Showsight Presents The American Eskimo Dog

“PROPORTION IS A VITAL COMPONENT TO CORRECT BREED TYPE AND MOVEMENT. THE ESKIE HAS A LENGTH TO HEIGHT RATIO OF 1.1 TO 1, MEANING THAT IT IS SLIGHTLY LONGER THAN TALL.”

well before shows. No matter how much time we spend, a youngster is naturally excited and nervous during its first shows. Eskies are highly intelligent and know when the difference between a class, a match and a show- especially a large show. They feed on the excitement around them and can really embarrass their handlers. I have been known to inform a judge that my unruly youngster was in its first show. I was not looking for sympathy placement but a little gentler hand and a few extra seconds of examination. Examining bites can often be enter- taining for all involved. Before the recent canine influenza outbreak, I often exam- ined bites of all exhibits. If I had an Eskie that didn’t want to cooperate, I told the handler that we would finish the exam and come back to the mouth. While com- pleting the exam, I quietly asked the han- dler if they would show the bite when we returned to the front. No one rushed the Eskie and it quickly forgot its trauma in those few moments. Judges typically ask a multiple-entry class to come into the ring and line up before going around the ring together, with the first Eskie going onto the table. However, many judges ask handlers of singleton entry classes go directly onto the table without the go-around lap. Because the Eskie is extremely curious and watch- ful, it wants to see what’s going on at all times. The initial go-around gives the judge a chance to get a first impression, but it lets an Eskie see what’s going on. Judges, please treat the singleton classes in the same manner as you do the multiple-entry classes. You must see the Eskie move from the side—why not do it first and allow them to settle down?

Proportion is a vital component to correct breed type and movement. The Eskie has a length to height ratio of 1.1 to 1, meaning that it is slightly longer than tall. The length is measured from point of shoulders to point of ischium and the fore- quarters and hindquarters are well-angled. A correctly structured AED will not appear long because its length will come from its well-angled shoulders and hips. The Eskie which appears long typically has straight shoulders, a short neck and straight hindquarters. The AED is a well-balanced dog with typical working dog movement—think of Rachel Paige Elliot’s videos. An Eskie which is built correctly will move with good forequarter reach and balanced hind- quarter drive. From the front and rear, the Eskie’s feet will converge toward the longi- tudinal center of the body. While moving on a loose lead, the Eskie holds its head up and looks at nearby peo- ple and dogs as it floats around the ring. Some Eskies which have straight angula- tion are rushed around the ring and can only look at the floor while their handlers try to hold their heads up on tight leads. Evaluation of expression is best done when the Eskie is on the floor, usually as it comes back to the judge after the down- and-back or other similar pattern. The typi- cal Eskie expression is dark eyes with dark eye and nose pigment (but not necessarily black) on a snow-white face. Eskie eyes are “not fully round” but rounder than many other Nordic breeds whose standards require an almond-shaped eye. Ear size is in proportion to the head and small ears are as faulty as large ears. Expect the well-trained AED to be a superb showman in the ring. In large Breed

classes and at specialties, I enjoy asking handlers to gait their Eskies one-at-a-time to the far side of the ring and free stack- time permitting, of course. Some Eskies can put on a real show for the crowd! The AED is remarkably intelligent, but this can have its down side. Once an Eskie has “performed” for its handler, it may get bored and decide to ignore the peo- ple in the ring. Eskie owners never know when that will happen, but we’ve all had an Eskie who said, “I’m tired of this. Can we go home now?” Experienced handlers keep different toys and treats at the ready should it happen to them, usually during large classes. Years ago the American Eskimo Dog was given the nickname “The Dog Beau- tiful”. I hope that you enjoy judging these intelligent and sometimes mischievous white beauties as much as Eskie fanciers enjoy showing their charges to you. See you in the ring! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barbara Beynon has been a breeder- owner-handler of American Eskimo Dogs since 1978. In 1996, she was approved by the AKC to judge AEDs and judged the National Specialty in 2005 and 2014. She is a Charter Member of the American Eskimo Dog Club of America (currently serving as President) and the Lone Star American Eskimo Dog Club in Texas (currently Secretary). She is the author of the book The Complete American Eskimo: A Special Kind of Companion Dog (How- ell Book House, 1991). Barbara holds a Master of Science degree in Geology and is a Texas-registered Professional Geo- scientist working as an independent geological consultant.

198 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015

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