WHAT’S UNDER THAT COAT?
he appears to need a tad more leg. To my eye, this dog displays beautiful breed type with pleasing balance and angles. Let’s proceed to examine other SCWT outlines in the same manner (Fig. 2a & 2b). Clever groomers have created several tech- niques designed to suggest a shorter back. One is to backcomb and tease hair from the lower portion of the neck, withers, and part-way down the back. When a dog appears to have a neck as thick as this one, it is a dead giveaway that the dog is not as short-backed as one might suppose. It is also hard to determine shoulder layback under all the hair. In the same manner, build-up of hair in front of the tail can easily hide a low-set tail and/or croup drop-off. Excess hair on the top-skull can create the impression of both a longer head and a longer neck. The latter also makes the ear, which should be level with or slightly above the topskull, appear low-set. Another ruse, designed to create a back shorter than it really is, is to bring the tuck-up farther forward than the loin area, and allow the side skirt behind the ersatz tuck-up to appear as leg furnishings. Based on the over-stretched rear, I would suspect a straight stifle. Here’s another dog with slightly different proportions (Fig. 3a & 3b). Obviously, head, neck, and back are not equal. It is lacking sufficent neck to balance a pleasing length of head. It is also slightly longer than tall. The lack of neck would indicate an upright shoul- der. Added to that, the dog is low on leg.
First, let’s take a look at this well-balanced Soft Coated Wheat- en Terrier (Fig. 1a & 1b). He has been artfully trimmed. Is the topline absolutely level (we have a tendency toward prominent lumbar vertabrae), and is there sufficient bend of stifle? His propor- tions appear quite correct, although there are a couple of qualities that can’t be immediately assessed. Otherwise, everything we need to know, structurally, is there—if we know what we are looking at. With the properly proportioned 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 backskull should equal foreface (pink lines). Depth of body, withers to brisket, should equal length of leg, elbow to ground (purple lines). Shoulder and forearm, set at a 90-degree angle, should be equal in length (green lines). Rear angles are equal (yellow lines). In the best of worlds, the measurements 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 pretty darn close. Of course, these measurements represent perfection. Perfection, although difficult to achieve, should always be that for which we strive. He may have a slightly longer second thigh (K–L); something that is hard to determine under the leg furnishings. Additionally, if body depth (C-G) equals elbow-to-ground (G-H),
LEGEND: FE = EC = IJ AB = CD CG = GH CB = BG JA =AK = KI MN =OP
Head Neck Back
Red lines indicate dog is longer than tall: Length Height
A B C
A. Proper tuck-up should be beyond ribcage B. Instead of here C. Body coat disguised as leg furnishings
Head Neck Back
Depth of chest Length of leg
266 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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