Showsight Presents The Brittany

brittany Q&A

WITH ANNE KATONA, LINDA MORE & ANN YUHASZ

AY: Most handlers understand that the grooming should be minimal and I rarely see a barbered coat. Tidy and clean is all I need. 5. Are there difficulties you see or experience judging/ exhibiting dual dogs? AK: The only exception to a dual dog—he/she should be in excellent condition, good muscle tone (definitely not overweight), good (thick) foot pads (not flat-footed) and have a great attitude and plenty of energy! LM: I mentioned the coat, but I don’t see that as a difficulty. What can happen with active field dogs (and this is not the only breed affected, as I see it Vizslas and GSP as well) is that the development of muscle in the shoulders from strenuous activity can push the elbows out and cause the dog to move wide in front. In the show ring, I consider that but at the same time, have to judge each entry as a whole and relative to the other dogs present. AY: The Brittany (as all Sporting dogs) should exhibit good condition with plenty of hard second thigh. I imagine most Brittany exercise themselves, as they are a fairly active dog. 6. While you cannot judge the performance ability of a dog in the show ring, what qualities can you evaluate that would contribute to a dog’s ability to perform the function for which it is bred? AK: Is this dog in good condition (athletic) with correct side gait, correct size, good attitude and energy? LM: Being athletic with balanced structure and ease of movement would assist the dog in the field. Good condi- tion—muscle tone—should be present. And the dog’s temperament should appear stable; if it spooks because a chair falls on the floor, how will it feel about a gunshot? AY: The Brittany is a dog that has survived the change in our show dogs and is pretty much what they have always looked like—a functional dual purpose hunting dog. There should be absolutely no difference in a dog work- ing in the field or being shown in the ring. Kudos to the Brittany folk for keeping the work ethic in the breed. 7. Do have a color preference? Does that factor in your judging/breeding? AK: No, no and no! LM: I have no color preference. AY: Brittany color is carefully addressed in the standard. There are many things that are not preferred in any standard and one takes those into account when looking at the whole dog 8. Who is mostly responsible for ensuring Brittanys remain true to the standard for which they were bred—judges, breeders, owners, handlers? AK: I would say all four have a hand in the results. However, I do believe the breeder is the major player in responsi- bility. Of the four mentioned, the breeder is the one that makes the decision as to which bitch and which dog to breed. What are they trying to accomplish when decid- ing which to use? Are they remembering that breed type,

size, color and outline must be part of that decision? Many breeds I judge have gone through what I refer to as the “Top Dog Syndrome”—breeding to the top-winning dog regardless of the bitch being used, without asking: will he help this breed and/or this bitch, or not? Judges can only judge what the breeder/owner/handler brings into the ring (but if there is breed type out there and the judge misses it to use flash—shame on them!) A few owner/handlers are so new to the sport they do not understand type, so can we blame them for wanting to show the dog for which they paid good money to some breeder? LM: Breeders first and foremost. Judges can only choose from what appears in the ring, but at that point, it is the judge’s job to try to choose the one(s) that conform best to the standard in that entry. AY: The question about who is responsible for ensuring the Brittany stays the course is, I imagine, all of us—the breeders who look for “Bird Sense”, the handlers and the owners who respect that about the breed and the judges, who never forget what stands in front of them should be suitable to do the job. 9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? AK: One of my favorite judging assignments was judging the American Brittany Club’s National Specialty in 2015. It was a beautiful venue and there was great sportsman- ship—it was a true pleasure! LM: Some years ago I went to the World Show in Amsterdam, and as a board member of DJAA attended a handful of international seminars. In the Brittany seminar, we were informed by an English judge that we Americans do not have the right type of Brittany, since in the breed’s native France, the dogs are quite different. Why is this so? We were also told that our Britts come down from dogs imported before World War II. In Europe the breed was almost wiped out during that war, so it recreated using other breeds and thus now looks different. Now just ask yourself, who do you think has the original Brittany? AY: The Brittany is a delightful little dog with tons of person- ality and great fun to have in your ring. 10. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? AK: I was judging a Toy breed in the Midwest and it was the end of the day of 175 dogs. This was the last breed before judging a couple of groups. I was on the last dog’s down and back, the handler was a petite older lady with big, blonde hair. I said to her, “Please circle around to the end of the line.” She looked up at me with a very strange expression and said, “All the way around?” Why it hit me so funny I have no idea, but I looked at her and smiled and said, “No Madam, for you only just circle half way, what I will do with you there I have no idea but we will figure it out.” She looked at me with a very big smile and answered, “That was a stupid question wasn’t it?” We both laughed and off she went around the ring to the end of the line.

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

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