Showsight Presents The Keeshond


All three have acceptable color and markings. © KCA Illustrated Standard

is correct. We have a range of shades in the breed, and they are all acceptable, but they must have a dark muzzle, a lighter ruff on their neck, a shoulder stripe, saddle on their back, and silver britches and tail. You may have a preference for a darker or lighter Keeshond, but the breed standard does not. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER You will want to observe the dog on a loose lead, standing in a position that is natural for him and not posed. Dogs with good, natural balance will find it easy to stand squarely. Look for balance. Examine the front, middle, and rear quarters. Ask the handler to move the dog on a loose lead; coming and going, and from the side. You are looking for a dog that moves with its head up naturally and one that moves off his hocks, smoothly transmitting energy from the rear to the front. At a good paced trot, the end of the front foot will reach at or near the end of the dog’s nose. The hind foot will extend at the same length and angle as the front foot. Coming at you, you are looking for a dog that moves smoothly, and at a brisk trot the legs will converge very slightly toward the center line. There will be no rocking, paddling or winging. Observing the dog from the rear, you will look for smoothness and steady hocks with no inward or outward twist. At a brisk trot, the legs will converge slightly toward the center line. There should not be any cow- hocked movement or spraddle hocks. Lastly, observe the dog standing natu- rally after it has moved. A dog that is prop- erly built will have a nice arch of neck and will stand squarely and comfortably. This is the dog you are looking for—first place!

and feel for the muscle development. Dogs that are well-exercised will have a firm and well-developed second thigh muscle that feels like a small bicep. Dogs that are strictly couch potatoes will have a flat sec- ond thigh muscle, and a generally sloppy and poor rear movement. They will have poor control of their rear movement and may move with hocks in or twisting out. It is important to observe the length of hock in the Keeshond. Hocks should be short and well-let-down. Dogs with long hocks will have difficulty producing cor- rect movement and will not be well-bal- anced. Long hocks may also cause them to be high in the rear. COAT COLOR AND TEXTURE Again, both of these topics are articles in themselves. As you are judging, there are things you can look for to assess correctness to the standard. First, texture of the coat. In an arctic breed, correct coat texture means nothing less than survival. A harsh outer coat, to protect from rain and snow, and a soft undercoat, to keep the dog warm, are essential. What can be lacking is the harsh- er outer coat. As a last touch, run your hand from the tail to the shoulder against the lay of the coat. You should feel a slightly coarse texture. If you do this to each dog, you will feel a difference. If you are judging outside and it is damp, you will notice that the coat on some dogs will “stand off.” These dogs have correct coat texture. When I first work with judges on judg- ing the Keeshond, they often ask, “Is that dog too dark, or is that dog too light?” The question is not is a dog too dark or too light, but does the dog show contrast? In the illustration above, each of the dogs

back sloping slightly downward toward the hindquarters; well ribbed, barrel well rounded, short in loin, belly moderately tucked up, deep and strong of chest.” Okay, are most of our dogs built like this? A few are, many are not. Now, run your hand from the withers straight down to the point of the elbow. The body should at least meet your fingers at this point. This means that the dog has good depth of body. The distance from the withers to the point of elbow and from the bottom of the body to the ground should be roughly equal. Now, starting again at the withers, run your hand from the withers to the base of the tail. The withers should be higher than the base of the tail. Also, impor- tantly, the back should be short, straight, and not dip, so that the body is not slung between withers and hip. Dogs that are built this way will generally trot with their heads down, and without a firm mid-piece to transfer energy from the rear quarters to the front; they will have poor, shambling movement, not the brisk, sprightly move- ment described in the breed standard. To find the length of loin, find the last rib and measure from there to where the hip begins. You will have to go over several dogs to determine average length. Dogs that are long in loin will generally have flat toplines and sloppy movement, but there are exceptions. EXAMINING THE REAR QUARTERS Begin at the base of the tail and deter- mine the set-on of the tail. Find the point of hip and run your hand down the inside of the thigh. When you get to the second thigh muscle on the inside of the thigh, just run your fingers down the second thigh


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