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Calandra
16th February 2012, 07:57 PM
Hi All,

I just watched a recap of the toy group of the Westminster Dog Show 2012. I'm only recently into Dog Shows since the arrival of my Chloe last November.

The only CKCS competing was a Blenheim. The fur didn't look very straight to me either - not wavy, but a little frizzy. I was surprised that was the top CKCS. (Remember - this is a novice talking, so don't blast me too much. :))

Has there ever been a Cavalier to win Westminster or Best in Group? Has a tri ever gotten that far?

I noticed there were a couple of English King Charles Spaniels, so I'm wondering how only one of our beloved breed made it to the competition. Why not a couple of the various colors?

Calandra.
(Yes, I guess I'm a Cavalier snob now!) And btw, I do not understand the Pekingese. All that frizzy fur and it can barely walk? I don't get it.

Calandra
18th February 2012, 02:00 AM
Okay, guess it was just me lol.

lucidity
18th February 2012, 04:27 AM
Actually, the slightly wavy/curly fur is permissible in the show ring. There's alot of other things to look for besides fur--structure, gait, angulation, topline, etc. etc. Also in the American shows because handlers are always used, the more popular handlers usually win, regardless of whether or not the dog they were handling is the best in the ring (alot of political stuff going on here).

The problem with the colours is that the Blenheims are the easiest to show. They are much more numerous than the other colours, and they usually have better heads, etc. because breeders have focused on Blens for such a long time--it is just easier to come across a Blen of outstanding quality than in the other colours. Tricolours are the HARDEST to breed because the standard calls for a blaze and a broken up coat. The particolour gene (in Blenheims and Tris) is expressed more strongly in Blenheims, which is why you see most Blenheims have broken up coats and wide blazes where as Tricolours are often blazeless or have very black, blanket coats. To come across a really beautifully marked tricolour with outstanding head/structure is a rare treat indeed. (Google "Rathbrist Rhydian".. he is currently my favourite tri because he is just absolutely STUNNING. He's got a beautifully broken up coat, nice blaze, and an outstanding head. He has won multiple BIS in the UK)

This is why there are fewer tricolours in the ring. As for the whole colours (black & tan and ruby), they are less numerous, and it is harder to come across one with great coat, structure, heads, etc. etc. Also it is harder to show them in the ring because they are less "showy" colours. The dark colours sometimes makes it hard to see their expression (soft expression is one of the most important things in Cavaliers).

Oh, and I don't get the Pekes either... I always think they look like alien babies, lol.

apwerner
18th February 2012, 04:44 AM
Ok, I have a few questions about showing after watching the Westminster show...

I assume you just train them this way, but how do you get them to stand when holding a treat near their mouth (I assume that's what they kind of hold near their mouths to keep their heads up). If I were to put a treat anywhere in the vicinity of Forrest he will immediately sit for me. He actually never really stands on all 4 legs unless he is running around. He sits to eat. Sits to drink, etc. I don't think I could get him to stand like that!

Also, I noticed that the judge would put her face very close to the dogs when looking at them. I laughed seeing this, because if your face is anywhere near Forrest's he will give you kisses :) I can just picture Forrest attacking a judge with kisses haha

Another question, because you obviously know a lot! What exactly are they looking for when they look at body structure and view from the side. You mentioned the feet should be further back in your picture. Why is this? Just wondering. I don't know much about the specifics and am so curious.

Forrest's breeder is a big judge and said if we ever wanted to show him to let her know and she would get us started. He has a little spot on the right side of his face that isn't symmetrical so I guess that might affect whether or not we could even show him, but I don't even know if the rest of him would be up to par :)

Thanks for any info in advance! I find it all so interesting!

lucidity
18th February 2012, 05:31 AM
The trick is training! I just managed to get Lyra to do this for me:

I'm so proud of my girl! She started off as "just a pet", so naturally, I taught her to "sit" before she got anything (food, toys, go out, etc.).. but since I decided to show her (she was always a show quality girl--just has a minor underbite that we're hoping will correct soon!).. I had to get her to stop sitting when I didn't tell her to. Most show puppies are never taught "sit" simply because it hinders their ability to stack and stand nicely at all times in the show ring.

So this is what I did to teach Lyra not to sit when she smells food (it took a while--she absolutely LOVES food and kept sitting everytime I put her on the table!): I taught her the "wait" command (as opposed to "stay", which means sit and stay. "Wait" means stand still). I would say "wait" and give her a treat if she stood still for even 1 second. Slowly I moved up to 2 secs, 3 secs, etc. Now she can go about a minute without moving when I say "wait". What I do is, I say "wait", and put the treat right in front of her nose, a little bit up, because I want her to stretch her neck a little (that's how you stack a dog).

Lots of training is required! I'm currently getting friends and family who come and visit to "act" as a judge.. by checking Lyra's teeth, touching her body and such. If she stands still and is a good girl, she gets a treat.

About structure, look at Lyra's picture above. Look at her topline--the straighter it is, the better. Neck length is another thing. Longer is better (obviously not too long, but too short is no good). And look at her rear legs. Judges look at "angulation" while looking at the rear legs.

Here's a picture of what good structure should look like:
http://www.weim.net/emberweims/images/WeimAngles.jpg

See the angulation? You want the dog's rear legs to look like that when stacked. A bad angulation looks like this:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b371/suzz86/402409_10100185469923791_21006300_47594656_1410079 247_n.jpg

(That's a picture of my Papillon, Cadence, who is not a show quality dog. See how his rear legs are very straight as opposed to angled?)

I said that Lyra's rear legs should be further back in my picture because that stack doesn't show her angulation well, and because her legs are not further back, it made her topline look weird (it's not straight, as it should be). Also, judges look at the front of the dog.. You see them touching the dog's chest? They're checking to see if their fronts are good--some dogs have very shallow (narrow) chests and that's bad. Also, they look at the front legs. They have to be straight with the paws facing straight. Here's a good comparison:



See how Lyra's legs and paws are straight while Cadence's paws turn out? (He was sitting weird, his paws are actually not that badly turned out, lol).

Anyway, I like explaining things to people--I myself have only learned all this within the past year, so I'm still getting there! Ask away if you have any more questions. Oh, one more thing.. the judges look at the dogs' gaits while they are walked around the ring--you want a dog who had good reach (meaning they take big "steps"). A dog who is well-built and balanced will have great reach. Other things judges look for are showmanship, temperament, etc. A dog whose tail is down or tucked between its legs all the time is bad--Cavaliers are supposed to be friendly and outgoing, so they must never growl or snap at a judge. Also, tail set is quite important. The highest a Cavalier's tail should naturally be is about 1 o'clock. It should never be higher than that (this is what people call a "gay tail").

Regarding Forrest's spot on his face--it could be a hindrance if you're wanting to show him. Some judges will fault that, but I've seen one or two champion Cavaliers who had brown on the side of their faces like Forrest does.

Soushiruiuma
18th February 2012, 06:14 AM
A spot on the face is very minor. It might keep you from big wins, but of that were Forrest's only "show fault" he would not have been placed in a pet home.

Showing can be lots of fun (I've never done it, but trained with one past dog for competitive frisbee), as long as you and your dog are having fun its worth doing, don't worry about the ribbons. If either or both of you are miserable, it's not.

apwerner
18th February 2012, 06:39 AM
Lucidity-

Wow, thanks so much for the great explanations! What you explained makes so much more sense than any articles I've read online. Great photo examples too...really helps to see what you're supposed to look for. Your girl is so pretty :)

I'm out of town for work, so Forrest is home with Tony, so I can't really look at him right now to find out if he actually has a decent body, but I don't think he does from memory. I can't really find any pictures to show him standing like that, but I think he might be turned out a little...not sure. I think he would just love it because he is happiest and best behaved when around lots of people, and we obviously wouldn't do it to win lots of prizes. He really just likes to show off around people.

Anyhow, your girl is so pretty and all of this is new to me and I find it so interesting! Thanks again for the information!

lucidity
18th February 2012, 07:09 AM
No problem! I find that looking at pictures helps A TON! It's just hard to imagine what it looks like in your head.. Thanks so much :D She is really pretty, I wish she has more fur, but hopefully it'll grow out in the next couple of months.

I looked at your pictures of Forrest in the photos forum.. it looks like his nose is not all black--that is a fault for show Cavaliers.. but besides that, it's hard to see if he's show quality or not, lol.. maybe when you go home you can try and take better pictures of him stacking (or trying to, lol) then I can see his structure better. Even if he's not show quality, you can always bring him for obedience trials or agility! Those are VERY fun. Sometimes they run at the same time as the shows, so you can go and watch the shows and participate in obedience/agility/flyball as well.

Anyway, Forrest is really cute! Take more photos of him while he's a puppy.. they grow up SO quickly. :(

ETA: Here is the AKC Cavalier breed standard for your info-- http://www.akc.org/breeds/cavalier_king_charles_spaniel/

Very interesting read. :D

apwerner
18th February 2012, 07:24 AM
Lucidity-

Regarding his nose, I've sort of wondered about that. It was almost all pink when he was tiny and the breeder said it should turn black over time. This is him the day we brought him home:

http://annependleton.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v31/p552895740-3.jpg

Over time it has slowly gotten more black, but it still isn't fully black. This is the most recent picture I have (not very good quality):

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7190/6894678763_c3df88fb11.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/annependleton/6894678763/)

You may not know, but should it keep filling out or is it probably done? He'll be 6 months old on February 27, so I'm not sure. Anyhow, the pink on his nose has never bothered me, but my little sister hates it...kind of funny how much it annoys her :)

lucidity
18th February 2012, 07:33 AM
Aww that baby pic of him is so cute!! I love puppy pictures <3

Hmm, the nose should be completely black already by 6 months... So his nose might not ever turn completely black.. but you never know, sometimes it might still get a little blacker till he's older. But usually by 6 months the nose should already be all black.

Calandra
18th February 2012, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Lucidity. That makes sense as to why Blenheims are so prominent at shows... and Rathbrist Rhydian is a beautiful dog! :)

... and the other information you posted was very interesting and informative! I can't enter Chloe in confirmation shows, but I still like to watch local dog shows and now national ones, so it's really cool to hear from someone familiar with all of those rules what is being looked for. :)

lucidity
18th February 2012, 06:29 PM
No problem at all :D

Oh yeah, I love watching the shows, too.. they have tons of them on Youtube these days! It's really nice to watch with someone who knows what to look for--they can explain to me what's good and what's bad in any particular dog. Really cool stuff. :)