“THIS IS A WONDERFUL, FUN-LOVING BREED that to maIntaIn Its versatIlIty, must also ImProve the breed's soundness.“
AY: I suspect new judges will need to take time to get their feet wet and be able to sepa-
rate the wheat from the chaff. You have to see excellent examples of any breed to learn. FC owners are a great group and do all kinds of wonderful things with their dogs and many are multi-titled. Most are owner handled which is wonderful. Some are better breed specimens than others but be assured they are all loved and part of the family. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. KA: In Flat-Coats, temperament is of paramount importance. Please don’t reward dogs that exhibit any signs of aggres- sion or excessive timidity. MD: I urge judges to take the time to learn the fine nuances that make our breed different from the common black dog. We all, or should, understand basic dog structure and movement. Let’s reach beyond that and understand what makes each breed unique. Flat coated Retrievers have three “must haves”. A one piece molded head piece with minimal stop, unique of any of other breed, silhou- ette moving and standing, and proper reach and drive. Without those three things, the dog lacks breed type. There are dogs in a lot of breeds that are being rewarded in very big way that lack the essence of breed type. If a dog lacks real type, it may be rewarded for what strength’s it does have, perhaps at the breed level, but certainly should not be rewarded at the group level. CH: FCRs are smart and they learn quickly and most do not like repetition. They do not forget things and they love to invent games. They are truly the Peter Pans of the dog world. KL: If I could add one other thing, I would like judges to ask exhibitors to run their dogs on a loose lead and not too fast. A bad front can be hidden by a short lead and moving quickly. ShM: This is a wonderful, fun-loving breed that to maintain its versatility, must also improve the breed’s soundness. We have seen too many fads that have caused us to lose the breed’s balance in front and rear angulation result- ing in stilted and poor movement. Rears are weakened by longer hocks and lack of second thigh muscle. Steep croups (tilted pelvis) are also part of this problem. A strength of this breed is its character and desire to please. SiM: This breed is a well-kept secret. I am pleased that breeders have improved health and longevity.
which is unique to the Flat-Coated Retriever. I see more and more generic heads being rewarded in the show ring. MD: Type, pure and simple. There is the age old argument about type versus soundness—a sporting dog needs to hunt, work all day. I get it. But without type we are losing something that we never get back. CH: New judges sometimes get hung up on the one piece head or size of the bone or length of coat or some other trait stated in the Standard. One must evaluate the whole dog not just one part. KL: the most misunderstood thing new judges misinter- pret is that “raciness” is so different from “weediness”. Sometimes a lesser boned dog will be put up with this thinking. Also, once again, this is a head breed. It is most critical to type before anything else and the head is the cornerstone of the breed. ShM: It’s not a “head breed!” The dog as a whole is more important. SiM: The difference in body type when compared to the other retrievers. DW: Once again I think new judges do not understand the head and the silhouette. These are hallmarks of the breed and set it apart from the somewhat related Golden and Labrador Retrievers. I see too many judges who evaluate the breed from ten feet away when they should be judg- ing the breed from across the ring. If an entry resembles a black Golden Retriever, then it is incorrect. The head of course can be evaluated close up but the head profile should also be considered.
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