MEASURING TOOLS - THE HANDS AND EYES OF A JUDGE
By Pat Gilbert
I always use my hands and eyes to measure and evaluate an exhibit. This is very necessary in all breeds and more particularly in coated breeds. My hands check structure, bone placement, lengths and quality of bone. They are not measuring centimeters or inches.
All breeds are not supposed to be built the same so forget about the infamous 45 degree angled shoulder which in reality probably never exists in most of the breeds. I have had my hands on thousands of dogs and have never seen or felt the 45 degree angled shoulder in the majority of the breeds.
There are exceptions to the no 45 degree. The German Shepherd Dog is the only normal sized breed exception where a 45 degree angled shoulder is desired and hoped to be found. There are the short legged breeds like the Dachshund, Corgi, etc., where a 45 degree shoulder can also be desirable. Still finding it can be a challenge.
I have taken into consideration how and where people measure on the bones. I have attended numerous seminars. I still can't create that 45 degree angle on a dog. I can on a horse with no problem. My conclusion is that it is one of those sacred cows that dog people borrowed from horse people.
My hands also tell me muscle development and tone.
My hands tell me coat texture, quantity and quality.
My hands tell me overall bloom and condition of a dog.
My hands confirm or dispel what my eyes see.
I am not permitted to use a wicket on a breed that has no DQ for size. So if I think the dog is over or under the Breed Standard, it is a judgment call. I do know how tall or long my body parts are so I am pretty close to accurate.
The same applies to a scale. I cannot weigh a dog unless it is a DQ for the Breed Standard. I have groomed enough show dogs and pets and weighed them so I can get within less than a pound for guesstimate on weight.
You would be surprised how many people show overweight and soft dogs and then bitch because the judge "only puts up small dogs".
I have to bite my tongue.
Why spend all that money for entries, travel, accommodations, etc., and then not present your dog to its best advantage in its optimum condition both mentally and physically?
That is another topic for discussion.