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why the trimming?

June 2011 Barker



The dilemma that faces the Bearded Collie Club of America is how to resolve the issue of trimming in our NATURAL breed. The breeders have to rely on judges to adhere to the approved AKC breed Standard, which clearly states (three times) that scissoring is a severe fault. Should a judge award the ribbon to a lesser quality Beardie that is not trimmed or award the ribbon to one that has a man-made fault?

The problem is not only a few trimmed dogs, but is exacerbated when exhibitors who are new to the sport copy the winners assuming that is the only way to win. It is bad enough that we have to deal with teasing and sprays, but now we are seeing dogs sculpted to the degree they no longer resemble the natural dog that the Bearded Collie was meant to be. This is clearly opposed to the Standard.

Judges’ may excuse an exhibitor with a teased, artificially parted or sprayed dog in accordance with the breed Standard and/or the Rules Applying to Dog Shows.

We ask you, the judges’, to consider the natural dog first and to penalize the dog that is trimmed to the extent of withholding ribbons for artificially changing the appearance of the dog. This appears to be the only method by which we can halt the sculpting of our breed. If the dog is correct, he/she will not need trimming.

We look the other way for tidying up the feet or else some dogs would be wearing “snow shoes” in the ring.

However, it now appears that neatening of the entire Beardie has been taken to the extreme and has progressed to the characteristic beard, ears, tails, underline, etc.

It is a hard decision to make, but the onus to uphold our Standard is placed on the judges shoulders. Please stop this runaway train before it derails. Please stop this trend before we no longer recognize our breed!

Judges Education Committee Bearded Collie Club of America
Chantal Andrew, Joyce Ann Burgett, Lucy Campbell-Gracie, Susan Lybrand, Arlene Rubenstein, Rosemary Schroeder, Chris Walkowicz

Editor’s Note: This places the onus on the judging community, yet the cause is the breeders, exhibitors, handlers and groomers. Do not the AKC Registered Handlers have an extra responsibility in this matter? Yes, judges should uphold the Standard and withhold as necessary – but that is the bandaid – the root cause is the perpetrator of the crime against the breed – the groomer.

“Grooming is a problem perpetuated by the judging community and subliminally promoted by exhibitors based on what judges put up. We should appreciate a clean neat dog but honor the Stan-dards when grooming affects type in a breed.” Mike Sanders, AKC Judge

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Standard: “Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers.”

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Standard: “The Corgi should be shown in its natural condition, with no trimming permitted except to tidy the feet, and if desired, remove the whiskers.” Those Standard statements state quite clearly how much trimming is allowed in the Pembrokes and Cardigans. There are "sculpted" Pems and Cardigans being shown. It is listed as a Very serious fault in the Pembroke Standard.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Standard: “No trimming of the dog is permitted. Specimens where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping, or by artificial means shall be so severely penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition.”

Golden Retriever Standard: “Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but the natural appearance of coat or outline should not be altered by cutting or trimming.”

Afghan Hound Standard: “The Afghan Hound should be shown in its natural state; the coat is not clipped or trimmed; ….”

Leonberger Standard: “Leonbergers are to be presented naturally, with no alteration of the coat, to include sculpting, trimming of whiskers, or any other alterations whatsoever. NO RIBBON SHALL BE AWARDED TO A DOG WHOSE COAT APPEARS TO BE ALTERED AND JUDGES ARE TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF WITHHOLDING OF RIBBONS IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT.”

Norwich Terrier Standard: “This breed should be shown with as natural a coat as possible. A minimum of tidying is permissible but shaping should be heavily penalized.”

Keeshond Standard states: “The Keeshond is to be shown in a natural state with trimming permissible only on feet, pasterns, hocks and – if desired - whiskers. TRIMMING OTHER THAN AS DESCRIBED TO BE SEVERELY PENALIZED.”

These are examples – there are many other trimmed and sculpted breeds that are not in accordance with their breed Standards.

Seven of the eight breeds mentioned require a proper coat in order to function in their natural environment. Why the trimming? It can be that the coat texture is not proper for the breed, so trimming is done to manufacture a “correct” coat. All the more reason to penalize the trimming.

Has any breeder ever heard of breeding a proper coat? Has any exhibitor or handler heard of showing a dog in accor-dance with the Standard? Has any judge ever heard of withholding based on the Standard? Who is the guilty party? As Pogo said: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Courtesy of Ed & Pat Gilberts’ K-9 Seminars. Copyright 2010.
Web site: www.gilbertk9.com

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