ShowSight Presents The Australian Shepherd

out of their own city to see different bloodlines or sit with mentors and study movement. In the years that I was involved with Judges’ Education, I saw very few new people attend the presentation to learn about the breed, yet they are producing litter after litter. It gets very frustrating. SM: Finding the quality dog you want to breed and knowl- edgeable caring homes. JS: I try to raise sound healthy dogs and do a lot of health testing. I wish we had a database like the Bernese Moun- tain Dogs do with health information on dogs. Their database is very in-depth. It takes a long time to build the information, but it is a great help for breeders to know more about the dogs in their pedigrees. I think being more open about health in any breed will help the breed in the future. JW: A global problem facing all breeders is the Animal Rights movement. Education of the public about the benefits of purebred dogs is greatly outpaced by the advertising of groups like HSUS and PETA. Your average pet owner believes the hype and they continue to donate to the coffers of those that would like to see the end of not only purebreds, but all dogs. Support the National Purebred Dog day and educate the public on the benefits of owning a purebred. 4. What is your advice to a new breeder? RB: Never, ever stop learning and continue to be mentored. Breed with the intention of keeping something for your- self to improve the breed. Don’t breed to something just because it is winning. Research pedigrees and breed to dogs that compliment your bitch both in structure and in pedigree. FM: Learn the breed standard inside and out. Be able to understand and apply it to the dogs. Don’t take criticism of your dogs so personal. You will never ever know it all. Keep an open mind, keep your mouth shut and your ears open. SM: Know and understand your standard in depth, qual- ity over quantity, always put the dogs best interest first. Listen and watch to learn, mentor under a knowledgeable person with a history of more than five years knowing and being involved in the breed. JS: For a new breeder or a new judge, go to a herding trial— better yet, go to several. Watch the Aussies work and you will see the importance of their soundness. I see dogs win in the show ring that would have a hard time doing the job they were bred to do. “...THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD SHOULD BE ABLE TO GO FROM THE SHOW RING TO WORKING STOCK TO FAMILY PET.”

JW: All new breeders need a non-judgmental mentor to help guide them in their breeding decisions. To help keep them from the heartache of poorly bred litters, guide them in raising the puppies to fulfill their potential, teaching about issues in whelping, and to assist in all aspects of keeping the attributes of an Aussie strong. 5. What is your advice to a new judge in the breed? RB: Remember that Aussies were bred to work stock all day, so they should be able to move effortlessly. Aussies should not be overly groomed or sculpted. JH: My advice to a new judge in the breed would be to not get lost in the glamour, coat and flashy markings—it’s not what we are about. Make them all the same solid color in your mind and select the best one. It might be very plainly marked and not be dripping in coat, but if it is, that’s okay too, just as long as it’s the best one. Don’t allow them to be raced around the ring as well. The Australian Shepherd should be sound coming and going with a balanced side gait and I want to see it at a moder- ate speed, preferably on a loose lead. FM: Try and look for type: Does this dog look like an Austra- lian Shepherd? Look for a strong back, moderate bone, body, ease of movement. SM: Know structure, learn how to see the actual dog without letting your eye be distracted, by the markings or colors, from what the breed standard calls for. In Australian Shepherds, balance, moderation are extremely important to maintain the versatility. This breed should hold a solid level top line while on the move showing a balance side gait without wasted motion and clean V shape coming and going. Know the disqualifications and why faults are mentioned so you will know to the extent of importance for it being listed. Quality should never be sacrificed due to size. Color and style vary in this breed so educate yourself to understand the variations. Never stop trying to learn all you can, talk to breeders and men- tors to know that the Australian Shepherd should be able to go from the show ring to working stock to family pet. It is a versatile breed that should not be divided by show, performance, and working. Always approach from the side for exam. JW: Know your standard and judge to it. The main complaint I hear from owner- handlers is there appears to be too much awarding of familiar faces regardless of the quality of the dog. Work closely with a mentor to understand the nuances of the breed across different lines and styles. Award the Aussie that best fits the standard regardless of the handler, color or size. One of my favorite articles is by Katie Gammill and I urge every new judge to read it, “Why the Stand-Out Best Dog Can Be A Loser”. A quote from the article reads, “It is a ‘Judas Kiss’ to any breed when a judge puts up a dog simply because it looks like the majority in the ring.” 6. Anything else you’d like to share? RB: Just because a judge breeds and/or owns a particular style of dog, doesn’t necessarily mean that is the style

254 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2017

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