Showsight Presents the Dalmatian

dalmatian Q&A WITH KEN & EVA BERG, GLORIA GERINGER AND MARY MILLER

3. What’s the most common fault you see when travel- ing around the country? K&EB: Unfortunately, there are several: over or under mark- ing (density), spots too large (specified as from the size of a dime to a half-dollar), restricted front movement, exces- sive body length (almost square breed!) and long in loin. GG: Lack of balance. MM: I have noticed more coarse dogs than I would like to see. 4. Gait is so important in the Dalmatian. Do you value sidegait or down and back more when evaluating? K&EB: We value them equally. The moderate, workman-like sidegate with good reach and drive is essential for the Dal to perform his function of long distance trotting with a horse or carriage. A clean down and back is necessary for energy-efficient movement necessary for long distance work. GG: This question is like the chicken or the egg first. In my opinion you must evaluate them equally for with a clean down and back without good sidegait, the whole picture is distorted. Likewise, good sidegait and faulty down and back, endurance is affected. MM: Again, movement is very important to the Dalmatian as they were used as a “coach dog” which required them to cover great distance effortlessly. Side gait as I love to see a Dalmatian move around the ring properly with great reach and drive. Also, you will be able to see if the dog has a level topline and moves with the head down. 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? K&EB: There has been a trend towards larger spots with greater density than is described in the Standard. Also, some breeders and judges are valuing extended reach and drive that looks great going around the ring a few times, but cannot be maintained for long distances. Our standard has a great latitude in size; 19" to 23" for both dogs and bitches with those over 24" being disqualified. That allows both large and small dogs and bitches, but some dogs are excessively large and coarse, and some dogs and bitches are too small and are overly refined. The Dal should have good substance and be strong and sturdy in bone. GG: Size and heavy markings, spots coming close to patches MM: Rear angulation, I am seeing very over angulated rears. 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? K&EB: Better and more uniform. When we first started judg- ing Dalmatians, every region in the Country appeared to have a different Dal Standard—some were big, some very lightly marked, some heavily marked, some with distinctively different heads, some very long backed, etc. Since then, with the increased popularity of frozen and fresh-chilled breeding and increased traveling by exhibi- tors to National and Regional specialty shows, the breed

has become much more uniform with the Standard being adhered to in greater detail. GG: I don’t think the dogs are any better or worse overall than in the past. Each has or had dogs on all levels of quality and hopefully the good dogs rise to the top. MM: In my 40 years in showing and judging the Dalmatian, we have gone through many changes but overall I think that the dogs back than when I first started would be equally competitive in the rings today. 7. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? K&EB: Many new judges are overly concerned about identi- fying a patch. The reality is that a patch is almost never seen in a AKC conformation ring. A patch is clearly evi- dent; spots that intermingle are not patches. The working heritage of the Dalmatian should be identifiable both statically and dynamically. GG: Importance of correct spots and importance of proper gait and endurance. MM: The point scale in our breed standard gives 25 points towards importance to color and markings. Please do not get hung up on spotting with this breed. Keep in mind what this dog was bred to do. 8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. K&EB: Some judges have been taught to first judge the dog, then add the spots. We believe that this practice can adversely affects the breed type detailed in the Standard. Our Standard states that color and markings account for 25% of the evaluation of the Dalmatian, and should be part of the overall evaluation of the exhibit and therefore, should be one of the priorities in the overall judging of the dog. First find breed type (what makes this breed unique), then find soundness in movement, since that is also a part of breed type in order for the Dal to do their job. MM: This is a fun breed to judge—as they say with all short haired dogs “what you see is what you get”. So enjoy those spotted dogs in your ring. 9. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? K&EB: Early in our career, while showing a Dalmatian puppy bitch, the judge reached around to determine mus- culature in the hind quarters and whoops, she peed in his hand. The judge in questions remembers this incident to this day and always enjoys a good laugh with us when he sees us. GG: A woman came in my ring showing a dog and had no one apparently to tend to her baby. She packed the baby on her back, papoose style and continued around the ring.

282 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2018

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