Let’s Talk Breed Education!
ADVENTURES IN HISTORICAL PRESERVATION OF THE GREAT PYRENEES BY JOAN ZIEHL
GREAT PYRENEES CLUB OF AMERICA HISTORICAL PRESERVATION CHAIR
W hen Mary Crane (the Founder of the Great Pyr- enees breed in the United States) passed away, she willed several boxes of her personal kennel records, a few paintings, a bronze FATH stat- ue, and hundreds of photographs to the Dog Museum (then in St. Louis). The paintings and FATH statue were occasionally on display within the museum, but for the most part, the papers, records, and photographs were stuck away in boxes up in the attic.
One of our GPCA Members (Jo Stubbs) who lived nearby, took it upon herself (over a ten-year period) to sort, categorize, and make some sense of the boxes hidden away. She would go over on weekends and try to match up which dog went with which pedigree, and determine who owned which dog and what awards or winnings went with whom. Part research project, part labor of love, she did a fantastic job and ended up documenting the col- lection into albums entitled, pedigrees, photos, correspondence, advertise- ments, and friends. The collection sat in the Dog Museum attic “all dressed up but with nowhere to go” for years. Sometime later, after a dog show in North Carolina, we were invited back to Judy Brown’s house (another longtime GPCA Member and Breeder) for lunch. We were talking about the HP projects and the progress made, when Judy mentioned that she had a few boxes in her attic (what’s with all the stuff in the attic?) that were given to her by Mary Crane. I immediately pestered her to show me and was thrilled to see pictures with comments on some of the earliest memories of both the GPCA and Mary Crane herself with Great Pyrenees. Judy mentioned that she had only a part of the col- lection; that most of it was at the Dog Museum. After a few phone calls (including offering my first born as collateral) we were given permission to take the entire paper portion from the museum to copy and scan, and to dis- play at our national specialties. Jo Stubbs again came to the rescue when she picked up all the boxes and hand-delivered them to me in Ohio at our next national specialty. Then we started what I thought was going to be a “month
CH Urdos de Soum, the first Pyrenees ever shown in America, and the first to become a US champion.
CH Estat d’Argeles of Basquaerie (American, European, and Tri-International Champion) is one two brothers imported to the US, and one of the foundation males of Basquaerie.
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Ben SWEEPS SPECIALTY WEEKEND
G R A N D
C H A M P I O N
Euzkalzale Resolute At Midnight BISS
BISS 1/28 - BISS - SHOW 2 Great Pyrenees Association of Southern California Judge Diane R. Landstrom
GROUP 3 1/29 - BOB & GROUP 3 San Fernando Kennel Club Judge Donnelle Richards
GROUP 2 1/29 - BOB & GROUP 2 Los Encinos Kennel Club Judges Joseph Smith &Diane R. Landstrom
1/28 - BISS - SHOW 1 Great Pyrenees Association of Southern Calilfornia Judge Michele C. Mulligan
Expertly presented by: Karen Bruneau Bred by: Terry M. Denney-Combs & Terrie Strom Owned by: Jennifer Ruff, Crystal Chapman & Terry M. Denney-Combs
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ADVENTURES IN HISTORICAL PRESERVATION OF THE GREAT PYRENEES
Mary Crane pictured with Basquaerie dogs and Professor Will Monroe, First President of the Great Pyrenees Club of America, 1933.
Basquaerie Ariel, First Pyrenees to Earn the CD Title
A Long Day at a Benched Show in 1935
Mary Crane with Two Puppies from Her First Litter, 1933
Basquaerie Blanchett pictured with the first litter born in the US, June 1933.
achieve a CDX title in the breed? Who was the first dog to achieve an Obedience title? How did Mary set up her kennel runs? All the answers are in the collection. Our current project is to modernize our film collection. We currently have old 8mm, reel to reel, videos, CDs, and DVDs ready to be digitized. We are almost halfway completed and expect all to be available on our website when finished. When I took over the Historical Preservation work for the GPCA, I had no idea of the many hours I would spend learning about our breed, happily reading old articles and letters from past breeders. I strongly encourage everyone who loves showing their dogs to spend some time learning about the history of their breed and the breeders of the past. You just might fall in love with your breed history as much as I have. (We can trace the Great Pyrenees being brought to this country in the 1800s, and the first Pyrenees being bred in the US in the 1930s!) You just never know what is in those dusty old attics, and you may come across a treasure or two.
or two” project. Little did we know that it would take us over 24 months to complete the task! What ended up happening was, each time I went to the desk and started working, I spent just as much time reading as I did scanning. I spent hours looking at the photos—and the notes writ- ten in the margins next to them. Reading about common kennel problems, health issues, and some of the same issues that confront us today with this breed, I realized how far we had come with health issues, breeding issues, and living with and loving this breed. Our final result is the Mary Crane Collection, available for all to view on our club website: www.gpcaonline.org . Go to the Historical Preservation Section and read away! With over 1,000 photographs, 200 kennel pedigrees, and countless comments and descriptions, it is truly a collection of historical relevance. What did Mary suggest that you feed your puppy? How many litters did that bitch have? Which titles? How many shows entered? How do you housetrain a puppy? How about which dog was the first to
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EJ EJ r i
BISS BIS NOHS Group Winning Multiple Group Placing just getting started at only two years old Thank you Judge Mr. Charles Olvis Breeder Owner Handled by Terrie Strom • R Pyr Great Pyrenees
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Arnault GREAT PYRENEES LOVED & OWNED BY: LINDA WHISENHUNT ARNAULT GREAT PYRENEES
GCHB KAROLASKA TRES JOLIE D’ARNAULT EUZKALZALE MONT VALIER Valor Jolie PUPPIES PLANNED FOR SPRING GREAT PYRENEES MBISS GCHG & INT’L CH
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EUZKAZALE BELLE FLEUR D’ARNAULT
GCH ARNAULT EMBRASSE PAR LA PLAGE FINISHED 2021 IN #15 BREED POINTS * IN LIMITED SHOWING Paige
THANK YOU JUDGE MICHELE MULLIGAN Nicholas
CH ARNAULT PERE NOEL
THANK YOU JUDGE DENISE DEAN
*AKC STATS AS OF 12/31/21
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Gold Grand Champion MULTIPLE BIS, RBIS, BISS BIS BISS GCH PYRLESS NO-BRAINER X GCH PYRLESS RAZZLE DAZZLE PYRLESS & ASHBY SHE’S ALL THAT! Legacy BUILDING A OUR FOUNDATION BITCH GREAT PYRENEES 226 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 2022
Great PyreneesBitch Top 5 All-Time Winning Ashby GREAT PYRENEES bred & owned by SUSAN BLEVENS presented by RICK KRIEGER & JENNY KRIEGER co-bred by VALERIE SEELEY SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 2022 | 227
ESTABLISHED 1971 REG. AQUILON Great Pyrenees
EXCITEMENT STARTED WITH TIGER 1984-1998 TIGER
FCI, AKC, CKC, MEX CH AQUILON WIND AND FIRE, CGC TOP WINNING FEMALE 1988, GPCA AWARD
© JOHN KYER
1982 AQUILON JON LOUPE SAUVAGE (WOLF) 2000 CH AQUILON FIRE AND MAGIC (RUFFIAN) 2009 MBIS UKC GCH/AKC GCH AQUILON DOUBLE JUMP FOR JOY (JOY) 2016 AKC/UKC GCH AQUILON DOUBLE EAGLE (PETE) OUR GPCA HOF PRODUCING DAMS:
BREEDER-OWNER SANDRA MCCRADY
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AKC BISS GCH/UKC CH AQUILON FOR WIND AND FIRE NUBBIKINS
2010 - XXXX
#3 2020 BREED * * AKC STATS 2020
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LOOKING AT THE BREED
IN THE PYRENEES HEAD
BY CARRIE STUART PARKS
Original Graphite on Bristol Board by Carrie Stuart Parks
S ome breeds such as Bull Terriers are called “head breeds.” Having owned Bullies for over thirty years, I can assure you that it’s not due to their deep-thinking ability. What is meant by the above statement is that the head structure is of paramount importance above all other characteris- tics. I have heard some people say the same of the Great Pyrenees, but the breed’s standard mentions “elegance” twice in the opening paragraph; while the head is mentioned in reference to expression. Pyrenees are large, but elegant, dogs. The correct head structure is noted as “essential.” The dictionary defines essential as “basic” and a “necessary” element, so while the overall structure and impres- sion of the breed should be that of elegance, the head is an indis- pensable part of that equation. I’d like to take a look at what makes the head and expression of the Pyrenees unique. The correct head is not heavy and is described as wedge-shaped with a slightly rounded crown. The Pyrenees Illustrated Standard shows the wedge from above, looking down. To achieve the correct wedge, there needs to be sufficient “fill” under the eyes, so if you place your hands on either side of the head there isn’t a gap between backskull and muzzle. This should not be achieved due to a nar- row head. The width of the skull is approximately the same as the length, a proportion that is not attainable with a narrow head. The end of the muzzle isn’t blunted like the Newfoundland or Saint Bernard, but gently tapers into a tight-fitting lip and strong lower jaw. The “clean” mouth is important. I have a Pyr with loose lips— big ole pendulous flews. Take it from an expert, a little-known fact is that loose lips are a danger to laptop computers. Sitting next to you on the sofa, their saliva can end up squarely on the computer keys. But I digress… The skull structure is mesaticephalic, that is, with a sloping stop. The standard calls for no “apparent” stop. That’s not to say the skull slides from crown to nose on an even plane—a dolicho- cephalic skull type. (That term, of course, just popped into my head—not!) It does mean that if you run your hand along the top of the head, there won’t be a place where you can say, “Here is the stop.” In profile, the upward slope will begin at a point slightly below the bottom of the eyes and will continue upward to a point by the bony eyebrow ridges. The expression is defined as “elegant.” There’s that word again. What makes an elegant expression? Part of the elegance are the eyes, which are deep brown in color, tight-fitting, and medium in size. Light eyes can make the dog look wolf-like. Sagging eyes appear mournful, and bulging eyes can look like the dog is about
to take a chunk out of your hand. None of these can be considered elegant. The eye rims are black—as if Maybelline had a “killer sale” on black eyeliner. The expression is also a reflection of the Pyrenean temperament. Most Pyrs feel that dog shows are to be tolerated and are useful only for the extra attention that’s received. The judge is an ear-scratching, rump-rubbing possibility, so the breed’s expression is one of contem- plation; mild but polite curiosity. Don’t, however, let this fool you into thinking the Pyr is a pushover as a watch dog. They can be a fearless and powerful foe when guarding their flocks. Returning to the shape of the eye, we find it similar to an almond, with the lower lid relatively straight, and the upper lid having a gentle curve. Some Pyrs have white eyelashes, which can slightly distort the eye shape. The black pigment at the corner of the eye dips downward slightly on most dogs, giving the eye an oblique look. The end of this pigment is where the meeting of the hair from the upper and lower face (referred to as the “line”) angles downward toward the base of the ear. With the ears in repose, the line would appear to be about halfway down the ear flap. The ears are described as small to medium in size, v-shaped with a rounded tip. The markings may outline the ear with dark brown to almost black, making them stand out if next to a white ruff. Otherwise, when a Pyr is in full coat and relaxed, the ears should blend into the body. Large ears don’t blend. The top of the ear “lines up” with the corner of the eye. I’ve found that whenever I encounter the correct, elegant, expressive head of the Great Pyrenees, my hand itches for a pencil or brush to capture their beauty, and I fall in love all over again with a breed I’ve loved for over sixty years.
BIO Carrie Stuart Parks is an internation- ally known forensic artist, award- winning fine artist, and a best-selling, award-winning novelist. She has been involved in Great Pyrenees since 1959,
initially with her parents and their Skeel Kennels, then later as an AKC judge, past president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America, and as a member of the GPCA for almost fifty years. She will be the judge this year at the 2022 National Specialty in Chicago.
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La Brise Pyrenean Shepherds, Great Pyrenees and Beaucerons
Attempting to understand the mind of another species brings a special joy. We love sharing what we’ve learned about training, breeding, and living with these amazing animals.
At La Brise, breeding is an art, and a science, a responsibility, and a passion.
These ancestral breeds have been handed down generation after generation. Our responsibility is to maintain traditional type, temperament and working ability -from hard working sheepdogs to livestock guardians guaranteed to protect flocks.
The art of breeding requires
education, experience, and cultivating a knack for putting the right dogs together.
The science comes from over 40 years of studying anatomy, genetics, biomechanics,
etc, and certified health testing with 15 generations of healthy dogs. It’s not chance, it’s hard work, an open mind, and seeking out opportunities to learn from experts around the world. La Brise ~ Dr. Patricia Princehouse AKC Performance Agility Breeder of the Year (all breed, 2018) AKC Herding Group Breeder of the Year (2019) Performance: over 70 MACHs and ADCHs, 4 dogs on world teams, FCI Agility World Champion 2011 (midi), and over two thousand titles in herding, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, diving, nosework, barn hunt, flyball, weight pull, disc dog, freestyle, coursing and much more! Pet: We are extremely proud of our many pups who have become the steadfast companions of people from so many walks of life. Many of our pet owners understand the essence of the breed as well or better than many breeders or competitors. Patricia Princehouse • 440-478-5292 • firstname.lastname@example.org Conformation: Over 100 champions, including more than a dozen BIS, and/or Group First winners, 20 Natl Spec BOB, well over a hundred group placements on dozens of dogs - most of whom owner-handled.
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PYRENEAN SHEPHERD, GREAT PYRENEES, BEAUCERON
HISTORY OF THE
GREAT PYRENEES BY GREAT PYRENEES CLUB OF AMERICA A publication of the Great Pyrenees Club of America, Inc. revised 1991, 2005
DOG OF THE MOUNTAINS These dogs take their name from the mountain range in south- western Europe, where they long have been used as guardians of the flocks. In the United States they are called Great Pyrenees. In the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe, they are known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. In their native France, they are Le Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees or Le Chien des Pyrenees. What- ever the name, it is a beautiful, primarily white dog with a "certain elegance" which for centuries has been the working associate of peasant shepherds high on the mountain slopes. The breed likely evolved from a group of principally white mountain flock guard dogs that originated ten or eleven thousand years ago in Asia Minor. It is very plausible that these large white dogs arrived in the Pyrenees Mountains with their shepherds and domestic sheep about 3000 BC. There they encountered the indige- nous people of the area, one of which were the Basques, descendants of Cro-Magnon Man. In the isolation of the Pyrenees Mountains over these millenniums, the breed developed the characteristics that make it unique to the group of flock guardian dogs in general and the primarily white members of that group. The Great Pyrenees is a lupomolossoid as opposed to a molos- soid. While there has surely been some cross-breeding over the many centuries, the Great Pyrenees is not a mastiff nor are its lupomolos- soid ancestors principally from the mastiff family. There are other dogs of the region, such as the Pyrenean Mastiff, and the Spanish Mastiff that fill that description. It is no coincidence that the Great Pyrenees is approximately the same size as the European Grey Wolf. A PEASANT'S DOG The Great Pyrenees is a mountain shepherd's dog. Over this long period of time the Great Pyrenees developed a special relation- ship with the shepherd, its family, and the flock. In 1407, French writings tell of the usefulness of these "Great Dogs of the Mountains" as guardians of the Chateau of Lourdes. In 1675, they were adopted as the Royal Dog of France by the Dau- phin in the court of King Louis XIV, and subsequently became much sought after by nobility. Having a precocious sense of smell and exceptionally keen eyesight, each dog was counted equal to two men, be it as guard of the chateaux, or as invaluable companion of shepherds. While their royal adoption is interesting, the dogs main fame was from their ageless devotion to their mountain flocks, shepherds, and shepherds' family. When not working the flocks, you would find "Patou," as he is lovingly called, laying on the mat in the front doorway of the shepherds' humble dwellings. ACROSS THE OCEAN In 1662, dogs were carried to Newfoundland by Basque fish- ermen as companions and guardians of the new Settlement. Here it was they became mated with the black curly coated retriever, favorite of the English settlers. This cross resulted in the forma- tion of the Landseer (black and white) Newfoundland. In 1824, General Lafayette introduced the first pair to America by bringing over two males to his friend, J.S. Skinner, author of "The Dog and the Sportsman". In 1850, Britain's Queen Victoria owned a Pyrenean Moun- tain Dog, and in 1885-86, the first Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were registered with the Kennel Club in London and shown at the Crystal Palace. In 1870, Pyrenean blood was used with that of other large breeds to help bring back the St. Bernard after that noble dog's numbers
had been so greatly depleted by avalanches and distemper at the hospice in Switzerland. It was not until 1909 that the first Pyre- nean Mountain Dogs were introduced into England for breeding purposes by Lady Sybil Grant, daughter of Lord Roseberry. It was twenty-six years later (1935) that Pyreneans were again bred in a kennel in England. At that time, Mme. Jeanne Harper Trois Fon- taines started her de Fontenay Kennel at Hyde Heath, Amersham, later becoming well known the world over and accounting for many
exports to distant lands. RECONSTITUTION
By the late 1800's and early 1900's the state of the breed had deteriorated due to the vanishing of the natural predator foes in the mountains and the practices of many unscrupulous breeders selling to naive tourists through the region. In 1907 Monsieur Dretzen from Paris, along with Count de Bylandt of Holland and Monsieur Byasson of Argeles Gazost, formed the Club du Chien des Pyrenées (CCP) a.k.a. Argeles Club in Argeles Gazost. They combed the mountains for a group of "faultlessly typical" specimens. Monsieur Dretzen took these dogs back to his kennel in Paris. Also in 1907, the Pastoure Club at Lourdes, Hautes Pyrenées, France, was organized to perpetuate interest in the breed. Each club wrote a breed standard. After the decimating effects of World War I, the breed's num- bers and quality had been severely compromised. A few dedicated breeders, headed by Monsieur Senac Lagrange, worked to restore the breed to its former glory. They joined together the remnants of the two former clubs and formed the Reunion des Amateurs de Chiens Pyreneans which still exists today. It was this club that was responsible for the breed standard being published in 1927. This standard has served as a basis for all current standards for the breed. After World War II, it was again Monsieur Senac-Lagrange who took the lead in getting the breed back on its feet from the devastat-
ing effects of the German occupation. FIRST KENNEL IN THE U.S.A.
In 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Francis V. Crane imported several speci- mens to seriously launch the breed in North America with the founding of the Basquaerie Kennels at Needham, Massachusetts. Their lifelong efforts on behalf of the breed provided the breed with an atmosphere in which it could thrive and prosper. They imported important breeding stock out of Europe just before the Continent was closed by World War II. The American Kennel Club accord- ed the Great Pyrenees official recognition in February, 1933, and beginning April, 1933, separate classification began for the breed at licensed shows. Today the Great Pyrenees is a working dog as well as a compan- ion and family dog. Most of our dogs never see a show ring, but they are trusted and beloved members in homes and may function as livestock guardian dogs on farms and ranches. The Great Pyrenees is proving itself very versatile, gaining fame as therapy dogs, rescue dogs, and many activities with its human companions. They are very social dogs in the family and get along extremely well with other animals that belong to the shepherd, farmer, or family. They are wary of strangers in the work environment (this includes the home). They adapt easily to other situations such as dog shows, and make extraordinary ambassadors for the breed in many settings such as hospitals, old age homes, with children, etc. They have a special ability to identify and distinguish predators or unwelcome intruders. They are nurturing of small, young, or sick animals.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2019 • 349
JUDGING GREAT PYRENEES By Robert M. Brown, D.V.M.
I am going to present to the reader my thought process and points of greatest concern in judging Great Pyrenees. As with any judging, others may have di ff er- ing opinions. When Great Pyrenees walk into your ring, you should be looking for a rectangu- lar dog only slightly longer than tall. Th is dog should have a noticeable level, strong back line. He will be white or principally white and can have head markings and/or body coloring up to ⅓ of its body. You will be looking for a large, strong, lithe dog- not one that appears heavy and ponderous or wispy and shelly. Th ere are three areas of concern in judging the breed: head, front end assem- bly and temperament. I will go through my thought process about each of these important areas in judging the breed. Th e Great Pyrenees is a head breed that is hard to understand since the cor- rect head with “ Th e Look” is seldom seen. “ Th e Look” as I call the correct melding of pigment, muzzle length, eye color and shape, ear size and placement, and lack of an apparent stop does occur, but is rarely seen. You will have the best opportunity to see “ Th e Look” at a national specialty, but even then it can be elusive. Approach the Great Pyrenees either straight on or at a three-quarter angle. Cup the head under the jaws and observe the shape of the head. It is wedge-shaped from above and from the side. Th e bite is a close scissors bite with an even bite being accept- able. Two issues with teeth occur on occa- sion. In some mature dogs and bitches the central incisors may appear to recede; this is not an important judging issue. Now I put on my veterinary cap –on occasion in mature dogs mostly (rarely bitches), you may observe what appears to be lower incisors and even canine teeth that appear worn down so as only “nub-
sion in all white Pyrs, the nose pigment may fade in the winter time- snow nose. Th e only penalty is whether the condi- tion detracts from “ Th e Look” that the dog portrays. To me, there is usually some detraction. Occasionally, Dudley noses are seen with distinct pink and black area present. Dudley noses can also be associ- ated with incomplete pigmented eye rims. Th e eye color of Great Pyrenees is dark brown and the eye lid shape is almond. Th e eye color can range from almost yel- low to almost black. Th e color that you accept in judging is the color that com- pliments “ Th e Look”. In Pyrs that have short muzzles and/or too much stop, there is a tendency for round eyes and increased tear stain on the white hair at the inner corner of the eyes. Th e Great Pyrenees ear is from small to medium in size and set on at the level of the outer corner of the eyelid. A line of hair can be followed from the outer cor- ner of the eye to the root of the ear set. If the ear set is too high, the line does not meet the root of the ear. Ears set on too high or are too large detract from “ Th e Look”. In rare instances low set, houndy ears may be found. Th e most di ffi cult concept pertaining to the Great Pyrenees head is the term “no apparent stop”. Th ere are very few Pyrs being shown that can be described with “no apparent stop”, but it is the ulti- mate goal to strive for in the quest for “ Th e Look”. Th ere is a gradual, barely perceptible rise from the muzzle to the top skull that occurs at the level of the eyes. If you run your hand over the muzzle with your fin- gers pointed toward the top skull you can best determine the degree of stop present. On occasion, there may be well developed superciliary ridges of bone above each eye which can make the head appear to have more stop than it actually has.
“THE GREAT PYRENEES is a head breed...”
bins” appear above the gum-line. Th is con- dition is called gingival hyperplasia and actually is due to a proliferation of gum (gingival) tissue growth that covers most or all of normal incisor teeth. Th e upper and lower teeth are aligned normally, but if the condition causes you concern, you should penalize the situation to the point that you feel is warranted. Th e condition is only factored minimally into my judging of the breed. At this point you will become aware of the length of the Pyr’s muzzle. Th e accept- able length should approximate the length of the back skull and not less than 40% of the back skull. Th ere are specimens shown with extremely short muzzles- they are cute, like teddy bears, but incorrect, as this is not enough muzzle length to aid in doing battle with a predator. Th e correct muzzle length helps to insure that the head will have tight, black pigmented lips. Th is should not be a drooling breed. Breed pigmentation is black beginning with the nose, lips, and eye rims. On occa-
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noting. Coupled with temperament are the breed’s attitude in the dog show ring. Th ey are not animated and most do not respond to bait. If the Pyr is alert, he will carry his tail raised in a wheel; if he is relaxed he will carry his tail low, but not tucked between his legs. Two brief judging helps. Get your hands into the coat. Th e coat should have texture and body and not be soft and cottony. A slight wave is acceptable, but not sought. Check rear angulation at the hock by feel- ing; groomers can provide optical illu- sions of adequate hock angulation. Check dewclaws. One is mentioned on each front leg. Rarely, there are two- no penalty. Two rear dewclaws are located higher up on the metatarsal than are on European bred Pyrs. U.S. Pyrs dewclaws are not as functional. Two rear dewclaws can emerge from one digit, be fused together or have one atrophied and one developed. As long as there are two, it’s good to go! When I use the three major determin- ing factors in judging the breed, this is how I weigh them. Unacceptable tempera- ment keeps me from rewarding a perfect “ Th e Look” and a correct front assembly. Since the Great Pyrenees can “make do” with most of a good front assembly while the true essence of the breed is manifested in the combination of characteristics that make up “ Th e Look”. BIO Robert M. Brown has owned a Great Pyrenees since 1965. During the period through the early 1990s, he has owned or bred fifty-five Great Pyrenees champions. Being approved to judge Great Pyrenees in 1978, he is the senior Great Pyrenees judge in the Western Hemisphere and currently judges two AKC groups and Best In Show. Robert has judged 4 United States Great Pyrenees National Specialties, 2 Swed- ish National Specialties and 1 Canadian National Specialty. In 1983, he judged the breed at the AKC Centennial Show in Philadelphia. He served as chairman of the standard revision committee that created the cur- rent breed standard in 1990, resulting in the only revision since the original stan- dard of 1935.
Put all of the previously mentioned com- ponents together to determine which head most closely meets “ Th e Look” criteria. Th e next component for judging Great Pyrenees is the front assembly. Th e front assembly consists of the neck, chest-depth and spring of rib, and the front legs as they attach to the side of the ribs and the degree of layback of the scapula (shoulder blade). Over the past 20 years or so, Great Pyr- enees fanciers have markedly improved the physical appearance of the Great Pyrenees rear assembly. Th e front assembly has not fared as well. We want Great Pyrenees to have legs that are straight columns to the ground and be of medium substance and width between the legs. Th e front leg assembly consists of the shoulder blade, the upper arm, and lower arm and toes. Th e shoul- der blade should be laid back to a signifi- cant angle and the shoulder blade should be laid on to the side of the ribs behind the prosternum. Th at laid on position will insure that the front reach gaiting will be maximal. Th e Great Pyrenees neck is of medium length so as to elegantly support the head that we have previously described. Two situations can shorten the appearance of the neck length. If the dog has a very short back, it usually translates to a short tail and a short, dumpy neck. Th is is due to the shortened size of all of the vertebrae in the body. A Pyr can also appear to have a short neck if the scapula (shoulder blade) is
not laid back and is laid on upright. Th is arrangement also eliminates any presence of fore chest that would normally pro- trude slightly ahead of the junction of the shoulder blade and upper arm. Th e shape and depth of the chest are important for working function. Th e chest is moderately well sprung and egg shaped. It is not barrel shaped which causes the dog to be out at the elbows or slab-sided which gives the appearance of both front legs emerging from the same socket. Th e chest level should reach the elbows. Th e afore described set of anatomi- cal relationships make a well constructed Great Pyrenees forward assembly. It exists in the breed, but is not commonly found. Th e third component of judging Great Pyrenees relates to the breed temperament. Th is is a large breed that is accustomed to protecting flocks of sheep from predators. Th ey are accustomed to working without much human interaction. Th erefore, they can and do think for themselves. Th ey are exceeding good judges of char- acter and intent. Th e previous describes what is expected from a Great Pyrenees. Under no circumstances should a shy, excessively nervous, or Pyr exhibiting human aggression be allowed to remain in the show ring. If you read the current Great Pyrenees standard for the breed, you will see the section on temperament bolded. When the Standard Committee consid- ered temperament, we felt this was worth
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GREAT PYRENEES THE
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, Great Pyrenees currently rank #66 out of 192. Does the average person in the street recognize him? Is this good or bad when it comes to placing puppies? 3. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. How has he adapted to civilian life? What qualities as an unmatched livestock guardian also come in handy around the house? 4. A big strong Working dog requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal companion? Any drawbacks? 5. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? 6. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-wor- thiness (or lack thereof)? 7. Carting a big, heavy dog (or dogs) to shows is not for the faint of heart. What is it that makes it all worthwhile? 8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? 9. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 10. What is your favorite dog show memory? 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. TERRIE STROM My name is Terrie Strom of R Pyr Great Pyrenees. I live on 2.5 acres just north of Santa Bar- bara. I started showing in 1997 and breeding in 2001. This is the only breed I’ve owned. I have over 70 AKC Champions. I love this breed like no other. My passion is showing my dogs and I enjoy helping new comers show their dogs. It makes me happy when families get their puppies from me and I can help bring them the same joy I have gotten from this wonderful breed. I live in Arroyo Grande, California. Outside of dogs, I man- age my property. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? No, the average person does not know the breed. I am glad this is not a popular breed and it is not about placing puppies. It is about educating people before they get a Great Pyrenees puppy. When they don’t recognize the breed it is an opportunity to edu- cate them and then stimulate interest in the breed. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? I get a lot of calls from families that have small ranches so they are looking for a guardian. Some families that have smaller dogs and children are
looking for a guardian because of the coyotes that are coming into the city areas. These dogs are the family pet and still do a job. More and more I get inquiries for therapy dogs. This is a perfect fit. They are calm and love to be petted. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Because of their calm nature they make a good family pet. They are good with kids and other pets. They do well inside or outside but they still need exercise. A couple of good walks a day is good for both the dog and walker. Their size can be a drawback. They eat less than you would expect and have very good health over- all. The biggest drawback is their barking especially if you have neighbors that are not dog friendly. They need to be brushed each week which is good bonding time. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? I think in some ways our society is less tolerable of dogs. In one hand they want the companion but on the other they don’t have the time to care for them. If you do not spend time with your dog, you will have behavior issues. Breeders are becoming a thing of the past. There are so many rules and regulations for owning, keeping, and breeding dogs that now no one wants to be bothered. Then you have all the dogs in shelters and responsible breeders are get- ting a bad rap. The challenge of Great Pyrenees is their size. I am a small breeder with limited litters each year. Their size limits my numbers. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness? At eight weeks you can see a lot. Then I see more when they go to their first show at six months. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Show- ing is my passion. Showing brings a bond to me and my dogs. The best way I can describe it is when you are showing your dog and everything clicks. It all comes together and you are a team. Like in golf when you hit the “sweet” spot and your ball just flies down the fairway. Who cares what your score is. You know you hit it just right and it felt good. You know when you and your dog are in sync. It feels good. You hope that you win but no mat- ter what you walk away knowing you and your dog did great. That’s why I show. The wins are secondary. What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? That they can do the job in which they were bred to do. Not the most showy dog. My ultimate goal for the breed? Keeping true to their function. We still use that today. This would include health and temperament. My favorite dog show memory? Finishing my first bred-by dog out of the bred-by class going Best of Breed over top Spe- cials 18 years ago and four of us gals and nine Pyrs traveling from California to Massachusetts for our National. Oh how we laughed! “You can’t have just one” The work is great but the rewards are greater.
“THE BEST WAY I CAN DESCRIBE IT IS WHEN YOU ARE SHOWING YOUR DOG AND EVERYTHING CLICKS.”
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Great Pyrenees Q & A
RHONDA DALTON I have owned, trained, shown and bred Great Pyrenees for 35 years. I am currently the President of the Great Pyrenees Club of America and the Training Director for Princeton Dog Training Club. I purchased my first dog as an Obedience dog. Since Pyrs are not often shown in Obedience, I was encouraged to try confor- mation shows. My first dog, Apollo, completed his Champion- ship at the first Regional Specialty I attended and earned his CD before the age of two. He went on to train for his CDX and become an amazing therapy dog. The rest is history. With very limited breeding, I have finished 30 Champions, three CD’s, and three Rally Novice Titles. I breed once in awhile, when I want a new puppy and to continue my line of dogs. For Thanksgiving I am expecting a litter of at least seven puppies from 23 year old frozen semen, a breeding I have been waiting a very long time for. I live in New Jersey. Outside of dogs, most of my life revolves around dogs and my family. Between training and showing my dogs, being the current president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America and training director for Princeton Dog Training Club, there isn’t much time for anything else. When I get a chance, I enjoy going to concerts with my husband. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? No, most people think they are white Newfoundlands or Saint Bernards. I don’t think it really has an affect on placing puppies. Great Pyrenees are not for everyone. Those who want them have usually met one. I have to disagree the statement that few of the dogs really “work” anymore. I believe that there may be more dogs work- ing than ones living with families as pets. Great Pyrenees are extremely adaptable and make amazing livestock guardian dogs as well as amazing family pets. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? Great Pyrenees are extremely intelligent dogs. They make wonderful fam- ily pets or LDG’s. Whichever life they are living, they require training. What qualities as an unmatched livestock guardian also come in handy around the house? They are devoted compan- ions who protect their families as if they were their flock. No one can sneak into your house without you knowing. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? They make wonderful companions and service/therapy dogs. Pyrs are very intelligent and very capable of manipulating unsuspecting owners. Puppies like to dig up your yard, adults often bark too much and without a fence, all Pyrs will wonder. Pyrs also shed profusely when blowing their coats and some dogs drool more than others. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? As with all purebred dogs, some people don’t seem to understand the importance of purebred dogs that are bred for a purpose. The importance of inherited instinctual traits can not be understated. Without livestock guardian dogs who can think for themselves, farmers would not be able to keep herds of livestock safe. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness? I start watching every move puppies make from birth. By seven weeks old I try to make my decisions and can see signs of show-worthiness. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Show- ing my dogs is a fun activity that gives me the opportunity to spend more quality time having fun together. If I want to breed a dog, I feel I need to prove their worthiness to reproduce by becoming a champion.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? Make sure to get you hands on the dogs to feel what is under that beautifully groomed coat. Many faults can be hidden by a carefully groomed coat and carefully used cosmetic products. My ultimate goal for the breed? To see all breeders use health testing to help them breed beautiful, healthy dogs, and look at the whole dog including type, soundness and temperament. My favorite dog show memory? Being able to owner-handle my home bred dog to multiple group placements and the hall of fame. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Before buying a Great Pyrenees, people need to realize that they will be very large dogs. Formal training of a puppy is extreme- ly important and must be started from the minute the puppy comes home and should minimally continue throughout the first year. If you are not going to fence your yard or keep your dog leashed, please do not get a Great Pyrenees. TERRY M. DENNEY-COMBS I have been breeding and showing Great Pyrenees since 1971. I’m working on my 100th champion at the moment. A Gold Breeder of Merit with the AKC. Under the kennel name Euzkalzale have bred generations of Top show dogs, Specialty winners, Therapy Dogs, Family dogs and Livestock guardians. I live in Hesperia California. Outside dogs as a profession is not possible because I groom dogs for a living still and have done so since 1984. Dogs are in my blood and ever since my first Pyr, which I purchased on my 21st birthday, I’ve been trying very hard to go forward with our breed being careful to preserve the distinct breed characteristics that make them stand apart. While improving soundness and health along the way. I find many people recognize the Great Pyrenees these days and most of my puppy clients are people who have owned and loved Pyrs before and want another in their lives. There is only one Pyr and he should still be able to function as a life stock guardian; he will take the things that make him one into his home and guard the people and animals around him. He is a thinker and will soon know if something could be a danger and act accordingly. He really needs to have beings to guard and be responsible for to fulfill his needs. This breed was developed by Basque shepherds which were a family type of group and the dogs also guarded homes as well as flocks. They are excellent to live with and adapt well to home environments but also require good exercise to develop properly and remain strong and healthy. This is a mountain dog, capable of climbing and descending rugged terrain. Pyrs have a slow metabolism and require little food com- pared to many of the larger working dogs. Because they were developed by a people that used natural selection and ability as a guide for breeding has helped our breed have vigor. The biggest drawbacks in residential areas and small farm areas is his tendency to bark at night to let the predators know he is on duty. This can be considered a nuisance in many communities. He also is an independent dog and is not easily bent to any per- son’s will with training; especially if he sees no need to continue doing repetitive commands. He definitely requires being on a leash when out and about. If any danger is near or his charges feel there is a danger he is right there in full gear to do what is necessary to stop any thing that is making them fearful. Many owners will have to bring the Pyrs in at night to keep within the scope of noise laws; but that is the place they want to be with their pack or human herd. They shed too. A Pyr should be aware if someone is not up to par and make very caring and gentle therapy dogs. Many have been the last
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Great Pyrenees Q & A
“He is a thinker and will soon know if something could be a danger and act accordingly.”
Terry M. Denney-Combs continued hug for humans passing over at UCLA medical center and other organizations. Many a doctor has dropped for a hug in those hall ways as well. They are especially tolerant of children and do well in library reading sessions and college exam week anxieties programs. Most Pyr breeders are small concerns—very few big ken- nels—replaced by a family caring for the dogs that are part of their lives and go to shows with all the crates, tables, etc to make the dog safe and comfortable for the day. Usually they travel very well and love to go. It is a lifestyle that all show people adapt to regardless of their breed. I believe this family raising is essential to the continued development of the breed’s overall soundness of body and mind; the most important thing to breed for to be able to put our trust in their decisions. As pups I believe eight to nine weeks is a good age to deter- mine overall conformation—my line is slow maturing and I have changed my mind on an individual after nine weeks and will usually keep two from a litter until eight months old to make a final determination. Since I am a small breeder I have kept the new generations and found retirement homes for the adults (usually by four years old) so they have a change for their own special home and I can continue through generations to develop a line of dogs without having too many dogs to care for. One of my favorite memories is my first special’s eve of retire- ment and his handler and co-owner, Karen Bruneau put a tiny little red Santa hat on his head for the first go around in the group. It was the last show of the year at Long Beach Kennel Club. He proudly strutted around the ring—it was removed to her pocket quick enough for the first lineup though as the judge gave her “the eye”. Bah humbug. I’m advancing in years and will be unable to continue my life showing Pyrs before too long and I’m sure there are many devoted fans and breeders who will carry on preserving this great dog—this Great Pyrenees. I’ve had a great run and have no regrets. One will always be by my side until I pass over as well. JOAN HANOVER I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Outside of dogs, I shop until I drop—hunting for the special item for our regionals and National. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? Our clients at our veterinary hospital all know them but outside of our zone they are Newfs or etc. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? Many Pyrs are working on farms but not AKC registered. Our Pyrs protect us and our home! What about the breed makes the breed an ideal compan- ion? They love life and their people they will also take off if not leashed or fenced in the city and suburbs. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? Finding sound dogs to introduce into our breeding program. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness? Anywhere between eight weeks and three years. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? The joy of accomplishment and time well spent with our four-legged friends. What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? They are a guardian breed. Approach as a friend and say hello first. Read the Standard.
What is my ultimate goal for the breed? Eliminate hereditary defects, promote good health and breed to the standard. PEGGY WATSON I live in Georgia. I moved here five years ago from Arizo- na. I work online from home, specifically so that I am here for my dogs. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? In Arizona they were not often recognized, here in Georgia every- one knows what breed they are, and knows someone who has one. They are very popular as livestock dogs and pets here. Pyr rescue in Georgia has handled well over 1,000 dogs in the past seven years—popularity is not a good thing for our breed. It will make placing puppies in good homes harder than it was in Arizona I believe. Thankfully I rarely breed, only when I have to, and have great owners willing to wait for a puppy. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? Actually I believe many more of them work than show. In terms of the overall population very few of them are found in show homes with show bloodlines. They are the most common livestock guardian breed in our country, and most of them are bred from this back- ground. The show lines place a few into livestock homes, but there are really two groups—show people breeding tested stock and livestock breeders breeding either for the livestock or the pet market. A few of the livestock breeders health test, most do not. Rescue has a big job cleaning up the livestock bred Pyrs and Pyr mixes that are not placed well by their breeders. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? He is ideal in his temperament, guarding ability and beauty. Your house will likely not be robbed, your children will have a trust- worthy companion and your neighbors will know you have a big, white dog. They are usually good house dogs and not big chewers. There are many drawbacks. The first thing I tell some- one interested in a Pyr is that they bark more than any dog you will ever own, they shed, they drool a bit, they dig and they like to try and escape—all this makes placement difficult. They are much like a 100 pound cat. You must be a calm confident leader, you must have excellent fencing, you must have a plan for bark- ing and shedding, otherwise the placement is likely to fail. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? Any large breed dog has larger needs and costs—veterinary costs, food costs, etc. With all the more restrictive dog laws being passed everywhere we are more limited than ever with where we can live with a kennel of Pyrs, so many Pyr kennels have died out. In terms of them in companion homes, as backyards shrink and neighbors get closer, it’s harder than ever to own a Pyr successfully in that type of home. These homes often have neighbors complaining about barking for instance. It will be interesting to see how our breed fares over the next 20 years. There are far fewer true kennels of show Pyr breeders left in this country. When I started back in 1990 I bet there were more than 50. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness? I start looking at day one and make up my mind between eight to ten weeks of age. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Well winning of course! I think we all like those faces of people who have come to a dog show and have never seen a Pyr before—the look of wonder on their faces! I love introducing people to my
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