Elderfox's Blog

Thoughts of an elder writer-in-progress

Being One’s Own self. . .

on July 18, 2010

A WORD ABOUT WORDS     Countless practical and esthetic calamaties are caused by misunderstandings among dog fanciers because of the lack of a uniform conformation and compeition language.  Most Standards have terms that have become outdated or redundant, do not really apply, and to a novice are “mysterious”. 

 K-NO-W. . .

The first word our dogs learn is undoubtedly “NO!”.  Likewise an important word for an exhibitor is KNOW.  Know the Standard of your breed, the one written, available from the AKC/CKC and country of origin.   KNOW the terminology of anatomy.  KNOW who you are, your status among your peers and your level of knowledge (which will increase).  KNOW where you are in relation to condition, grooming, training of your dog, your presentation (handling), deportment; There is also a “handling” standard for your breed, what’s in/out and what is important to a particular judge.  KNOW what you are doing when you are doing it re ring exhibiting and why; and lastly KNOW your purpose and goals.

Sooner or later you will awake to the realization that breeding and judging both are an applied science based on subjective opinion, while the exhibiting of show dogs is an “art” of acquired skill, and they are all relative.   CONFORMATION is the basic structure of your dog which conforms to a Standard for its breed; however, not all dogs are created perfect.  Anatomical perfections (and imperfections) are transmitted from pedigree parenting to offspring and these decisions are made by reputable breeders seeking improvement to various aspects of conformation.   SHOWMANSHIP is probably a single most important attribute a “show dog” can have, being taken for granted that dogs being presented in the show ring are a better than average specimen of its breed.  Showmanship is so important to the success of any dog, that it cannot be over-emphasized.  But it is a term which should be applied thoughtfully to each breed, i.e., a Hound’s ring presence is not that of a Terrier.  Showmanship brings out the quality of any dog and is a difficult dog to beat in compeition…which often explains why most Best of Breed and Group winners are males (although, through the years bitches have reached the top–feminine bitches upon whom the God of Good Judging has smiled).  On the whole, however, it is a Male’s world, even though those of us who adore and know that the quality in any breeding program depends on good bitches will most likely have walls papered with Best of Opposite Sex ribbons.  That does not mean that a champion male will give a superb performance every time, however those that do so consistently, are usually among the top winning dogs.


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