by Anne Rogers Clark
What is type, how do you recognize it and how can you be sure that
you are seeing is really true type?
Type, to me, is what makes the dog look like it's breed. First we
read and understand the standard for the breed that we are evaluating.
This will necessitate a pretty good grasp of anatomy -including bones,
muscles and everything else that goes into the basic structure of
dog in question. The standard gives a word picture of that dog but
seldom directly addresses the bony structure.
Next we must apply what we have read to the animal at hand. I like
start at one specific point and continue on from there. Correct type
a dog of any breed is apparent to me in examining the animal in direct
What is it's proportion -it's balance of height to length of body?
(measured from the furthest most forward point of the body to the
bone or ischium and from the top of the shoulder or withers to the
ground). It's balance of bone to size? It's balance of neck length
body length? It's balance of head length to size of dog? What of the
dogs's lengths of foreface and backskull - the finish of foreface
amount of underjaw -and planes of the head.
What does the topline tell you? Is it correct for the breed i.e.flat
sloped or roached or is the loin slightly arched? Where is the foreleg
attachment: back under the top of the shoulder? -more forward with
forechest in front of the leg, or is there a "prow" out
in front of the
What about the hindquarters -a lot of angulation, moderate angulation,
-legs way out behind the tailset or just behind the ischium? Are the
metatarsus (hocks) short, moderate, perpendicular? Is the tail set
correct? If the breed is normally cropped and docked -is this correctly
done? On a floor, closely trimmed grass -so that you can see the feet
-is the foot the correct make and shape for it's breed and are the
of correct length? Is the dog the correct color and pattern for it's
breed and is it presented in proper trim, coat and condition.
If all of the above is pleasing then the dog in question is typical,
can be considered to be within the guidelines set down in the standard
to make him an acceptable specimen to do the job for which he was
Now, how does he move from the side? After all, this is the truest
of the fit and function of all of his parts. Does the total picture
made standing hold up when the dog begins to trot? Is he able to cover
ground in the fashion demanded by the standard without laboring,
straining, taking too many steps, or letting it's self down into a
low lope (unless this is called for under the breed standard)?
Temperament may be assessed at this time. Is the dog interested? Alert
and aware of his surroundings? Does it project a kind of self assurance
evidenced by a calm, knowing demeanor or the forthright "on your
attitude of a finely tuned terrier, the watchfullness of the guarders,
the merriness of the spaniels, the stateliness of the really big working
dogs, or the sprightliness and sparky temperaments of the toys? All
these temperaments are dictated by the standards and may be seen at
All of these observations have been made before we have ever touched
gone over the animal. Now examine by hand, the head, eye, ear and
mouth. Closely feel the proper body shape, muscle, feet, fit of neck
and shoulder, length of forearm and return, correct coat -color and
texture, proper tailset and entire males.
Now look at the dog's soundness -coming and going and once more around
the ring to see the typical, functional, useful dog in side movement
-the truest test, in my opinion -of the fit and function of all parts.
What we have done is judge the overall picture, made our first cut
type and rewarded the soundest of our typical specimens.
An untypical dog that is sound is worthless; A typical dog that is