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PUREBRED DOGS A Guide to Today's Top

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By Love Banghart

e all agree that when judging any breed, the o ffi ciating judge must evaluate each exhibit

larger ear or curl in the tail is not as debili- tating to the breed as the lack of proper gait, labored breathing or entropion. Judg- ing a class of Chows can be as exacting as grading a litter, without the benefit of a pedigree to reference. A judge should always approach the chow within the range of the dog’s vision. Due to the scowling expression and deep set eye, the chow has limited peripheral

according to the standard for the breed and country in which he is judging. Th e Chow Chow standard is one of the lengthiest and most detailed of standards but still leaves ample opportunity for the judge’s interpre- tation. Th e Chow Chow Illustrated stan- dard is available on the Chow Chow Club Inc website: tent/category/7/28/35/ and is very helpful in visualizing the standard. An experienced chow judge will under- stand the negative impact that a poorly structured front, incorrect gait or lack of breed-specific qualities, such as pigmen- tation, has to a breeding program and will thus appreciate and award the chows which exhibit desirable traits. Th is judge will approach each class with the hope of finding the exhibit which will o ff er the most positive overall influence to the breed. Th ey will prioritize attributes based on that attribute’s importance to the soundness and type of our breed. and will keep in mind the origin of the breed and the requirement to “always remember the working origin of the breed.” Experience as a breeder will help the judge to appreciate the importance of good structure, balance and temperament. It will also help the judge to realize that a

“a JUDGe shOUlD alWays apprOaCh the ChOW WIthIN the raNGe Of the DOG’s vIsION.”

“JUDGING a Class Of ChOWs CaN be as exaCtING as GraDING a lItter, without the benefit of a pedigree to reference.”

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“the ChOW staNDarDs all reqUIre that OUr ChOWs be sqUare aND are qUIte explICIt abOUt the COrreCt prOpOrtIONs fOr the breeD.”

“One of the key factors in

vision and if approached from the side or from the rear, may be startled by an unex- pected hand. After completing examina- tion of the head, the judge should con- tinue their hands-on examination in an uninterrupted flow, moving from front to side to rear. One of the key factors in evaluation is the balance and proportion of the exhibit. Th is may be referred to as the “make and shape” of the dog. Th e Chow standards all require that our Chows be square and are quite explicit about the correct proportions for the breed. Th e judge must carefully examine the head of the chow to determine if there are any disqualifications. Th e AKC standard defines the breed disqualifications (which are all on the head): Chow Chow Disqualifications (AKC standard) Drop ear or ears. A drop ear is one which breaks at any point from its base to its tip or which is not carried sti ffl y erect but lies parallel to the top of the skull. evaluation is the balaNCe aND prOpOrtION Of the exhIbIt.”

“the JUDGe mUst CarefUlly examINe the heaD Of the ChOW tO DetermINe If there are aNy DIsqUalIfICatIONs.”

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“While primarily a companion today, hIs WOrkING OrIGIN mUst alWays be remembereD WheN assessING trUe ChOW type.”

ative of proper or improper structure. Th e chow chow’s stilted gait can only be evalu- ated from the side. 4uotH IroP thH AKC Chow Chow ErHHd standard “General Appearance – Characteris- tics – An ancient breed of northern Chi- nese origin, this all-purpose dog of China was used for hunting, herding, pulling and protection of the home. While pri- marily a companion today, his working origin must always be remembered when assessing true Chow type. A powerful, sturdy, squarely built, upstanding dog of Arctic type, medium in size with strong muscular development and heavy bone. Th e body is compact, short coupled, broad and deep, the tail set high and car- ried closely to the back, the whole sup- ported by four straight, strong, sound legs. Viewed from the side, the hind legs have little apparent angulation and the hock joint and metatarsals are directly beneath the hip joint. It is this structure which produces the characteristic shorter,

stilted gait unique to the breed. Th e large head with broad, flat skull and short, broad and deep muzzle is proudly car- ried and accentuated by a ru ff . Elegance and substance must be combined into a well balanced whole, never so massive as to outweigh his ability to be active, alert and agile. Clothed in a smooth or an o ff - standing rough double coat, the Chow is a masterpiece of beauty, dignity and naturalness. Essential to true Chow type are his unique blue-black tongue, scowl- ing expression and stilted gait.” BIO Love Banghart and her husband Bob have been actively involved with loving, breeding and showing Chow chows since the mid 1970s. Love is an AKC special- ist judge and has judged the US Chow club National Specialty twice, as well as specialties in Japan, Australia, New Zea- land, Canada and Italy. She writes the Chow column for the AKC Gazette and has held most o ffi ces in the parent club through the years.

Nose spotted or distinctly other color than black, except in blue Chows which may have solid blue or slate noses. Th e top surface or edges of the tongue red or pink or with one or more spots of red or pink. Th e standard documents the qualities which determine “chow type”. Th e stilted gait, the square pro fi le, dark blue-black pigmentation of the tongue, and the distinct scowl. Further examination must be performed to evaluate the front assem- bly structure, the body and rear structures and proper coat texture. Gait is also indic-

“ClOtheD IN a smOOth Or aN OffstaNDING rOUGh DOUble COat, the ChOW Is a masterpIeCe Of beaUty, DIGNIty aND NatUralNess.”

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