ЖJasa aRso q&A
with jAn Bruton, Beverly A. drAke, don evAnS, don l. hAnSon, CArolyn herBel, BArBArA SChwArtz & BArBArA (BoBBie) j. wood
and breeding dogs since 1971. I waited until I had received my Breeder Register of Merit status from the American Lhasa Apso club to start judging. I was approved to judge Lhasas and juniors in 1982 and really enjoyed it. 1. Describe the breed in 3 words. JB: Assertive, smart and affectionate. BD: The breed is loyal, smart and funny—not necessarily in that order. DE: Sturdy, elegant and intelligent. DH: Even though our breed has one of the shortest stan- dards, it is difficult to edit that down to three words, but I will give it a try: balance, head and coat. CH: Independent, natural and coated. BS: Elegant, agile and sturdy. BW: Beautiful, hairy and balanced. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? JB: The right balance/profile, a beautiful head with a soft expression, sound structure and a sturdy body under the coat and a level top line while moving out effortlessly and with purpose. BD: The traits I most look for in breeding and judging are structure (which, when correct will give fluid movement in the breed), outline with level back, slightly longer than tall and most of all, excellent temperament. DE: Head and expression, balance, level topline. DH: I am looking for a Lhasa, a sturdy little dog, that is prop- erly balanced, a rectangular—not square—box; a head that is properly proportioned which results in a pleasing expression; proper coat texture; and balance front to rear resulting in freely moving smooth gait with level topline and good carriage. CH: Although it is a short standard, size, proper coat tex- ture, head proportions and tail carriage are the traits that best describe the Apso. Because the Apso is a survival- developed canine in its country of origin, Tibet, all these traits must be in concordance for survival in such a rug- ged, extreme environment. BS: Proper longer-than-tall proportion; correct expression; correct coat texture; free flowing, balanced movement with tail carried over the back. BW: A beautiful, correct head with a soft expression, good coat texture, a well-balanced dog both standing and mov- ing and a smooth gait with equal reach and drive. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? JB: I haven’t noticed any recently. BD: The one thing that is becoming exaggerated in the breed is a high kick in the rear, which is not correct. As a judge, I would like to see more consistency in breed type. Also, I would like to see better balance and a smooth moving gait. DE: Overall I believe that the breed has remained relatively consistent over the years with only minor bumps in the road. At this point in time, I do not see any particular trait that I fear becoming exaggerated in the foreseeable future. DH: I believe Lhasa breeders are being conscientious in breeding dogs that adhere to the standard. In the past
there have been issues that appeared problematic, but recently I have not observed any traits that consistently appear. If anything I would suggest the fancy needs to pay attention to shoulder layback and rear angles, which result in limited reach and exaggerated drive and questionable toplines. CH: Too much emphasis on growing long hair, too many baths which makes the coat very soft. Using products to make the softened coat more manageable makes it hard to assess the proper texture, which would be an asset for survival in Tibet. With all this attention to coat, much has been lost in structure. Faults are hidden by excessive coat, judicial trimming or being unable to assess struc- ture because of so much coat. The structure should be what is essential for a small, normally built trotting dog. To be correct there should be no exaggeration in struc- ture or movement. BS: In recent years there appears to be a tendency toward more refinement in bone and body. Over angulated rears and lack of proper front angulation and fore chest are also concerns. Coats are quite glamorous, and it appears that a great deal of emphasis is placed on coat, rather than structure. BW: I see a lot of different heads and I worry that certain heads are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Our standard calls for a narrow back skull and a 1/3 to 2/3 length on muzzle to back skull with a moderate stop. I am also surprised that so many dogs these days have incorrect toplines. Although it is not mentioned in our standard, there are many dogs that are high in the rear and are being rewarded with important wins. They do go through growing stages, but most breeders are agreed that the topline should be level at maturity both standing and moving. 4. Do you think dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? JB: Since I’ve only been judging a short time, I don’t see that they are better or worse. Years ago, there were many more Lhasas being shown and the breed had many out- standing breeders. Thus, the competition may have been stronger—more Lhasas, more to choose from—whereas today there are fewer truly outstanding examples of the breed being shown. BD: I think, overall, structure has improved. We are seeing a much straighter front. I am sad though, to see how we are losing the forechest. Heads also seem to have improved, although I am still seeing a short length of muzzle, in some instances. DE: Although I believe that certain aspects of the breed, such as attitude and bites, have improved since the 1970s, I do not necessarily believe that the dogs of today are substantially better than when I first started judging in 1992. While grooming has, over the years, become more of an art, the dogs themselves have generally maintained the functional characteristics of the breed. CH: Yes, heads are better proportionally. When I started many heads looked like poor Shih Tzu heads—i.e. too short muzzle, too broad heads, too deep stops and too undershot bites.
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