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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I know we all have a different opinion on what the standard and 'perfect doberman' means to us. I was hoping to get a better idea of our different opinions by listing some faults and seeing which of the two (or three etc) you would deem most acceptable. Imagine we are judging two dogs each with faults in the same area that are different. Please post which dog you would put up over the other and explain why. You can choose for both a dog and bitch if your opinion changes with the sex. I.e I know some people like fronts to be bigger and some hate the exaggerated chests.

1. oversized or undersized.. by at least 2 inches at the withers.

2. long legs or short legs.

3, coarse or refined body shape.

4. snipey, lippy, or short muzzle.

5. roman nose, dish faced or down headed.

6. stovepipe, ewe, or bull neck.

7. excessive slope or flat slope topline.

8. high in rear, sway backed or roach backed.

9. too little or too much tuck up.

10. east west or pigeon toed.

11. straight, pigeon or overdone chest/front.

12. low tailset or gay tail

13. straight rear or sickle hocked.

As you can see I have left some out but they are faults I dont think I have seen yet myself. Feel free to chuck them in your judging commentary though :) I will list mine shortly.
 

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For me in a bitch or dog I would say the faults as far as what I think is worst are in this order worst to tolerable

8, 10, 11, 13, 7, 5, 4, 1, 12, 3, 2, 9, 6

The structural faults would stand out and be my biggest problems over being to tall or having a different head, neck, or tuck up style. The only reason I did not put the over/under sized up higher is just simply because I was judging as if it was both a european and american dog so being bigger was technically allowed to an extent, if you catch my drift. It's hard to pick from a list for me though, It would be easier if it was a picture(s) or real dog because then you are looking at the faults and something may stand out as a fault more than another that I perhaps put higher in the list.
Neat idea, this thread, though. :)
 

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Have you seen the Sherluck CD on judging the Doberman? Link here.

I've found it very instructive on this topic.

I will comment that faults that affect function should be punished more severely and that it is a little tough to make a ranking of worst to least because so many of them are a matter of degree. For instance, I don't think it is that unusual to see a slight roach or slight sway back in the ring. That seems to be one of those faults that, if fairly mild, can be disguised via a good handler pretty well. If not mild, seems like a pretty big fault ...

As a side note, one of the things that Faye and Gary (both AKC Dobe judges) have told me (as I've been trying to learn more about judging/the ring after getting my first "show puppy" from them) is to look at topline in movement. That topline issues can be masked with a good handler, but will come out when the dog is in motion.
 

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The biggest fault with this is this is exactly how judges are NOT supposed to judge. Judges are not supposed to "fault judge" but look for the most correct dog overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I understand that.. I guess what I'm trying to ask isnt working I cant word it properly. I mean if you had the exact same dog but you saw it with either a gay tail or a low tailset what would you PERSONALLY prefer?
 

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I mean if you had the exact same dog but you saw it with either a gay tail or a low tailset what would you PERSONALLY prefer?
I completely and totally puke on both! LOL, sorry, just being honest about personal preferences.

From a show ring standpoint, a gay tail is considered more acceptable. It's pretty difficult, if not impossible, to finish a dog with an overly rounded croup and low tailset here in the US.
 

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Nightgrace, there are probably few American judges who have ever been (or ever will be) respected as much as the late Anne Rogers Clark. One of the few judges who was licensed for literally every breed that was AKC recognized, she knew dogs.

Here are some quotes that may help you a bit, they're taken from a transcript of a lecture she gave. Although the lecture was about another breed, the comments are universal.

The first thing you look at when you go down a class is balance and proportion.

...if you don't have balance and proportion you don't have the breed.

First cut on type and you put up the soundest of your typical specimens

Her last comment in particular is something I've noticed that she said many, many times: when you judge you should first find the dogs who have good breed type, then look for movement and soundness from among those dogs.
 

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I understand that the judging should be based on the strengths and the overall specimen in question, but as a person new to the show ring I find this very interesting. Just to understand which faults seem to carry more "weight" in judging and whether it is more acceptable to have one fault or the "opposite" fault. Does it all just come down to personal preference then?

Just thinking out loud:
I would think maybe the categories would be broken down (mentally of course) into the structural attributes (or those that would impact movement/working) vs more appearance type qualities. But there are certain points where the dog won't even be considered in the show ring. Is this because he has too many faults or could be because of one major fault, right?

So maybe what OP is getting at is if there was only ONE fault (in an imaginary world of course ;)), which would be "better"?
 

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I understand that.. I guess what I'm trying to ask isnt working I cant word it properly. I mean if you had the exact same dog but you saw it with either a gay tail or a low tailset what would you PERSONALLY prefer?
As several other people have said you really can't judge this way. You've tried to make it so simplistic that it just doesn't work.

You walk in a ring and you NEVER EVER have two identical dogs with one point in which each dog is faulty and the way they are faulty are 180 degrees opposite. Like straight in the rear vs sickle hocked which really doesn't work on two levels. An over angulated dog may not be sickle hocked at all.

And personal preference aren't really supposed to part of judging. If you read standards and typically in most breeds the parent club has something where they talk about the standards and what they mean and how they should be judged. The faults, if you are really trying to make a decision where you've found two dogs who may or may not look much alike but are fairly correct and each has a fault--those faults are supposed to be evaluated according to the extent to which they deviate from what the standard describes.

There are some faults that would eliminate a dog immediately from competition.

If you take it out of the show ring and the application to conformation and start talking about what I would forgive and what I wouldn't forgive--I'll admit to being such a headhunter and having had dogs with really good heads for the most part you couldn't give me a dog with a butt-ugly head--even if the rest of him was very standard and attractive. It's my pet peeve--I don't want to look at that ugly head every day for the life of the dog.

If you leave it in the show ring and try to figure out what might be more forgiveable than something else you either end up talking about fault judging again or you are talking about which faults are more easily concealed.

To use the example you used and that Murreydobe gave an answer that is pretty much how I feel about gay tails and low tail sets. And in the show ring you pretty much can't conceal a low tail set either in a stack or moving but you might be able to conceal a gay tail as long as the dog doesn't move. Both of those faults will affect movement so they are both wrong. They happen because the angles in the hip area aren't correct.

Annie Clark's advice about judging is pretty much how the very best judges judge dogs. And you'll notice it's not all about weighing faults. It's about determining which dog is most correct.
 

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Sea Hag
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Do judges weigh heavily on drive and reach? I love to watch dobes in motion and pay particular attention to their drive/reach.
It really depends on the judge. Some consider the go round of utmost importance, others pay a lot of attention to the down and back, looking for soundness. Some will "give" a little on movement. To quote Anne Rogers Clark again:

"What is the point of putting up a mediocre specimen over a nice typey dog who has movement problems. Would you breed to the mediocre dog or the typey dog?"


I always have to chuckle, one of the best moving dobermans I've ever seen was one of the most butt ugly dobermans I've ever seen.
 

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If you take it out of the show ring and the application to conformation and start talking about what I would forgive and what I wouldn't forgive--I'll admit to being such a headhunter and having had dogs with really good heads for the most part you couldn't give me a dog with a butt-ugly head--even if the rest of him was very standard and attractive. It's my pet peeve--I don't want to look at that ugly head every day for the life of the dog.
LOL! So true, all my animal friends like to give me a hard time on how my animals "must" be attractive - horses and dogs both. They like to say they worry for any children I might have ... :p

Now, I understand (and agree) that it's not possible to do a fault ranking, but don't you think it is true that faults that affect function are going to be penalized more severely than faults that are appearance based only? The example you gave dobebug being the perfect example - even in my limited experience, I've seen Dobes win with heads that I think are coarse and unattractive. Of course, some people I'm sure think that Alfred's head (which I love) is too refined for a boy and should be more coarse to be "manly." It seems like in that case it is simply going to be a matter of personal preference.

I ride in the hunters and have read several of the books on judging hunters, and the worst faults are always the ones that impact safety of rider (function). Interestingly, you can (and should) actually rank faults in those rounds, although that is different because it is performance based. I believe technically it is a greater fault to leave out a stride than to add one, even though both involve number of strides in a line, because a long spot is more dangerous than a chip - but now I'm just rambling ...
 

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Now, I understand (and agree) that it's not possible to do a fault ranking, but don't you think it is true that faults that affect function are going to be penalized more severely than faults that are appearance based only? The example you gave dobebug being the perfect example - even in my limited experience, I've seen Dobes win with heads that I think are coarse and unattractive. Of course, some people I'm sure think that Alfred's head (which I love) is too refined for a boy and should be more coarse to be "manly." It seems like in that case it is simply going to be a matter of personal preference.

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Well..I don't think you can say that traits involving the head are appearance based only. Function can be compromised by faulty heads. Snipey dogs who look like they've had their nose put in a pencil sharpener aren't going to have enough bone and fill under the eye-this can affect the strength of their jaws.

Loose flews can be a big problem for a dog doing protection work-they can bite their own lips.

I think you're correct that cosmetic faults aren't going to be weighed as heavily as structural faults which affect function-markings and eye color being good examples.
 

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I think if I were the judge I would eliminate any dog whose conformation prevented it from doing the job it was bred to do. Then have them move and eliminate any that couldn't move correctly. Lastly I would nitpick. Light eye, tail set, etc.. If going down the line I came across a dog that had a temperament issue (unprovoked aggression, fear) it would be eliminated.

The Doberman is a working breed and as such must be able to do the job.
 

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I don't know much about the dog show world, but the horse showing world is similar in that judged is very biased. The quickest way to tell a good judge from a bad one, is that there are plenty of absolutely beautiful stunning horses, with pretty conformation and a pretty head, but are completely lame to the trained eye. A good judge, will knock this "pretty horse" down to the back of the back, because its either A. Has been over worked, beat up, etc due to owner neglect and therefore the owner shall not be rewarded for such, or B. The horse 'looks' ok, but just isn't put together correctly, may be cowhocked, etc.

I noticed someone mentioned some judges don't care as much about movement, and I just can't understand that! I realize they are completely different worlds, but to understand where I'm coming from, a horse is not a good horse if its movement is not on par with its looks.
 

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Dobes, as a breed, are not the best movers in the dog world. Even some pretty ugly specimans of many of the sporting breeds (especially the really popular ones (Labs, Goldens, GSP's) can move!--finding a Dobe that really moves well is the exception rather than the rule.

I've been watching the show ring for years but I usually escort people who are talking about movement over to one of the rings where sporting dogs are showing if I'm trying to make a point about movement.

Typically Dobes that have good reach and drive (and I had one--the judges who wanted great side gait loved him but his out and back was enough to make you puke;--rolled like a drunken sailor on his front--for no apparent reason) don't have wonderful gait moving toward you or away from you. A lot of dogs who have good side gait have it because they are longer than they are square. A lot of dogs who have good movement going away or coming toward you have it because they they are underangulated.

The Dobes that have good movement from both aspects are rare and always attract a lot of attention.

While I agree that faults that affect soundness should be more heavily penalized than those that are just cosmetic it doesn't always work out that way.

It's probably also worth noting that the breeds that make their living on their legs tend to have better movement. Sporting dogs, Sight Hounds (I've seen enough really horrible movers in the scent hounds so I don't include them) and the herding breeds (excluding German Shepherd Dogs) all of whom are supposed to be able to go out and work all day when they are working typically are the best movers.

Dobes don't have to work all day on their feet AND we don't show them in the conformation ring at their best gait. When I had the Australian Shepherd and a couple of Dobes it was always interesting to watch them go from point A to point B because the Aussie would trot--he'd trot fast or he'd trot slowly--his gallop always reminded me of that of a Tennessee Walker--slow, looked like a rocking horse moving at a gallop. The Dobes on the other hand galloped--they could do this very slowly or they could stretch out and travel like the best and fastest of the sight hounds. But given their choice of gaits--the Dobes would gallop just as the Aussie would trot.

While the best moving Dobes can do a respectable trot in the ring it's simply not their best gait.
 
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