“I continue on to determine if the forequarters have proper slope of the shoulders, MODERATELY LAID BACK BUT CLEAN AND POWERFUL.”
expression. And as they are a breed that both beats the bush and retrieves from the water the standard says, “Set almost flush, the eyes are comparatively small and almond shaped with tight eyelids.” When checking the bite remember that the standard does say “scissor or level”. Next I examine the coat starting with the unique breed characteristic topknot. Th is should be long, loose curls that fall over the ears. And this is also the time to examine the ears to see that they are “long, lobular, set low” and also covered with “long loose curls of hair.” As I move on to the shoulders I should see a transition in coat to the basic body coat which should be “covered with dense, tight, crisp curls.” I continue on to determine if the fore- quarters have proper slope of the shoul- ders, moderately laid back but clean and powerful. Th e standard says, “ Th e entire front gives the impression of strength with- out heaviness.”
Next I am looking for well sprung ribs “as to give a barrel shape.” I move on to determine if the “loin is short, wide, mus- cular and deep so it does not give a tucked- up appearance.” As I arrive to the hindquarters it again is important to think of the stan- dard. “Sound hindquarters are of great importance to provide drive and power while swimming. They are as high as or slightly higher than he shoulders with powerful, muscular, well-developed thighs. The hips are wide. The croup is rounded and full with the tail set on low enough to give a rounded appearance. The stifles are moderately bent. Hocks are set low and moderately bent.” And finally the tail. The “Rat-Tail” is a breed characteristic. The dense curls should continue from the body onto the first two to three inches of the base of the tail. From there to the tip the coat should be smooth. The tail is thick at the base and tapers as you get to the tip.
It is now time to move the dog on the common down and back. Th e standard says the gait “should be true, precise and not slurring”. But this breed can have a “characteristic rolling motion accentuated by the barrel-shaped rib cage.” After examining the dogs individu- ally, moving them on the down and back and around I will once again take the class around together as I make my final determination of placements. I am taking that last look with the desire to make sure I have found the best of the sportsman’s dogs. The dog that could go out and work all day if necessary cover- ing ground with balance and minimal effort that can only be found in a well balanced, well conditioned and prop- erly structured sporting dog. A “strongly built moderate gundog.”
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