NON-SPORTING GROUP Q&A
The diversity of the Group is what is so good about the Non-Sporting Group.
Have I bred any influential sires or dams? No, I only bred every few years. But I did breed to many wonderful Poodle sires, as I usu- ally only kept a bitch out of my litters. Did I handle any memorable show dogs? No, handling is not my expertise. I am lousy at handling. However, Frank Sabella, Barbara Humphries, Jeff Nokes, Art Montoya, and Madeline Patterson did the job for me. The Non-Sporting Group is the most diverse. How do I pri- oritize the essentials for each breed? The diversity of the Group is what is so good about the Non-Sporting Group. To prioritize the essentials for each breed you must understand the breed standard and what are some of the most important aspects of that breed. If you have studied the breed and have good mentors, you should be able to work through the essentials in each breed. I think that if you look at the General Appearance part of the breed standard, you can somewhat see where the essentials for each breed are located. Of course, they are discussed later in most of the breed standards. For instance, in the American Eskimo Dog standard, it states in the first sentence of the breed standard: “ The American Eskimo Dog, a loving companion dog, presents a picture of strength and agility, alert- ness and beauty. ” It continues with the description of the size, type, color, and the build and balance, substance, and gait. Where else can you look for the essentials, other than in the General Appear- ance section? I am, however, also saying that you need to get ideas of what are the essentials from your mentors and breeders. You need to look for the form and function of each breed, and prioritize the essentials for those breeds based on what they were bred for—and could they do the job? This is important for any judge to take into consideration in any breed they judge. What are some of the challenges that come with judging the Non-Sporting breeds? I do think that some of the challenges in judging the Non-Sporting breeds is the diversity. We are also get- ting more breed standard changes in some of these breeds, which sometimes can be challenging. Each breed, in most cases, may look different in various parts of the country, as the breeders in some of these parts have different breeding programs. I am not saying so much that it is a challenge, but it is important for a judge to recog- nize this and not just think that these exhibits do not have quality. Judges should realize that just because you see “breed faults” many times, you should not think that this is good. You must judge what it says in the breed standards and not be afraid to withhold ribbons for lack of quality. My breed, Poodles, have a size disqualification in our breed standard for the Toy and Miniature sizes. You MUST MEASURE if you think that it is oversized. Otherwise, you are not judging our breed correctly and you are allowing oversized dogs to finish and, in most cases, they will continue to produce oversized puppies in their litters. How important is presentation and “showmanship” in the Non- Sporting Group? I do think presentation and “showmanship” are important. The exhibitor needs to present their dog/bitch in ways that show them to their advantage. One should also be able to show their dog with the best showmanship of the dog and not the handler. If an exhibit has a great head and a great topline, and other virtues, that handler should show them off to the judge. Let’s face it, there are judges out there who need to have these virtues pointed out to them. For instance, in the Bulldog standard it states, “ TOPLINE - There should be a slight fall in the back, close behind the shoulders (its lowest part), whence the spine should rise to the loins (the top of which should be higher than the top of the shoulders), thence curving again more suddenly to the tail, forming an arch (a very distinctive feature of
the breed)… ” etc. If your Bulldog has a great topline, the exhibitor should make sure the judge realizes that it is great. The same should be said about any of the Non-Sporting exhibits. Are any breeds in better or worse shape than they were 25 years ago? I think the Tibetan Spaniel, the Bichon Frise, and the Schip- perke have developed over the years and continue to be in good shape. I think the Tibetan Spaniel has maintained a good front, about which the standard states: “ …the bones of the forearms are slightly bowed to allow the front feet to fall beneath the shoulders. ” I think the Bichon Frise has, since it was recognized back in 1988, really done an outstanding job in not only improving the structure of the breed, but also the [lack of ] balance and unsound move- ment it had when it was first introduced to the fancy. I remember seeing the Bichon, in the “beginning” of the breed, where it was much more than 1/4 longer than the height at the withers. It also had a very much softer outercoat and not coarse or curly texture as it should be. The gait has improved, as before it had more of a gait that looked like it took some effort to move. The Schipperke has maintained the appearance of “ …a small, thickset, cobby, black, tailless dog, with a fox-like face. The dog is square in profile… ” The unique silhouette with a distinctive coat (which includes a stand- out ruff, cape, and culottes) is a great attribute that the breed still maintains. I do think that some breeds need to work on the front assembly. Breeds such as Poodles, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs are some of the examples. Some Poodles have their front legs com- ing out of their necks and not from the highest point of the shoul- der. I am also continuing to see more flat feet, and they are not well-arched and cushioned on thick, firm pads. Some Bulldogs and French Bulldogs do not have the “set wide apart” fronts, but have, instead, what I refer to as a “fiddle front.” This is very concerning to me and I think the breeders need to work on this. What effect has popularity (or the lack thereof ) had on the Non- Sporting breeds? I think popularity (or the lack thereof ) should not have any effect on any breed, including those in the Non-Sporting Group. Breeders should not breed by popularity nor should judges judge by popularity. There are some very good examples of breeds in the Non-Sporting Group that some judges do not reward. To be blunt, my opinion is that the reason they do this is because they do not know exactly what they are seeing. Some judges tend to put up the “top dog” in that Group and some tend to not recognize quality even if it bites them in the ... Breeders should breed by the breed standards and try to understand pedigrees (which some breeders do not even recognize). They should not breed to the “top” dog or bitch just because it is winning. Do I have any advice to share with new judges of the Non-Sport- ing Group? Yes, I do. Study your breed standards. Keep in touch with your mentors. Take advice when given. Judges make mistakes. Judge the dog and not their winning records. Make sure you walk out of the Group ring satisfied with your placements. Do not penal- ize a “top dog” just because it is a “top dog.” Be kind to the exhibi- tors. Have a good time judging the Non-Sporting Group. Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging the Non-Sporting breeds? I can remember one show, long ago, where I had a puppy Bulldog, and all he wanted to do was rollover and have fun. He did, however, make it down and back— before he laid down when he came back to me. He went around the ring on his own terms and made me and the people at ringside laugh a lot. Sweet puppy and that made my day.
170 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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