SUBMITTED BY THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG CLUB OF AMERICA WRITTEN BY THE LATE FRAN BROWN JUDGING THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
FIRST IMPRESSION Striking, large, tri-colored dog of strong character and beauty. Appearing square, but slightly longer than tall, sturdy (well) boned. Before taking the center of the ring, one must have the ideal Bernese Mountain Dog in mind. The essence of the breed is balance, outline, character, coat, head, and correct carriage. Keep in mind, any dog can gait soundly or correctly, but if he lacks the essence of the breed he is not an ideal Bernese Mountain Dog. No single feature should overpower the impres- sion of the whole dog. Note that a dog measuring 25 inches, as compared to a dog measuring 27-1/2 inches, can be quite dif- ferent in size; however, both can be correct as they are within the Standard. The quality of the dog takes precedence in your evaluation. The same with bitches. APPROACHING THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG FOR EXAMINATION When approaching the dog or bitch, you should feel a sense of strong character. Shy or aggressive behavior is not tolerated. Puppies will greet you with enthusiasm, and some with a look of concern. Work with the handler to make it a good experience for the puppy even though it will interrupt a routine examina- tion. Examining the head will reveal important breed details. Markings are sometimes deceiving. Darker faces, less white, and more brown will imply a stern expression. Expression is influenced by markings; however, the stop, ear size and place- ment, eye shape, and eye color contribute to expression. A pro- file will allow you to compare the length and depth of muzzle, the skull, and backskull. Dark pigment (lips and mouth) is also considered good breed detail. Take note of bite and dentition. Continuing the examination will require a judge to deter- mine depth and breadth of chest and formation of shoulders, upper arm, elbow, length of neck, and transition into the with- ers and back. Pasterns have a slight slope. Confirm that the front legs are well under the body and well behind the post ster- num—an important element of a correct outline. A hands-on evaluation of the topline includes slope of croup to set-on of tail, then continuing down the tail checking for kinks and length.
“THE ESSENCE OF THE BREED IS BALANCE, OUTLINE, CHARACTER, COAT, HEAD, AND CORRECT CARRIAGE.”
76 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2022
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