Flat-Coated Retriever Breed Magazine - Showsight


3. With some of the flashy breeds in this Group, do you think some breeds don’t command the attention of others? JG: I do, but I personally don’t mind that. The Flat-Coat is above all else, a family companion and family hunting/ working dog. They should not be particularly flashy, but solid in temperament and structure and able to go from the working ring or field to the show ring all in the same day or weekend. CK: Probably and that is ok with me. I think the breed not being so popular and flashy is a good thing. BK: When I first started showing, I used to think it was hard to compete against some of the “flashy” breeds. Time has a way of rectifying those thoughts. I believe that a “good” judge should be able to look beyond the “flash” and reward the dog that best resembles the breed stan- dard and looks like the type of dog that can perform the services it was bred to do. The real beauty is found in the free “almost floating” movement of a properly structured dog. It is the breeders responsibility to include “the dog’s original purpose” in its breeding program, but it is also the responsibility of the judge to reward those dogs that meet the breed standard and “dog’s original purpose”. It is my opinion that some of the dogs in the Sporting Group may not be able to perform the jobs they had been bred for and may be more suited to another group. 4. What’s the best quality of this breed as companion? As a showdog? JG: At the risk of being repetitive, their happy joyous char- acter is the hallmark of the breed and makes spending every day with them a pleasure. CK: Great with family and children. Versatile hunting dog. BK: A Flat-Coat should be true to type with a sound tem- perament. If I would be looking for a Flat-Coat as a companion, I would want at least some of these quali- ties: moderate to high degree of biddability, moderate to high degree of people focus, low environmental focus, low prey desire and depending on the home environ- ment, low to moderate play desire, energy level, sight and sound sensitivity. For a show dog I would be looking for the some of the following qualities: proper structure, moderate to high people focus, moderate to high play desire food desire- energy and courage, low sight and sound sensitivity. 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? KA: I have seen some dogs with what I consider exaggerated angulation, particularly in the rear. Flat-Coat should be balanced, front and rear with proper layback of shoulder and corresponding angulation in the rear. JG: I worry about losing the balance in structure for the sake of elegance, for example we are seeing many long lower thighs which of course throws off the balance both standing and moving. I am also very concerned with the excessive grooming mostly in the neck and shoul- ders that is fashionable in Europe, but strictly prohibited

in our breed standard here. Flat-Coats that are overly groomed should be penalized. CK: Yes, heads can be a bit extreme. BK: While not a trait, we do have a few professional han- dlers that are grooming the Flat Coat like a Setter and I certainly hope that does not become the trend. In my opinion: the following structure traits need to always be considered as it relates to the breed standard and the breed’s original purpose. Over exaggeration of any physical traits may lead to physical injuries and whelping problems: Lighter frame, over angulation in the rear, improper ratio between rib cage and loin, soft top lines, rounded coups, flat feet can all be seen with our Flat-Coats in the ring. 6. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? KA: On average, I think the dogs I see now are roughly equivalent to what I saw 15 years ago, neither better or worse. Certain aspects of the breed seem to go in cycles. Early on, I saw a lot of weak rear assemblies. These then got better but lately I’m starting to see weakness again in this area. An area of concern lately is proper bone and substance. Our standard calls for “power without lumber and raciness without weediness.” I see too many of both sexes in the ring lacking in proper bone and substance. The breed should have good bone with moderate tuck- up, not acres of daylight. JG: I believe the Flat-Coats in the US are better overall in breed type than when I first got in to the breed in 1990. “THEIR HAPPY JOYOUS CHARACTER IS THE HALLMARK OF THE BREED AND MAKES SPENDING EVERY DAY WITH THEM A PLEASURE.”


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