JUDGING THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
“THE PROPER BALANCE AND BREED DETAILS ARE ESSENTIAL, AND THE DOG MUST BE CONSIDERED AS A WHOLE RATHER THAN SEPARATE PARTS IN THE FINAL EVALUATION.”
The tail bone must reach to the hocks. Check body for depth, rib cage, and strong loin. Be aware of slab sides and too narrow between the front legs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is not a nar- row-made dog nor does he have an extreme tuck-up as a hound or setter. Underline is important and should be felt with the hands. Hindquarter evaluation is accomplished by examination of the well-developed thigh and upper thigh, stifle, and hock. Hindquar- ters are strong and powerful, and your judgement should not be fooled by artistry of grooming in hocks or stifles. Conditioning is apparent in well-developed thighs. The hands-on evaluation includes the coat. The coat is thick and moderately long or slightly wavy. The Bernese Mountain Dog is to be shown in a natural coat. Excessive grooming should be discouraged. We put much emphasis on handling and condition in the show ring in America. Even though we like to see dogs pre- sented well and in good condition, grooming and handling skills do not change a mediocre dog. lt is your responsibility to observe the virtues of the dog. Absence of white on the feet or tail does not take away from the quality of the Bernese Mountain Dog. Do not place undue emphasis on markings other than what is mentioned in the Standard as a fault. JUDGING MOVEMENT In judging the gait, the structure of the dog is the primary influence of gait. Carriage is an element that draws the eye when viewing the side gait, and thus, relates to structure and balance.
One element of good carriage is a firm topline and lack of roll. A slow trot is preferred in a draft dog; however, when viewing at a faster trot, the dog converges to a center line of gravity and one can better assess reach and drive. Absence of good reach and drive is non-conforming to the breed and its purpose as a good working dog. A dog that moves rapidly around the ring is not necessarily the correct Bernese Mountain Dog. Do not hesitate to ask a handler to slow down. Take note of the tail carriage. In judging the Bernese Mountain Dog, as with any other breed, remember that no dog is perfect. The proper balance and breed details are essential, and the dog must be considered as a whole rather than separate parts in the final evaluation. Lastly, the tem- perament is self-confident, alert, and good-natured, never sharp or shy. A tail flattened against the belly area is a telltale sign of a dog lacking confidence. Dogs that stand steady, but aloof, are not to be faulted. RULES OF THE RING Bernese Mountain Dogs are usually very uncomfortable in direct sun. Judges are urged to avoid undue exposure whenever possible. Be kind to our dogs. Be kind to the exhibitors. The novice exhibitors must be encouraged. Become familiar with the BMDCA Standard. If you are uneasy with the breed, pursue opportunities to observe and discuss the breed for a better under- standing. Most Bernese Mountain Dog mentors will gladly devote their time and share their knowledge.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2022 | 77
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