Affiliate Club News:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT… SIZE ISSUES AND OUR BREED STANDARD
it really does not have to come down to size.
most of you have probably heard that some Poodle breeders have circulated a petition to change the breed standard increasing the maximum size for Toy Poo- dles to11 inches and miniature Poodles to 16 inches. i seriously doubt that the majority of PCa members or its board favor such a change, and rightly so. as it is, we continuously see 11 inch “Toys”, and 16 inch “Miniatures” finish their championship, win variet- ies, groups, etc.. i am convinced that such a change in the standard of the breed would soon result in 12 inch Toys and 17 inch miniatures in our rings. few would question that it is much easier to finish an 11 inch dog entered as a Toy than as a miniature, the variety it be- longs to according to the breed standard. how many of you have ever seen a 16 or 17 inch dog win in a Standard Poodle ring? again, according to the breed standard that dog is a Standard Poodle.
during the last two nationals, while mentoring pro- spective judges, i was asked, at least twice, questions I found difficult to answer. One question concerned a scenario in judging standards where i would have to make a choice between a good quality 17 inch dog that looked like an oversized miniature and a lesser quality 25 inch dog. after some uneasy moments, and a failed attempt to dodge the question, i answered as honestly as i could. Then a lady, who in my opinion will have difficulty in ever attaining the knowledge and judgment to adjudicate our breed successfully, of- fered a surprising comment while we were watching the judging of one of the junior miniature dog classes. She volunteered that it was difficult for her to notice differences between exhibits, but that she would put this particular dog up in the class because he was the smallest one in the ring, which is what the standard calls for. i mentioned that the issue of diminutiveness would apply only when breed quality is equal, and that the dog in question sorely lacked breed type. i did not tell her, and fortunately was not asked, what my deci- sion would have been if faced with a choice between three similar dogs, one 12.5 inches tall another one 14 inches, and a third one 15. Well, there is always something that separates one competitor from another.
i can’t think of another breed that has so many dif- ferent issues concerning size as ours does. i am not only referring to oversized dogs winning in the two smaller varieties, especially Toys. The issue of gaps in sizes not addressed in our breed standard is of equal, concern. What other breed has a situation where dogs cannot win if entered as representatives of the vari- ety they belong to according to their size, but can win when competing as representatives of a smaller vari- ety?... none that i know about. i do know that aside from other repercussions, from a judges’ education perspective the implications of having a breed stan- dard, which regarding size issues is difficult to ap- ply, are severe. What will the average prospective new judge, who’s interest in the breed is not as genuine as ours, think when they don’t get a straight answer as to why we are not judging by the breed standard when it comes to size? Why doesn’t a 17 inch Standard nor a 11.5 inch miniature win as representatives of their respective varieties, when size is the only criteria our breed standard uses to separate the varieties? i know, a Toy looks like a Toy and the other varieties are equally recognizable by type; but again, our breed standard makes no such distinctions. it is one breed and there is no type difference by variety mentioned in the breed standard. if we use these arguments to justify the win- ning of oversized dogs, there is an implicit acknowl- edgement that portions of the breed standard are being disregarded.
a revision to the breed standard setting preferred sizes in each variety should go a long way in reconciling the discrepancies between the limits in size in the cur- rent breed standard, and the reality of sizes required for success in today’s show ring, therefore giving the breed standard the credibility and ease of application, which it currently lacks in areas dealing with size. for example, the revision could state that preferred sizes are as follows: Toy – 8.5 to 10 inches, miniature- 13 to 15 inches and Standard- 21 to 28 inches or whatev- er a committee considers appropriate. Preferred sizes could also be set by sex. it is important, however, that the revision include strong verbiage advocating adher-
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