IS THE STANDARD WRONG?
AKC standard suggests 10.5 - 12.5 inches (26.67 - 31.75 cm) in height, and 36 to 43
inches (90 - 109.2 cm) in length. I don't know how anyone is supposed to judge that,
however! Can you imagine trying to measure from nose tip to tail tip in the ring! We also
have suggested weights: 30-38 lbs (13.65 - 17.2 kg) for males, and 25-34 lbs (11.3 -
15.3 kg) for bitches. Is this indeed what we are seeing today in the ring?
standard's imprecise language allows for several different and quite conflicting options.
We can imagine a 10.5 inch (26.67 cm) tall dog who is only 36 inches (90 cm) in length,
and a 12.5 inch (31.75 cm) height to the 43 inch (109.2 cm) length. This suggests a ratio
of 1:3.4 (height to overall length when measured from nose tip to tail tip). But - the
current language allows for an interpretation which suggests a 10.5 inch height to a 43
inch length (a ratio of 1:4) or a 12.5 inch height to a 36 inch length (a 1:2.8 ratio).
All three can not be correct: 1:3.4; 1:4; 1:2.8. This would simply not make the right kind
of dog. We are searching to stabilize our breed type not confuse it. An extremely long,
short dog in the ring with a cobby, tall one next to it does not go a long way towards
the same way, we do not want to allow for too much misunderstanding about weight. A short,
long dog who is only 30 lbs (13.65 kg) will be quite different from the same dog at 38 lbs
(17.29 kg). Which is right? Such variation is too extreme for my taste. Think about the
myriad options when you factor in height, weight and length - everything from long, tubular dogs to practically
square heavy ones.
what is the AKC standard trying to describe? "Low set with moderately heavy bone and
deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height..." If we are to take
this seriously, then we need to make our standard more explicit, more precise. Rather than
giving ranges, I would prefer to see us give an ideal height, length, and weight. Too much
variation disturbs breed image and type. We are often perceived (by outsiders) as a breed
lacking in consistent breed type. While things have improved greatly over the years I have
been in the breed, it seems to me that there is still a long way to go.
I would suggest that our ideal height should be 11 or 11.5 inches (27.94 - 29.21 cm) for bitches and 12 inches (30.48 cm) for dogs. We don't really need tiny males, nor huge females. Historically the breed has always been about 12 inches, let's not change that.
Our dogs have greatly increased in weight, bone and substance since the early 1900's. Much of this has been good for the breed. But, it is possible to have too much of a good thing! Certainly some of our current specials who lumber around the ring at over 40 lbs in weight could simply not do the job for which they were bred. Let's work to bring down size.
It would seem to me that 30 lbs (13.65 kg) bitches and 38 lbs (17.29 kg) males are quite nice weights to aim for.
before you get mad at me (though perhaps that's too late) I
know that the AKC standard says, "Overall balance is
more important than absolute size." This sentence should be at the end of the
paragraph on size, not at the beginning. It is the sentence which allows for exceptions,
for the gorgeous and correct bitch who is a little small, for the exquisite male who is a
little small, for that exceptional stunning stallion dog who is big but carries it off,
and for the gorgeous bitch who can fight it out with the big boys. Exceptions prove the
rule. They do exist, but they should be rare. This sentence should not give us license to
breed monster Cardigans or tiny toy Corgis. Over and under-size animals should be the
exceptions not the rule."Overall balance" is not an excuse for a size problem,
rather it is a goal for good breeders.
I dislike the ambiguity of imprecise language, nonetheless I believe that the ideal for
which we strive is indeed to be found in the standard. Is the standard wrong? What do you