9. What previously campaigned Havanese come close to your ideal? Please explain. In considering this question, I refreshed my memory by checking the American Shih Tzu Club website, and my own library of books on the breed by Jo Ann White, Vic- tor Joris and Audrey Dabbs. I wish I had seen many of the old greats who were both top winners and top produc- ers, but I did not. 10. Do you have anything else to share? As a judge, I like for a dog to “show himself/herself” with little visible help from the handler. The more natural, the better! Training should take place at home. I see han- dlers... both professional and owner... fiddle with the dog too much and in doing so, often ruin the image. JOE WALTON 1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. The single most important characteristic for Shih Tzu is temperament! The Shih Tzu should be a happy, out-going breed. They should want to be everybody’s friend. I love to see their tails wagging while trying to examine them. Five other characteristics of great importance are: Overall balance: height to length (slightly longer than tall), head held high, tail set on high, and arched high over back Proper large round head, with broad underjaw, and large, round, full, dark eyes; properly placed, set wide apart, nose placed not too high but never ever down faced. Proper amount of bone and well sprung ribs, and sub- stance (not fat). The standard: Regardless of size (not for its size), the Shih Tzu is always compact, solid and carries good weight and substance. Proper movement (smooth and flowing with strong rear action), but NOT raced and NOT strung-up with distinct- ly arrogant head carriage. Proper coat texture (double coated with harsher outer coat) 2. How important is grooming? Do you feel that the top knot gone too far? It is very important, in that the Shih Tzu should be clean, and the coat should be in good condition. The face should not be stained. I prefer the “old fashioned” top knot, with hair in the top knot split, and flowing
1. In order, name the five most impor- tant traits you look for in the ring. Temperament, head, coat, body and gait. This is not to say that I devalue the traits at the bottom of the list... all are necessary. 2. How important is grooming? Do you feel that the top knot gone too far?
Grooming has gone too far. I am pleased to see that some of the current exhibits are shown more naturally than just a few years ago. The Standard says “the hair on top of head is tied up.” I do not find the word “topknot” in the Standard. Some time ago I gave BOB to a dog whose hair was “tied up” but not into the usual “topknot” The exhibitor told me subsequently that my decision caused consternation on social media. I was amused as I was doing my best to judge the head, not the grooming. 3. What head characteristics are most important to breed type? The shape of the head should be round and the size in balance with the body. Large, round, dark, correctly pigmented eyes giving a wide-eyed, friendly and trusting expression are essential. The skull is domed; the stop is definite, the muzzle is cushioned, square, short; the bite is undershot in a broad jaw... the Standard is clear on the attributes to seek when judging the head. 4. Describe ideal Shih Tzu movement and its impor- tance in judging. I look for balance, level topline, natural high head car- riage (not strung-up), and tail carriage curving over the back. If the dog is strung-up or is being raced, I ask to see the gait again. And again. Three strikes and you are out of consideration. 5. Are there any unforgivable faults in the Shih Tzu breed? Temperament. It is a hallmark of this breed. 6. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? The structure under the coat. 7. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? I prefer handlers not string-up or run with a Shih Tzu. The Standard forbids this, but I see it frequently anyway. Also, there is too much product in many coats. 8. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What is getting better? The called-for sweet, trusting expression seems to be lacking on too many exhibits. Not much body under a lot of coat is especially disappointing. Shih Tzus are meant to be a sturdy breed! Grooming seems to be getting more natural and I am totally in favor of that direction.
hallmark Jolei Austin Powers, in full coat.
hallmark Jolei Austin Powers, cut down.
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