ShowSight January 2019

follows function” and ‘balance”. Since this is to be a series concerning the structure and movement of the dog, a fitting introduction would be a discus- sion of these two terms. The architect, Louis Stevenson is credited with first saying, “Form ever follows function.” As breeders, we, like the architect, follow a set of blueprints which we call the Standard of Perfection for our individual breed. What does “form follows function” really mean? The definition of form is the visual appearance of something or someone (syn: form, shape, cast); any perceptual structure or any spatial attri- butes (especially as defined by outline) (syn: shape, conformation). While func- tion can be defined as what something is used for (syn: purpose, role, use, util- ity, usefulness) and also, to perform as expected when applied (syn: work, operate, go, run). From these defini- tions we can gather that the conforma- tion of the dog is defined by the pur- pose for which it was developed. Quite a simple concept, correct? Maybe not so simple to understand and put into a liv- ing, breathing form. In any display of function there are variations depending upon the task to be performed. Since each breed of dog varies from every other breed (either slightly or widely!) each breed would naturally be expected to perform according to the purpose for which it was developed with the added influenc- es of the climate and terrain over which it was expected to work. Some dogs were developed for the retrieval of a specific type of game, some to dispatch vermin, while others were to intimidate all comers by its mere appearance. Pur- poseful development carries all the way JOINED IN SPIRITUAL UNION.” “FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD FORM AND FUNCTION SHOULD BE ONE,

want to stress if you have a dog without its essential breed characteristics, then it matters little how that dog moves! We, who breed and show our dogs, are the “Keepers of the Standards.” It is our responsibility to know the Standard for our breed and the whys and where- fores of its history, development, pur- pose and function. In this day and age, it is rare for a dog to routinely perform the duties for which it was developed, but if we do not preserve their ability to do so, then why individual have breeds at all? AKC has many outlets in which to prove a dog’s working ability, if one has the inclination and time to do so. Enter- ing your dog in an instinct test for your breed can be eye-opening. I will never forget the electricity that went through my dog the first time he saw livestock! In a discussion with a Norwegian friend who is both a herding trial and con- formation judge, she quoted a Scottish Border Collie breeder, who said to her, “In my country, we have dogs because we have sheep. In the USA, they have sheep because they have dogs.” A state- ment that says a lot about those who are willing to prove and preserve our chosen breeds’ original purpose. Even so, working ability means nothing if the dog does not look like its breed. Type is of primary importance. Movement is an integral part of type. They can- not be separated. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is credited with the statement,

“Form follows function has been mis- understood. Form and function should be one, joined in spiritual union.” This statement definitely relates to the fact that type encompasses the whole dog and each dog should move as his purpose dictates. From the Great Dane to the Chihua- hua, each breed should look, act and move a certain way. The dog’s function can be anything from cattle control to serving as a companion and pleas- ing the eye of the owner. It cannot be emphasized enough that you show know your Standard. You should know the history and original purpose of your breed. Understanding the unique- ness of a breed explains why so many breeders passionate about a breed have devoted their time over many years (often many hundreds of years), to develop and preserve it. Two of the most commonly heard terms used when discussing the make and movement of the canine are “form

100 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019

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