Short Westminster Follow-Up - The Optimal Dog - The Optimal Dog

Short Westminster Follow-Up

Short Westminster Follow-Up

I didn’t get a chance to watch the whole telecast, but I caught portions of it.  A few notes:

First of all, congrats to Sky and her people for their Best in Show win.  It sounds like their well-deserved victory was the result of many years of hard work.

Also, it probably goes without saying that I’m thrilled to see the folks at Westminster expanding their event to include athletics.  More than anything else in recent memory, the addition of agility events to the Westminster programme is a crystal-clear indication of the growing popularity of canine athletics.  We’re coming up in the world, people! And congrats to Roo!, Kelso, and all the other winners there.

And now some thoughts on the body condition of the conformation competitors.  A few caveats: (1) tactile analysis (“actually touching the dog”) plays an important part in any body condition analysis, and that’s something that those of us analyzing from the comfort of our living rooms didn’t get a chance to do; (2) the camera adds ten pounds (just kidding); and (3) none of this is meant to be a slight or insult to anyone, they’re just my observations and I’m just trying to advance the state of the discourse on this important topic — congrats to all the competitors and their people for their tremendous accomplishments.

I caught portions of the non-sporting group, the sporting group, and the working group.  As promised, here are my observations on the body condition of the competitors:

— For me, the Bernese Mountain Dog was the worst offender.  Way too much body through the hips and abdomen.

— Other working dogs that I thought were carrying too much body fat: the Cane Corso and the Dogue de Bordeaux.

— I thought the Bull Mastiff looked great and provided a nice example of how a large and extremely muscular dog should look.  The Giant Schnauzer was another less-extreme example of that.

— The Akita and the Irish Water Spaniel, both of whom were rated highly, were good examples of how our eyes can deceive us.  They both looked to me to be roll-y through the back of the neck, but their thick coats make it very difficult to analyze body condition through mere visual observation.  You gotta get your hands on ’em.

— The Golden Retriever, a breed that is all-too-commonly overweight, looked great.  Very lean.

— The Toller, the Clumber Spaniel, the Bichon, the Chow, the Brittany, and the Springer all appeared to me to be notably overweight.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got.  What did you think? Agree or disagree? Other observations?

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