JUDGING THE WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER
DR. GERRY G. MEISELS
C onformation judges hold the long-term future of the breeds they judge in their hands. Half a century ago, a few knowledgeable judges such as Alva Rosenberg and Billy Kendrick could influence the development of a breed because there were fewer shows and fewer judges. Today, there are thousands of shows; and nearly six hundred judges are approved for Westies. These judges now collectively share the responsibility to help guide our breed’s development. To meet this responsibility, they must evaluate not only those characteristics that are common to many breeds, such as movement, they must also understand type and use it in their decision-making. The following discussion assumes that you, the reader, have thorough knowledge of the standard and of canine anatomy and movement. Judging requires the ability to see and evaluate type, structure, and movement, and especially, a clear understanding of what is important in the breed. This understand- ing underlies the ability to judge the whole dog rather than a single feature, such as shoulder layback or front movement. Seeing and judging the whole dog is essential to good judging. Examination of Westies follows a process that parallels the approach most judges use for all breeds. However, at each step, the evaluation must pay special attention to those aspects of conformation that help to define Westie type. Not all judges do this in exactly the same way, so the following description is only that of a typical approach. The evaluation begins at the moment when the class first enters the ring and the handlers set up their dogs. The outline or silhouette alone should immediately say, “This is a Westie.” You should see a level topline, and proper balance or proportions of the parts. The standard is clear about some aspects that can be translated into the draw- ing below, based on an 11-inch male. For a 12-inch dog, these measurements would, of course, be proportionally longer; for a 10-inch dog or bitch, proportionally shorter.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2021 | 271
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