I was asked to judge the Saluki Sweepstakes for a Specialty coming up next year (more on that later!). That got me to thinking about how I would really judge (and possibly critique) a group of dogs in front of me in the show ring. At dog shows, everyone outside of the ring is of course “judging” each and every dog (especially if it’s up against your own dog!) even if it’s only subconsciously. I think I have a good “eye” for what kind of dog I like and what “fits” to the AKC Standard. However, I like to overanalyze everything I do! When I really look at a dog’s conformation, I try to take into account every part of the dog. This, to me, does not only mean how they fit to the standard and their physical attributes, but also their attitude and how they “make me feel,” if you will.
Here’s a picture of Zoey (Ch. Uziduzit Second Amendement JC, CC, CM) that I’ve analyzed against the standard. Sure I may be a little biased, but I think she’s pretty darn close to perfect in my book!
Zoey is “square” which means she is as tall as she is long. She is moderate which means that her front angles match her rear angles (90 degree angle). Her chest is nice and deep (reaches the elbow), her shoulders are set back and sloping and her muscles are nicely arched over her loin.Judging is not only seeing; however, it is also feeling. You must be able to feel the muscling and width of chest and also check the teeth for a proper bite. Sometimes, a dog’s markings can be deceiving (such as they could be giving the impression of different angles); therefore, it is important to always go over a dog’s body with your hands.
I think the AKC sums it up pretty well when talking about the general appearance of the Saluki:
“The whole appearance of this breed should give an impression of grace and symmetry and of great speed and endurance coupled with strength and activity to enable it to kill gazelle or other quarry over deep sand or Rocky Mountains. The expression should be dignified and gentle with deep, faithful, far-seeing eyes.”