Showsight Presents the Standard Schnauzer

4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? MLJ: The majority of the breeders are doing a good job and the overall quality has steadily improved not only since I have been judging but also over the many years we have been competing. I believe that as newer people to the breed have the opportunity to see better dogs they will develop an eye for the correct Schnauzer and as dogs that are campaigned travel more, these new people will have greater ability to learn. GM: Overall yes, there is more depth of quality although frankly, many of the best dogs of the 60s and 70s would hold their own now quite nicely. It is not a breed that has changed too much physically in the last 50 years, although presentation has improved. We see far fewer dogs pushing the top of the standard and very few timid dogs; this was not uncommon when I started in the breed. However, it is not a numerically large breed and we still see a lot of variation in type from show to show and region to region. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MLJ: Standard Schnauzers are a Working breed. As the SSCA Companion events chairperson I can tell you that Stan- dard Schnauzers are earning many, many more Working- type titles than Championship titles. They are excellent tracking dogs, they are earning herding titles, obedience titles, agility titles and the other titles such as therapy, barn hunt, coursing, etc. When judging them, think to yourself, ‘Working.’ Besides the required robust, square, wire coat and intelligence, do they have the structure, conditioning and attitude to do a day’s work? GM: I think all standard Schnauzer fanciers would agree the most egregious error is thinking the breed is somehow related to Terriers—and judging them as such. It is a Working breed descended from rough-coated farm dogs found throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and has no links to the British Terriers. In fact, a recent DNA study of 115 breeds (as well as wild canids), found their closest relatives, besides the other schnauzers, to be the Pinschers and more distantly, the German Shepherd Dog (Parker, 2012). 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? MLJ: I would like to share a moment I will never forget. I was judging Utility at an Obedience Trial and there was an exhibitor competing who was seriously disabled due to muscular dystrophy and he had a handsome Standard Schnauzer. On the first day of the Trial, I heard that the dog that only needed one more leg for his UD title only made a small mistake but in Utility that is all it takes for

an NQ (Non-Qualifying score). On Sunday, he wheeled into my ring and what an amazing dog he had. The handler had extremely limited movement so just a flick of a finger was a signal to the dog. The “go-out” signal was a slight movement of a foot. They had been doing beautifully and it was the last exercise. The dog took the jump perfectly and before he even landed the huge group of fellow exhibitors exploded into cheers. I stood in the middle of the ring with tears streaming down my face and feeling foolish until I looked up to see lots and lots of exhibitors also wiping away tears. How hard it must have been to put in the many, many hours of training required for a Utility title. What an amazing handler. What a great Standard Schnauzer. What an inspiration! GM: One’s first impression should be of a medium-sized, solid, robust square-built dog—agile, sound, lively and alert. The dog should stand four-square with a slightly sloping topline, moderate angulation with good let-down of hocks. One of the breed’s founders in Germany empha- sized that “the animals must have nobility”—a look that come from a cleanly arched neck and the typical Schnauzer down-the-nose look. I should add, judges may start to see more dogs with undocked tails; imports have always been tremendously important to maintain- ing a strong gene pool in our numerically small breed and docking bans now affect most source countries. The Standard Schnauzer Club of America’s policy is for judges to judge the dog and accept the tail; that is, it is not a reason to ignore or withhold ribbons. And please note: uncropped ears have been allowed since the AKC first recognized the breed. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? GM: This happened over 30 years ago so hopefully not many folks remember. It was the day after our National and the rain was torrential. Our ring was down-slope and had two inches of standing water in it. Thankfully, I had finished my class bitch the day before so only had my special to lug to the tent (they would not let us drive up to unload). We sloshed through the classes and it finally came time for Best of Breed. The judge made his first cut and I was out—and not too unhappy about it! Next cut and only five or six specials were left, one a BIS dog and several top-winning bitches. The judge pulled out the dog for BOB and turned take a final look at the bitches. In the rain and mud, he neglected to see a tent stake and tripped, putting out his hands to catch his fall, he made a perfect “two-point” landing on the rather ample bosom of one the bitches’ handlers! For a moment time stood still, then the judge beat a hasty retreat with a red face and profuse apologies. (He gave that bitch the BOS rosette, but we still argue to this day which of the pair was really Best of Opposite Sex!)

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