Showsight Presents The Brittany

BRITTANYS & THE PET PEEVES OF A JEC

by DIANA KUBITZ

I am the Judge’s Education Chair for the American Brittany Club, a position I have held for several years now. My qualifications came from work both in the show ring and the field, having handled dogs to their titles in both. I believe that the Brittany is and always should be a dual dog. As the JEC, I often receive an onslaught of Monday morning notices after a long dog show weekend—the bing of a text, the beep of an email, the ringing of the phone. My biggest pet peeve is everyone thinking I can fix everything for them. I am often heard saying, “I just teach judge’s education, I can’t make them judge the way I’d like.” In the interest of education, I’d like to clear up a few of the finer points on judging this dual dog. BITE This is what our standard says about the bite, “Bite—A true scissors bite. Overshot or undershot jaw to be heav- ily penalized.” It doesn’t say full denti- tion, count teeth or the teeth should be a specific size. AKC has a really nice sheet that tells you how and what to exam in reference to bite. It’s called “Conducting Oral Exams.” This is what the first part says, “The proficient judge alters their examination technique from breed to breed based on the pri- orities as defined by the standard. It should never be identical from breed to breed to breed. To do so requires inter- pretation of the written word as to what the standard is attempting to convey to you as the judge. The manner in which a breed’s approved standard is writ- ten will define what would constitute conducting a breed specific exami- nation. Close inspection of a breed’s approved standard will determine the appropriate oral exam to conduct when judging that breed, which is an essential component of the breed spe- cific exam. Oral exams can be gen- erally divided into four categories which individually or in combination

will constitute the proper oral exam for a breed: 1. Bite—checking the front 2. Teeth—checking the fronts and sides 3. Mouth—involves opening the mouth to count teeth or check pigment. Always used in combina- tion with a “bite” or “teeth” exam depending on the breed 4. Thumb exam—used for smaller, short muzzled breeds that call for an undershot jaw.” More on the bite exam: it is proper when the standard only refers to the alignment of the bite; scissors, level and undershot or overshot, as a preference, fault or DQ. This requires the exhibitor or judge separating the front of the lips to display the meshing of the incisors and canines. Judges that is all you need

to know about judging a Brittany’s bite. Then I don’t get some of those Monday calls. I have to tell you that this is one of the biggest complaints I hear. MOVEMENT “Slow down, don’t go so fast, you aren’t off to the races!” Okay, exhibi- tors, sometimes the judge is right! With that being said, I’ve taught conforma- tion classes for years and one of the things I tell everyone, no matter what the breed, is that you need to move the dog at its best speed. A Brittany is a field dog as well as a show dog and one of the most versatile breeds. In the field, it is required to run all day hunting, 30 minutes or 60 minutes in a field trial and about 20 minutes in a hunt test. The standard says, “When at a trot the Brittany’s hind foot should

“A BRITTANY IS A FIELD DOG AS WELL AS A SHOW DOG AND ONE OF THE MOST VERSATILE BREEDS.”

182 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2017

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