“But I keep in mind that SPARRING IS ALL OR NOTHING, WIN OR LOSE.”
and smooth, and because they are sup- ported by a dog with a deep chest and well sprung ribs—the clean movement I observe when the dog comes back to me is totally expected. Wow, this entry may be somewhat loaded in the shoulders, but there is absolutely no break in the transi- tion from neck to back at all. Th e bend of the stifles is there. It is not an illusion created by a skilled groomer, as was the length of neck and blending of neck to back on another well-conditioned and athletic entry that also seemed to have good reach and drive on the move. Th e hocks are parallel and the feet are round and compact. Th is feminine bitch has good substance and bone—not fat, but if you were to lift her, she would seem to weigh more than you would expect of a bitch her size. You feel it in the bone and muscle, she is hardy and could sur- vive the harshness of the Irish life that requires her to free whelp in barns and haystacks, to go after a badger for her owner and then rest peacefully by the fire in the evening. Th is one has the gorgeous shiny and more open adult coat of the land of origin that drops every bit of dirt or mud by the end of day—without being brushed—and that one has a soft, wavy, abundant coat with a deep wheaten color. I put my hands on heads that appeared well proportioned on observation and I begin to find the head planes: a “skull flat and clean between the ears” equal with the “foreface” with a “defined stop” and “no suggestion of snippiness.” Th e entry has a “powerful and strong” muzzle, is “well filled below the eyes” with “cheek- bones not prominent.” Th ere is a scissor bite (level on another is acceptable) with clean, white, large teeth. Oh, and look at those “dark reddish brown or brown”
eyes that are “almond-shaped” and which were only “indicated” in the trim of the head before I pulled the fall back to ful- ly expose them. And lastly size... I can now more accurately estimate the size (at the withers) of the individual dogs. I keep in mind that under General Appearance it states that “the breed requires moderation both in structure and presentation, and any exaggerations are to be shunned.” Although size need only be penalized according to severity—if it is excessive it can result in the loss of breed type. I have one final tool: sparring. I do it. But I keep in mind that sparring is all or nothing, win or lose. If a dog fails to proudly stand its ground with confi- dence, remaining alert to the presence of the other dog(s) while defending if nec- essary or even expanding its territory, it will loose in my ring. If it seems to become an aggressor I will need to decide on the basis of other information whether I believe it is “overly aggressive,” a major fault. Although a SCWT “exhibits less aggressiveness” than other terriers, they are nonetheless a terrier, and a display of timidity is also a major fault. I have decided the BOB because of the spar— some gaining the ribbon and some losing. Bitches can be sparred, but I don’t expect them to do much more than ignore the others, but that doesn’t mean that any one of them should be intimidated or shy either and I won’t be surprised if one Alpha bitch decides to chase o ff another who invades her “territory.” Now the fun part. I have a ring full of Specials or Class Winners that all have many good breed characteristics and that all have one or two minor problems that could be improved. I get to decide which of these will get the ribbons today. Which ones have been presented to exude
the essence of the breed? Which ones have consistently displayed a “take on the world attitude” either by standing aloof and self confident as they alertly observed their fellow entries or perhaps have dis- played exuberance for life as a whole as they watched other rings and dogs with interest? Which dogs/bitches not only carry their balanced sporting terrier pro- file as they gracefully move around the ring, but also do so with a regal self- confidence or an adventurous “let’s go” attitude? Which ones with the requisite good reach and drive do so e ff ortlessly and with a hint of untapped power as their coats flowed while carrying their tails fully “upright 90° from the back?” Decision time. BIO Sonya and I have been actively breed- ing and showing since 1984 as Marquee Wheatens. We have finished over 50 champions, a good number of which have been owner handled from the BBE class, including a WD who finished with two back-back 5 point majors from the BBE class at Devon and the SCWTC Nation- al Specialty at MKC (under Anne Rogers Clark and Breeder/Judge Gary Vlachos) and then followed up with a BOB at the National Roving Specialty the following year (2001). I am a semi-retired attorney and approved to judge SCWTs. I have judged a number of specialties includ- ing Great Western and NCTA weekends and I will have the honor, by vote of the membership, of judging the SCWTCA National Specialty at MKC in 2014. We are members of the Northern Cal- ifornia Terrier Club as well as the National and are presently residents of Hef lin, Alabama.
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