JUDGING FOR YOURSELF BY CYNTHIA MAHIGIAN MOORHEAD O ne of the first things a judge looks at when the dogs enter a ring is the overall shape and silhouette of You be the judge. And remember, a judge should judge each dog against the standard, not against the other dogs in the ring. FIRST PLACE
Here I have caricatured eight Bear- die outlines. I have omitted markings, colour, eyes, and most other details in order to present a less confusing task. I have exaggerated some aspects for clarity’s sake. Assume that the dogs are in essentially the same condition, are groomed and presented comparatively alike. Assume they are all well within the standard as far as size goes and approximately the same age. These are all distractions which we can arbitrarily do away with graphically, but don’t get bogged down in problems inherent in drawings... this is a learning tool. This, then, is your Open Dog class. They come in and go around the ring (a nice, large, flat one) and stand, as a class, for your examination. You are doing your first overview. Look care- fully at each, concentrating on the shape and overall structure. What does it tell you? How do you place them?
the animals. That initial impression is a very important one and often colors the way a judge will later perceive the dog in the hands–on portion of his/her examination. The Beardie possesses a unique outline, one that should imme- diately impress judge and spectator alike with its unmistakable shape. Too often we lose sense of the overall, and get bogged down in the specifics... how is the head? What about the shoul- ders? The loin? The tail? Even, how is it groomed? What color is it? It is the sum of all these points, after all, which defines the breed; taken singly they are essentially out of context. And yet, judge and spectator alike seem to have more problems visualizing the whole than the parts.
If you picked Beardie E, you and I are in agreement. However, if you picked Beardie C, you have a very good case, too. Beardie E wins in my mind on three points over C: length and straightness of back, balance, and head. E’s body is longer than it is high, in the approxi- mate five to four ratio. His back is level and blends smoothly into the curve of the rump. The tail is set low. The shoul- ders are well laid–back at an approxi- mate 45 degree angle. The neck is in proportion to the length of the body, strong and slightly arched, and blends smoothly into the shoulders. The hind legs have well-bent stifles, the hocks are low, but not excessively so. They are
220 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2017
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