JUDGING THE Keeshond
T he Keeshond is a very difficult breed to judge. Sometimes even, for many—if not all—of us breeder/judges. If y’all promise to read this whole article, maybe I can help you learn how to judge the breed with much more confidence; just read the article until the very last word and I promise all judges of any breed that I’ll give you some excellent advice I have learned over the years through first-person experience—in three different instances. Deal? Over the last several years, the Keeshond Club of America (KCA) has refined and nearly perfected mentoring aids to wade through some of the foggiest aspects of the Standard of our beloved “Kees.” But sometimes we have tunnel vision. Indeed, I am one of those few who insist on teaching judges about the dreaded “T” word—the sentence that discusses trimming. Ugh, what a bone- head I am to keep beating this dead horse. Nonetheless, I shall mer- rily beat said beast until, and if, the Keeshond Standard is revised to exclude same and I sure hope we don’t, or we’ll lose all beginners and have no breeders left to carry on this delightful breed. There is no correct method to groom the dog when one uses scissors on any of the body, ears, tail, trousers, etc. It is to be severely penalized. When the dogs enter the ring, ask them to go around and look for the oh-so-rare, unique gait laterally. Pause for a moment and look at the line-up. They should all be square appearing, have slop- ing toplines and the distinctive Keeshond silhouette, and be within a two inch difference on height from 17"-19" on males; 16"-19" on females. Incidentally, should you be a little size challenged, know that the metal folding chairs at nearly every dog show are exactly 17-1/2" from the ground to the seat; while 99% of tables are 29".
BY ROBIN STARK Robin Stark bought her first Keeshond pup in 1962. She was a road warrior for many years and is responsible for approximately 150 Keeshond champions and performance event winners. She celebrated her Golden Anniversary in the breed by judging Best of Breed and Intersex at the 2012 National Specialty— a significant honor. Robin has served on KCA’s original Ethics Committee, the AKC Standard Revision Committee, the AKC Keeshond Video Committee and the KCA Illustrated Standard Committee. She has won several DWAA awards as editor/co-publisher of “The Rottweiler Quarterly.”
HANDY TIP TO KNOW #1 Also, pause and ask yourself, “Which of these dogs looks most like what the Breed Standard is describing?” In other words, which of these dogs has correct breed type? You may see several dogs that do not resemble one another at all. We seem to be a gaggle of folk who think this type or that type or his dogs or her dogs or “Teddy Bear” type (I hate that!) are the way to go. I firmly believe this is why our handsome breed is so disrespected. Just who’s right? The Standard!
HANDY TIP TO KNOW #2 Three top professional Terrier handlers many moons ago suddenly had a Non-Sporting breed and were duking it out in the breed ring. Another respected pro—most famously known for Working Dogs—asked the three guys, “Which one of these three dogs is the best?” The three Terrier guys each extolled the vir- tues of his dog and slammed the other two dogs for their most obvious fault; it was interesting and, oddly, non-combative. The Working Dog guy thanked them very much and whipped out a Xerox of that breed’s standard from his shirt pocket. He said, “Thanks, I guess I’ll just let this do the talking for me.” When in doubt, refer to the standard; go ahead, look it up. We’ll all respect you for refreshing your memory. When in doubt, no matter who says what, the determining arbiter is the standard in all breeds you judge!
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020 | 197
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