Rita J. Biddle, Esq.
Judging Approval Dates
Working Group Provisional:
As a judge, what are your personal preferences as they relate to the priority of judging this breed (movement, balance, head, front-end, rear-end, eye color, markings, etc...)
When the Rottweilers come in the ring and line up, I take my first look at them from the center of the ring. I am looking for a silhouette that says "Rottweiler". Someone once wrote that if all dogs were painted black and placed against a wall, one should be able to identify the breed from the silhouette. From this viewpoint, I look for several things. * Does the dog appear robust and powerful with a compact and substantial build denoting great strength, agility, and endurance? * Are his proportions correct? Is he slightly longer than tall with a 9 to 10 ratio of height to length and does the depth of chest approximate 50% of his height? * Is he balanced? Do the forequarters match the hindquarters with correct angulation? Does the head fit the body and does the ratio of the backskull to muzzle approximate 3 to 2? * Is the neck powerful, well muscled, moderately long, and slightly arched? * Is the forechest prominent? * Is the topline firm, level, and straight with a slightly sloping croup? * Does the tail appear to be an elongation of the topline with a carriage slightly above the horizontal? * Is there a slight tuck up? * Are the thighs long, broad, and well muscled? From the initial view from the center of the ring and a walk down the line, I can get a good idea of the above. The individual examination and gaiting will provide more detailed information regarding how all of the components fit together resulting in a one piece dog that matches up with the requirements of the standard.
Some judges look as the Rottweiler as a "head breed", although there is so much more to the animal, what specifically do you look for in a correct head-piece?
I agree that while there is much more to the Rottweiler than the head, the head is a very important part of breed type. I look for a head of medium length, broad between the ears, a zygomatic arch and a well developed stop, and powerful jaws. The head should denote strength, and the expression should be noble, alert, and self confident. The medium sized, almond shaped, moderately deep set, dark eyes are a major contributors to the expression. The ears should be level with the skull, held close to the head, and not hang below the mid-cheek. The ears also contribute to the dog's expression. The muzzle should be strong, and its ratio to the backskull should be 2 to 3. Of course, the dentition must be complete with a scissors bite and dark mouth pigment.
If judging two very similar dogs, what is the one characteristic that you'd look at twice to differentiate?
Overall balance with a solid, level topline, and effortless, efficient, powerful, and ground covering gait.
Do you consider clear markings a high priority component of judging or more a cosmetic characteristic?
More of a cosmetic characteristic.
As you have judged over the years, what have breeders improved upon? What is still lacking?
I think heads and angulation have been improved over the years. I would like to see better toplines. Too many toplines have a big dip in the back and the topline shows weakness when the dog is moving. Also, often the croup falls off and is accompanied with a low tail set. I would also like to see better proportions (too many long dogs) and fewer round eyes.
How important is the role of the handler in presenting a dog?
I expect the handler to have the dog under control and to show it to its best advantage. However, I come to judging from the breeder, not handler, ranks and don't expect the exhibit to be picture perfect at all times. While I tend to look through the handling, good or bad, to find and judge the dog, it must be handled well enough for me to be able evaluate it both standing and gaiting. Of course, it's always a thrill to see handler and dog working together as one. A really good handler should almost be invisible so that all of the judge's attention is drawn to the dog.
When judging the Best of Breed class, how do you balance judging the dogs vs. the bitches?
I simply look for the Rottweiler that best fits the standard. Gender is immaterial to me. Of course, the dogs should look masculine and the bitches should look feminine.
What is your procedure when a tailed Rottweiler joins in the competition in the AKC ring?
While I would not excuse it, I would not use it as the standard is quite clear: "tail docked, short...", and the parent club and many, many breeders have asked judges to respect this requirement.
Any additional comments?
Yes. I also think that a sound, calm, and confident temperament is a very important part of Rottweilelr type. Finally, I find the Rottweiler to be a very attractive breed and thoroughly enjoy judging them.