Showsight Presents the Doberman Pinscher

Q&A

to worry about in our breed, the least of my concern is if the dog has natural ears or tail. That can be changed, quite easily, in a single generation! Judging is supposed to be determining breeding stock; crops and docks are not genetic. The earset and tailset are evident in the natural dog and that is what I judge. I have never seen an undocked Doberman in a show ring in the US and very, very few uncropped. How natural ears have morphed into such a big deal is beyond me. The animal rights faction is not going to care what the Standard says when trying to take away our rights. The argument of freedom of choice will carry more weight with the public. Personally, I have a cropped and docked Champion dog on my couch. I absolutely love the look of a beauti- ful crop and a correct dock. That said, it is pretty well known that I imported the first Doberman to finish an AKC Championship with natural ears back in 1988. At the time, I was not making any kind of statement, I found dogs I really liked when I visited and judged an Open show in England and it was sort of a challenge to see if I could do it. CH Findjan’s Outrage CD ROM finished with three majors, one from puppy and had several nice BOB wins—almost always owner handled, as well. I will continue to fight for the freedom to crop and dock as a personal choice. 4. What are the most controversial breed topics? How do you address them? In addition to the crop/dock issue, I also feel that we are getting some dogs being shown, finishing, winning; that are rather like caricatures of a Doberman in that they are so extreme. That may be “pretty,” but it is not correct. 5. Which traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? The huge “just swallowed a bowling ball” forechests, rear angulation that sets the entire rear behind the dog and most certainly does not balance the front, flat croups and 12 o’clock tailsets. Upright necks that are almost ewe necks. Ear crops so long that the ears flap when the dog moves and Viszla-length tails may be man made, but they are too extreme as well. 6. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? Pushing the tail up over the back like a terrier is not cor- rect and it straightens the stifle. Just stop it! 7. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What’s better? The most common problem for me is an alarming num- ber of Dobermans toeing in to a marked degree even at a young age. Mostly from long and weak pasterns that break inward. Another concern is that we are return- ing to the problem of missing teeth and poor occlusion which is important in a breed created to protect. I feel many judges just do not know how to judge a proper mouth, only going through the motions and some do not care enough. I think we are making a lot of progress in consistently seeing dark eyes, correct size, strong

toplines and good feet. Few Dobermans show unstable temperament in the ring these days, though I would like to see more in higher level performance venues to test real temperament. 8. Describe ideal Doberman movement and its impor- tance in judging. Movement is very important to me. I want to see power, a dog that looks purposeful when he moves; like he is going somewhere. Clean down and back with a go around showing a smooth gait and holding a good topline. An easy mover and what we used to call (in horses) a “daisy cutter”, not high stepping. Effortless strides with correct reach and drive, balanced power. 9. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? Often, I find all-arounders to put more emphasis on movement, which I like; though it does sometimes result in the longer backed dogs being rewarded, which is not so good. Occasionally all breed judges either ignore or don’t recognize missing teeth and/or poor occlusion. 10. What previously campaigned Doberman(s) come close to your ideal? Please explain. I cannot choose without picking one dog and one bitch. For both the Dobermans I chose, I feel they are much bet- ter in motion than in a flat photo: CH Caryola’s Antigua, “Ana” and CH Spark’s Party Like A Rock Star, “Cabo”. 11. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? From my limited perspective, I feel that the best dogs I have seen in all parts of the US and the countries I have visited and judged are quite similar and could compete anywhere. A good, correct Doberman is universal. 12. Do you have anything else to share? The greater part of my life has been as a student of this amazing breed. I have learned from every activity that I have participated and trained in—conformation, obedi- ence, agility, tracking, flyball, schutzhund, mondio ring- sport, breeding and judging. The most important thing I have learned is that there is a lot more to learn and to always keep an open mind. The family I have in dogs is incredibly important to me, that family and my dogs have made it possible for me to be a cancer survivor for the last three and a half years;

Left to right: CH Caryola’s Antigua, “Ana” and CH spark’s Party Like A rock star, “Cabo”

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