Top Notch Toys - March 2020

SOME THOUGHTS by Dale and Jane Martenson FROM THE USA

O ne of the great truths regarding Japanese Chin is “what was good is good!” The non-evolving quality of the Chin has been carefully guarded by its caretak- ers and something that separates it from almost any other breed. The challenges are real and not for the faint of heart, i.e. single digit of weight, brachycephalic, exacting head type, and parti color markings with precise symmetry. “If it was easy, everybody would do it” has been the mantra of Chin breeders for centuries. Evaluating the hallmarks of breed type is relatively simple. The application of the word “round” best describes the out- line of the Chin. Round eyes, rounded fore skull, rounded fore chest, and rounded rib. There are simply no sharp edg- es on the Chin. Polite evaluation, showing respect for the extreme and delicate detail of type will be appreciated by the Chin and its owner. The oral exam must be done with great care. In the USA we have no criteria for missing teeth so only a visual ex- amination and possible touch is needed to be certain of an aligned, reverse scissors bite. If complete dentition (6x6) is required, the protocol should be after the table exam is finished. Taking the pads of fingertips, roll up one side of lip and then repeat on the other. Keep in mind you will be closing the eye and compromising the breathing of the chin. Never attempt to do both at once as this is very un- comfortable for the dog and if it is even possible the muzzle is too long to consider for an award. When encountering younger or hesitant Chin ask the owner to show one side at a time if that is a judging requirement. While standards for the Pekingese expression will say “combativeness rather than prettiness” the Chin is all about daintiness, delicacy, and refinement. The original point schedule for the American standard allotted 65 points out of 100 for head, eyes, ears, and tail. Without these qualities along with soundness and condi- tion you simply do not have a quality Chin. With social status by birthright established, watching an entry of Chin is a pleasure and be assured they have always participated on their own terms. The two current areas of controversy with breeders are pig- ment of the face and eyes and the color of the coat. In the USA we have four allowed colors b/w, r/w (self col- ored pigment), sable/white (black pigment), and tri color. The UK/FCI shows do not recognize the tri color Chin but accept the other three colors. Originally tri was considered

Multiple BIS CH. Touche's Top Hat and Tails "Ricky"

the result of impure breeding with chin but with the advent of DNA it is the matching gene “KK” to the sable color. With the ease of DNA swabs, breeders can avoid sable and tri color all together but if they continue crossing sables with black and white stock they will have tri color puppies. Sable can have an extreme amount of black almost appear- ing to be tri colored, while the DNA would probably show them to be sable. As with any undesirable marking or color expression, savvy breeders will avoid breeding the less than clear sables. And specifically on eyes: The Japanese Chin is the only brachycephalic breed where the white pigmentation of the scleral tissue would not be a fault. Chin can have white scleral tissue giving thema slight amount of white in the inside corners of their eyes. In no way is the breed to be wall eyed and the pupils should point absolutely straight ahead. The chin frommore direct Asiatic descent will have significantly less pigment under their noses and very white eye tissue. In a somewhat recent standard revision the wording “look of astonishment” was added and has been taken to mean more eye white is a prized quality. Any expression traits should be evaluated on the ground and if visible across the room, are very likely excessive. Qualities that make beautiful historically correct eyes are shape, size, color and placement. The amount of white scleral tissue is of little consequence. Fad breeding for this extreme trait will result in vision im- paired Chin for generations to come. The goal for all Chin fanciers should be to leave them for the next generation of Chin lovers as perfect as we found them.

48 • T op N otch T oys , M arch 2020

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