Information on working terriers, dogs, natural history, hunting, and the environment, with occasional political commentary as I see fit. This web log is associated with the Terrierman.com web site.
The dog on the "left" the one that's looking directly at the camera; has a beautiful head. Besides the chest size do you take any consideration about the head?, or is it something important to you?ERIC
He cetainly has a BIG head! Gideon is a funny dog. His legs are a little too short (leg length does not matter underground and really only matters when going up and down rock), and they are a little easty-westy as well (matters not a bit). Massive balls on the back end serve as a counter-weight to his head. Terrific sense of humor in this dog. He has never met a dog he does not like. He loves to work. Loves playing with balls, but they must have a squeaker.His head size would be a pause for me if he did not arrive full grown and with a small chest at age 3.5, as normally a big head comes with a big chest to counter-balance that. One of the reasons show dogs tend to ruin working dogs is that they put too much emphasis on head size under the mistaken notion that jaw strength is all-important in a working terrier. It's not: I would much prefer a good nose and a good voice. That said, does Gideon have a strong jaw? Oh yes! I have written more about head size and the danger of the show ring as it relates to head size here >> http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2006/04/terriers-at-tar-pit.html P
In my opinion, you can't breed under a written standard, and there's not shuch thing as the perfect dog. For me, breeding is the search of balance, and the balance point may be diferent from one breeder to another. At the end the work, sport, etc., that you're doing, will be the best filter. As you've written before you may say that a big chested dog is the best for foxing, when that dog tries to go into ground or get to a narrow corner it would get stock there.That said, my next question would be; even if he ends with a good size chest, would you try to get a smaller head in the next generation, or you wouldn't care if the chest stays thin?ERIC
Balance is all important, but after chest size, not much in terms of conformation enters the picture. I want a dog with voice as voice is more important than teeth. I want teeth too -- there is a place for those, and they need to be planted in the ass of groundhogs that dig away. Teeth turn the animal, which stops digging. That said, I want discretion and brains before teeth -- really, really hard dogs are stupid and are expensive emotionally and financially. After chest size, I want a nose and a ceaseless desire to find. The fire called desire. When you elevate all this into the stack, you have to let the rest go. Show or work? Work!!!!If I was to breed Gideon, for example, it would be to a small 10-11 bitch with a lot of color in her (the more color, the less hearing problems in Russells). Gideon is a PLL carrier (why she came to me), so the dam would have to be clear, and she wouuld have to have a strong voice as Gideon's is a little strangled (a line trait). I want a smooth coat, as they are easier to doctor in the field. Head size? Not much of a factor. No, I will not select an ugly dog with a snipey jaw, but few true workers have those. Size, health, drive in the line. And then you let go and let god. Tbe dog is only part of the equation -- the rest is experience given with a 1,000 hours in the field.
A post from 2005 about balancing points >> http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2005/08/balancing-points.html
Thanks for the answers and for sharing the info. This conversation only confirms what I was saying. What's important in a dog depends on what it's being use for, and the field and actual work or sport is the best judge.Guess we who do biting work tend to look for strong jaws. For you hunters, and specially when speaking about going into ground, the voice is more important.
Post a Comment