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The best in show line up was lovely. I have followed Bono for 2 years now and I was hoping this was his year. Since I've had a havanese or 5 years I was sort of prejudiced. I would have been happy with any of them (except the wire-haired) and was fine with the poodle winning BIS. She was stunning and showed flawlessly.

I've been to Westminster twice and it truly is an amazing experience.
Hi Tikkadog, Bono is a very magnificent dog. I judged Havanese Club of America Sweepstakes about three years ago, out of an entry of about 80 Havanese, I gave him best in sweeps!
 

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Actually, poor front angulation is a problem in many breeds. I have a theory that people nowadays lack the ability to recognize good angulation because most people no longer ride horses. A horse with poor shoulder/upper arm angulation is a miserable ride, especially at the trot.

How can I tell if a poodle lacks forequarter angulation? Looking at a dog from the side, the elbow should be under the highest point of the shoulder, that puts it rather far back, so essentially you look at where the front legs are in relation to the neck since you cannot see the shoulders on a dog with a long coat. The ideal is the ridge of the shoulder blade should be at about 90 degrees to the upper arm.

When I watch someone judge poodles, I pay attention as to whether or not s/he uses his/her hands to trace the shoulder blade and upper arm.

Incidentally, Ch Stone Run Afternoon Tea, the bitch who won Westminster, has better shoulders than most.
 

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And how do they accomplish their fabulous free stacks?! I have watched all the videos and still can’t figure this out!!!
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Free stacks are a matter of training - lots and lots of training! A poodle who will do well in conformation shows needs to respond to you with tail-up enthusiasm. You reward your dog's attempts to stack himself with a really yummy treat. It's like training any desired behavior, but there must be a strong emphasis on "this is fun!"
 

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I think that’s part of preparing a dog for conformation, but I’ve also learned that some dogs naturally “stack”. My Gracie is one of them, so many people have commented on it. Maybe it’s because she’s from generations of show dogs that nurture somehow becomes nature...or her conformation just lends itself to a natural “stack”. I don’t know much about showing in conformation, but her structure does lend itself very nicely to zipping around the agility ring, so I’m happy!
 

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That’s very interesting Johanna, that the awareness was lost once we got away from horses. Thanks for presenting an expert’s perspective on this.

I’d like to learn more about how to evaluate a dog against the standard. I’m looking at Gracie and wondering If she has a good front, as I have no idea how to assess that. This pic is the best recent pic I have from the side. It may not be helpful, and you won’t hurt my feelings A0AAAA17-5791-4371-A6CA-67C20FEA82F2.jpeg if you say she doesn’t have a good front. In my mind, she’s already perfect no matter what. 😊
 

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I think that’s part of preparing a dog for conformation, but I’ve also learned that some dogs naturally “stack”. My Gracie is one of them, so many people have commented on it. Maybe it’s because she’s from generations of show dogs that nurture somehow becomes nature...or her conformation just lends itself to a natural “stack”. I don’t know much about showing in conformation, but her structure does lend itself very nicely to zipping around the agility ring, so I’m happy!
I believe the reason they want to see the dogs free stack is because if a dog has a sound structure they will naturally stand four square, but if they are unsound or have conformation faults they will not. I saw this in a video about choosing a puppy. It said to watch the puppies playing and moving around on their own, and see how they look when they are standing still. Choose the puppy that stands four square. Also choose the puppy that can stand still, as puppies that are not comfortable standing still probablly have some kind of structural problem.
 

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Good points reraven, and reinforces that the main purpose of conformation is to evaluate breeding stock. A dog with sound conformation and temperament, that reflects the breed standard, should be able to fulfill its original purpose.

They also should be able to compete in performance sports if they have sound conformation.One of the things I found in looking for Gracie, is that some breeders will say they are breeding for performance, and that’s great and indicates that the dogs have high drive and energy. However, any poodle with good conformation and temperament should be able to do performance sports. Certain personalities in a litter may be better suited, but a healthy structure and a sound temperament are foundational.
 

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I’d like to learn more about how to evaluate a dog against the standard. I’m looking at Gracie and wondering If she has a good front, as I have no idea how to assess that. This pic is the best recent pic I have from the side. It may not be helpful, and you won’t hurt my feelings View attachment 464549 if you say she doesn’t have a good front. In my mind, she’s already perfect no matter what. 😊
I cannot tell all that much from the picture, but Gracie appears to be "square" (height at withers matches length from forechest to point of rump), and her coat looks very correct. I really cannot tell if she has a good front because the photo is taken from above.

I am attaching a copy of the Illustrated Breed Standard that shows all the important points on which poodles are judged. This is actually the booklet that conformation judges study in order to judge our breed.
 

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I cannot tell all that much from the picture, but Gracie appears to be "square" (height at withers matches length from forechest to point of rump), and her coat looks very correct. I really cannot tell if she has a good front because the photo is taken from above.

I am attaching a copy of the Illustrated Breed Standard that shows all the important points on which poodles are judged. This is actually the booklet that conformation judges study in order to judge our breed.
Thanks Johanna, that Is very helpful. In reading through the standard, it does appear Gracie is very square and pretty much meets the breed standard, at least from my novice eyes. She does have a beautiful coat, her adult coat is now in and it is thick, dense, tight curls. Color wise, she has the white blaze, which would be a disqualifier in conformation though.

She measures about 14- 14 1/2 inches at the withers and is about as long. This means she probably will wind up jumping 16 inches. It’s hard to say because I was measuring her with a measuring tape so we’ll see what the official measurement is. Hard to get a good measurement as she is always moving.

Interesting to compare her to the standard. When I was searching for poodles, I was able to pretty quickly tell the difference between a breeder that is breeding to standard and who is just producing poodles. Where I live, I rarely see a poodle of any type, much less one that is even vaguely to breed standard.

Some pics, just because I am completely obsessed with this girl.

ETA: do you think her feet are turned out just a tad?
 

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Hi Tikkadog, Bono is a very magnificent dog. I judged Havanese Club of America Sweepstakes about three years ago, out of an entry of about 80 Havanese, I gave him best in sweeps!
Bono seems precious. His owner handler and her DH were so kind to me over a couple years when I attended a number of local shows (not with an exhibit; just as a spectator). I would absolutely love to see Taffe McFadden on a Westminster winner. Of course, I was also team Siba!!! At times like this week, I kinda miss having television.
 
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