great pyrenees Q&A with RobeRt M. bRown, Vinny ChiAnese & JeAn PeRo
RMB: Movement is typical Working dog movement, which is efficient. The Great Pyrenees is capable of very quick bursts of speed to engage a potential flock predator. Normally they are found lying down in an elevated position to observe their flock. VC: They should move with elegance and have the ability to reach in the front with an equal amount of drive in the rear. Movement should be with great ease and efficiency, but not at the expense of speed. JP: Movement is crucial for the Great Pyrenees to do its job. It must be elegant, efficient, strong and balanced with strong reach and drive. 6. Describe tail carriage and how it is judged. RMB: The Great Pyrenees tail may be carried either wheeled over the back or hanging down—both carriages are correct. The tail must reach the hock and may have a shepherd’s crook. A tail carried over the back indicates that the Great Pyrenees is alert; many are not alert in the show ring. VC: Tail carriage may be up or down. Up is a slight curl over the back, which is called making the wheel. The tail is never a snap tail and may also be carried in repose as in a trailing tail. Neither is more important than the other; both are correct. Handlers should not place the tail up over the back. JP: The tail can be carried either over the back or low— both are equally correct. I do not want the handler to place the tail over the back! 7. Do you believe it is necessary to actually check for proper dewclaws? RMB: It is absolutely necessary to verify the presence of double dewclaws by touching them on each leg. A judge is deemed lazy if they just look at the dewclaws and do not touch them. Some Great Pyrenees have a Clydesdale-like effect of hair from the hock down and visually verifying the presence of double dewclaws is not sufficient. VC: It is absolutely a must. It is required in the exam to actually reach down and touch the dewclaws. Just mov- ing the tail and looking at them is not sufficient. Please do not disrespect the breed and the breeders by not doing our job. We would not think of judging the Jack Russell Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier and Border Terrier without spanning their chest, nor would we judge a “theRe is only one tyPe foR A GReAt PyRenees, but theRe CAn be diffeRent styles.”
Pekingese without lifting, so please check that the dewclaws as required. JP: We address double rear dewclaws in our standard and address their absence as a fault. I feel this is an essence of our breed and absolutely want them checked by touch when judging the breed. 8. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? RMB: The Great Pyrenees today are vastly superior to those of the 60s and 70s. Early dogs were more variable in terms of coarseness, poor rear assembly and overall soundness. VC: There are many fine examples of the breed throughout the country. Most of the dogs in the show ring could go right out into the field and be perfectly good guard dogs. I think that the breed as a whole has come forward in the last twenty years. JP: I do think the breed is better overall than in the last 20 years. I do feel all Great Pyrenees should be able to walk out of the show ring and into a field and guard whatever we give them to guard. We do not have different breeds, only one Great Pyrenees, that is a guardian dog. 9. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? RMB: This breed has a tremendous size range within the standard. Males can be 27 to 32 inches at the withers— that is a very large variation and while there are very few Pyrs exhibited that are toward the upper limits, a good big dog should be prized over a good little dog as it is more difficult to breed all of the parts of a big dog. Bitches range from 25 to 29 inches and those at the top end of the size range are seen in the show ring. VC: The difference between type and style—there is only one type of Pyrenees as it is written in the standard; but within that type, there are styles as in many other breeds. JP: Type—there is only one type for a Great Pyrenees, but there can be different styles. 10. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. RMB: Don’t discount the correct coat of the Great Pyrenees. When the coat is proper, it is almost self-cleaning. The outer coat is somewhat hard and can be straight or slightly wavy. The under coat is wooly and may contain much color from light gray to a very dark gray almost black. Don’t discount the markings in Great Pyrenees— other than black, there are very acceptable colors that range from lemon tan to badger to wolf gray to orange. All are acceptable.
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