Friday, November 5, 2010

Off To See The Puppies

This is one of the girls.

OK now, what have I forgotten?  Just printed my eticket and boarding pass and need to look over all the printed material I downloaded from Travelocity and USAirways.  Measured my small suitcase and it fits the size limits so I can just do carry on.  My Netbook  is in the laptop bag, and instead of a purse I will use my fanny pack.  Camera battery charged, cell phone ready to go - must remember to pack the charging cord though.  It will be nice to have the Netbook while I am doing a layover in Charlotte.  I used to fly quite a lot, especially when I first started judging, but flying is such a hassle now I no longer approach it with excitement.  Flying only makes me nervous because so much can go wrong - not with the the flight itself (I figure if the plane crashes, well, when you're dead you're dead - right?) just all the paperwork, security check in, flight cancellations and delays.  I'd absolutely hate having to spend the night in an airport!  Ever since I found myself in Auckland, NZ without a boarding pass and only 50 minutes to catch the flight to Brisbane (we were rerouted but they forgot to give me a boarding pass for the second leg of my trip) I get a little panicky about such things.

Fish club meeting last night.  I should have stayed home and done chores but really wanted to listen to Gary Lange talk about his adventures looking for Rainbowfishes in Indonesia.  Sorry to be missing the get together at Mike's tonite!  It's tough balancing two expensive and time consuming hobbies.  Got some nice plants last night for just a few dollars, and bid on and won some rainbow eggs that Gary brought along.  The fish should be fabulous if the hatching and grow out go well.  Also swapped some of my L. vittata for some of Dale's Ameca splendens.  The sole surviving Jenynsia lineata seemed delighted to have tankmates.  Normally I would have quarantined any new fish, but I had a tank with just the one elderly resident.

OK, time to finish my laundry and packing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Babies On Board

Two weeks to go
Here's Tess P. with two weeks to go.   She's normally a hard-bodied dog with lots of tuckup, so it's hard to guess how many pups she is carrying.  Paula thinks she looks a bit bigger than she did with her previous litter.  Because Tess P. is middle-aged, we're hoping for a reasonable sized litter of 5-7 pups.  They are due late next week.  Cross your fingers please.   If you are on my tentative list for a puppy, please let me know if you are still interested.

Too many Tesses 
This could be confusing!  Tess P. has pups due next week, while Tess C. (who lives in Oregon) has pups due in 6 weeks.  Both were bred to Argus.  Gotta remember to use the initials with the names!  Tess P. is a daughter of our Watson, and her dam is Madurhason & Dakota breeding.  Tess C. is the girl who was bred to Argus last fall and produced some very handsome pups including "Tia" who just went Best In Sweeps and Winners Bitch at the Northern California Specialty at 9 months of age.  Because that litter turned out so well, her owners decided to repeat the breding - and I get a stud fee pup this time (and will also help to sell any companion quality pups if there are more reservations than pups in Tess P.'s litter).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let The Standard Be Your Guide

This comment was posted to my blog about a week ago and I thought it would be a perfect topic.

About there being "high" tails in the breed...what about low set tails? We showed a bitch a few months ago and she took reserve. The judge commented that he liked her spotting best and he felt her temperament was "remarkable" but he said her tail was too low. We'd never been told this before so I asked him what he meant and he said the back should go straight across to the tail, whereas our bitch's rounds off a bit at the rear. Her rear end looks almost identical  to the the dog named (name removed). So I am confused. I see nothing wrong with my dog's tail, but according to the judge, when their rear "slopes" like that it is a major fault. What do you say about that?

What I would say is that everyone needs to read and understand the AKC standard for their breed.  It amazes me how many exhibitors haven't a clue what our standard calls for.  The standard is our "blueprint" to what our breed should look like.  It helps us plan our breedings to improve or enhance the various characteristics of our dogs and to select the right pups as show potential.  Judges are also supposed to know and understand the standard for every breed they are approved to judge.   Also, we are talking about two separate features here, the croup and the tail.  Although bad tails generally go with bad croups, they are two separate entities.  The standard says -

The back is level and strong. The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched. The flanks narrow through the loin. The croup is nearly level with the back. The tail is a natural extension of the topline. It is not inserted too low down.  It is strong at the insertion and tapers to the tip, which reaches to the hock. It is never docked. The tail is carried with a slight upward curve but should never curl over the back.

Poor croups are very common in the breed, and generally go with bad tail carriage, and are judged based on how serious the problem is.  It is not a major fault, but affects the basic structure of the dog.  A dog with a steep croup can not extend it's rear legs properly which shortens up the stride.  There is a reason for all the structural features called for in our standard.  Our goal is a dog that can trot effortlessly for long periods of time.

The dog she questions does indeed share that same fault.  If I could change one just thing about her to make her a better Dalmatian, that is precisely what I would change, but judges are judging the whole dog, not just it's individual parts.  If a dog is faulty in one area but particularly good in many other areas, it will most likely win in the ring.  No dogs are perfect, and all judges have some faults that bother them more than others.  You have to look at the whole dog, how it is presented, what condition it is in, how it moves and what kind of temperament it displays in the ring.  Although a steep croup is a fault, as is a high tail carriage, they are only part of the picture described by the breed standard.

Hope that helps.