SORTING OUT THREE ELEMENTS OF BREED TYPE
There may be a bad Borzoi, but there is never a bad color.
compared with today’s show dog is evident. Kept in harsher conditions, those early hunting dogs often did not have the length or quality that our dogs have today. Improvements in nutrition and pet beds have made it easier to grow coats. It is debated that drier climates and higher elevations can make it easier for the coat to break off or appear flat. Those living in the Southern states suggest that, without the cold winter temperatures, it is hard to maintain the bigger and denser coats. Either way, Borzoi shed down to sparse coats during the year—especially the bitches after their seasons. Today’s condi- tioners, shampoos, oils, supplements, and soft beds have led to our dogs producing longer and more luxurious coats. One word on color: “Immaterial.” There may be a bad Borzoi, but there is never a bad color. HEAD A unique feature of a Borzoi is the head. Both fill and fin- ish are breed elements. In profile, there is a smoothness and a sleek appearance, with a barely noticeable stop. The eyes, set obliquely and almond-shaped, lead to that “far-off” expres- sion. (It is true that they see the world differently and can focus on something insignificant off in the distance, rather than on the person at hand.) Ears are small, fine, and are held in a rose. They also can be pricked when at attention. Smaller ears have been found to have tighter ligaments, and some connection with better performance in the field. One of the breed characteristics is the Roman finish to the nose. This is different than Roman-headed. From the nasal bone to the tip of the nose, there is a downward slope. The Roman finish does not come from the planes of the head, but from the upper nasal cartilage. The planes of the head can be parallel or slightly downward-angled, but never such that they produce a down-faced profile. (This is not just a difference of degrees, but an entirely overdone angle.) In such a long head, a down-faced Borzoi will lead to an undershot bite. Most experienced breeders tread that fine line between beautiful heads with good fill in front of the eyes—with a nearly imperceptible stop—and an overdone, Roman-head- ed, undershot dog. The finish on any head should always have that sloping cartilage and large black nose that make up the Roman finish. Do not confuse a Roman nose with a Roman head. It might have been easier if the term used would have been “aquiline” (look of eagles) instead, where the beak is curved verses the whole head.
232 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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