Two readings of the Shiba Inu / by Dr. Elettra Grassi

The Shiba Inu is undoubtedly a recent breed in the history of exhibitions in Europe. What caused the good judgment of this breed to date, is the strong tradition of a good school for judges and the ability to interpret the Standard also by analogy with peers, as well as, in the end, the excellent ability to import and breed demonstrated by the lovers and hatcheries of this ancient Japanese breed. The ancient Japanese tradition of judging Shiba Inu is probably more instructive. In this sense, I report two ways of expressing opinion in the ring.

Mr. Saito, to the question posed, what are the standard characters in which a judge must focus attention and which are discriminatory to execute a good judgment of the dogs ?, replied that the importance in the shiba is the absolute balance of features to impress a judge.

Back then, the concept expressed in the previous article «Zibaldone en Shiba» by Elettra Grassi, published in the bulletin of CIRN (CLUB ITALIANO RAZZE NORDICHE) nr32, highlighted how the Shiba is a breed whose breeding difficulties are in the maintenance of the characteristics in a harmonious way, in a harmonic average in its expression, without any of them ever being predominant or worse, excessive, making the morphology heavy and cloying.

This, continues Mr. Saito, must give the dog some important elements for the entire Japanese breed: distinction, pride and above all dignity. The morphology in the shiba together with the temperament must absolutely express these three qualities.

In his commentary to the standard, Mr. Kume, a student of the breed, gives these indications, expressed analytically: essential qualities and their expression 15%; the general balance of figure 10%; skull, face and neck 15%; ears 8%, eyes 4%; front legs and chest 10%; rear 10%; trunk 10%; back and rump 8%; glue 5%; hair texture and coat 5%.

And to detect even the concept of balance of the characters: only 25% of the judgment weighs in this sense on the evaluation of the subject. Now, it is evident that this reading of the standard is always an indication to the objective that is to value the best subject, the one that has the best expression of typicality.

These values ​​refer to the intensity of the expression of the character: that is because the character deviates from the ideal expression; Here then is the real balance of the subject's judgment according to these parameters. As an example, two examples are described: one that refers to a case in which a character type is completely absent, and one that shows the evaluation of characters according to the range that we have just presented. Let's start with the first example. In assessing characters, Mr. Kume attributes 5% to the tail. The standard clearly provides for the disqualification of the trial by short tail and pending.

fig.I fig.II


The two positions, due to a superficial and erroneous reading, would seem not to coincide; How could a character with a maximum value of 5% determine exclusion from judgment?

Simply the values ​​given by the comment to Mr. Kume's standard indicate the value to be attributed to that character over the total assessment of the subject within the range of typicity. But in order to make an assessment of the character, the character itself has to be expressed. And it is evident that a short and pending tail is the total lack of a type character (if it is a normal posture), therefore the standard precisely imposes the exclusion of the subject from the judgment. And this is perfectly in line with the indications of Mr Kume, as far as not being present, the character is not in fact expressed, therefore it is not valuable.
But be careful: if the tail were only partially correct, they would fall within the evaluation range of the character. Another thing would be the case where the dog usually has a correct tail and lowers it due to environmental factors (stress, psychological component, etc.). It is evident that the subject is not included in the aforementioned case of exclusion from judgment.

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