“MANY DOGS’ TOPLINES CHANGE THE MOMENT THEY START TO MOVE, some dogs have a short upper arm that causes them to ‘flip’ their front and others lose their ‘balance’ when they move.”
judged standing. Judge’s mouths drop open when I say this or they disagree right away. I had a judge recently take up 15 minutes of a hands on class telling me what he liked about each dog stand- ing. I fi nally looked at him and said, ok, now let’s have them move. When the dogs began to move, his jaw dropped and he looked at me and said, “I see what you mean. Th e dogs I liked stand- ing fell apart when they moved.” Now this isn’t always the case, some dogs that look good standing, look good moving too, but that is the point. Many dogs’ toplines change the moment they start to move, some dogs have a short upper arm that causes them to “ fl ip” their front and others lose their “balance” when they move. Balance being the overall balance of the dog’s conformation. I tell judge’s about what I call the “3M’s”—Movement, Moderate and Medium. Add balance to those three things and you have a true Brittany type.
Everything about the Brittany standard is written so that the dog can perform in the fi eld. Th e American Brittany Club’s mis- sion statement includes the phrase: “to keep the Brittany forever a dual dog.” We have more dual champions than all the other sporting breeds combined—at last count I believe it was 608. All through our standard you hear the words moderate and medium, describing various aspects of the breed’s conforma- tion. As I stated above if you add move- ment and balance, you have the essence of a Brittany. AKC reps sometimes get on judges because they think a speci fi c dog may have a better head than the one the judge put up. One judge recently called to tell me of his experience and he said, “I told her the breed does not run on its head, and the dog I put up had much better movement than the one you liked.” He couldn’t see my smile over the phone, but I was beaming! As a JEC I love to hear that judge’s like this one
actually listen to our presentations, but it concerns me that most AKC reps haven’t even attended our classes. When judges ask us what percentage the head makes up in our standard, we smile and say we took that out of our standard because this is NOT a head breed. While we like them to have beau- tiful heads, it’s more important that they have a prominent brow that protects their eyes in cover, that their nostril are full and open so they can smell birds and that they have a good bite so they can pick up the birds for a retrieve. Th e most impor- tant thing is their movement, because if they do not move correctly, they will wear out quickly in heavy brush. When they have that short upper arm, they can actually injure their front legs moving through the brush. While coming and going is important, most important is the side movement, because that is where you can see our breeds beautiful ground covering stride.
“All through our standard you hear the words moderate and medium, describing various aspects of the breed’s conformation. AS I STATED ABOVE IF YOU ADD MOVEMENT AND BALANCE, YOU HAVE THE ESSENCE OF A BRITTANY.”
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