Showsight Presents The Pointer

“enSure ThaT The bOTTOm Of The dOg’S muzzle iS in a parallel plane TO The grOund TO ObServe The plane On The TOP OF THE HEAD.”

or as scissors.” Th is sentence compounds a huge amount of information. Th e jaw (bone structure and teeth) ends square and level (so, for instance, not like a Greyhound). Th e front incisors may meet evenly or as scissors, and from the experience of those of us in the breed for a very long time, some judges still do not seem to grasp that a scissors bite is not to be preferred over a level bite. Ago- nizing over each little incisor at the expense of the overall quality of the entire animal is micromanaging the judging process. Th ere is no question that hound breeds were introduced into the mix in the early centuries of this breed’s development, and as such, characteristics such as heavy, floppy lips and longish, thick ears should be selected against. “ Th e muzzle should be deep without pendulous flews.” Early hound and setter/spaniel influence can result in longer, lower set ears than are desirable (“...ears ...set on at eye level. When hanging naturally, they should reach just below the lower jaw, close to the head, with little or no folding. Th ey should be somewhat pointed at the tip—never round—and soft and thin in leather”). Soft and thin-leathered ears are distinctive in this breed. Th e veins of the ear should be visible. Th e ear should not be “long” or setter-like. Just place your hand under the ear and hold it in your hand. If it feels thick and inflexible, somewhat like a bea- gle ear, or is set low and folded like a setter ear, or long and heavy like a bloodhound, it is atypical for a Pointer. Pointers are gloriously beautiful when galloping through the fields. Th e gallop is the gait most utilized by a hunting dog. Curiously, the movement of a show dog is

only evaluated at the trot. A visualization of a bunch of handlers running full tilt around a show ring with their galloping dogs is sort of hilarious. But galloping is how this breed still earns a living. Slowing this conversation down to a trot, however, let us talk about how a well-built Pointer should move. Front reach and rear drive are easy to see, but HOW MUCH reach and drive is present is NOT necessar- ily easy to discern. Try to watch the steps being taken by the dog (although handler error contributes mightily to evaluating movement, usually negatively!). Many steps or fewer steps when covering the same dis- tance—which dog covers the same amount of ground with less action? Th e answer to that is probably the one that has su ffi cient angulation in the front and rear. Good reach in the front, without “hack- ney action,” is a result of su ffi cient and balanced lengths and layback of scapula and upper arm. Lifting a standing dog’s paw will easily reveal the angle of its shoul- der assembly (if you cannot easily tell just by looking or physical exam). Trace the upper arm back to just below the elbow and visualize the angles formed by the shoulder assembly. Th ese are living, breathing ani- mals and not constructed by computer- programmed machines, so approximation is the goal here, and the most desirable characteristic is that the scapula and the humerus approximate the same length. A mature Pointer in good condition should have a depth of brisket that reaches to the elbow (“...Chest, deep rather than wide, must not hinder free action of fore- legs”). Th ere may be slight air under the elbows because this is a pointing breed

192 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2014

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