Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Breed Magazine - Showsight


are disqualified. (These colors also don’t have the manda- tory black nose leather). In addition, judges need only to check the bite of the Swissy; full mount examination is not necessary as we do not count teeth! Only the Berner requires full dentition. Also, often these large breeds aren’t given enough room to properly evaluate movement in the breed ring. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. CB: I am so proud of the breeders continuing to help their breed get progressively better. Their people are as nice as the dogs. CC: These are nice dogs and are very adaptable to most any living situation. Please do not ever reward a dog that does not have a good temperament! 7. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? CB: Since I tend to be the fashion police, one of my exhibi- tors keeps reminding me of the time I told her to go get her raincoat, even if it didn’t match her new dress! CC: So many shows, so many laughs from having a Rottwei- ler decide that the Golden next to him in the obedience ring was too beautiful to resist, losing my slip and having our help bring the wrong dog in for reserve. The list goes on and on! HN: While working with my Swissy, I tripped over his very large feet and landed forcefully on my shoulder, tearing the rotator cuff. Everyone was quite concerned for me, but I reassured them that all was well as it was only my right shoulder that was injured. The puzzled look on their faces required further explanation: I needed my left shoulder and arm to show my dog in an upcoming Spe- cialty. Surgery would have to wait until afterwards. “THESE ARE NICE DOGS AND ARE VERY ADAPTABLE TO MOST ANY LIVING SITUATION.”

many thanks to the dedication of our breeders. When I started breeding we had to put parts together to try to get close to meeting the standard. Now we have many good dogs, not just parts of good dogs. HN: When I first became interested in Swissys and attended their first AKC National Specialty in Kentucky in 1995, I was impressed with their large size and great muscled substance. At subsequent large venues and at the National I judged a few years ago, there were dogs exhibited that fit that description, but it seems that at smaller, local shows today the dogs competing are smaller, more ele- gant examples. Originally breeders were breeding dogs for their drafting, working ability: a good, strong farm dog. Today’s breeders may be focusing on breeding dogs for the show ring and looking for group wins with flashy movement. I think our dogs’ health and longevity have improved over the years, although our time with them is never long enough. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? CB: That the GSMD is a smooth Berner! CC: I think that new judges spend far too much time obsess- ing about markings and size. The standard describes the ideal markings but also clearly states that defects of structure and temperament are to be judged more severely because they reduce the animal’s capacity to work. Markings should be used as a tie breaker but unless they detract so significantly from what is described in the standard they should never take precedent over sound temperament, structure and movement. Also there is a huge variation in size that is acceptable in the stan- dard. Dogs from 25 ½ " to 28 ½ " are equally correct and bitches from 23 ½ " to 27". Often new judges get hung up on bigger is better, rewarding an oversized dog while overlooking a dog that is at the bottom of the standard as too small. The dogs that are in the middle of the standard tend to be our best working dogs and more suited to their historical job than the very large dogs. HN: I would hope new judges would study our standard carefully along with the Bernese Mountain Dog standard and note the differences. Markings seem to be troublesome for some judges, often overlooking the brightly marked Swissy. Structure for good working abil- ity takes precedence over markings. Likewise, a white tip on the tail is desirable, but not necessary. Black coat color, undercoat color and agouti (banded) hair seem to cause confusion. Undercoat must be present and can be showing; the undercoat color is not a factor. The Swissy is a black dog with red and white markings. Dogs that are red and white or blue (charcoal), red and white


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