Showsight Presents The Lhasa Apso

ЖJasa aRso q&A

with jAn Bruton, Beverly A. drAke, don evAnS, don l. hAnSon, CArolyn herBel, BArBArA SChwArtz & BArBArA (BoBBie) j. wood

BS: Unfortunately, no. There are fewer Lhasas being shown and many of our master breeders are no longer breed- ing. I miss seeing Lhasas that float when they move with beautiful head and tail carriage and flowing coat. BW: Yes, I do feel that Lhasas are better than many years ago in many ways. I have seen a great improvement in balance. Years ago there was a tendency to breed dogs that were too square, but at this time the balance is far more consistent with the standards request for “Longer than tall” or rectangle. I also think bites have improved over the years as I see far fewer scrambled bites. Also the size has become more consistent with most dogs falling into the 10- to 11-inch requirement. I know that we have lost many excellent breeders either through retirement or passing but the breeders that had their bloodlines have continued to produce dogs that are true to their mentors. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand? JB: Because our numbers are so few, I think it is difficult for new judges to get experience with really good dogs. They seem to have trouble with coats/coat texture. Is it perhaps because correct coat texture is not found on every exhibit so they get very little experience with it? They also need to pay more attention to the expression under the head fall. We don’t like to see down faces, prominent round eyes, close set eyes, too short or too long muzzles, bites too undershot—and the heavy head fall covers up a lot of these head faults that effect expression. BD: New judges tend to judge on how much coat is on the dog and how well it is groomed, instead of correct coat texture, structure, head type and movement. Think also of what this breed was doing in Tibet. Judges should be putting up medium boned dogs, capable of climbing the steps of Tibet. DE: A judge new to Lhasas should not be under the impres- sion that the brevity of the Lhasa standard indicates a lack of important characteristics that are not specifi- cally addressed in the standard. A prime example is that of movement. Although not currently addressed in the standard, a Lhasa should exhibit a smooth and free-flowing gait. There should be no tendency toward hackney or exaggerated lift in the front and there should be good drive from the rear, in balance with the front, without exaggerated kick-up. In addition, one should remember that the breed is a sturdy and moderate one; it is not a Toy breed and should not exhibit Toy charac- teristics. A judge new to Lhasas should also review the ALAC Illustrated Guide to the Standard and if they have questions contact an ALAC-approved breed mentor and/ or the Chairman of the ALAC Judges Education or Breed Standard Committee. DH: One thing in our breed, particularly for new judges who are not familiar with coated breeds, is that our breed can be very illusionary. They can look different on hard sur- face than on the grass; the balance can appear different on the table and on the go; and careful attention must be given on the go—both side gait and the down and back. Judges should always make sure to verify what they find under the hair on the table is realized in movement. CH: New judges may not understand that the coat is double with a distinct difference between the outer coat,

which is hard and heavy, and the undercoat, which is short and soft and will shed seasonally. The gait should be normal; it is not supposed to have a high head carriage. BS: There is far more to this breed than coat. You must put your hands on the dogs to appreciate the underlying structure. BW: At this time, I feel sorry for new judges trying to learn our breed, as entries have fallen so far that often they will have none to judge. When they do have some, it’s more like just handing out ribbons to what’s there. New judges need dogs to judge and make decisions based on their knowledge of the breed. They need to see good heads so they know when they see a good head. They need to see correct balance and feel correct coat texture. I know that we have a very brief standard but it does say what we think is important about the breed. It doesn’t mention movement or backline but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t move or have a normal level backline. Exhibitors have complained that judges have told them that they didn’t need to move as it wasn’t mentioned in our standard and that is incorrect. Based on our structure described in the standard, they should have a normal, smooth gait with equal reach and drive. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share? JB: Our standard is light on detail so I think it is important for those trying to learn our breed to study our Illustrated Guide. I personally like to keep the picture of the moving Lhasa Apso on our ALAC logo in my mind, always hoping to find it in the ring—every now and then I do! BD: Anyone owning a Lhasa Apso will tell you, that they are like children. They require consistent discipline. But, what a joy to have in your home. They are very dedicated to their owners and make wonderful companions. DE: The Lhasa should have a good depth of chest extending to or slightly below the elbow and the prosternum should be well developed. With respect to the Lhasa tail, and as presented on the ALAC website (, the Lhasa Apso has a tail set high enough to enable the tail to be carried well over the back. One should note that tail carriage may be dependent on attitude as well as struc- ture. In the standard, reference is made to "a low carriage of stern is a serious fault." This means the tail should be up and carried well over the back under normal circum- stances. When moving, a Lhasa Apso should carry the tail well over the back, to indicate that the tail can be carried high, but may drop the tail when standing or otherwise bored. The tail should, however, immediately flip up over the back as soon as the Lhasa Apso begins to move. DH: I am extremely fond of this breed. I honor the Lhasa heritage from Tibet and the purpose the breed served. They are extremely smart, and often will get ahead of their owners if not properly trained. But they make wonderful companions and live long, healthy lives. Show dogs need to be properly conditioned, resulting in a fit, properly muscled dog with well-maintained coat. They are wonderful at home and at the show. CH: Often the Apso Standard is referred to as very short and “doesn’t say anything”. My observation is that the precise things that are listed in the standard are not adhered to, so why would more descriptive adjectives be of benefit

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