Show Dogs

Learn about success in show dogs.

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When someone is able to step back and quickly point out the best in a lineup I know that the person is one worth spending time with. He or she is someone who will, as a judge, devote their time to making comparisons among the good ones rather than wasting valuable time worrying about which is worse, the bad hindquarter or the front that's off.

Is everyone who wishes to judge able to do so at the same level? In a word, no! As much as we would all like to think differently, the ability to evaluate (dogs, art, talent, and what-have-you) is not universal. As Mama Rose in the great Stephen Sondheim musical comedy Gypsy sang out at the top of her lungs, You either got it, or you aint. In Mama Roses case she had it, and she had it in spades, just as we have those among us who can spot the good ones in a heartbeat.

The few that have it know the dog is a good one, and although, were they able, they might change that eye or that ear, or the set of a tail, they are able to place the fault in context. They don't throw out the best dog in the ring because it has a flaw. They inherently know that the hardest thing in the world to breed is the dog that excels overall. They would never be so mindless as to ignore that fact.

Does quality equal type?
And now to our writers question, How do you explain to people that a quality dog can have little or no type?

Unfortunately the answer to that one is best answered by paraphrasing the Mama Roseism that appears above you either get it or you don't. Quality is something easy to recognize, not entirely impossible to come by, and certainly has much in its favor. It is, however, generally applicable.

Type, on the other hand, is nothing but specific. It is about particular line, balance, and proportion. It is about nuance a subtle turn can separate the good from the bad, the superior from the good.

We've all seen that mixed-breed dog trotting down the street with head held high, level topline, and tail swaying happily behind. The dog glances to the right and left as though he owned the world. His front legs reach, his rearquarters drive all in perfect balance and coordination.

Quality? You betcha! Type? Unanswerable.
The picture can tell you nothing of breed character, because there is no model to compare the dog to. There is no way of determining if he gives you the proper impression a specific breed of dog should convey. It is just as impossible a task to determine if his proportions are correct. Is he too long or too short for his height? Are the head planes and proportions correct? Who knows?

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