The Fancy Speaks
As breeders and judges and professional handlers, we travel all over the world seeing our own breed, whether we are seeing the breeds at specialty shows, at world class dog shows, and in our own home countries.
Presently what are your breed's strengths?
What do you feel breeders need to improve on the most?
Is there a country other than your own that is producing consistent quality in your breed?
Judy Taylor - Golden Retrievers – Ontario
There is no question a great deal of improvement needs to be made in shoulder structure in Golden Retrievers. I would suggest that breeder’s start appreciating correct breed type as well. Australia, Sweden & England all produce beautiful Golden Retrievers.
Leeza Friedman-Prokopishyn – Finnish Lapphunds - Alberta
International judges who have met Lappies in Canada have remarked that many of us maintain our dogs in such physical condition, that they could do their original jobs. I have seen this strength in several Canadian kennels.
A Finnish all breed judge expressed concerns to us about the trend of breeding dogs with heads which are too large, and too lion-like.
If a Finnish Lapphund has a broad head, it should be in correct proportion to the rest of the body.
Breeders in Finland have expressed concerns to us about eyes becoming too light in dark dogs. We have seen cases of both pigment, which is too light, and heads, which are too large in Finnish Lapphunds in North America.
We continue to look to the Finns as the stewards of the breed. The quality of the dogs there is still the highest in the world, in my opinion, thanks to the efforts of both classical kennels and also successful newer breeders alike. I also appreciate how the Finnish Kennel Club and Lappalaiskoirat Ry (The Lapphund Club of Finland) maintain the health, conformation, and history of our breed.
Michelle Chisholm – Chinese Shar-Pei – Ontario
I think the Chinese Shar-Pei have made great improvements in temperament’s overall. Of course there is always the exception but I feel the breeders have worked hard in this area.
I also feel that some improvements have been made in front structure and overall balance. The main area of concern in the breed (and has been for quite some time) is topline and tail sets.
All too often we are seeing dogs with level top lines and low tail sets being exhibited and rewarded. The slight dip at the withers and slow rise topline and the extremely high tail set is a distinguishing feature of our breed and extremely important.
Other than that I would like to see more consistency in breed type and size for the breed. The FCI standard and the CKC standard are quite different and so is the style of dog. So it is very hard to compare.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, Canadian breeders have for many years taken a handful of dogs to the US Nationals and have won consistently. The US breeders continue to have beautiful dogs but the type and style varies on the region of the country.
There are still many breeders in Europe etc, that are importing from the US and Canada. Outside of North America I believe Australia has some beautiful type and balance in their dogs.
Kim LeBlanc – Siberian Huskies – Ontario
My breed is the Siberian Husky Our strength lies in the fact that our dogs are a more generic body type and so there are no extremes to work with. This translates into sound dogs that whelp naturally. Siberians generally speaking are a pretty healthy dog.
Correct structure is a work in progress. Judges will find many worthy specimens in the ring but constant vigilance is required by breeders to maintain structure. Probably what breeders need to work on the most is having dogs with equal bone lengths, which gives the dogs balance and correct movement.
Quality Siberians can be found in many countries around the world. I do not think there is just one place to find good ones though Canada and the US are very strong in quality.
Ainslie Mills – Golden Retrievers – Ontario
In Golden Retrievers, I believe the temperaments are generally strong, as they should be. I occasionally see Goldens that are too needy and sometimes a few that are a bit over the top with energy and enthusiasm. Rear movement is generally good. Some dogs lack convergence at one or both ends, and there are some wide moving fronts that create undesirable body rolling. In North America you can’t go too far in the show ring without decent movement and I think our breed generally is reasonably sound.
Breeders really need to read the standard. Many Goldens lack balance, with upright shoulders, lack of return of upper arm, and incorrect angulation combined with over-angulated rears.
The Golden is a moderate dog and extreme reach and drive is not correct for the breed. Neither are fronts lacking reach, combined with over-reaching rears!
Breeders should also be breeding for a correctly textured, resilient coat, with good undercoat, that wraps and protects the body. Proper coat cannot be created with products and coats should never be blown into fluffy, open coats. The standard is clear in allowable grooming and trimming -neatening of ears and feet and untrimmed natural ruff.
We all know people do a lot more but it should never be obvious and underlines should never be cut/trimmed with straight shears. Experts in the breed can do a lot on a Golden, but you will never see a scissor line and the coats will look as they should - natural.
Heads in Goldens in North America range from beautiful to down right terrible. The incorrect heads lack stop, have narrow muzzles, eyes that are too small and/or set incorrectly and lack the desirable friendly appearance. Poor pigment is common and the nose, eye-rims and lips should all be the desirable black pigment that adds so much to expression.
The other major problem is Goldens that are frequently too long in proportion and do not meet the 12:11 ration of length to height required in the standard, when measured from prosternum to pin bone and withers to ground. This proportion is only slightly off square. Lack of fore chest and depth of brisket not to the elbows are other concerns.
I have judged the Golden National Specialty in four countries and judged and/or attended Golden specialties and large entry shows in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Indonesia and across North America. In my opinion, Australia has some exceptional Goldens with beautiful heads, pigment, correct coat texture, lovely balanced angulation, sound movement that are conditioned and presented very well. While visiting the UK, I have seen Goldens from Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Spain that were really wonderful. I think our long history with the breed has benefited from some exceptional breeders who have imported some influential dogs from overseas and that has allowed the blending of off-shore and local bloodlines to produce some top quality Goldens in Canada. Many Canadian and American breeders have consistently produced correct Goldens and remained true to the requirements of the breed standard despite the sometimes, negative influences of the demands of winning.
Dr. Gail Forsythe - Alberta
Remaining true to historic breed type. It’s charming and playful nature.
Health testing of patellas, heart, eyes and GM2; plus use of the OFA database, to share test results The UK has lovely Japanese Chins
Overall health, longevity and consistent quality specimens
Large, envelope shaped head and rear soundness
Lovely Pekingese in the USA, UK, and Russia
Temperment and health testing
Vigilant attention to stilted rear movement with short, strong hocks; square body proportion
Lovely Chows in Russia, Italy, USA
Cynthia Crysdale – Ontario
Scottish Deerhounds - At their best, a regal, elegant and graceful sight hound capable of sprinting over rough terrain to take down deer.
Breeders need to improve on breeding a Deerhound that speaks to the standard, and the functional history of this wonderful breed. Currently, so many Deerhounds are overdone - in size, coat and coarseness. The Deerhound is a rough coated Greyhound of larger bone and size, NOT a Wolfhound. Deerhounds were used to bring Wolfhounds back, not the other way around. A bitch should look like a bitch.
The standard states that the coat is supposed to be harsh and wiry 'about' 3-4 inches (thick, close-lying and ragged, crisp to the touch). Correct coat is not profuse, and much harder to grow. More attention needs to be given to front and rear set up. It is a major fault to have hocked rears or weak pasterns. The rear requires substance, not mass, to power the Deerhound over rough and uneven terrain. Movement should be light with lift. Deerhounds should not lumber around the ring. This is a breed that should have a shapely, balanced, and elegant outline befitting its royal heritage.
Skye Terriers - At their best, a lively, charming, loyal, agile, and strong terrier capable of going to ground to ferret out vermin. Breeders need to focus on correct size and better toplines. The standard is long, low, level and lank. The standard states 9 - 10" at the shoulder. The correct proportion of body length to shoulder height is 2:1. A swayback Skye is incorrect. This breed is on the edge of extinction, and, with such a small gene pool, 'correct' Skyes are essential to the lasting form and function of this breed. There are some lovely Skyes being bred in parts of the UK and Europe.
Stefanie Giddens - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – British Columbia
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was bred to pull and I believe that the breed has continued to stay true to its working heritage. The dogs continue to be produced with how they were intended; working farm dogs. And, many to this day have strong working/herding/draft instincts.
They have great personalities and whether living on a farm assisting with livestock, or watching over a growing family, they absolutely adore their people.
The structure and temperment of this breed is still an integral part and I believe it is because of tenacious breeders networking with each other and deeply investing in the desire to be custodians of the GSMD.
And, as with all breeds, good health is always something that breeders strive to optimize in their programs.
The USA - in Canada, we have very few GSMD breeders here.