AKC GAZETTE September 2021
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column
Having attended numerous judges’ education programs on various breeds, the PowerPoint presentation is an important part of the overall process. You learn about the history of the breed and its purpose, whether that is herding livestock or just being a loving companion that was bred to sit on your knee. Judges are programmed to tune into the finer points of the breed, the unique silhouette or hallmark that makes this breed different from all the rest. The photos of fine examples are typically conformation show related, whether of the dog standing in perfect stance for the judge’s exam, or caught in mid-stride, showing the proper extension of the front and rear assemblies.
One trip around the grooming area at a national specialty, and you can gather enough quality photos from everyone’s iPhone to fill 10 PowerPoint presentations and then some. We all have great photos on our phones that show just how wonderful our particular dogs are, and with a few simple steps, they can become part of a presentation.
All that is great and wonderful, but judges need to see examples of things that are not so perfect as well. As a presenter, one can expound upon the problems of drop ears or a fiddle front, but the old adage a picture says a thousand words is true in that a photo can make all the difference to those who may have never seen these traits before. Imagine trying to explain round feet in comparison to hare feet without a photo, particularly to someone who has never seen a hare foot. Now stand in front of your class with two photos, one of a round foot and another of the hare foot, and you will hear that low voice that says, “Now I get it.” Think about the same scenario of a butterfly nose on a black and white dog. Without an example of what is not correct, it becomes perfunctory in the mind of the student and not easily forgotten. They might remember you mentioning something about the color on the nose, but unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, how are you going to know? Think about a cryptic merle, where there is only a small patch of merling on the right side of the dog; having seen an example before judging will allow for a quality lineup at the end. Both the judge and the exhibitor will avoid the embarrassment of not knowing what is correct in the ring.
Now here lies the problem. No one seems to want a photo of their dog that isn’t flattering used for hundreds to see in a PowerPoint presentation. It is only human nature to shy away from showing photos of the fruits of your labor that perhaps are not the best examples of overall breed traits. That poor rear assembly or roached-back dog that you had hoped to show someday suddenly isn’t up to par. We all have been quoted saying, “Hey, they can’t all be show dogs,” but we really don’t like sharing with others photos of those with less-than-desirable traits.
For this I say, that’s a darn shame. The JEC PowerPoint program is always in need of quality photos of hitches that we all encounter in our breeding program. It is not meant to disgrace any particular dog, it is purely a great learning tool that we must utilize to properly educate our future judges. Having a good supply of modern, clear photos of a variety of faults, undesirable features, and disqualifications greatly improves the program. If you have some good, clear photos, please send them to me for consideration. We will all benefit from it.
-David L. Anthony
First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, Septmeber, 2021.
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