“A STRUCTURALLY SOUND DOG WITH THE CONFORMATION SET FORTH IN THE STANDARD FOR THE BREED STILL NEEDS THE WILLINGNESS TO PERFORM THE TASK SET BEFORE THEM.”
through every breed, most of which were developed to help man in his daily chores or to put food on the table on to those who were developed simply for their charm, looks and companionship. Altogether, there are approximately 400 different breeds in the world, each developed for a specific purpose. The principal of form follows func- tion as it relates to dogs is assumed to be the basis of evaluating the outward appearance of a breed in the show ring. Dogs that are exceptional in their breed characteristic conformation and able to perform their original function are thought to be the epitome of excel- lence. The only real method of testing the form is the function, which further reveals the temperament and drive nec- essary for the work for which the breed was developed. As conformation judges can only evaluate the heart of the dog by their actions in the ring and not in the field, the final proof of the dog’s use- fulness will always be how it can per- form the tasks for which it was devel- oped. Breeders must pay close attention to all of the physical characteristics that make up a breed as well as breeding for the correct temperament and willing- ness to carry out the tasks set before them. A structurally sound dog with the conformation set forth in the Standard for the breed still needs the willingness to perform the task set before them. Many a great dog in the performance arena (and I include all in this from agil- ity to obedience trials through specific trials to test a dog’s performance in the field or pasture) have been poorly con- formed in structure and performed well only through the heart and desire to do so. These dogs are brilliant at their tasks, but at what cost to their longevity and wear and tear on their bodies? This series cannot speak to each individual breed, but if we can under- stand what is expected of the “average” dog (one that is not considered to be extreme in any way) we can, perhaps, better understand why our chosen breed is molded in the form called for within its own Standard. From this aver- age dog who is either square or slightly off square we can then compare the average breeds with those breeds with extreme characteristics, such as the smallness of a Chihuahua to the intimi- dating looks of the Neapolitan Mastiff. Another concept that appears in most of the Standards are the words
and Irish Setters over the years. I have finished dogs in several other breeds from the Sporting and Toy groups. I started my judging career in 1988 with AKC approval to judge German Shepherds, Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. I judge the Herding, Sporting and Toy groups and several of the Non-Sporting breeds, as well. I have been fortunate enough to have judged dogs all over the US and Can- ada and also in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Jamaica, New Zealand, Aus- tralia, Ireland, China, the Philippines, Mexico and the United Kingdom. In 2011, I was accorded the supreme hon- or of being asked to judge the Welsh Corgi League show in the UK and in previous years both the Cardigan and Pembroke Nationals in the US. I have also had the honor of having judged many National and Regional Special- ties for breeds I did not breed, own or show from the Sporting, Herding and Toy groups throughout the years, an assignment I always enjoy! Some of the highlights of my judging career have been judging at Westmin- ster Kennel Club in 2006, doing the Herding Group at the Rose City Clas- sic in Portland which was shown on Animal Planet and the national spe- cialties for Clumber Spaniels, Field Spaniels, Australian Shepherds, Min- iature American Shepherd, Bouviers (Canada) and the Top Twenty compe- tition for the Golden Retriever Club of America as well as both of the Corgi national specialties in the US and Pembrokes in Canada and the Welsh Corgi League show mentioned above. I make my living as an artist, most- ly through the design of counted cross-stitch and needlepoint but also through paintings and sculpture as well as jewelry. I have recently begun authoring and producing DVDs on the canine, mostly dealing with structure and movement. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been married to Jim Hedgepath since 1972 and am the mother of two and the grandmother of four. Thank you for the honor of being invited to judge your dogs. This series originally appeared in the Working/Herding Digest. All rights reserved by the author.
“balance” and “balanced”. For example, in a quick look at the Sporting breeds, the word appears in the Standard at least once (and up to nine times in one Standard) in all but two breeds. Balance defined is equality of distribution or a state of equilibrium. Balance speaks to stability and endurance of the overall structure of the dog. A dog that is bal- anced in all of its parts will endure by withstanding the hardships and stress the body is subjected to when the dog performs the work for which it was bred. Balance, especially in the front to rear angulation, will determine if at the end of the day, the dog is just very tired or the dog has broken down. This series will cover the basics of structure and movement, using the ‘average’ dog. It will describe how to see and also how to feel for structure. It will contain the basics of the skeletal form and structure and how it influenc- es movement. It will cover movement, what is normal and what is a devia- tion from normal, as much as we can do with only illustrations and without video. Most of this information comes from my DVD on “Structure and Move- ment in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi” and will be expanded upon in my upcoming DVD “Canine Structure and Movement, An All-Breed Approach” which should be published in 2019. ABOUT THE AUTHOR My involvement with the world of showing dogs began in 1969 with the purchase of my first show dog, a German Shepherd Dog. In the mid- seventies I began breeding and show- ing Pembroke Welsh Corgis under the Jimanie prefix and have finished a championship on a Pembroke Welsh Corgi on the average of one a year for the last 45+ years—almost all were breeder/owner handled to their titles. In 2010, I formed a loose part- nership with two long-time friends, Denise Scott and Linda Stoddard, and we now breed and show under the Trifecta prefix. I am a breeder/owner/handler and still breed and show. Over the years I have owned and shown dogs most- ly from the Herding and Sporting Groups plus a few Toy breeds. I started out showing dogs from the Herding Group, but as a hunter, I always had a “bird dog” and thus also showed Brittanys, Pointers, Golden Retrievers
102 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019
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