Showsight Presents the Schipperke

1. What creates the unique silhouette in the Schipperke? AmyG: It’s the combination of correct balance combined with proper coat. AnnG: The coat and the coat pattern. GGH: The unique silhouette is created by the square profile, well-rounded croup, coat pattern and the lack of a tail. MK: The coat pattern. BL: Being tailless is probably the biggest feature that sets it apart. Its coat pattern would be the other. KM: To me, the Schipperke silhouette is created through a combination of many things. Certainly, the distinct coat pattern plays a major role and adds to the distinct look of a square dog with upright ears and traditional no tail visually discernible. 2. Was the Schipperke your first breed and if not what drew you to the Schipperke? AmyG: Yes, our first Schipperke was our first dog. AnnG: I met my first Schipperke when we were training our German Shepard Dog, he was the first Schipperke in the AKC to have an Obedience title and win a Best in Show, “Ch. Pine Hills Indigo Bill, CD.” Bill was a very special little dog with a big dog personality and he looked you in the eye and said, “The world is mine.” And that’s when I said, “If I ever own a little dog it will be a Schipperke.” GGH: The Schip was not my first breed. I grew up with Golden Retrievers. My mom bought our first Schipperke when I was four years old. She wanted a small dog that was still tough enough to play with the big dogs. That dog turned out to be a National Specialty and Multiple Best In Show winner! He lived until I was 21 years old. Needless to say, I was hooked! I love their temperaments. One minute, they can be rough and tumble and the next, a sweet lap dog; a large dog in a small package. I primar- ily owned English Cockers through my Junior Showman- ship years, as they were the perfect size for me. MK: Siberian Huskies were our first breed. Schipperkes are similar in intelligence, as well as independence in a smaller package. BL: I had companion Poodles first. What drew me to the Schipperke was its totally unique look. KM: I grew up with Alaskan Malamutes but had a Beagle as my first show dog. I quickly began showing the Malamutes and then showed many other breeds to help my dad who is a PHA handler before handling for clients of my own. I had always been intrigued by these little black dogs. They were similar to the Malamutes that I grew up with in personality and grooming style, but came in a much more house appropriate size. 3. What do you find most lacking in the breed today? AmyG: We need to improve shoulders. AnnG: Front ends and good hard coats have been lacking for years.

GGH: There are a few things I feel are lacking. The true, natural Schipperke coat pattern is not as evident as it used to be. I feel this is partially due to breeding and also because of excessive trimming all over the body, which is to be severely penalized. We are also losing a strong under jaw. And lastly, I feel that movement is seemingly not as important to breeders (or judges) as it used to be. I see hackney fronts and cow-hocked rears. It is also very bothersome how many sickle-hocked dogs are being shown. MK: Front angulation and good movement. BL: Lack of proper angulation for superior movement. Some folks think that it only needs to look good standing still; I work for both. KM: Today it seems as though good fronts are severely lack- ing. There are dogs being shown today that have a front assembly that just cannot support the rest of the body and therefore they tend to breakdown at the shoulder or otherwise compensate with poor movement. 4. What is more important, movement or type? AmyG: Both, of course, but I’ll quote Anne Rogers Clark, “Make your first cut on type, then reward the soundest of your typical entries.” AnnG: Type will always be the most important in any breed. If you can’t tell from across the show grounds what breed a dog is, it doesn’t matter how it moves. GGH: I feel that movement and type should be 50/50. I fear that so many are breeding only for the “type” and ignor- ing movement. As with so many other breeds, it seems that “pretty” and “cute” are becoming the norm and the breed standard is being ignored. I see Ships with tons of coat without correct pattern, short on leg and unable to move well. MK: Both are equally important to me. BL: For me, movement. I can bring in type, but solid struc- ture is the basis for a well-bred dog of any kind. KM: To me, having grown up with a working breed, I would have to say that movement is very important. Granted, each breed would not be what they are without type, but I have found that I can appreciate a variety of “types” in the breed, but poor movement comes from unsound overall structure. 5. What creates the distinct coat pattern? AmyG: The coat is comprised of different lengths of guard hairs and a very thick undercoat. The coat is longer on the neck, jabot and coulottes and, generally, the under- coat is thicker in these areas as well. AnnG: The distinct differentiation between the length of hair in the ruff, cape, jabot, culottes and the body—as well as the even shorter hair on the ears, head and lower legs are what creates the distinct coat pattern. GGH: The different coat lengths create the distinctive coat pattern and where they are located on the body.

228 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2017

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