Flat-Coated Retriever Breed Magazine - Showsight


some has been surprisingly bad. I do agree that there are certain variables that can contribute to a dog’s or handler’s perfor- mance on a given day. So what makes a judge able to evaluate a particular breed well? Specific breed knowledge. Forget the generic sound dog. It is far harder to challenge yourself to understand all the nuances of 177 individual breeds, but you owe yourself, the exhibitor and the breeds you judge. Judging the Flat-Coat—let’s get down to basics. Basics = Soundness + Type2 Type is a term that is used to describe certain characteristics of a breed that essentially make it di ff erent from any other breed. When referring to type and the Flat- coat, I would like to focus on three main features: silhouette (moving and standing), correct movement for the breed and head. Th e standard states, “ Th e distinctive and most important features of the Flat-Coat

are the silhouette (both moving and stand- ing), smooth e ff ortless movement, head type, coat and character. In silhouette, the Flat-Coat has a long, strong, clean, ‘one piece’ head, which is unique to the breed.” Th e silhouette of the breed should be evident from the first glance at the entry. Preferred height is 23"-24 ½ " at the with- ers for dogs and 22"-23 ½ " for bitches. Th e dog should not cobby in build. Th e dog should be slightly longer than tall. A short backed, square dog does not fit this silhouette. Th e Flat-Coat is a medium- boned dog, never fine or weedy. Th e neck is strong and slightly arched for retrieving strength and free from throatiness. Coat on neck is untrimmed. Th e topline should be strong and level. Chest is deep, reach- ing to the elbow and only moderately broad. Prow is prominent and rib cage is deep. Underline is tapering with moderate tuck-up. Loin is strong and long enough

to allow for proper movement but should not be open or loosely coupled. A slight slope in croup is evident and tail should be straight, well feathered and well set on. Feet should be tight, cat-like. Overall coat should be clean, shiny and have moder- ate feathering. Head should be clean and have the appearance of being molded from a single piece of clay with barely per- ceivable stop. Nothing about this retriever in silhouette should be extreme. Some standards talk about gait or movement in such simple terms— “moving freely forward” or “the action is free and e ff ortless”. Th e Flat-Coated Retriever standard is very specific with regards to movement. It states, “Sound, e ffi cient movement is of critical impor- tance to a hunting retriever. Th e Flat-Coat viewed from the side covers ground e ffi - ciently and movement appears balanced, free flowing and well coordinated, never


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