There are several misconceptions about toplines and the terms used to describe them as well as how they look different when trotting vs standing. First, we have different definitions of “roach”—a very common term used by GSD detractors, but erroneously. A roached topline is one that (seen in a standing dog) rises from the withers to some point in the thorax-lumbar region, before falling off again in the vicinity of the pelvis. Look at some “overdone” Borzois and, less-commonly, some Greyhounds—if you can still find any. Think of a camel when you talk about a roach in canine toplines. In a true roach, there is a region in the topline between shoulder and pelvis that is actually higher. My challenge remains: with that definition, show me a picture of a free-standing dog with a roach!
In attempting to define “double-handling” it should be understood that there are various attitudes toward it, so you should understand the context when using the term. It has a different meaning or at least different importance to different groups. At its root, the term means that there is some influence from outside the ring over the appearance/behavior of a dog in the ring—a second (or doubled) handler. On one end of the spectrum is the extreme position where if someone at ringside blows his nose, the AKC rep is likely to give the judge hell for allowing such “interference.” At the other extreme it may appear that someone has let all the lunatics out of the local asylum. Example: at one GSD national specialty in the Orient, as the judge was looking at posed dogs several yards further down the line, I watched screaming owners jumping into the ring to get their dogs (being shown by paid handlers) “animated”—which means that the dogs are supposed to be looking especially alert. Balls, squeaky-toys, and the like were excitedly shown to the dogs—one double-handler even had a rabbit in a cage that he shook in front of his dog’s face!
Keep in mind that the suggestions and techniques I offer here should only be used in situations where they would be allowed, or at least unnoticeable. Continue reading
In some registries and countries, the dog show judge is expected or required to critique the entries—at least, the top-placing dogs in each or some classes. A critique is supposed to be a description of the dog that gives spectators and readers a good idea of the salient features of the dog and the reasons for its placement in the line-up in a specific competition, or its relative value to the breed overall.
The more one reads magazines published for the canine aficionado, the more one sees reference to critiques—especially in regard to foreign shows but occasionally in connection with specialty shows in the U.S. and Canada. A critique is a fairly detailed evaluation of the dog as seen through the judge’s eyes on a particular day. He has a mental picture of the ideal, and a view of the competition for comparison, but unless a judge records his observations, he will remember only a few things about a few dogs. Memory is less reliable as time passes, but written or taped words age very well. Continue reading
First, some facts:
- The “standard” view (positioning of dog for X-ray pictures of hips) is not the best… it is not the most accurate way to determine the real quality of hips. OFA, SV, and other registries have the dog stretched out on its back with legs straight out on the table, for the X-ray picture. While this is good for showing joint deterioration at the time, it is not accurate in showing true looseness, and it is not good for predicting what the hips will look like in a few years, when perhaps the dog has already produced puppies that inherit its hip quality.
- Accuracy in diagnosis and prediction, using that old ventro-dorsal position (lying flat on its back) increases with age of the dog being “X-rayed” (radiographed). At one year of age, which is when the SV starts “certifying” dogs, accuracy in predicting mature hip quality is rather poor—only the worst are identified when young, so progress in reducing incidence of dysplasia is still relatively poor.
- The SV has recently required a second hip radiograph after a dog has produced a certain number of litters, but popular dogs will still have put far too many dogs on the ground by then. That means many buyers will be stuck with pups that have less than ideal hips or chances of being valuable to the bred in that regard.
- The greater the number of truly “normal” ancestors in the near pedigree, the greater the odds that your dog will have good hips, meaning that it will have a better chance of avoiding both orthopedic problems itself, and of passing problems along to descendants.
- The only technique that gives an accurate, early, and relatively unchanging look at hip quality is the PennHIP technique and evaluation service. It is an abbreviation for “(U. of) Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program” developed at that university, and is available in a great number of countries. The German hierarchy (at least in the GSD world ruled by the SV) has typically, stubbornly resisted the better science of PennHIP and has thus condemned its members and followers to a world of limited improvement.
There is and will always be considerable confusion among dog fanciers and other publics in regard to breeds of dogs and their relations to other dog-like animals. One of the words that some of us maintain is misused or, at least, used by various people in different ways, is “hybrid.”
Many dictionaries inadequately define hybrids as being “individuals produced by breeding (crossing) different races, varieties, species, etc.” Disagreements arise when the correspondents do not agree (even temporarily) on the same definition. If you include wolves and domestic dogs in the same grouping because there is no hindrance to one fertilizing the other and resulting in equally-fertile offspring, then I cannot agree to call the result a hybrid. No more than Chinese and Caucasian humans’ children are hybrids. A better term for either might be “mixed” (we use the term “mixed-breed” in speaking of dogs, but usually “mixed heritage” re humans). Since canids mate and produce offspring which in turn are just as fertile, I feel it is wrong to call them hybrids. Dingoes, coyotes, wolves, and domestic dogs are all really breeds of Canis (dogs, canids). Their offspring should not be called hybrids, but rather “crosses” just as we would call a Cockapoo a “cross.” Continue reading
Fred will be judging at the Twin Championship dog show & obedience trial.
Dates: December 14th and 15th, 2013
Location: HITEX International Exhibition Centre, Hitech City, Hyderabad
Fred will also be conducting a seminar on December 14th.
You can register at Hyderabadcanineclub.org and for more information you can email info (at) Hyderabadcanineclub (dot) org
Click on the image for a full sized view / to print it out.
Fred’s predictions at the time (August 17, 2013):
I expect good VA recognition for Nino Tronje if he is shown (he’s mostly owned by Mort Goldfarb), plus Enosch Amasis, Omen Radhaus, Mentos Osterbergerland, Quattro Partnachklamm, Labo Schollweiher, Etoo Wattenscheid (if his bitework is good enough), Fulz Zenevredo, and Yankee Feuermelder. The Furbo son Leo Zenteiche might be VA, as he is owned by Christoph Ludwig (very influential) though there is pressure this year to vary the bloodlines more.
The Remo son Figo Nordteich stands a good chance, and the Vegas son Tyson Fixfrutta does, too. The Enosch son Kronos stands a chance, too… I was very impressed with him last year. Others who will place very high include: Ballack Brucknerallee, Schumann Tronje, Chacco Freiheit Westerholt, Iliano Fichtenschlag, Yoker Pendler, Pepe Kuckucksland, and Pacco Langenbungert. Continue reading
Expert handler has classes available for UScA Sieger Show
May 10, 2013 weekend: I have classes available; let me know ASAP if you would like me to show your dog. I offer many years experience as an expert show handler, and as an SV breed judge. I know the judges well, what they are looking for, and what they want from handlers. Remuneration negotiable, but I ask for only a pro-rated share of my expenses, not any extra fee for handling. (The more dogs I show, the lower the amount.)
Whether or not I show your dog, I will have copies of my books available. You really should have the GSD book and the Orthopedics Disorders book, too. Order in advance so I pack enough for the trip.
It was a great pleasure and honor to be invited again (my fourth time) to judge in Jamaica, and to find that fanciers continue to strive for balance and perfection while improving the average quality of the German Shepherd Dog here. I will give my observations on the adult classes first, then make some comments on other entries.
The top star of the show in my eyes was Ch. Veneze Dazz at Altel, a son of Arak de la Ferme Melgre Leau, a Sieger Zamp son; but Dazz bears more resemblance to his tremendous granddam Wendrina Kahler Heide who I think was VA-11 about a dozen years ago. Dazz is a medium-size, extremely well-balanced male with far-reaching fluid gait and true coming and going. Among the few that moved as smoothly were some of his offspring, so he obviously is producing high quality, and is not just a flash in the pan. Continue reading
Although I have lectured and judged in some 30 countries, this was my first trip to the dogs in Iceland. The occasion was the semi-annual national dog show of the kennel club known as Hundaræktunarfélagið íshundar. Ishundar is affiliated with Federación Canina Internacional (the FCI that is headquartered in Spain) and International Kennel Union (IKU), which two recently cooperated to form an association, the “Cyno OneWorld Alliance” of more than 50 countries and still growing. As far as I know, I am the only American licensed by this alliance thus far.