Showsight Presents The Brittany

BRITTANY JUDGING SIMPLIFIED

by DIANA KUBITZ

I am the judge’s education coordina- tor for the American Brittany Club. One of the comments I hear rou- tinely is that the Brittany is a hard breed to judge. When I ask why they think it’s hard, usually they start by listing the di ff erence between Brittanys and the other sporting breeds. • Scissors bite— Th e Brittany is required to have a scissors bite, while most sporting breeds call for an even or scissors bite. • Height Standard— Th e Brittany height standard is 17 ½ inches to 20 ½ inches for both males and females. Most of the other sporting breeds have one height standard for males and one for females. We generally explain that you can have a 17 ½ inch male and a 20 ½ inch female and have it be perfectly correct. Anything below 17 ½ or over 20 ½ is a DQ. ( Th e only other DQ is black in the nose or coat.) • Movement— Th e Brittany calls for hav- ing an athletic gait that is ground cover- ing without clumsiness, but we can also have an overreach. Th e standard says that the back foot should step into or beyond the print left by the front foot. Most of the other sporting breeds do not overreach. (Note: Not all Britts will over reach, but note that they should at least step into the print left by the front foot. Th e “beyond” is the overreach.) Of the three di ff erences stated above, movement give judges the most trouble. First, a Brittany should never be 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 standing. I finally 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 standing fell apart when they moved.” Now this isn’t always the case, some dogs that look good standing, look good mov- ing 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 “flip” their front and

others lose their “balance” when they move. Balance being the overall balance of the dog’s conformation. I tell judges about what I call the “3Ms”—Movement, Moderate and Medi- um. 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 field. Th e American Brittany Club’s mission state- ment 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 in 2013

184 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2015

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