WHAT’S UNDER THAT COAT? …AN EDUCATED LOOK AT THE SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER
by GAY DUNLAP
T here’s a sound and well-struc- tured dog under that coat…or at least there should be. Can you tell visually or do you feel you must put your hands on the dog to deter- mine its true make and shape? Certainly artful groomers can set lie to what is really under a jacket and this is true with most, if not all, coated breeds. Th ose of us that come from coated breeds and also know our way around with a pair of scissors are usually quite adept at spying the tell-tail signs of a dog that is little more than a hair cut. Others, not so much. Hair can hide a lot, so with this in mind, here are a few visual aids which hopefully will help in speeding up the judging process among those less familiar with “the tricks of the trade” used by handlers and other scissor- gifted exhibitors.
First, let’s take a look at this well- balanced Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He has been artfully trimmed. His pro- portions appear quite correct although there are a couple of qualities that can’t be immediately assessed. Is the top- line absolutely level (we have a tendency toward prominent lumbar vertebrae) and is there su ffi cient bend of stifle? Other- wise, everything we need to know struc- turally is there if we know what we are looking at. With the properly propor- tioned SCWT, length of head, neck and back should be equal (blue lines). Body length, sternum to pin bone, should be equal to height, withers to ground (red lines). Length of back skull should equal foreface (pink lines). Depth of body, with- ers to brisket, should equal length of leg, elbow to ground (purple lines). Shoulder
and forearm, set at a 90º angle, should be equal in length (green lines); rear angles are equal (yellow lines). In the best of worlds, the measure- ments here would be equal as specified in the legend. When one considers the possible build up of coat in certain areas, the dog used in the diagram comes pret- ty darn close. Of course, these measure- ments represent perfection. Perfection, although di ffi cult to achieve, should always be that for which we strive. He may have a slightly longer second thigh (K–L), something hard to determine under the leg furnishings. Addition- ally, if body depth (C-G) equals elbow- to-ground (G-H) he appears to need a tad more leg. To my eye, this dog dis- plays beautiful breed type with pleasing balance and angles.
290 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2015
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