Showsight August 2020

NON-SPORTING GROUP the BY DAVID MILLER This article was first published in the November 2016 issue of Showsight and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

G reetings everyone! My name is David Miller, aka Jean-David Laplanche. Do not let the two names startle you, however. I have extensive family and relations in France, therefore my French name is used in legal documents such as my passport. And, no, I am not in a witness protection program! I live in Mentor, Ohio, but am across the sea on many occasions for judging and visiting family and friends. I am the retired Department Chairperson for World Languages for a school system east of Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, I am a freelance pho- tographer whose pictures have been published in many international pub- lications. Just check out my Facebook page, of course, under the French name to access some of my pictures. The Non-Sporting Group is probably one of the most eclectic Groups we have in the American Kennel Club. After pursuing the Hound Group (my original breed being Salukis), I wanted a challenge. I set my sights upon the Non-Sporting breeds since I wanted to have a complete change of perspective as well as a diversity of priorities to focus upon. The Non- Sporting Group challenges the judge to center upon many breed-specific attributes that cross a spectrum of diversity, i.e., a Bulldog versus a Dalma- tian. This certainly challenges the eye and, I believe, stimulates a judge to sharpen their mental acuity of their craft. The movement of the Keeshond is definitely, and specifically, different of that of a Standard Poodle. A vast palette of differences makes this Group a wonderful Group to judge. The historical decisions for placing some of the breeds in this Group are somewhat blurry. The rhyme and reason for placing the dogs in this Group do not seem to follow a specific pattern regarding working style, coat, morphological styles, size, and origin. Therefore, as stated above, it is eclectic. Some people have advanced the argument that it is a dumping ground for certain breeds that one may be uncertain which Group they should be attributed to. My reasoning and observation dictates that the Group exists because it exists. No more conjecture than that! But what a historical and enriching Group it is, indeed. There is an immense and proven aspect of quality in this Group. Many of the breeds are heralded in the Best in Show ring and are rewarded on many occasions in the Best in Show ring. Everything in this Group is governed by type as it is in the other Groups. I was fortunate enough to give a seminar in India, taking Rick Beauchamp’s lecture on Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type , and expounding upon precepts regarding type. This has profoundly influenced my view of judging. Where is the plethora of breed type more evident than in this par- ticular Group? Talking about breed character, a foundation of type is the Poodle; a great example. Not only are you judging structure, coat and all other attributes, but you are judging if the specimen is “Poodley,” a component of this breed’s type. Movement, another foundation of breed type, is emphasized with the unencumbered movement of the Bulldog. The movement of the Keeshond is definitely, and specifically, different from that of a Standard Poodle. Silhouette: Can the judge discern the dif- ferences between the Boston, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Chow Chow, and


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