Showsight Presents the Sussex Spaniel

The Fault Section of the SUSSEX SPANIEL STANDARD

BY JOHN ROBERT LEWIS, JR.

A common question that judges ask concerns the origin of the “Faults” section of the standard. Prior to May 27, 1992, the AKC Standard for the Sussex Spaniel was a ver- batim copy of the British standard that was in effect in the United Kingdom circa 1890. This standard contains a list of positive points and negative points as shown here. During the early 1990s, the Sussex Span- iel Club of America (SSCA) decided to peti- tion the AKC for member status. Around the same time, the AKC embarked on a plan to convert all breed standards to a specific format. One of the conditions that the AKC imposed on parent clubs seeking member status was that the club had to change the standard to fit the AKC’s template. Because of this, the SSCA was forced to embark on a rewrite of the standard. Those on the com- mittee overseeing the project felt it impera- tive to keep as much of the wording of the previous standard intact so as not to change the appearance of the breed or introduce personal bias. Unfortunately, the AKC tem- plate did not allow for a Scale of Points. As of 1951, many of the breed standards had point scales. Sussex Spaniels were one of only two Sporting breeds that had dual point scales—one for positive points and one for negative points. (The other breed was the English Springer Spaniel.) These scales of points were a quick way for judges to mathematically rank exhibits accord- ing to which faults were more severe than others, and in the case of the Sussex, which features of the breed were more important than others.

POSITIVE POINTS Head......................................................................10 Eyes..........................................................................5 Nose.........................................................................5 Ears........................................................................10 Neck. .......................................................................5 Chest and shoulders.................................................5 Back and back ribs.................................................10 Legs and Feet.........................................................10 Tail. .........................................................................5 Coat.........................................................................5 Color...................................................................... 15 General appearance................................................15

Total ................................................................... 100

NEGATIVE POINTS

Light eyes.................................................................5 Narrow head..........................................................10 Weak muzzle..........................................................10 Curled ears or set on high........................................5 Curled coat............................................................15 Carriage of stern......................................................5 Topknot.................................................................10 White on chest.........................................................5 Color, too light or too dark....................................15 Legginess or light of bone........................................5 Shortness of body or flat sided.................................5 General appearance, sour or crouching..................15

Total ................................................................... 100

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