On my Facebook Personal Page (https://www.facebook.com/danharrison765/media_set?set=a.153973497954566.26245.100000257495933&type=3), I have started printing pictures of all my dogs, starting at Boondox Champion Number One (CH Rose Farm’s Choo Choo) and going to my last Champion. It has been quite an opportunity to look at my dogs and see where the differences were and, see, perhaps, what we need to get back to in today’s dogs. I am going to start looking at the pictures and then showing and telling everyone what I look for and why it is important to me.
At first glance, I always check out the neckset and the shoulder placement as these withers are very important to me since I started out in Horses and the neckset, when standing or moving, really showed how we wanted that neck and head set to be presented. Personally, I always wanted the shoulder blades/withers to be far back on the torso and have a neck that came up almost straight from those withers and was long and well-arched, either at rest or moving. That great looking neck and headset made the dog look super going around the ring and made the dog always a standout in the Judges’ mind. This far-back neckset went along with a well laidback shoulder assembly which left a very nice place for the neck and shoulder to meet. That well-carried neck and head moving around the ring made this the dog to beat and, thinking back to all the top Specials of mine from Choo Choo, Oona, PJ, Sting, Treasure, Shoney, Chaps to Ipsy Pipsy, you see a dog moving around the ring with its head up, looking around and eager to meet any thing it came across.
Next, I look at the Front of the dog and notice how much forechest each one has and where that forechest is in relation to the shoulders, the line down from the shoulder blades and how far back the torso goes behind the shoulder blades. Remember, this is VITAL to the Dachshund and shows how the dog can move around the ring or in the field. This forechest always is far out front of the shoulders and the torso goes way past the front legs and goes behind the front legset and makes a gorgeous underline. The shoulders should be showing a lot of layback, nestling into the withers/neckset area, and the elbows should be tight into the body. This front is vital to the dog and this forechest with the shoulders and front are totally important to how the dog moves and presents himself. Nowadays, this would probably be the first place I would look since a not-so-good forechest is so much a problem today. This front has to be here for the dog to move correctly and that includes the forechest way out in front of those well laidback shoulders and showing how those shoulders move in a smooth and fluid motion.
Then, I go to the rear and want to see a nice croup with not a whole lot of angles there, but, instead, look for a series of right angles coming down from the pelvis. These angles should be obvious and able to be seen from the picture, looking relaxed and at ease, even standing for their photo. The angles should all be going downwards and, if any of these angles go up, then this dog is nothing I would use in my breeding or showing program. Many people put a lot of effort having the hock being ninety degrees from the floor, but that is not anything I worry about, since that ninety degree angulation is not spelled out in the Standard and where the rear sets in pictures is usually pretty happenstance, but the angles tell the whole tale of whether a dog can move effortlessly and efficiently. Getting credit for things not written into the Standard is not really a good thing, so I don’t worry about that at all.
After that, I go to the topline and see how straight it is from the withers to the croup and also how the underline looks. I want to see a pretty straight topline, but certainly can accept a less than straight one which looks a little droopy as I feel that is the other choice that gives some great movement going around the show ring. While I prefer the straight and level topline, the sometime droopier one can be a very nice mover as well and many of mine fall into that category and can be faulted for their topline, but, on the other hand, can be lauded for being such a great moving dog by the Judge. The underline is also something you check on, but do not expect it to be very different from the Standard and, if it is, the dog does not go much further in the showing or breeding program.
Finally we get to feet and head and neck which, let’s face it, should all be great on our dogs, I would think. The feet should just come down from the older dogs and why would any of us keep less than great feet on our dogs who use these paws to go to ground and to dig up the burrows of the critters they are chasing. Here, no feet means this dog will not be in the next set of pictures of my dogs. As for the head and neck, I probably had one of the best lineups of them of about any kennel in the USA, with help from Wally and Mary Jones and Martha Grantham who, while loving the pretty heads and long necks, were also not afraid to keep some of the lesser ones for breeding and showing, knowing that the correct heads were right behind the ones we were taking in the ring then. I understand how we never keep bad heads from bad heads, but instead would, perhaps, keep a bad head from a couple of good heads , knowing that the produce from the bad heads would only be kept if the heads were back up to Standard again for the next generation. Feet and head and necks were always good in what we kept with great feet, beautiful heads and long necks sort of being the trademark of the dogs I kept to show.
In looking back at these dogs, we have to remember that we check on all these major points, such as heads, necks, fronts, rears, toplines, underlines and the beauty of the whole, but so many of the smaller points are features that most judges do not have enough time to see in the ring. We hope they look at forechest, but also hope they do not get lost in rear movement or any type of trouble with the little things that they really do not have the time to even be looking for when they get in the Ring. You have to remember that they have about two minutes to judge this dog and the more little things they are seeing means they miss the great big things that they all should be looking for.
When I say look for fronts, I do not mean to forget everything else, but instead make sure all the smaller parts are there before you pick out the best fronted one to start showing. I also insist that you have to have the great fronted ones to win the major prizes in the show ring, but that does include that all the little things are there for the Judge to notice and admire. I want the great heads and necks and toplines and fronts and rears and everything else, but that puts you, the breeder, in charge of getting all the lesser parts right and to be the leader, in getting things we don’t see often, perfect and in front of the Judge, to be noted as correct Dachshund type. Remember, that correct Breed type is always what we are on the lookout for-those big features rarely seen along with the smaller, more correct things that we hopefully do see a lot.
Great head, beautiful neck, big front, correct rear, nice topline and underline, gorgeous rears with a nice tail should be what you see when you enter the Dachshund Ring and that is what we want you to remember when you leave that Ring as those are what we want the Breed to be remembered for.