ELLIOTT B. WEISS
wide-open gate. “Racy” is not a term that should be connected to the Schnauzer Breed. 7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving?
There is a trend to put showmanship first. Breeding for the group level first and the Breed level second. I can use as an example; an answer I was given when I questioned an exhibitor about the head and expression on their dog, “I don’t worry about heads, I concentrate on movement.” There are wonderful details being lost due to that type of thinking. 8. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Yes. As I see it all three Schnauzer Breeds have improved over the last three decades. I think there are pockets of good breeders who have done their homework and learn from each other. Many Schnauzers thirty years ago lacked type and you would see a ring full of different looking dogs. Also the breed presentation has greatly improved. 9. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? Breed character! A Schnauzer thinks highly of himself and is confident wherever he stands. Shyness—as in a dog with his tail down and ears pinned back—should not be considered for an award. 10. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? I believe that less attention should be placed on the mechanics of movement and more on breed type. The details that create the correct Schnauzer picture should be stressed. Also, conformation education should be given to the Juniors in the breed and the newcomers. The most important people at a Specialty are the newcomers, there for the first or second time. The AKC has on its staff education people. They should provide parent clubs with a lesson plan format to teach the newcomers.
BIO Born in New York City, Elliott Weiss grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. The very first show he attended was the 1956 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It was love at first sight and in 1963 he became an exhibitor for the first time. Elliott worked as an appren- tice handler to the late Ted Young Jr. from 1965 through 1968 and became a licensed professional handler in 1969. In a 1985 poll held by KENNEL REVIEW magazine, the fancy voted Elliott among the top ten handlers at that time. He showed dogs professionally until the summer of 1993. During his life in dogs, he has owned and bred Cocker Spaniels, Clumber Spaniels, Giant Schnauzers, Pointers and English Setters. Elliott started judging in the summer of 1994 and is currently approved to judge the Sporting Group, Hound Group, Terrier Group, Non-Sport- ing group, Toy Group, seven herding breeds and Giant Schnauzers. Elliott has judged the Westminster Kennel Club nine times. He judged the Terrier Group in 2004, the Sporting Group in 2008 and Best is Show 2010. He owns, exhibits and occasionally breeds English Setters under the Wyndswept prefix. 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? My home is in Middletown, Delaware. I work at being retired, go sailing when I can, do sculpture and collect artwork. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? I was an exhibitor for the first time in 1963. After being an apprentice handler, I showed dogs professionally from 1969 until 1993. I judged my first dog show in July 1994.
“...THE BREED PRESENTATION HAS GREATLY IMPROVED.”
3. Describe your breed in three words: English Setter… THE BETTER SETTER!
11. Do you have anything else to share? Well, being that this question appears to be an invitation to say anything, I will do so. I my opinion the quality of breed judging has reached an all-time low. Now when a new breed enters the scene a judge takes an open book test of twenty five questions and sends in a fee. This makes him or her qualified to judge the breed. If you want to see what the breed looks like, one goes to the internet to find a photo. In the last few years, we seem to have the judge’s approval system change with each season. There was a committee of dog people assembled, but someone’s ego was bruised and this was quickly disbanded. Now we have a new system that resembles a math problem. You get two points here, three points there and when you reach the prized number, you win. You are now a judge of that breed. This adds to the already overwhelming amount of evidence that our sport is being directed by more horse’s butts, then horses to put them on. We are the only sport I know of that profes- sionals, those with the most experience, have no say in its running.
4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? I am seeing too many exhibits that lack correct body type. A Schnauzer is not shaped like a tube with a long loin. I am also seeing less parallel head planes. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? A must for me is a correct Schnauzer silhouette, not only in profile but also looking down at the exhibit. I can for- give less-than-perfect movement coming and going if the proper picture and breed character are present. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? This breed has some very good breeders—people who have done their due diligence and have a picture in their mind that they aim fore in their breeding program. My hat is off to them. They are true dog people. However, there are those that put mechanics before type. They breed for what I term, “the great American show dog.” Their dogs are racy, fancy and fly around the ring in a
266 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2015
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