IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STANDARD
The written Standard for any breed is the blueprint for that breed. The Standard is in place to ensure that the traits associated with that breed are maintained in order to preserve that breed. The purpose of conformation judging is to choose the breeding stock that best exhibits those traits. The concept of conformation judging is simple: One person, serving as the judge while having a working understanding of that breed’s Standard, chooses the exhibits that best exemplify the image created by the written Stan- dard. In any given competition, the Standard used is the particular Standard for that breed and is endorsed by the registry holding the event. In our case, the registry is the American Kennel Club. The judge is obligated to follow the Official Breed Standard to the best of his or her understanding. The Breed Standard that we use was originally written by the Pinscher Schnauzer Klub in Germany. These were people who had a hand in the development of the breed. They had a vision of what the ideal Giant Schnauzer should look like and transferred this vision into written word. This breed was developed by humans to perform certain tasks on behalf of humans. This took place in a particular region of the world during a particular period in history. To sum up this article, “type” is always the main consideration when judging. Knowing what constitutes type is the key to cor- rectly choosing the best breeding stock. The Giant Schnauzer is a square-built dog of medium size with a rough coat, harsh beard and eyebrows, and a frame that supports trotting over rough ter- rain for hours. Not to be overlooked is the temperament. Tem- perament is featured in the General Description, the section on Size, and the section on Faults. Half of the General Description is devoted to the subject. Temperament is one of the most important factors in determining breed type and should NEVER be over- looked. If we lose temperament, we have lost the breed’s ability to work and, in effect, the breed. All aspects of the Breed Standard point back to the breed’s orig- inal purpose. The history of the breed is the key to understanding the Standard.
FAULTS The foregoing description is that of the ideal Giant Schnau- zer. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penal- ized to the extent of the deviation. The judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Giant Schnauzer. This section of the Breed Standard deals with faults starting with the “extent of deviation” yardstick we use to determine how serious any particular fault should be considered. Shyness - A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refus- ing to stand for examination, it repeatedly shrinks away from the judge; if it fears unduly any approach from the rear; if it shies to a marked degree at sudden and unusual noises. Viciousness - A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler is definitely vicious. An aggres- sive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness. DISQUALIFICATIONS Overshot or undershot. Markings other than specified. The Breed Standard states that the judge SHALL dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Giant Schnauzer and it succinctly defines both shyness and viciousness. Most judges will give a pup- py more than one chance to stand for exam, and judges may use discretion interpreting whether a dog is fundamentally shy. The disqualifications are few and are clearly stated, though mark- ings can confuse newer judges. Hopefully, those questions were answered in the Coat and Color discussion. SUMMARY Purebred dogs, in general, are breeds developed by humans to exhibit certain desired traits that set them apart from other breeds. These purebreds did not “happen into existence” purely by natural selection. Most physical traits are the product of genetics. Groom- ing, cropping, and docking aspects are distinctly controlled by the human hand. These issues were originally based on practical appli- cation rather than aesthetic value.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Steve Fox has been in dogs for more than 40 years and involved with the Giant Schnauzer since 1985. Steve has bred over 120 Giant Schnauzers that finished their AKC championship titles, including a number of All-Breed BIS winners. Steve handled the great CH Ruster’s Dark Command, “Koal,” to more than 45 BIS and three consecutive National Specialty wins. He has also handled several other Giant Schnauzers to BIS and National Specialty wins. Steve’s foundation bitch was the #2 All-Time, All-Breeds, Top-Producing Dam in AKC history. Steve served as GSCA President and, most recently, as the Judges’ Education Committee Chair. Steve is always willing to help and has many stories and memories to share if you have the time to listen and learn! Steve has been a member of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America since 1987.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 2022 | 245
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