result of fewer breeders and far less competition in the breed ring. There are still a good number of very good Dobermans, but the quality in the classes at the typical show is very disappointing. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MB: They should be medium size and square. I see long dogs with poor toplines winning. BLC: Judges will have difficulty finding exhibits with the correct tail set. Square, well angulated and correctly sized exhibits are in short supply. It is easy to get caught up in the elegance, flash and the racing feet and mistake all this for correctness. The Doberman Pinscher exhibi- tors are the best of the best and the breed is very train- able and malleable. It is easy to be fooled. MJ: Judges misunderstand how conformation is related to function. Form follows function. They have little experi- ence in protective aspects of the breed. Therefore few are capable of fairly judging the breed. LK: I think many of the new judges are taking advantage of the current approval process and applying for the breed before they have a thorough understanding of the breed and standard. The breed is being judged generically, with no emphasis on correct type, which includes correct size and movement; what correct balance and proportion looks like, what constitutes a correct head and expres- sion, what a correct mouth looks like and how to exam- ine it. The breed comes in four colors, yet many judges don’t know the difference between a fawn and a blue. FS: We say the Doberman is elegant in appearance. This can be misunderstood. Elegance comes from a dog being smooth, with a well arched neck, widening to well laid back shoulders, which extend in a straight line to a slightly rounded, well-filled out croup and a tail set just off the horizontal. The dog is tight; he looks poured into his skin. This produces a strong one-piece elegance. Judges need to know how to count teeth, we have a very easy system to accomplish this. They don’t need to crawl all over the dog. Feel the coat and muscle with a gentle hand, watch the dog move and free stack. This is a picture breed, what you see is what you get. There is no hair hiding a poor topline, depth of chest or turn of stifle. Look for the best overall dog, don’t fault judge and put up a mediocre dog. Just take the fault to the extent of the deviation. We are not a head breed but a long, dry, blunt wedge with parallel planes and a moderately deep-set almond, dark eye is also very important to breed type. RV: Many judges seem to emphasize squareness over all oth- er elements of breed type. They reward square dogs that have few redeeming virtues. Don’t get me wrong, square is important but not when the dog has a straight front, poor topline, incorrect tail carriage, lack of substance or any combination of those. Judge the whole dog. You may doberman pinscher Q&A
WITH DR. MARY-HELENE (MIMI) BROWN MD, BONNIE LINNELL CLARKE, DR. MAY JACOBSON, LINDA KRUKAR, FAYE STRAUSS & ROBERT L. VANDIVER
have to give a little on the squareness sometimes to find a dog with enough virtues to represent good breed type.
6. Is there anything else you'd like to share about the breed? MB: Dobermans are wonderful companions and protec- tors; loyal and watchful. I feel safe in my home and life because I have Dobermans. BLC: This is a fabulous breed. I know everyone feels that way about your breed, but this breed is truly unique. They were created specifically to be a personal protec- tion animal. They take their job very seriously and will give their life to protect you. Everything else is icing on the cake. LK: The Doberman should be a one-piece dog—all the parts should fit harmoniously together when the dog is stand- ing and moving. No part should stand out. The Dober- man is a well-conditioned athlete and should look power- ful, yet elegant. They should exude confidence and move with purpose. A confident dog will look you in the eye. FS: We have a video that has garnered over 100,000 views on YouTube. I recommend all judges view this short seven- minute video before they judge our breed. RV: This is a great family dog. Their short coat and short tail make them an ideal house dog. They are willing to play as hard and as rough (or gentle) as you want for as long as you want and turn off like a switch to be the most affectionate, docile TV watching dog you’ve ever encountered. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? MB: I was showing my first Doberman in Novice A for the first time. I had just shown him in BOB as a new cham- pion that morning and was so proud of him. We went in the ring in the afternoon and it was over 100 degrees. He did everything right to qualify until the recall. When I called him, he came on a run, but at the last second veered off into the shade where the stewards were and laid down. The judge laughed and said, “Your dog is a lot smarter than either of us.” He qualified the next three days and got his CD. BLC: On the down and back in the Group ring, my top ten bitch special leaped over the ring barrier and almost took me with her. She won the Group, so I forgave her for try- ing to kill me. LK: I was showing my dog Best in Show at the Detroit KC and the table hadn’t been removed from the ring. On the go around, I ran right into the table and fell down. I first made sure my skirt wasn’t over head and my dog, Agador, made sure I was okay. I got up and the judge was on his way over to me. He put his arm around me and said, “I’m a Veterinarian, not a medical doctor, so I hope you’re okay.”
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