Brittany Breed Magazine - Showsight

should protect it in all types of cover. Our standard points out that “too little is preferable to too much.” It says that because if you’ve ever seen a heavily coated dog after running in the briars for an hour, you just have to wonder how long it’s going to take you to get all those pesky little briars out. Th e Brittany still functions in the field and while an indi- vidual may never get the opportunity of a field experience, if he was turned loose in a field, could he function without inju- ry and in an athletic fashion? Th at is a judge’s responsibility to determine when judging this wonderful, energetic, intel- ligent and athletic breed, with “the soft expression of a bird dog.” I’m so glad that as I look at the top 20 Brittanys in 2015 that I can honestly say judge’s education has made a di ff erence. Brittanys are now being groomed and judged to our standard and that’s a huge change from when I started showing dogs 40 years ago. Brittanys winning breed were dripping in coat like most of the other sporting dogs, but today’s competi- tors have realized that they must groom to our standard in order to win. I congratu- late all the handlers, breeders and owners for helping keep our breed “forever a dual dog!” Th ank you judges for listening to our presentations and trying our best to help protect that which we cherish in our breed—the DUAL!

I believe it was 608 and now in 2015 it is 627! We are still going strong in the dual direction! All through our standard you see 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. 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. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the other problem that judges sometimes have with our breed. Square is in the eye of the beholder. A dog can look long in body, but when you have a chance to measure from the top of the withers to the ground and then measure from the forechest to the rear of the dog, it should be the same length. Measuring from the top of the withers to the elbow should equal the measurement from the elbow to the ground. Th e length of a Brittany is in the chest which allows it to have adequate room for an athlete’s heart and lungs. If you think a dog is long, be sure to look at both sides of the dog, because many times they have markings that further that illu- sion of length. A dog that is overly square will crab or side wind, because they can’t get out of their own way. I encourage stu- dents of the breed to make the opportunity to try this measuring experiment as it will help you develop your “eye” for the correct look for a square Brittany. Th at brings me to the final point I’d like to make... coat. Th e Brittany’s coat

“THE BRITTANY STILL FUNCTIONS IN THE FIELD

AND WHILE AN INDIVIDUAL MAY NEVER GET THE OPPORTUNITY OF A FIELD EXPERIENCE, IF HE WAS TURNED LOOSE IN A FIELD, COULD HE FUNCTION WITHOUT INJURY AND IN AN ATHLETIC FASHION?”

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

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