SPANIEL ENGLISH TOY
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
JUDGING THE ENGLISH TOY SPANIEL
By Fred C. Bassett AKC Approved Dog Show Judge American Pomeranian Club Judges Education Coordinator I t is a great pleasure to have been invited to write about judging the English Toy Spaniel (ETS), one of our rather “rare” but truly beautiful and delightful Toy breeds. I think it is won- derful that ShowSight Magazine devotes the space that it does to breed specific fea- tures, which is a real service to the dog show community. My main focus will be toward people that judge the breed, or are studying to judge the breed, but I hope that my comments will be useful to all fanciers as well. I have been judging the breed since 1996 and greatly enjoy it when I have an entry in ETS. Th ey make me smile when they walk in to the ring… and what is it that makes me smile? Th at beautiful head and expression! ETS are one of those breeds that we think of as a “head breed,” and rightfully so as without the unique headpiece we do not have a typical ETS. Of course to be a really excellent represen- tative of the breed the rest of the dog must be wonderful too, but without the correct head it is just another cute little dog. So I look for the beautiful plush face with a full rounded skull and a muzzle and underjaw that is broad, full and padded enough to balance with the skull. Almost no nose and enough “lay- back” to give the “f igure 8” like side prof ile. He shares this with the Japa- nese Chin, but the Chin is not as full in muzzle and has a larger skull in rela- tion to muzzle. The ETS is a Spaniel, so it must have the beautiful full rounded eyes to give us the soft, melting expres- sion we love. With properly low set ears to frame the face, we have a picture that is unique and beautiful. This is a slow
maturing breed, so the puppies and young dogs, even the best ones, will not be at their best until at least 2 to 3 years old. The heads broaden and f ill out as they mature. I have included a couple of old photos of beautiful heads that I had in my f iles. The breed has improved greatly in body, soundness and movement since I started to judge them in the 1990s. I judged a big entry of the breed (over 100) while I was provisional. I was on the panel of a cluster of shows in south- ern California where the National was held that year and was very fortunate to be assigned the breed the day before the National. I would say that only about 20 to 25% of that entry had the over- all look that we want with a pretty head along with sound structure and good substance and nice movement. This year I was honored to judge the Nation- al Specialty and the majority of the dogs were of high quality overall. Congratu- lations to the dedicated breeders who have made such wonderful improve- ments in overall quality! In my opinion the biggest challenge now is to get the correct body proportions well established. We want a cobby, essen- tially square dog and many of them today are too long in back and/or loin present- ing a rectangular profile. Th ere are also many dogs that lack the straight bone in the front legs that we want. Th ere are lots of curves under the coat. Now I would like to give a few tips on proper examination of the breed. When I examine the head on most toy dogs I use both hands to “cup” the head with my hands and gently stroke the head with my fingers to feel the structure under the coat. Th is relaxes the dog and allows you to move or turn the head to take a look at profile while you are in control of the head. I use my thumbs to feel for
the canine teeth without opening the mouth. I can gently evaluate the bite and check for wry mouth in this manner. If something doesn’t seem quite right, then I will gently lift the lips to take a closer look, or ask the handler to do it if the dog is stressed. I examine the rest of the dog after I step to the side. I place my right hand on the back and feel for the with- ers. With my left hand I feel for the point of shoulder and the elbow. Th is gives me an accurate view of the front angulation. I then run my hands down the front legs feeling for shape, bone and substance. Th en run my hands back along the body to the rear legs and check them similarly along with topline, tailset and coat. I try to keep my hands on the dog the entire time which steadies the dog and lets him know I am in charge. Do it all with a light, gentle touch and give the dog a good experience. In-ring temperament and showman- ship has also improved a great deal over the years that I have judged this breed and it is rare these days to have an ETS that doesn’t want to move and is scared of the environment. New puppies may hesitate a bit, but the majority of exhibits will move out for you to properly evaluate move- ment. I prefer to see them on a semi-loose lead if possible. In making my placements I use a meth- od that I employ for most of the breeds I judge. I pick out the “pretty ones,” and then find the soundest within that pretty group. So I emphasize breed specific type features first and then look for sound- ness within that sub-set. Th is emphasis changes a bit in the other direction for the Herding dogs that I judge, but even there if they aren’t typical for their breed, they are just another generic sound dog. I truly enjoy judging this wonderful breed and hope that you will find my input useful when evaluating the ETS.
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By Marilyn Tuesley Marsward English Toy Spaniels T he judge who came to visit looked startled when I asked her, “Please close your eyes.” We had one of my Charlies and I was going over impor- tant aspects of the head. Now, I was asking her to close her eyes and let her hands feel their way to some crucial information. It’s important because English Toy Spaniels come in four di ff erent colors, and di ff erences in color can cause optical illu- sions. For example, the width of the blaze or the presence of a full bar over the eyes can make the head appear flatter or round- er. But the hands feel the true structure of the head; they are not tricked by illusion. First, taking the head as a whole, think of a ball (Americans might think of a baseball, while we English might consider cricket ball). Cup the “ball” over the top with one hand. Th e head should mimic the feel of a ball in your hand. Th en cup the lower part of the head, under the jaw, with the other hand. It should be rounded and sit nicely in your palm. Th is is where many heads are faulty; they might be ball- like over the skull, but lack the jawbone to carry through the ball shape. Your hands cupped across the top of the head from ear to ear should continue to feel the ball shape. Th ere should be roundness and full- ness in every direction. Th e jaw should be upswept to complete the round head. Okay, open your eyes. Consider the nose. It should be large, black, with well- opened nostrils, and centered. Th e top of the nose should always be level with the inside corners of the eyes. A nose that is too high gives a Bulldog-like appearance, with a too-strong underjaw and not enough length of lip. A high nose restricts the amount of cushioning in the face. Th e breed is required to have “a well-cushioned face.” Th e proper
placement of the nose allows for the correct amount of cushioning. A low nose, on the other hand, gener- ally results in loose lips that do not meet evenly therefore not giving much cushion. Th is nose placement can create the illusion of a high-domed head; this is again why it’s good to close your eyes and let your hands feel if the dome is correct. A nose that is too small will give a pinched expression, rather than the soft, gentle expression that is characteristic of the breed. Th e standard says the muzzle is “very short, with the nose well laid back” but this does not mean that the nose should tilt back tightly into the head. A nose tilted to much will impact the amount of cush- ioning, and “well developed cushioning” is crucial to the breed’s appearance. Th e nose should sit centered with just enough depth to be able to put the tip of your thumb on the top. Th e eyes should be big, round, and dark. Oval or small eyes don’t have the sweet, kind expression that is typical of Charlies. Th e ears should be level with the outer corners of the eyes, with long leathers and plenty of fringing. If the ear placement is too high, it makes the head look flat and the domed appearance is lost. If the ears are set too low, there is a clown-like look. If the leathers are not long enough, the pro- portion of the head doesn’t look right. Moving to the mouth—make sure there is enough width under the jaw—if the jaw is too narrow the upper lips will hang down with no apparent cushioning. As you look at the dog’s face there should be a straight line from the center of the nose down to the center of the lower lip. If the line is not straight is may be an indica- tion of a wry mouth. Like most brachycephalic breeds, Char- lies don’t like their lips pulled. Personally, I never try to pry open the mouth, and never
cover the top of the head with my hand, as that makes the dog uncomfortable. Th e best method is simply to raise the lip or slip your finger under it and feel the place- ment and number of the teeth. You are looking for a slightly undershot bite. Once you determine that, it’s not necessary to inspect the teeth further. Moving from the head to the neck, close your eyes again. A correct, moder- ate, nicely arched neck will fill your hand with a rounded feeling. Th e neck should be strong to carry that big, beautiful head. A short neck is not correct; a long neck even though it might look elegant, it detracts from the correct “cobby” body type and is not correct. Long necks also usually mean long backs, which are faulty. Th e body should be compact, cobby, and square with a short, level top-line. Close your eyes to let the spring of rib fill your hands on both sides. Th e chest should be deep, providing good room for the heart. Th e standard calls the breed “sturdy of frame.” You should feel the breed’s good solid bone right down through the legs. Th e shoulders are well laid back. Th e rear legs should be well muscled with good angulation. Th e tail will be in many di ff erent types as they can be born with stubs that appear self-docked, cork screw, or long straight tails the latter of which can still be docked under American standards. Th e AKC stan- dard says the tail should be just slightly above the level of the back while standards elsewhere have the tail level with the back and not carried over. Movement of this wonderful Toy dog should be free, quick and elegant with driving steps from the rear and straight when viewed both coming and going. Judging the English Toy Spaniel is a challenge. But here’s my advice for doing a good job—hands on, eyes closed, at least part of the time.
“MOVEMENT OF THIS WONDERFUL TOY DOG SHOULD BE FREE, QUICK AND ELEGANT...”
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FRED C. BASSETT BIO
MARILYN TUESLEY BIO
I have been active in dog clubs from the early 1970s onward and have held virtually every of fice and handled every role possible over the years. I am an honorary Life Member of the Ameri- can Pomeranian Club, a member of the Mid-Continent Kennel Club of Tulsa and two of the major judges organiza- tions in the USA. I have been active in mentoring and judges education for Pomeranians for many years and have given seminars all over the United States, as well as overseas when I have judged. I was appointed as Judges Edu- cation Coordinator for the American Pomeranian Club in January of 2008. My professional career was spent in the Information Technology/Data Pro- cessing field. I retired in March 2005 from a 32-year career in leadership roles working for American Airlines, Sabre Holdings and EDS. I have been married to my wife Janet for 40 years. Janet is retired from a career as a Principal and teacher and is now teaching at University level . We have two grown sons. Scott is 33 years old, married with one 7-year-old son and one 5-year-old son. He is an Aerospace Engineer. Todd is 30 years old, single and a Research Associate in Kinesiology at a large hospital complex in Dallas Texas. I al so have two “sons by choice,” Abraham and David Cruz . With them I started a clothing compa- ny called “Forever Faith” in 2010. This is a faith-based, spiritually-oriented company with a beautiful Lifestyle Philosophy, unlike any other clothing company today. We manufacture and sell casual sportswear, gym clothes, printed tees and team uniforms.
I have been involved with show dogs for 52 years, since 1961. Pomeranians were my major focus while I was active- ly breeding and showing. In addition to Poms I have also owned and exhib- ited Poodles, Keeshonden, Old English Sheepdogs, Miniature Schnauzers, a Chihuahua, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and an English Cocker Span- iel . We currently live with a Standard Poodle and a Ragdoll Cat. I was approved to judge Pomera- nians in 1977 and have greatly enjoyed judging dogs for the past 36 years. I am currently approved for all Terrier, Toy, Non Sporting and Herding breeds; as well as Basset Hounds, Junior Show- manship, Miscellaneous Breeds and Best in Show. I have judged all over the United States including many Nation- al Specialty shows, the Westminster Kennel Club and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. I have also judged a number of overseas assign- ments including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Tai- wan, Europe, Mexico, South America and Canada.
In my native Britain, we call them King Charles Spaniels. Growing up in Wales, we had dogs, horses, chickens and all kinds of animals. My mother raised Poodles and Corgis while my father had a preference for gun dogs. I was always bringing home a sick or lost animal . When I grew up, I became a nurse. As a child, I began attending dog shows, which I loved from the start. I got my first show dog at age 16, tried various breeds and then my first Char- lie, from Madeline Harper of Huntglen, a heavily marked tricolor. It instantly became my breed of choice. My passion has always been for the whole colors. I was fortunate to also obtain a wonderful King Charles Black and Tan boy from Madeline Harper and this was the beginning of my ken- nel , Marsward. One of my mentors was the late great Mollie Castle of Oakridge. I am proud to say that I can trace my broken color heritage back to her lines. I am a life member of the King Charles Spaniel Club of the United Kingdom; a founding member of the English Toy Spaniel Club of New England and a member of the Camino Real ETS Club. Marsward dogs have been import- ed to many countries. I am proud to say there are Marsward champions in England, Canada, Sweden, Finland, France, Australia and of course here in America. Marsward dogs have won the breed at both Westminster and Eukanu- ba Championship since I came to Amer- ica about 12 years ago. In judging, I’ve had appointments in most of the toy breeds, Ridgebacks and some gun dogs in Britain and here in the States. I have also enjoyed giv- ing judges’ workshops at my home and seminars on the breed. I am very blessed to have known this great breed and I am thankful and proud of my dogs’ achievements both in the show ring and as wonderful pets to people around the globe. Next year will be celebrating 40 years with the Char- lies. I look forward to the next 40 with these loveable creatures. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& / 07&.#&3 t
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I can be contacted at: 737 W. Helena Street Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74012 Home: 918-355-1188 Cell Phone: 918-808-1951 Email: email@example.com
THE ENGLISH TOY SPANIEL
FRED BASSETT I live in Broken Arrow,
He was so famous that his obituary appeared in the New York Times . I’ve been pretty busy promoting the book and with the Sewickley Valley Historical Society. We are currently plan- ning the dedication of the Count Noble historical marker, which will be unveiled July 16th at the former site of the house where Count Noble lived in Sewickley, near Pitts- burgh. I’ve been showing English Toy Spaniels for 28 years. I didn’t breed very often, but I campaigned a few top-winning dogs across the US and attended many shows in Great Britain, as well as shows in Japan and Australia. I was approved to judge English Toy Spaniels in 2010. JOHN RAMIREZ I reside in Downey,
Oklahoma, which is a suburb of Tulsa. Outside of dogs, I am a partner in a business called Forever Faith with my son, Abe Cruz. The main focus of the business currently is on Abe’s fitness and act- ing careers, but we also do fitness clothing. I am retired from a 35-year career as a Data Pro- cessing and Information Technology profession-
al. I started in dogs in 1961 with Miniature Poodles, which were the #1 breed at that time. I switched to Pomeranians in 1967 and have remained involved in that breed ever since. I am a Life Member of the Parent Club, and was the Judges Education Coordinator for ten years. I started judging in 1977 with Poms as my initial breed. So that would be 55 years in dogs, showing and 39 years judging. RICHARD LEBEAU I grew up in Louis-
California, slightly north of Long Beach. I am hap- pily retired and outside of dogs: I enjoy time with my family, kayak- ing, my piano and when able, I enjoy hiking. I have been into dogs for as long as I can remem- ber. Being somewhat of a sickly child and having my physical activity lim- ited, my parents bought me my first dogs and from that day forward I bonded with my canine friends. In regards to
ville, Kentucky but my home has been Pitts- burgh, Pennsylvania for 29 years. I am a freelance musician and writer. My book, Count Noble: The Greatest Dog That Ever Lived is in its 4th print- ing. Count Noble was a celebrated English Setter in his day, rather like a modern racing horse is celebrated in the press today. He was imported from England and died in Pittsburgh in 1891.
showing, I have to credit my father for sparking my interest. He would take me to shows and we would just go watch. I would say that my actual showing probably began when I was about 15-16 years old. Judging, my passion began in the early 70s. 1. Describe the breed in three words. FB: Limiting this answer to three words is tough. I guess to limit it to three I will say face, compact, level. To expand on that, the ETS has to have the classic face with cushion and correct eye to give that wonderful expression.
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FB: In my opinion, breeders have done a good job in the last 10-15 years of producing a more balanced dog without exaggeration. Prior to that there was too much emphasis on only a beautiful head and not enough attention to the rest of the dog. RL: Yes, the breed is currently going through some whelp- ing box issues and some man-made issues. Breeders need to aim for shorter backs and perhaps a bit more length of leg. Long-backed, short-legged dogs are frequently seen but are incorrect and do not create the impression of a square dog. Concerning man-made issues, exhibitors need to refrain from over-trimming on all parts. I especially dislike over trimming, clipping on the skull and ears, poodle-edged (straight cut) ears and do not want to see the top of the ears exposed where they meet the head. Over trimming anywhere ruins the soft, natural appearance of the dog and should be penalized, as per the breed standard. Of course, the dead coat must be carefully removed from the backs, but Springer-and- Cocker style. Precision scissor work around all the edges is neither traditional nor appealing to see on the English Toy Spaniel. The dogs should appear natural. Soft heads and soft edges, please! JR: I have no objections to tidying up the exhibit, however, in some cases the grooming can be a bit extreme. I some- times see what I feel are awards based on grooming and not the actual merits of the dog. Becoming more evident are longer backs and racy streamline bodies. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? FB: I do think that the overall quality is better now. RL: I will say that for the most part, exhibitors have been savvy enough to know I am a traditionalist and so they have not shown dogs with any glaring faults to me. I have not had to cringe in public at the sight of white bibs or toes on Rubys or King Charles (the whole-colored) exhibits. But I have to say that I have recently witnessed from ringside these unacceptable mismarks being shown.
“i do think thAt the overAll quAlity is better now.”
They should be compact, off-square in outline and have a level topline in order to make the correct overall picture. RL: As in every breed, Charlies can have a full range of distinctive and individual personalities, ranging from placid to energetic; but on the whole, the breed is best described as reserved, sensitive and devoted. JR: Proverbial pillow dog. 2. What are your must have traits in this breed? FB: My must haves are the face, as I described previously, adequate bone and substance to balance with the head and enough coat to complete the picture. RL: Above all, the breed must have a pleasing balance to all of the individual components of the head and its facial details, giving it a very soft and unique expression. Large round and very dark eyes with proper layback of the nose and enough skull on top, which should be obviously round and rather broad in circumference, are very important aspects of the head. When you have the proper head and face on a square-shaped dog with sturdy legs, a short, level back and soft, profuse coat, you have a good Charlie. JR: The opening paragraph of our breed standard states that the most important characteristics of this breed are exemplified by the head, without this feature it is not an English Toy Spaniel. It must be compact, cobby and essentially square. Prior to this current revision to the standard, a more visual description was given, it stated: “Shape: in compactness the shape of these Spaniels almost rival the Pug.”
3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated?
“Above All, the breed must hAve A PLEASING BALANCE to All of the individuAl components of the heAd And its fAciAl detAils, giving it A very soft And unique expression.”
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“A superb english toy spAniel in its full glory is something quite rAre And wonderful to behold. TRULY, NOTHING COMPARES.”
White markings appearing anywhere on whole-colored dogs exceeding a chest patch about the size of a quarter is described as an extremely serious fault in the Breed Standard. We do not have any breed disqualifications, but surely this wording must mean something important for the conformation ring. Mismarked dogs occur naturally when the whole colors are crossed with broken colors, at times a necessity for carefully managed breeding pro- grams in order to enhance and deepen all of our colors and markings, but they should not be shown and should never win points. From what I have observed in 28 years as a breeder/exhibitor, I think the percentage of quality has remained about the same. The breed goes through periods of highs and lows. I think the whole-color quality is low at this time. Our whole-color population is very small. It will take serious concentration to strengthen the whole-colors. As always, I think there are some very good dogs to be seen in each of the four colors and that knowledgeable judges do seem to recognize and appreci- ate them. A superb English Toy Spaniel in its full glory is something quite rare and wonderful to behold. Truly, nothing compares. JR: Most definitely. Structurally there has been significant improvement. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? FB: I believe that new judges do fine with this breed as long as they emphasize breed type and not soundness/best moving dog. That’s not the essence of this breed. RL: I think there are two main difficulties for new judges of the breed. Firstly, new judges, and even experienced judges, and group judges must remember that the breed is not typically an exuberant show dog by nature. The English Toy Spaniel that runs the fastest and with the most pep is seldom the best example in the ring. Do not be fooled by this! Always ask exhibitors to show their dogs at a jaunty, walking pace, but never while running. My mentors, many of whom are long gone from this life, instructed me long ago that the English Toy Spaniel is never to be shown running. A wagging tail is nice
to see, but do not insist upon this, as with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Exhibitors are often working with young, inexperienced dogs and allowances should be made for this, too. Secondly, I think it happens that judges overlook the ideal appearance of a well-balanced dog and focus on one excellent feature or one glaring fault, and so they miss the best dog. Of course, it is a head breed, but the rest of the dog must be considered as well. A lovely head on a terribly constructed dog is never desirable. The balance of all the features of the head must be considered. An exaggerated top-skull is nothing without the balance and fullness of the lower portion of the face. A bulbous skull is ugly and a buried nose is incorrect. A nice, round top skull does not miti- gate a face with drooping cheeks, light eyes, or lack of a nicely curved, broad under jaw. Look for the dog with the best balance of all its parts, with an easy, smooth and steady movement and with the most appealing face and head.
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“the english toy spAniel breed wAs never intended to hunt or to flush gAme. their origins Are thAt of A lAp dog, AN ARISTOCRACY’S PLAYMATE.”
JR: A lot of generic judging occurs in passing judgement on this breed. First and foremost, judges cannot overlook the hallmark of this breed. They should also understand that sometimes these little dogs do not care to move and that a hackney gait is incorrect. The English Toy Spaniel breed was never intended to hunt or to flush game. Their origins are that of a lap dog, an aristocracy’s playmate. Judging should be based on merits and the handcrafting of the shears. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. FB: An understanding of this breeds typical temperament is important. They should be sweet and stable. Over-the-top show dog temperament is not typical, neither is shy and scared to death. RL: Occasionally, you will see an overt showman, but typi- cally the breed is fairly placid and will not ask for the win. The breed should appear calm and not nervous or intensely alert. They are not especially keen to show in hot weather. Never, ever spar the breed. Never pry open their mouths. Do not expect them or require them to free stack; some will, some won’t. Do not bend down to touch, stand over or pressure a dog in any way while it is standing on the ground. Place a dog back on the table if a second look is absolutely necessary. Heads may be re-evaluated for your final decisions, if necessary, by asking the exhibitors to lift the dogs from the floor and to hold them up for your passing review. Serious faults such as wobbly rear action, roached top lines, falling croups, straight stifles and deformed jaws are all plainly visible from individual table examinations and gaiting. The steward will provide a date of birth, if necessary. A very young dog should receive an appropriate degree of forbearance. Unfortunately, a judge can only presume that an English Toy Spaniel with an undocked tail is imported. The AKC breed standard clearly states, “The tail is docked to 2-4 inches in length and carried at or just slightly above the level of the back. The set of the tail is at the back’s level. Many are born with a shorter or screw tail, which is acceptable”. The AKC standard is
very clear about docking. American-bred dogs must be docked by American breeders. I would be very unhappy to discover I had put up a dog with a tail which was bred in this country. Personally, I would like to be able to ask the ring steward whether the dog is imported or not. An undocked tail extends the horizontal line of the dog and substantially detracts from a square, compact appear- ance. Of course, I believe that if the best dog has a tail, it must win, but that undocked American-bred dogs should be ineligible. JR: Be aware that shorter or screw tails are acceptable, as are fused Toys. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? RL: When I was a provisional judge, my first big assignment was a good one at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with majors in both varieties. One of the class bitches decided she would tumble her way down and back. She certainly stopped and stole the show! She was not in a state of panic, just not especially leash trained, rolling and pouncing the entire time, embarrassing her handler but amusing the spectators. I should mention that the breed is notoriously stubborn about leash training and would advise that leash training can’t start too early with this breed. I had a lot of sympathy for this very experienced Toy handler but I had to laugh as the memory of leash training the first show puppy I actually owned (Ch. Darbey’s Blenheim Barnaby), memories of great strife and days of discouragement, as well as tearful phone calls to his breeder, flashed in my mind. Never forget that we all start as novices, both dogs and handlers alike, so be patient and stay positive with every dog and exhibitor in your ring. A naughty dog on a given day has nothing to do with the specifics of breed confor- mation. Some days are more challenging than others for all of us! JR: I’m not sure it was the funniest thing at the time, but, now I can laugh about it. In my early showing years fall- ing in the ring not just once, but twice. Going around alone and as a group. All in the same class.
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