FINDING BREED TYPE IN THE DOBERMAN
are not even close to resembling a Doberman. Dobermans have a dry head with a flat skull, smooth planes on the side of the head, erect ears, and a vigorous and energet- ic expression. The head should give the impression of planes, not curves, and intensity, not softness. The standard’s wording of a blunt wedge is not an exact measurement. A blunt wedge can vary from very wide (think Rottweiler) to very narrow (think Collie).
You can describe a dog until you exhaust your vocabulary, and still not have a person visualize a breed that he has never seen before. But show a live dog or a photo of a correct Doberman, and that person has an immediate appreciation for how the breed should look. Since outline or silhouette is, decidedly, a mark of breed type, it is important to have an image of the breed in mind to determine breed type. Shown above are photos of very good male and female Dobermans. These images should be so affixed in your mind that you can very quickly compare a Doberman standing before you to the mental image of the ideal. You can see from these images the compactness, the correct head proportion, the proper neck that flows smoothly into the 90-degree front angu- lation. You will observe the solid, slightly slop- ing topline ending in a two o’clock tailset with a moderate underline, and with rear angulation that matches the front. With the silhouette, you will see the strong substance, tight cat feet, and athleticism. Once you have the ideal silhouette committed to memory, and after observing many representatives of the breed, you will be armed with the tools to help you identify this element of breed type. NOW, LET’S LOOK AT THE HEAD Just as you should be able to identify a breed by profile alone, you should be able to identify the breed of any dog when only the head is visible. Although the description of our head is similar to other breeds, the Doberman head does not look like any other breed. Many breeds ask for parallel planes, blunt wedge, dark eyes, and high ear set, but they
A heavy-bodied Doberman will likely have a wider angle to the blunt wedge, whereas a narrower skull may be more appropriate on a dog with lesser substance. Both could be acceptable as long as the head fits the rest of the dog. You must know the limits of the wedge that are correct for a Doberman. You can do this by having the image of the ideal head stored in your mind’s eye for reference. Of major importance of the head is a full muzzle with a full complement of teeth. The Doberman was bred as a personal protection dog. To protect against threats, a Doberman needs the strength of head to manage a full-sized man who threatens the dog or his owner. The standard calls for a disqualification for dogs with four or more missing teeth, or overshot more than 3/16ths of an inch, or undershot more than 1/8ths of an inch. The most frequently missing (and easiest to find) teeth are the pre-molars. Miss- ing teeth can occur at any part of the mouth; inci- sors, pre-molars, or molars (usually the rear-most molar). It is imperative to check all teeth for proper dentition. Extra pre-molars are quite common in the breed. The standard calls for 42 correctly placed teeth. More teeth is not better. “More” actually represents two faults. First is that there are more than the 42 specified by the standard, and second, the teeth cannot be correctly placed if there are too many of them. Having said all of this, a missing or extra tooth is incorrect, but a dog should not be excluded from consideration for this singular fault.
258 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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