JUDGING THE CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER
T he Curly-Coated Retriev- er is a breed with a long and cherished history as one of the oldest of known retriever breeds. In the show ring, the breed should exemplify the virtues listed in the standard, and should never be judged as a “generic looking” retriever. Th is is a dis- tinct breed with speci fi c traits that provide the desired overall type that is sought by breed fanciers. First and foremost, the breed should exhibit Curly-Coated Retriever breed type. A good moving dog with little or no breed type is not a Curly-Coated Retriever. Th e overall fi rst impression of this breed should be of a balanced, athletic, durable hunting retriever. Th e breed should appear to have good length of leg, providing the necessary upstanding quality desired. An appearance of a squat or lower stationed to the ground dog does not re fl ect the upstanding appearance and is not typical of this retriever. Th e depth of chest from withers to elbow should be equal to the
By Kathryn Cowsert
length of leg from elbow to ground. Th e overall proportion is slightly o ff square with the deep ribcage going well back into the short loin. Th e mass and bone should never appear spindly or massive, but rather show a robust and strong balance exuding grace and symmetry. Th e breed standard calls for 23-25 inch bitches and 25-27 inch males. Th ey are allowed to be outside of this range only if they are “clearly superior” specimens of the breed, which entails having the proper outline and proportion, correct coat, and superior movement. In order to have cor- rect bone and mass, a bitch should weigh approximately 60-85 pounds and the males weighing approximately 70-95 pounds; weight being dependent on the height of the Curly-Coated Retriever at the withers. It is not uncommon for judges to be adju- dicating various height ranges in the same ring and same class. And judges should be mindful of selecting specimens possess- ing the best overall breed type rather than purely on size alone.
Upon fi rst examination of the Curly headpiece, the impression should be of a wedge-shaped head possessing paral- lel planes. Th e length of muzzle from tip of nose to center of stop should equal the length of backskull from the center of the shallow stop to the occiput. Th e breadth across the fl at or nearly fl at backskull at the occiput to the ears should equal the length of backskull. And the depth of the backskull on the side of head also should equal the length of backskull. All of these proportions give the headpiece a wedge-shaped outline. Th e slight tapering of the headpiece from backskull toward the muzzle is smooth with no inclina- tion toward any kind of cheekiness or dewlap. Th is smooth transition allows for good breadth of muzzle, open and large nostrils, and workman-like jaws able to carry large fowl or small furred game. Th e appearance of the wedge shape is apparent looking down from above as well as from the side, ending with a mild tapering of the muzzle at the nose.
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