JUDGING GREAT PYRENEES
by ROBERT M BROWN, D.V.M.
QUALIFICATIONS NECES- SARY TO DISCUSS JUDGING GREAT PYRENEES: I have owned a Great Pyrenees since 1965. During the period through the early 1990s, I have owned or bred 55 Great Pyrenees champions. Being approved to judge Great Pyrenees in 1978, I am the senior Great Pyrenees judge in the Western Hemisphere and currently judge two AKC groups and Best In Show. I have judged four United States Great Pyrenees National Special- ties, two Swedish National Specialties, and one Canadian National Specialty. In 1983 I judged the breed at the AKC Cen- tennial Show in Philadelphia. I served as chairman of the standard revision committee that created the current breed standard in 1990 resulting in the only revision since the original standard of 1935. JUDGING GREAT PYRENEES: I am going to present to the reader my thought process and points of great- est concern in judging Great Pyrenees. As with any judging, others may have differing opinions. When Great Pyrenees walk into your ring, you should be looking for a rect- angular dog only slightly longer than tall. This 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
¹ / ³ of its body. You will be looking for a large, strong, lithe dog—not one that appears heavy and ponderous or wispy and shelly. There are three areas of concern in judging the breed—head, front end assembly and temperament. I will go through my thought process about each of these important areas in judging the breed. The Great Pyrenees is a head breed that is hard to understand since the cor- rect head with “The Look” is seldom seen. “The Look” as I call the correct melding of pigment, muzzle length, eye color and shape, ear size and place- ment and lack of an apparent stop does occur, but is rarely seen. You will have the best opportunity to see “The 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. The bite is a close scissors bite with an even bite being acceptable. Two issues with teeth occur on occasion. 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
“nubbins” appear above the gum-line. This condition is called gingival hyper- plasia and actually is due to a prolifera- tion of gum (gingival) tissue growth that covers most or all of normal incisor teeth. The upper and lower teeth are aligned normally, but if the condition causes you concern, you should penal- ize the situation to the point that you feel is warranted. The 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. The acceptable length should approximate the length of the back skull and not less than 40% of the back skull. There are specimens shown with extremely short muzzles—they are cute, like ted- dy bears, but incorrect, as this is not enough muzzle length to aid in doing battle with a predator. The correct muz- zle length helps to insure that the head will have tight, black pigmented lips. This should not be a drooling breed. Breed pigmentation is black begin- ning with the nose, lips and eye rims. On occasion in all white Pyrs, the nose pigment may fade in the winter time- snow nose. The only penalty is wheth- er the condition detracts from “The Look” that the dog portrays. To me, there is usually some detraction. Occa- sionally, Dudley noses are seen with distinct pink and black area present. Dudley noses can also be associated with incomplete pigmented eye rims.
"THERE ARE THREE AREAS OF CONCERN IN JUDGING THE BREED —. HEAD, FRONT END ASSEMBLY AND TEMPERAMENT.”
374 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018
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