Showsight August 2020


pictured top to bottom: Figure 5. Poodle Show Trim .c 1980 and Figure 6. Poodle Show Trim c. 2007

shorter mane coats, less ear feathering and shorter topknots, all presenting a more elegant outline to the breed (see Figures 5 & 6). The Cocker Spaniel stan- dard describes the coat as “the ears, chest, abdomen and legs are well feathered, but not so excessively as to hide the Cocker Spaniel’s true lines and movement or affect his appearance and function as a sporting dog.” In the same paragraph, one also finds, “exces- sive or curly or cottony textured coat is to be penal- ized.” For the past decade, many Cockers have been shown with an exaggerated amount of coat. There are many coated breeds which can be included in the “shown in excessive coat” category and, we can only suggest that if you think too much hair is a detriment to the outline of your breed, don’t be afraid to show a truly excellent specimen that does not have exces- sive coat. Eventually, you will find judges who will appreciate this fact and you will do your just amount of winning. Another trend that has become popular is show- ing dogs on tight leads. This practice may have been used by exhibitors attempting to minimize certain faults and it has been copied so often that many new- comers think it is the thing to do to win. A tight lead does help to disguise certain faults: A dog with a bad front, bad pasterns, out at the elbows, loaded in shoul- ders or with splay feet, etc., looks less faulty when coming toward a judge because the tight lead takes the weight off the front as the dog gaits. However, many dogs do not have faults that need this type of disguise and the tight lead would only cause an unnatural gait

in a perfectly good dog. It is not uncommon to stand at ringside and see decent dogs so choked up on tight leads that their front feet hardly touch the ground. A handler does not accomplish much by restricting a dog’s movement. Most judges become so suspi- cious when they see a dog moving on a tight lead that they automatically assume there is something wrong. It is not worth destroying the overall picture of freedom and balance of movement by gaiting a dog in an obvi- ously restricted manner. Camouflage may work occasionally but, in the majority of cases, knowledgeable judges will know what you’re trying to hide. There are many other examples of trends and fads that an entire book could be devoted to the subject but, in conclusion, let us reiterate: Learn all you can about your breed’s history. Get to know your standard for it is a blueprint for your breed. Make a commitment to show only the best dogs. Don’t do anything without knowing why you are doing it and then be sure that it is correct for your breed. Don’t copy—much harm has been done to so many breeds because of the wrong type winning. If you have any questions or comments or would like to schedule a seminar contact me at .


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