Championship Show - 07/04/02
Mr David Lowe (Seighford Staffords) - Vic
Firstly I would like to than the Executive and Committee for the invitation to judge at this show, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the show appeared to be excellently prepared for and ran well. Even the weather was absolutely perfect. Secondly, the exhibitors are to be congratulated on their sportsmanship and conduct. It is an impossibility as a judge to send everyone home happy but the spirit in which my decisions were taken was excellent. I would ask the Club to again pass on my thanks to my steward as he did an excellent job.
I had some wonderful exhibits to judge and there were a number of classes where it was very difficult to split the dogs, coming down to very minor points in some instances, which on another day could have been interpreted differently and may have resulted in different placings. On the other hand there were a couple of disappointing classes and throughout the show there were two problems that cropped up too often in exhibits that breeders must start addressing or these problems have the capacity to entrench themselves so solidly in the breed that elimination or control of them will be difficult.
The first of these problems was inverted canines and I was tough on the exhibit when this was presented. It also concerned me greatly that I saw at least 20 dogs with the problem and there were some that could have been easily placed if not for it. Inverted canines mean the dog has absence of virtue in it’s foreface, muzzle and / or underjaw as its presentation is a clear indicator that the construction of this area of the dog is wrong. In a breed such as ours, where the head is so important to type, absence of a virtuous construction in this area is something I have little time for. This problem also has potential health ramifications for the dog so if it is for this reason only, breeders must start breeding away from the problem.
The second problem is rear movement. The breed standard is clear in saying—legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear—there is absolutely no ambiguity in this extract and yet less than half the exhibits showed what I would describe as acceptable movement going away and only a very small number had what I would call correct movement going away. In contrast most were acceptable coming in. I believe this problem is getting worse and is something that breeders must start addressing.
Having dealt with the two major concerns I saw, I must also add that I saw some lovely heads and fronts and provided we control what is happening with the foreface and canines, the breed is generally in good shape in this department. Many of the dogs that came under me were also very fit, and this was pleasing, as there is nothing worse than examining a soft Stafford, of which there were only very few.
I trust that the ACT Stafford weekend will become a major part of the Stafford calendar in Australia and I am honoured to have been part of the inaugural event.