square” is appropriate. This is the point at which head, bone, feet, muscle tone, conditioning, down and back movement, and many other essentials are evaluated. It’s also the point where judge’s opinions diverge substantially, and that’s okay. The head is a breed defining charac- teristic and it must be given due consid- eration and must be high on the priority list. As in the first priorities in judging (profile and movement), head must be of correct Doberman type. No matter how well a dog matches the profile and move- ment, if it does not have an acceptable head, then it is not a correct Doberman. That being said, will you give a little on the head to be square? Or will you give a little length for a better head? Your decision.
Below are the images of a correct head that you must have in your men- tal picture to complete the three most important priorities in judging.
I know that we Doberman people emphasize square to every judge and anyone who asks about the breed. Apparently, many judges are mak- ing their first cut based on square. It’s important, but it’s only one attribute. The point here is to make your first cut based on the most important points, and not one or two specific characteristics. About the Author
Mr. Vandiver has bred and owner handled many Doberman cham- pions under the Mistel prefix. He is approved to judge all breeds in the Working, Sporting,
Breeders and judges all place empha- sis on the areas that they feel are most important. Some judges cannot accommodate a dog with a less than superior head. I’ve often heard it said that “the head is the first thing you see, and I want it right.” Okay, that’s a major priority for you and you can weigh it more heavily than other characteristics. Others may consider proper front angles to be a major priority, as the cor- rect front is noticeably absent in many Dobermans. It’s hard to successfully breed and easy to lose. Still others may consider the rear to be the most important characteristic, as that’s what furnishes most of the power in forward motion. With so many options and so many individual “druthers,” you can see why judging seems to be inconsis- tent. Good judges aren’t inconsistent, they just have different priorities from one another. If judges select a Doberman that most closely matches his mental picture for profile, movement, and head, then he should not be expected to choose the dog that you or another judge would select. Judges can put up different dogs for different reasons, and as long as they can articulate why they chose a certain dog, then it is the right dog for them.
and Herding groups. He has judged numerous prestigious specialties and all-breed shows in the United States and has judged internationally in China, Japan, India, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Phil- ippines, Mexico, and Canada. Bob has judge the Westminster Kennel Club three times, including judging the working group in 2013. He has been a past officer in the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and former chairman and present member of Judges Educa- tion. He has authored several articles on judging. Bob has been involved in many other all-breed clubs as an offi- cer, show chair, or working member. In addition to conformation, he has par- ticipated in performance and working dog sport. When not involved with the dogs, his other interests are technology and physical fitness. Bob is an engi- neering graduate of Texas A&M Uni- versity, and retired as a member of the Executive Management Team at one of the largest Engineering and Construc- tion companies in the US.
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