I was honoured to be invited to judge our lovely breed at Crufts and I thank the committee for this opportunity. I would like to thank the exhibitors that came far and wide to give me a superb entry of 211, also my two super stewards who worked so hard to keep the ring in order. I found a slight improvement from the last time I judged but it may be because having a much larger entry I had a lot more quality dogs. We still have a long way to go to reach the quality we had many, many years ago. Size worries me enormously and is still very varied, still I say every time I judge hind movement needs checking, so many moving close behind so lacking the rear drive so typical of our breed. It is not all doom and gloom, I found many really beautiful heads, dark expressive eyes that is a good start when viewing a Shih Tzu. There are still some small eyes, wrong shape and showing white of eye which is a no in our standard. It is nice to have a good well textured length of coat but not to the detriment of good muscle tone, this will be due to lack of exercise, running free and good roadwork. Our breed asks for small short legged, well coupled constructed dog with good spring of rib, good lay of shoulder, with free flowing movement. A lot of my classes had all of the above with many good dogs leaving the ring cardless and many of the first three in each class could change places at any time.
I thank everyone for giving me a lovely entry and to those who travelled a long way to exhibit under me. I am afraid to say the standard of the Shih Tzu has not improved in the two years since i last judged. There seems at the moment to be too much emphasis put on coat and presentation instead of soundness and construction that this little breed needs. The standard also asks for large , dark well placed eyes wide apart with a soft expression. In many exhibits i found the small almond shaped eye thus giving an expression not desired of our lovely breed. Movement also left a lot to be desired many moving close behind lacking in drive thus not showing their pads. These days there are so many different types and in some classes i found it difficult to find a complete line-up that i was totally happy with. I think we have lost forever the quality Sih Tzu that we had 30 plus years ago, so i urge many to sit and study the standard to endeavour to produce a healthy, short coupled, short legged, muscular Shih Tzu with plenty of bone. Having said all that i found what i was looking for in my winners and top awards.
I was extremely pleased with my top placings & in both challenges moved away showing evenly spaced legs and full pads I understand both gained their titles on the day. Although I am not a mouth fanatic I was amazed by the vast amount of bad mouths i.e. four in front & two behind or even worst, but my biggest worry is the front construction in some cases it was difficult to fit three fingers between the legs, then when coming towards me were centring towards the middle and a couple practically crossing their front legs. This is a bad fault that will have to be watched out for in the future and hopefully rectified in one’s breeding programme. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my day where presentation was excellent.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful mid week entry where I
would have liked more red cards with some good specimens in my
older classes going cardless. The atmosphere in the grooming
ring adjacent to my ring was very noticable I hope eveyone had
as an enjoyable day as I did. There has been a slight
improvement in the dogs but the quality in the bitches showed
through. There was a goodly number of quality animals,
particularly in bitches where in proved easier to produce a
good line up. Presenting long flowing coats may look nice from
the ringside but hands on is a different matter, many with
small heads, especially in the dogs is another worry. The
standard asks for head, broad and round, I found also many
exhibits flat between the ears this is not desirable. Sloping
toplines that have come from upright shoulders are another
worry. On the plus side overall quality was good and I was
extremely pleased with my prize winners and in both the
challenges they moved away showing evenly spaced legs with
full pads so desireable in out lovely breed.
Thank you to all the ardent exhibitors that came all the way
to S.K.C. On a weekday to give me a real quality entry. If I
have to have a couple of moans it would be my lifting of the
tails to see a rise over the loin & croup that is not a level
top line, not in my breed standard book anyway. Also too many
flat tails altering the whole outline of the Shih Tzu on the
move and when standing