ShowSight Presents The Australian Shepherd

“RELYING SOLELY ON SIZE IS NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE ISSUE.”

only stated preferred sizes, that are fur- ther explained as not set in stone by the “quality is not to sacrificed in favor of size” statement. This basically implies that any size Australian Shepherd that is of quality is allowed—any size. Supposedly, the most obvious differ- ence is the size of the exhibits, but is this truly the way to determine a breed in the group ring? No! The MAS has a specific size range and size disqualifications for males and females: s 3IZE(EIGHTFORDOGSISINCHES UPTOANDINCLUDINGINCHESATTHE top of the withers. Height for bitch- ESISINCHESUPTOANDINCLUDING INCHESATTHETOPOFWITHERS s $ISQUALIlCATIONUNDERINCHES ANDOVERINCHESFORDOGSUNDER INCHESANDOVERINCHESFOR bitches. The minimum heights set forth in this breed standard shall not apply to dogs or bitches under six months of age. The Australian Shepherd breed stan- dard states: s 3IZE4HEPREFERREDHEIGHTFORMALES IS INCHESANDFEMALES  inches. Quality is not to be sacri- ficed in favor of size. At first glance one might assume that this is clearly the way to identify and distinguish between the two breeds in the group ring. The Australian Shep- herd is obviously the larger of the two, right? Not necessarily. It is entirely possible to have an Australian Shepherd in the group ring “if you are riNgSide aNd Notice that there Might be aN iSSue for the group Judge, take poSitive StepS to aSSiSt.”

are presented. If the ring steward is proactive with the table this might help determine which dog/breed should be judged on the table. As handlers there are also potential, yet subtle and creative solutions. If you think that there will be an issue for the judge determining which breed is which, agree to have the Aussie go in first in all of these instances. While it is an informal solution, if adopted and practiced, it has potential to assist in the issue. As exhibitors we can also assist, by being knowledgeable about this issue and assisting a judge whenever possible and appropriate. If you are ringside and notice that there might be an issue for the group judge, take positive steps to assist. Quietly informing the handlers and/or the ring steward ahead of time might help. If we choose other less solution- oriented and pro-active options, addi- tional unintended consequences and potentially detrimental results will be felt by the Australian Shepherd and MAS breeds in the future. about the author Breeder/owner/handler Nannette Newbury is currently approved in AKC to judge the Australian Shepherd and has provisional status in AKC to judge the Miniature American Shepherd. Nannette is the former editor of the Australian Shepherd Journal and for- mer Judge’s Education Coordinator for USASA.

that is smaller than the MAS in the same group ring. So how are Herding group judges going to be able to deter- mine which animal is the MAS (with a size disqualification and judged on the table) and which animal is the Austra- lian Shepherd with NO size disqualifica- tion and not to be judged on the table? Relying solely on size is not going to solve the issue. There is no one answer to this incredibly interesting question. I can tell you that if we do nothing as a breed to help these judges, the most obvious solution is to impose breed size ranges and disqualifications on the Australian Shepherd. The long-term and disastrous consequences of this potential solution should be avoided at all costs. Howev- er the pressure to do so will mount in years to come—an unintended and pre- dicted consequence of the breed split. What can We do? In light of the fact that an AKC judge cannot ask an exhibitor what breed they are showing in the group ring, what can we do to help ensure that this does not become an out-of-control issue between the two breeds in the group ring? A judge can check the judge’s book prior to the group entering the ring. Each exhibit is listed by breed and arm- band number. This will work up to a POINT HOWEVER WHEN BOTH THE -!3 and the Aussie have the same armband number, this solution will not work. The group ring steward can assist somewhat in helping if both exhibits

Left: Miniature american Shepherd. right: australian Shepherd.

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