I promise - puppy pictures soon. Families are coming to see them tomorrow so hopefully I'll get some decent photos. A litter that has nothing but solid liver puppies poses a different problem than a ticked litter. With ticked puppies by this time I know everyone's name and can point them out from across the room. With solids they, for the most part, look identical from across the room. You find yourself picking them up at looking at the white markings on their bellies and the occasional bit of white toe to help you identify who is who. I've heard many different suggestions but their mother eats anything you put on them to help identify them and the nail polish just doesn't seem to stay on. Still hey're at that ultra cute stage where they crawl all over you, kissing and tumbling.
A few weeks back I attended a judging conference in Ottawa. One of the guest speakers was Carmen Battaglia, a very well known German Shepherd breeder who has been very involved with military dogs as well as research and judging. While I can't say I agreed with everything he had to say there were lots of things that really made you think. One of the things he talked about was that we often ignore signs in young pups of what they will become because it "is not time to look". So with these guys I've been making a serious effort to watch them and note different behaviours, agility, etc even though they're only five weeks old (tomorrow) as opposed to the standard eight weeks. I'd like to think that I normally do this anyway but I'm really trying to focus and make sure I do it this time. I'm pleased with what I'm seeing.
Now, on to illustrated standards...
I got a beautiful illustrated standard from the Saint Bernard Club of America the other day. Saints are not one of the breeds I judge at this time but I appreciated it none the less. It is full of pictures and diagrams in full colour with lots of explanations. It would be nice if more clubs could do this although I'm guessing that the expense falls beyond the budget of many clubs. Certainly it is way beyond the budget of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Canada (GSPCC). What is not necessarily beyond budget is powerpoint presentations on the breed. These can be put together by volunteers and offered to judges for the price of a CD. The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America (GSPCA) has one of these and it is used for breed seminars/presentations as well as being available to anyone interested in it - from new breeders and fanciers to longtime judges of the breed. The GSPCC will hopefully have one soon as the prototype is currently being reviewed by the board of directors.
Fanciers who show their dogs invariably devote a large chunk of time to complaining about the poor quality of judging in their breed (this is true of all breeds). I love to moan and bitch just like everyone else but I don't think you should get to moan unless you make an honest effort to assist in furthering education in your breed. There are many ways to do this - do seminars for local judging groups, assist in ringside mentoring, be on the education committee for your club, etc, etc.