berger picard Q&A
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DC: Yes, they are better now. Years ago, even if they had type they were very unsound. The temperament is much better. SL: The breed has gotten so much better. We’ve improved tem- peraments along with becoming more consistent in breed type. The continuing issue is trying to keep square—and size. I personally am still unable to predict size in my own breeding program; however, I’m adamant that I must have sturdy top-of-the-size-standard bitches. Coming from the Sporting Group, I have had to throw out anything I thought I knew about breeding and had to start all over again with the Toys. It is not for the faint hearted. PP: We have worked very hard to improve the soundness both in mind and body. We have much more soundness in legs, better outlines and our temperaments are more fun-loving and less timid. This has come about due to the concerted efforts of many breeders. We must continue to work to not become the “generic show dogs” that run very fast around and lose our unique mischievous attitude. JS: I believe the breed has improved in many, many ways since we started. I attribute this to the very hard work of those before my time. They held the type of the breed close to their hearts and souls almost as protectionists. With the help of some very clever breeders, further development of dogs from these gene pools to be bred for soundness and show- manship. It’s worked. The proof is in the pudding. BS: I think Affens are one of the breeds that have improved greatly over the years. They are better show dogs that have more confidence are sounder and better presented and gen- erally are more uniform in type than they were 20 years ago. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand? DC: I do think some are intimidated by the coat and do not feel the head. I do believe that today’s judges are better educated about the breed. SL: New judges to the breed will be presented with a variety of Affens. Most judges never see good number of entries because the breed is located in pockets throughout the US and Canada and unless you go to the National it is hard to grasp the overall essence of the breed. It is, unfortunately, a low-entry breed so quantity is just not there to develop a sense of the breed. The illustrated standard provided by the National club is excellent and a good guide for new people to follow. It was very well thought out. PP: It is a Terrier-like Toy and therefore they can miss coat, size and attitude. JS: It’s not just about the showmanship. It must be a typey Affenpinscher with this showmanship. BS: I think that most judges fail to realize that Affens are a standoffish breed that will assess the situation before jump- ing in and should be approached as such. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share? DC: I think the breeders have made great strides in the breed. I would like to see a lot less grooming on the head (some- times it is hard to move the hair to feel under the coat). SL: Affens are a tough little breed and they have a huge sense of self-importance. They demand that you pay attention to them. PP: As Affenpinschers become more popular, we need to protect them from the “generic show dog” trap! Keep them happy, healthy and true to their standard.
WITH JACQUELINE CARSWELL, LINDA ROBEY & MERLE TAYLOR
has obtained full AKC licensed status and is now included in the Herding group. LR: The quality has always been good. Early on the tem- peraments of some were questionable. I judged the National Specialty and temperaments were all good. Plus the quality was outstanding. The breeders are doing an excellent job. MT: Actually, I have been rather impressed with the quality being shown. Having dealt with the national breed club, I find them an enthusiastic group of people and they have certainly helped in making the breed positively accepted into our AKC show ring. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? JC: The questions most asked of me by judges attend- ing breed education seminars concern grooming, proper examination and tail carriage. This breed is not to be scissored, over stripped, blown dry or coiffed. They are to be approached and examined very similarly to the method used with sighthounds. Approach at an angle and reach under the chin, do not grab the top of the head. The tail is to be carried midline, not to the side. LR: They have a cute unkempt look about them, but they are Herding dogs. So they may not be friendly with strangers as you might think. Approach them as you would any Working or Herding breed. MT: I think the judges I have seen have done a good job in accepting and judging the breed—the quality of the dogs presented has certainly not hurt—I have seen some very exciting exhibits. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share? JC: Please keep in mind that US breeders had to obtain all of their breeding stock from the European coun- tries. In France, not all Berger Picards are allowed to be bred, as the French have rigid restrictions on which dogs are permitted to do so. The dogs must attend the elevage and be acknowledged, they must conform to the standard and must also pass a tem- perament test. The European breeders kept their best dogs and sent some worthy examples of the breed to the breeders in the US to begin their breeding pro- grams. The US breeders have done a noteworthy job, taking those dogs and adhering to the AKC Berger Picard breed standard (FCI standard with slight word- ing modification to conform to AKC requirements) to produce top quality dogs. LR: So far the breeders are doing an excellent job in keeping consistent quality. I hope they keep it up. They must also be guardians of the breed. A breed this “cute” can easily become too popular too fast. MT: As I stated before, the enthusiasm and positive approach from the breeders and exhibitors have only added to their overall acceptance.
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