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Judge Report:

2013 Spring Specialty

~ sweepstakes ~

by Patricia Rasmussen  © 2013

I want to thank PVSC for inviting me to judge the Sweeps classes at yesterday’s specialty, and to thank the exhibitors for entering and allowing me to put my hands on their lovely puppies and veterans. It was such fun to see not just the future of the breed, but those dogs who are still a part of it.

Although the entry wasn’t huge, decisions were still difficult. One of the drawbacks (IMHO) to indoor shows on mats (carpeting is wonderful!) is that so many dogs don’t like the feel of those little rubber ridges on their paws. Particularly puppies who may be feeling them for the first time. So, although I tried to judge what I felt the puppies could do, in the long run, my job was to evaluate what I was seeing at that particular time. And I don’t doubt for a minute that sometimes that was affected by how the puppies felt about moving on mats. It was obvious that some of them would have preferred to be off the mats and on the cement (also not a good choice, but understandable).

That said, I thought the side gait was good over-all. I only remember one puppy that had too much wasted motion. Of course, the others, as well as they all may have seemed to be moving, varied in their smoothness and timing as well as their drive and reach. But as a group, side gait seemed to be quite good.

I saw several nice fronts, more than I might have expected given the footing; not as many correct rears as I would have liked – but again, I do feel the mats had a negative effect on how the dogs looked coming and going. One problem being that many of them wouldn’t travel in a straight line for more than a step or two, making it very difficult to evaluate correct movement. A couple of them had settled down by the regular classes and seemed to be moving more correctly by then. Ah, the joys of showing puppies....

I didn’t see as much trimming as I’d worried I might (perhaps I was seen foaming at the mouth about it at the National this year?), so that was pleasing. Not that there hadn’t been any trimming, but it was more noticeable in the BOB class (and in some of the photos) than it was in my classes, and it didn’t reach the levels we saw at Gettysburg. 

My Best in Sweeps was a very correct bitch with lovely type and expression. It was a joy watching her finish her championship by going Winners Bitch later in the afternoon. She was hard pushed by the lovely second place bitch in her class, but just had it a bit more together that day. 

My Best of Opposite in Sweeps was a very nice boy who made his way to the head of his class by dint of moving correctly and behaving in such a way that I could see that he did. Several of the entries in that class were hampered by their behavior and/or reaction to moving on the mats. Again, side gait was fine, but there was a lot of creativity when coming and going, much of related to a lack of interest in going in a straight line.

The veterans showed why we have a breed that can continue to show well into middle or old age. Most of the entries were in the nine and over class, and “way over” was the best description for some of them. In spite of that age range, my Best Veteran was a lovely bitch – a woman of a “certain age” – who is amazing, not just for her age, but for any age. She’s sound, showy, and a credit to her breed.