Showsight Presents The Maltese

Maltese A DISCUSSION ABOUT TYPE

R ecently I had a phone call from an established breeder with a question about type. With the conversation we had, I felt it would make an excellent topic for this month’s column. The discussion was on confirming what type is. Interestingly, in one of our dog magazines the same discussion was brought up at around the same time. Many people confuse type with fashion or their own preferences in what they want to see in a dog. Type in a breed is set and defined by the standard. The description of breed character and correct silhouette, head, movement, coat, and overall balance is told to the breeders by the AKC standard for our breed. The standard is what breeders should be trying to replicate to create our ideal Maltese. The standard is the keeper of our breed. It is written to set the bar and describe what makes our breed specific and different from other breeds! At one of our national specialties, the late Mr. Richard Beauchamp gave one of his famous and informative programs about the “five elements of type,” and a breeder stood up and said they liked the baby-doll heads and the big eyes. Mr. Beauchamp’s polite response was, “Then you need to breed another breed, as you are not breeding what your standard calls for in a Mal- tese.” That was so well said. The standard calls for type in its description of an ideal Maltese. When people say there are different types in various parts of the country, they are referring to styles. These terms should not be interchanged. Just because one part of the country may have dogs that are little and small boned, and in oth- er areas the dogs may be bigger, with different heads or coats, that is not refer- ring to type. Yes, there is a range within our standard; this does not make one style right or wrong, providing it is still within what the standard calls for. Proper balance is very important, as our standard states in many places that everything is medium, with nothing extreme. There are people who talk about “angles,” but our standard never men- tions angles—or planes, or other terms written in other standards. It is also interesting to note the styles of topknots used by those who are trying to create round heads and short noses. Again, this is not what our standard calls for. Unfortunately, many of the new beauty aids, like hair straighteners and other new products, have been used to change what our dogs look like, and many coats are not what they actually appear to be. Breed- ers who rely on such products are only fooling themselves to the detriment of their breeding programs by creating coat qualities that the dog does not have naturally. Even though different breeders like different styles of dogs, they all should be breeding sound dogs that are of the same type as described by our AKC Maltese standard. I hope everyone has great holidays and a great new year!

BY DARYL MARTIN

This article originally appeared in the Maltese column of the December 2017 AKC Gazette and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

288 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020

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