THE SPINONE ITALIANO A WELL-MADE PUZZLE BY SUZANNE HUDSON
E veryone has a unique and strategic world view, and this affects how each of us evaluates a dog. Some will evaluate dogs according to their show wins or losses. Others will evaluate dogs according to their own eye and how they think the dogs demonstrate (or not) the AKC standard, and might dismiss any show record as completely irrelevant. Some have seen a breed in many different countries, while others have only seen a breed in the United States, so there are always variations in “eye” and education. Some will pay special attention to judges who have made a particular study of their breed, while giving less weight to the opinions of judges who take a more generic approach. Some fault judge or judge the dogs on a particular characteristic, while others judge the whole dog, looking at type more than faults. Each individual has a level of (or lack of ) self-awareness and objectivity as they assimilate the information they have been given, by their own research or by way of a mentor, a breeder, or a particular authority on a dog breed. We may struggle with our emotions playing too much of a role in our evaluation of our dogs and others’ dogs, but we do our best to look at the dog itself and to look at the whole dog. However we do it, we rely on these evaluations to help us make the right choices in our breeding programs for the preservation and improvement of our breed. The independent evaluation of phenotype that the show ring supports can be an important tool, which we use in addition to our knowledge of the genetic material that is expressed in our dogs’ ancestors and offspring. We prefer to look at the Spinone Italiano as a puzzle. All of the pieces are important, and they all fit together to make the whole dog. Looking at one piece of a dog, and elimi- nating the dog from consideration or elevating it for only a single characteristic (barring DQs defined in the standard), is not the best way to approach this breed.
284 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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