Saint Bernard Breed Magazine - Showsight

lengthy treatment of this subject is not appropriate here, we will focus on a few fea- tures which, if correct, will usually indicate that the whole head is acceptable. Before getting into those details, however, let it be noted that the Saint Bernard is a head breed ever bit as much as are Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Bull Terriers and Boxers. • Furrows —Without them, all else is a waste of e ff ort in evaluating a Saint Ber- nard head. Th e very shallow furrow along the top of the muzzle is prerequisite to a correct muzzle. Th e extremely deep fur- row between the eyes serves the same function with respect to the skull; that is, no deep furrow means you have an improper head. It is not that the furrows in their own right are all that important, but rather that without them, the con- struction of the rest of the head is seri- ously faulty. You may occasionally find a faulty head with furrows, but you will never find a good head without them. • Bumps —Over the eyes and below them. Th e bones both above and below the eyes must be very pronounced to give the head the chiseled appearance required for this breed. • Box-like muzzle — Th e muzzle must be substantial, square sided, deep, wide and reasonably short in length. • Massiveness — Th e head must be big and wide even for a big dog. Th e mass of the head should be imposing. Th e ears, when at attention, should be set so that they form a continuation of the topline of the skull and thus enhance the sense of width there. One word of caution here: please avoid the trap of thinking “the bigger the better.” What you should penalize: Not only should you penalize the nega- tive of those features described above (lack of furrows, flat cheeks and weak eyebrow ridges, small or tapered muzzle, small skull, etc.) but you should watch out for things that seem to have the appearance of correctness but are really faults. • Excessive fl ews — Th e standard calls for a muzzle that is deeper than it is long. Th e depth being discussed is the distance from the top of the muzzle to the bottom of the lower mandible; that is, a measurement made bone-to-bone. Th e depth of the flews is often con- fused with the depth of the muzzle; you shouldn’t make that mistake. Excessive flews can also be found on a dog with a good muzzle. Any flew that extends more than two inches below the bottom line of the lower mandible is faulty.

• Manmade heads —It is a common handler practice to gather up all of the excess skin that he can pull from the head, face and neck, and then pile it all up just ahead of the collar to simulate a massive wide head. Just ask the handler to drop his death-grip on the collar of such a dog, and you will be amazed at the transformation that occurs. • Markings —Not a requirement in our standard, so a subject that should be of little concern to the judge. 4. SOUND BODY AND MIND: Th ings to look for: You should need little guidance on rec- ognizing soundness of body with respect to a Saint Bernard. Th e only caution we would suggest is that you should keep in mind that a proportionately tall dog absolutely must have moderate angulation both front and rear—therefore, the correct movement must be compatible with that construction. In other words, the great reach and drive sought in the German Shepherd ring is not appropriate in the Saint Bernard ring. However, this does not mean a short stride is acceptable; the length of stride must be as great as possible without over-reaching. Th e other point that needs to be made is that Saint Bernards need to single track without rolling their body to reach the ground. Now the subject of soundness as applied to the mind of a Saint Bernard needs a lit- tle more detailed treatment. One must remember that this breed was intended to be sent out unescorted in packs of two or three adult males to find foot trav- elers who, while trying to cross a high and dangerous mountain pass, had become lost or exhausted and in danger of freezing to death. Th e dogs could not indulge in fight- ing with each other nor attacking strange people they came across. Th ey were sup- posed to save strangers, not eat them! Th erefore, the hallmark of the breed is a gregarious, friendly attitude towards both people and other dogs whenever they are in a businesslike environment. Proper breed • Faulty movement —Again, we assume that you know movement faults and need little guidance on the subject. Any aspect of movement or static bal- ance that would be faulty on the generic dog is also faulty on a Saint Bernard. However, always keep in mind that their historic task required an athletic dog that moves with power and grace. You will not go very far wrong if you type includes a wagging tail. What you should penalize:

just remember the requirement of the standard’s first paragraph, which states, “strong and muscular in every part!” You should also penalize any tendency for a cloddish, shu ffl ing, clumsy or lumbering mode of locomotion. • Faulty temperament —Aggression in any form, be it directed towards either people or other dogs in the ring, is not appropriate. Temperament on a Saint Ber- nard becomes faulty long before the AKC definition of attempting to bite comes into focus. Th e dogs should not resent the judge nor fear him. Since shyness and aggression are the two opposite side of the same coin, neither is acceptable for the breed. THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS. Th is foregoing is intended to as a quick guide to evaluating Saints in the show ring. However, it should in no way substi- tute for a thorough comprehension of the breed and the breed’s type. You should also recognize that there are myriads of features not discussed here that are also very impor- tant. It is hoped that correctness in those features will tend to be found in dogs that score highly in the features discussed here. Should anyone use these words as a guide, we would like to hear back from you about how useful you found this advice to be. If you would like to contact us, we’re in the book (i.e., the AKC Judges Directory). ABOUT THE AUTHOR Th e author has been also the author of a book published by Alpine Publications entitled St. Bernards From the Stoan Perspective . He and his wife have put many AKC titles on their dogs—over 40 Obe- dience Titles and over 150 Championships plus numerous foreign titles. He has judged the St. Bernard Club of America’s National Specialty three times. He has judged many times overseas as well as in this country. He has been Presi- dent of the St. Bernard Club of America, the Saint Bernard Club of Puget Sound and Th e Puyallup Valley Dog Fanciers. He has been the presenter at Judges Education Seminars for Saint Bernards over 10 times. He continues his involvement with St. Bernards and dogs in gen- eral in many ways. involved with Saint Ber- nards since 1965 which has included breeding, showing, judging, club involvements and author- ing articles in a number of publications including the AKC Gazette . He is


Powered by