Showsight Presents the Great Pyrenees

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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