Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – Most of my adult life, other than dogs, has been spent as a teacher. In that time I have learned that you can’t save everyone. I also learned that sometimes if you plant a couple of seeds, or create a challenge, you can win some of the battles.
I’m not going to explain everything in the standard in this writing. That is your job, your responsibility, and your challenge. That is, if you want to be considered a respected judge of Toy Fox Terriers. I will try to plant seeds and challenge you. I will give you tips and thoughts on the process to help you sort out this delightful breed.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – Stories
A judge once told me that if he could recognize a breed then it had all the type it needed. However true that comment is, in a simplistic way, it’s not the core knowledge you want adjudicating the National. All too often we see in the rare breeds, generic judging with “flash and dash” or “best down and back wins.” Big wins bestowed on dogs with no type while the one with type walks. I have also heard breeders of other breeds say, “We have a couple of types in our breed.”
My only question as a judge should be which one more closely matches the standard. There is a big difference in eliminating dogs with faults (negative judging) to rewarding dogs with attributes and breed hallmarks that match the standard (positive judging). At the end of the day, fault judging can’t be as much fun as looking for the unique characteristics that make them different than breeds of similar type.
Another story: An elderly lady breeder I knew decided to go for her judging license. She picked the breeds she wanted, back when you could do that. She confessed to me she knew the breeds and what she liked. She didn’t know the standard, or if what she liked was correct. She wanted to do right and not look like a foolish old lady. She made flash cards with the breed on one side and a sentence of the standard on the other side. She would mix them all up, standard quotes side up. Then she began building her breeds, putting parts of a standard under the breed she thought it belonged to. She tried visualizing it in her mind’s eye as she went. She then turned them all over to see what was under the wrong breed. That became her challenge, to see and understand why it went to the breed it belonged to. She ended up getting 100s on breed tests, could sort out large classes, judge in the positive mode, and write critiques that commanded respect. I miss her.
Thoughts & Tips on Judging Toy Fox Terriers
Assemble your class. Look hard at their profile. The Toy Fox Terrier is an athletic dog and should look like one. The standard calls for a totally balanced dog. “Balance” is mentioned five times in the standard. There are clues to show you the balance from a glance. They’re called the four equals and they define the profile:
1. The length of muzzle is equal to the length of back skull.
2. The total length of head is equal to the length of neck.
3. The height measured at the withers is equal to length measure from point of shoulder
4. The body measured from withers to elbows is equal to the distance from elbows to the floor.
The profile should denote squareness, balance, and a definite athletic appearance.
Size can range from 8 1/2″ to 11 1/2″—this allows for a considerable difference in size. However, look for the same qualities. An athletic appearance displaying grace and agility in equal measure with strength and stamina. You should see this in all sizes, smallest to the largest. Our present-day urban society doesn’t require our dogs to routinely rid vermin or Sporting dogs to put food on the table. We still want the form which comes from that function. A tip when you look at your line up: think about which form follows function and think which ones could do the intended function.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – Walk the Line
Now we walk the line and look at the unique, elegant heads; it’s one of the breed’s hallmarks that separates it from other breeds. Observe the gradual tapering, wedge-shaped head. The alert expression, full of interest and intelligent. The expression shows the Terrier influence. The wedge shape is soft, but never round-headed or apple-headed.
The ears that contribute so much to the look are set high on the head, not coming off the side; erect, pointed, and an inverted V-shaped, showing the Fox Terrier and Manchester influence and not the Chihuahua’s in head type.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – On the Table
It’s time to go to the table to confirm what you have seen on the floor. It’s a short-coated breed with nothing to hide. Check for bite. Remember, full dentition is preferred, but missing teeth are not to be faulted as long as the bite is scissors. Check coat texture, testicles, and muscle. The standard calls for a muscular body with a smooth, elegant outline. This can all be done with the lightest of touches. Toy Fox Terriers don’t like the unnecessary massages and mallings so often seen. Verify on the table; judge on the floor. Color comes in four varieties, with white being basic to all of them. The body must be over 50% white or all white. Spots on the body match the main color of the head. Combinations are:
- White, Black, and Tan Tricolor;
- White, Chocolate, and Tan Tricolor;
- White and Tan;
- White and Black.
Blazes on heads cannot extend into eyes or ears, which would be a DQ.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – Time to Move
An athletic dog, capable of going-to-ground and chasing vermin, the Toy Fox Terrier has to move with freedom and carriage to carry out the task; not hackney or stilted, with good reach and drive, able to turn on a dime (or jump over a Toy Poodle friend in full stride). Coming and going, look for double tracking with slight convergence at a trot. A smooth, graceful stride is not labored in any way. Head and tail are carried erect in a true Terrier fashion. The topline should always be straight and level, standing and in motion.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier- Making your Placements
As you look at the class again, time to reflect on which ones have the hallmarks of the breed. If the choice is hard, think about which one you would take home to rid the vermin from your barn. If you have read my ramblings to this point, thank you for your time. I hope, in some small way, it has helped. Or maybe it has given you some things to ponder. If you see me at a show and have questions, please ask me. I love talking about the Toy Fox Terrier.
Breed Judging | Toy Fox Terrier – Challenge
The ATFTC has done a great job with their standard. It is clear and concise. On their website, they have a wonderful illustrated standard (www.atftc.com/breed_std/ibsFlash/index.html). My last challenge is for you to spend a little time to understand the standard. Then tell me why you can’t be a star judging Toy Fox Terriers. The breed needs your efforts.