Show Dogs

Learn about success in show dogs.

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Also, and I do hope I make myself clear here, there seems to be a marked problem with people not being able to see beyond quality to type. I guess this is the new catch phrase generic showdog in a nutshell, but the question is this. How do you explain to people that a quality dog can have little or no type? There are some glorious show dogs, dogs that you cannot call trash, but have little or no type.

These are dogs that I have trouble praising and yet cannot in all fairness call bad representatives of the breed. I am having trouble getting that point across to people and I wondered how it can be done?

A Tricky One
It goes without saying that Bulldogs are a complicated lot and not the easiest breed in the world to get. But even with that said, I think there are general principles that govern canine anatomy that apply to Bulldogs just as much as they do to any other breed.

We've all heard that old saw, What's wrong in every other breed is right for the Bulldog. That is utter nonsense, and I think a good part of what has led breeders and judges to give major awards to Bulldogs that are as disparate in conformation as dogs of entirely different breeds are to each other. Many of the Bulldogs that win are not only inferior in type but also completely lacking in the fundamentals of breed soundness.

Personally speaking, I think approaching any breed with the accent in one place (in this case the Bulldogs head) is what leads to bits and pieces evaluation and therefore wide-ranging interpretation.

This is not to say that the Bulldogs (or the Pekes, or the Collies, or the Bull Terriers) heads are not important, because they are. The point that I am trying to make here is that when you begin an evaluation by separating one portion of a dogs anatomy from the rest you can't help but get caught up in the bits and pieces syndrome.

In my mind, the most important lesson for the beginner to learn is to be able to quickly recognize the best dogs in a lineup. I am not interested in hearing what is wrong with Dog A or Dog B, or why specifically Dog C and Dog D are the best in the lineup. I just want a student to tell me which of the dogs in a lineup appear to have most of the best overall that is, which are the standouts, the dogs with the most quality?

There are those who will say that this is a matter of interpretation. Of course it is. That is what evaluation is all about. Those who have that proverbial eye for a dog will quickly recognize not only the balance and proportions that make up a good one, but the nuances that separate the good from the ordinary, the great from the just good. The fellow with that eye sees a dog collectively he has the ability to see the picture as a whole rather than as one having the best head, best tail, and best feet, and so on down the list. The ability to recognize the quality whole is what gives us our best judges and superior breeders.

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