LÖWCHEN SPECIALTY - NSW
Firstly I would say I was deeply honoured by my entry and would like to thank the exhibitors for their entry, and the good sportsmanship shown on the day from the majority of those people exhibiting. I was pleased that the weather held off, as the breed looks so much nicer in dry conditions, not only in their presentation, but also the dogs move out much more freely, making judging much easer to qualify the movement. Most classes were well filled, I think only the Minor puppy class had only one dog. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Steward who I believe stepped in at the last moment. Over all, although the type was mixed, there were some lovely heads and some very sound dogs, the presentation was overall very good with only a few dogs that had been clipped or scissored on the face giving a foreign expression. I was also disappointed to find some dogs did not have their feet clipped, remembering that dogs are show dogs, and presentation must be kept up if we are to stay in the judges eye. Some, otherwise good dogs were too short in tibia, and so short in second thigh, giving the appearance of a long back when it is the length of leg that is the problem, making the whole dog look long and low, this then taking away from the over all balance of the dog. It is my hope that all breeders are looking to correct this, as our breed standard asks for: "a well balanced dog in the general appearance". As I would like to see this problem of short legs eradicated I was very strict on it in my judging. I had one in particular otherwise lovely exhibit that I had to penalize for this. When judging a specialty show it is very important to look at the whole dog, to be able to assess the things that are coming up in the breed that are taking away from breed type to enable us to keep our breed on track.
I felt over the last 25 years the fronts have improved and size is of course smaller than when I first brought the dogs to Australia as the standard height has been lowered. This takes time to do, and is not achieved by shortening the legs, but is about bringing the size of the whole dog down.
I took particular note to check the hearing of the dogs entered, as I am aware this is becoming a problem in some.
I was pleased to see most dogs moving well, with the correct hind action in most of the dogs. We still need to watch top line in some of the dogs, but once again, over all it had improved. I feel the pigmentation is not as good as it was with more light eyes and some exhibits not fully pigmented.
I think the generally coats on some dogs have improved while others were wiry and harsh, and others curly all of these untypical. (Coat: Fairly long, wavy, never curly. Single coat of soft texture.)
My BEST EXHIBIT IN SHOW came out of the puppy bitch class; this was a strong class and a joy to judge.
A lovely mature puppy, with a super body. A very active, well-balanced alert dog, with an out-going temperament, lovely outline, making a lovely moving picture of a well balanced good type Löwchen.
Her head well balanced with her body. Skull flat, strong muzzle and good pigment on the whole dog. Good stop, eyes round and good size, a little lighter than I would prefer, still within the liver colouring. Ears well set, pendant, well furnished.
Head carried well on a good reach of neck, nicely arched.
She has well-laid shoulders and is well let down in brisket and ample width of front with good elbow placing allowing for her beautiful free movement. Body well proportioned with good spring of rib. Level top line, strong loin. She has good bone and muscle.
Hind legs well muscled, with good turn of stifle, good length and strength of second thigh! Standing and moving straight from the rear balanced in her front and hind movement, she has both good reach in front and good hind drive. Tail set is good and her tail is well carried. Coat excellent for her age, Fine and silky.
She will surely have a great Future.
My Reserve Challenge. also from this class, a lovely young up and coming bitch, not quite as good on the move as my wining bitch, still of good breed type, with lovely expression. I am sure she also will have a good future.
My RUNNER-UP IN SHOW was my dog Challenge winner, well handled by a young handler,
Also well balanced although right up to size, he excelled in over all type and balance. This dog was not as typical in coat as my winner, but was very good example of the breed.
Also a well balanced head. Good black pigment, Eyes dark and round, good size.
He carried himself well; moving out with ample reach and drive,
Correct tail set allowing for good carriage and balance of tail.
His coat was fine, although I would have preferred it to be silkier in texture.
Reserve Challenge dog, also out of the young classes, This dog was of good type and head and coat, still a lot of maturing to do yet, will also have a bright future.
It is nice to have so many of the young dogs showing the improvement in the breed as these dogs and bitches are the future of our breed.
Over all I found quality quite mixed, some too light in bone and others coarse, although a good percentage of wonderful coats, also sadly some very harsh as well as curly. Although there were a lot of good heads, there were also some long untypical "down" faces. This changes the whole expression of the dog. Some dogs need to watch the bites and placement of teeth. Some otherwise lovely exhibits still need to watch the front, some still being wide. I was pleased I didn't find a lot narrow fronts and most had good spring of rib, also still some upright in shoulder. Looking at height to length it would appear that some breeders may have taken a short-cut through short-legged selecting only for size in height, thus having lost the overall balance of in the breed. It is important to remember that the standard calls for General Appearance: "Strongly built, active, well-balanced and alert".
Most exhibitors enter specialty shows to get the opinion of a breed judge, about where the breed is going and where its strengths and weaknesses are as a whole. It is a time to reflect on where we are taking these little dogs we all love.
I had a wonderful day and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for showing and for the courtesy and good sporting manner of most people who were showing on the day.
I would have loved to talk to some of the exhibitors, unfortunately owing to the weather coming in most people were ready to pack up and go home or go across to the 4P's show for their specials. Keep up the good work, help the up and coming younger exhibitors as they are our future, and have fun with this fun breed.
It is up to each one of us to improve this wonderful Little Lion, to remain aware of breeding to the breed standard and show the world why we are so proud of our Lions.