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I went to a dog show yesterday, the Rose City Classic. Some of you probably go to shows all the time, but I haven't been to a show in years and only vaguely know what is going on. I really enjoyed watching the agility, and seeing the miniature poodle -uh, competition (I don't know the language). I saw a lot of beautiful dogs, tried to guess who would win first place- and mostly failed.

While there I saw a beautiful black small spoo (moyen?) with a fun haircut hanging around the agility rings. She was cut close except for a wild head of long hair. I couldn't decide if she looked more like a hollywood starlet or a hippie flower child. Unfortunately I didn't get to see her do any competing.

Horizon Poodles had a red mini in the show ring, and I only know that because the handler was well labeled at ringside. Otherwise it was a lot of black, and a few white (I only saw the mini competition). At first it was hard to track who was winning because I could not hear what the judge was saying. Then I started looking for who got the blue ribbon. I was talking to my husband about why I thought certain dogs won, and what I think the criteria is. His observation after listening to me talk for quite some time was that it appeared that the tighter the skirt the more blue ribbons. Sigh. We are not very sophisticated at this. :alberteinstein:

We identified 1,328 puppies we would like to bring home.
 

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We identified 1,328 puppies we would like to bring home. (I don't know how to quote only part of a post yet...)

Hahaha! That made me laugh! I know the feeling, so many beautiful dogs in one place. I also don't know much about the shows, but it is just nice to go and stare at the dogs.
 

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what I think the criteria is.
For conformation classes at dog shows the judge compares each dog to the breed standard and places them according to how closely they fulfill the breed standard requirements. That's how it is supposed to work - and usually does.

However, trying to match a dog to the standard is inherently subjective, so personal preferences do enter in. For example, the standard says that miniature poodles must be over 10 inches and up to 15 inches in height and that "diminutiveness shall be the deciding factor when all other points are equal". It also says that "Substance - Bone and muscle of both forelegs and hindlegs are in proportion to size of dog".

I have been very aware that these two statements lead to some difficult decisions since my Zoe is about 13 1/2 inches and is very fine boned. Her competition is usually close to 15 inches and much bigger in bone. She has not done much winning because of her smaller size. As a general rule, in almost all breeds larger dogs prevail.

Most judges do their best to judge against the standard, but it is certainly difficult, and, I think, it is especially difficult for judges whose background is in a breed that is very different from the one they are judging. Imagine, if you will, someone trying to judge poodles - a breed that is refined, elegant, flashy, with a light, springy trot - if that judge has had years of background in, for example, Alaskan Malamutes or bloodhounds. To make matters worse, miniature and standard poodles are in the non-sporting group, a group that has breeds that vary wildly - they are sort of the leftovers from other classifications. For years people have tried to get them in the sporting group (that's where I think they belong) to no avail.

I suggest you obtain a copy of the poodle standard (you can download a pdf from poodleclubofamerica.org - or just google poodle breed standard to find a copy. Take that along to a dog show and try to judge poodles against it. You won't be able to check the bite or to feel under the coat, but you can certainly see a great deal of what's being judged.
 

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What seems interesting to me in judging toys and minis is that breeders seem often to be striving for the upper limit of the height range (thus giving people like twyla and Skylar the opportunity to have dogs with excellent conformation that have gone over size) while with standards judges seem much more likely to put up dogs in Lily and Javelin's size range (22-24") rather than very large dogs of say 26" and weighing 60 or 70 pounds. And Johanna I agree with you about standards belonging in the sporting group. Perhaps if the sporting group got split into retrievers including poodles and pointers that would happen.

People keep asking me to consider becoming a rally judge. While I am happy to judge B or fun matches I don't want to judge "for real" since I can't imagine being consistent enough or pay the same level of attention for dozens of dogs over a full day. I have lots of respect for those who do (in all venues) and will leave those jobs to them.
 

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You are quite right, Catherine, that toy and mini breeders aim for the top of the standard. Since standard poodle size is "over 15 inches" that leaves lots of room for variation! I think that most standards are a reasonable size - small enough to ride in a boat as a water retriever and large enough to fetch a goose. The few standards I have seen who are above 26 inches have been heavy boned and coarse.

I would love to see you as a rally judge. That said, I can understand your concern about maintaining focus for hours. When I was judging, that was not a problem since I judged different breeds - or at least different varieties within a breed.

I tried rally with my standard poodle. She did well; I did not. I did not stick with it long enough to really be quick at handling each sign. Kinda like my biggest problem in agility - getting lost in the middle of the course! My poor dogs have suffered in performance competition because of my ineptitude! Still, I persist with performance. Zoe and I are in novice obedience right now. I really, really want to qualify her for a versatility award - mainly because I think she enjoys doing lots of different things.
 

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Aside from the hours of trying to be very consistent (something I know I am not good at since I break up grading student papers into small batches) i worry over having time to train and show my own dogs being affected by judging. Being a CGC and Tricks evaluator seems like a good middle ground.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
SpooChi, Johanna, and Lily,

Thank you for your replies. I have read the poodle breed standard, but I haven't studied it. The subjective part of breed judging is harder to pick up on. I appreciate knowing that toys and minis that are slightly large are more likely to win in the ring, but that the same isn't true for standards.

One difference I was curious about was variations in muzzle size. One mini had a noticeably larger muzzle with a pointy nose. Other dogs had finer muzzles with less of a point, just slightly blunted at the end- attractive looking in my opinion. Also, it appears standards are more likely to have a pointy muzzle appearance whereas toys/mini show dogs have less. Perhaps just the result of smaller noses? This is the sort of thing that is hard for me to tell what is closer to the one breed standard.
 

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Newport, I've always found this site interesting... Standard Poodle Structure Explained I think it was the Poodle Club of America that had a wonderful illustrated section showing the breed standard versus faults. But I can't find it anymore since PCA made changes to their website. I'm like you, I can pick out things that are very wrong - but those small differences are too subtle for me.

I can't imagine being a judge, just having the energy to keep focused for a very long day, usually two days in a row and often three - and that is after traveling to site of the trial and staying in a hotel etc. I physically couldn't do it. Add in the responsibility of doing a proper, fair evaluation - I'd feel bad if I missed something important which seriously impacted the standings.
 
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Thank you, Skylar. I went to that site and it did a great job getting into the nitty gritty of conformation faults and goals. Very helpful with my questions regarding head and eye shape. I had been confused because you see so many pet toy poodles with round eyes. Imperfect conformation doesn't make a dog any less lovable, but when considering buying a poodle (not inexpensive!) it helps to know the details of what you are paying for. Health and movement are important to me because I hope my dogs will enjoy their lives for a long time, and I am an active person.

It also sounds like there is some kind of conformation disagreement happening because it references dogs winning at shows that don't match the standard, but it doesn't really say what is happening there.
 

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It also sounds like there is some kind of conformation disagreement happening because it references dogs winning at shows that don't match the standard, but it doesn't really say what is happening there.
Newport, when judging conformation the judge looks for the dog(s) that most closely match the standard - assuming the dog does not have any disqualifying faults. That said, humans are fiercely competitive, so the dog that appears to be the best might have been changed by artificial means (and by that I am not referring to hair spray).

For example, many black standard poodles have been dyed to cover up sunbleached hair, but there could be dogs who were dyed to cover up a white spot on the chest (a disqualifying fault). Both actions are illegal, but the latter is far more serious because it is an effort to cheat as opposed to an effort to enhance.

I doubt there is any dog that perfectly matches the standard, one simply tries to award the best ones.

That said, the most import things in the dog you choose for yourself are temperament and health.
 

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I’m excited to go to our Houston show this summer. Annoying that the schedule of events isn’t locked down, last I looked. I want to see Poodle conformation, all sizes and see a few performance events. I am dragging DH along, so I have to be selective.
 

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well,I am much more well versed in picking the sighthound winners than poodles,as they are so different. I have heard in the past that poodles are 1) a "head" breed, and 2) a handler breed,and I can tell you,at least in other breeds,judges have their preferences ie what is weighted more heavily in their minds. Now that my local shows have breed/performance in different buildings, I do not see as much of the poodle conformation as I'd like. (of course, I am biased toward brown:D). Sad that after 40 years, Poodle Variety is ceasing publication; Always enjoyed looking at the winners. (the ones that can afford to advertise,that is.)

Martha and WildMan.
 

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I’m excited to go to our Houston show this summer. Annoying that the schedule of events isn’t locked down, last I looked. I want to see Poodle conformation, all sizes and see a few performance events. I am dragging DH along, so I have to be selective.
Unfortunately the actual judging times aren’t released until the judging schedule is released after the show closes. They can’t determine the timing until they know how many dogs in each breed are entered. So you won’t know the times until 1.5 weeks before the shows.

Mashaphan if you received the most recent edition of PV look for my baby Luna in there! It announces her Ch but she has since gotten her GrCh too. They never sent my breeder a second copy for me so I haven’t even been able to look. But I saw a pic of the ad and have been told it is beautiful. I should make a thread about it perhaps.
 
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