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BOB and Winner Dog - Pataki-Pasztor Zsoldos Birku
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Canadian Bred Female- Csillag
Reserve Winner Dog- Huron's Scrabble Man
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Huron's nelly at grandsblancs
Breeder : Amber Kunz
Owner : Marie-Paule Pellerin
Sunday August 4th, 2019 marked a very special day for the Kuvasz Club of Canada (KCC) which hosted its National Specialty show at the Barrie Kennel Club Dog Show. I’d like to congratulate the members of the executive for all of their efforts in organizing the 2019 Kuvasz Specialty: Krystian Vas - President; Alanna Ferris-Coburn – Vice President; and Amber Kunz, Secretary/Treasurer. They did a superb job and elevated the Specialty as an excellent learning opportunity. I would also like to thank Judy McArthur, another great Kuvasz supporter, for her support for this event and for her judging. It was a great opportunity to see some old friends, meet some new people to our breed and see some great dogs.
We were privileged and honoured to have Serbian Judge Mihaly Juhasz, an internationally recognized expert on Kuvasz, to judge the event. Mr. Juhasz has dual citizenship in Hungary and Serbia and has been breeding Kuvaszok for over 3 decades, in addition to his role as an international FCI judge for the past 18 years. He also has first-hand experience with working Kuvasz as livestock guarding dogs. Never before have we had such an acclaimed judge with such knowledge and experience with the true Hungarian
We were provided with: a learned, thorough and constructively critical assessment of our dogs by a highly respected international judge that was documented by a skilled and knowledgeable interpreter, Noemi Teleky (who also has much experience with both Komondor and Kuvasz) as a record of the strengths and weaknesses of evaluated dogs against the Kuvasz standard; and
a level of examination that was much more thorough than what normally happens, including a careful examination of the head, bite, mouth and teeth, pigmentation, intactness for males, height (yes, with a measuring stick, meaning no guess-work), coat texture, overall conformation and movement. It was the level of detail that we need for an honest appraisal of the conformation of our dogs in terms of faults, weaknesses and strengths.
Why this is needed
· This is a vital step in our efforts to improve the conformation quality of our breeding efforts and for setting the path forwards for breed improvement.
· It does not however provide any assessment of working drive or character of our Kuvasz as a livestock guarding dog. Fortunately for us, we had several working dogs that virtually came into the ring from the field, which showed remarkable poise given their total lack of familiarity with the ring, or even being on leash.
What it is and what it is not:
The evaluation was undertaken as a critical and unbiased assessment of each dog against the standard. As judge Juhasz stated: “there is no perfect dog and every dog has some fault, but the goal is to produce healthy dogs that are as close to the standard as is possible". The judge’s assessment lets us know just how close, or far our dogs are from being the “ideal” Kuvasz according to our standard. That is what we were seeking and why we, as the KCC, went to the effort of securing such an acclaimed international judge to do the assessments, a judge who has an excellent record for critical unbiased assessments.
The assessment is NOT and was not an affront to our dogs (we all love our dogs), or their owners/handlers. It should not be taken personal, any more than the results we may have from any other type of exam (academic or otherwise) or sport. We need to learn from it, move forwards and be gracious, as good sportsmen. If we are not prepared to hear the results of an objective assessment, then we should not be entering our dogs for assessment, or more fundamentally, engaging in breeding. Rather, we should see this as the unique learning opportunity that it was.
How we should respond
We should respond with appreciation and grace for having received a detailed objective assessment of our dog. That is something that we can seldom do with our own dogs, as we often see them through metaphoric “rose-colored glasses”. We should use the information as a means of what we should be aspiring to produce as breeders to ensure we are producing the best Kuvasz possible. It is and should be much more than just about winning and getting titles. It should be all about improving the breed (health, conformation, working aptitude and character) for what it is: an ancient and highly respected member of the Livestock Guarding group of dogs.
Post Specialty Picnic and Discussion
Several members and friends of the KCC met after the specialty together with Judge Mihaly Juhasz and his interpreter. We had a great discussion with Judge Juhasz, facilitated by Hungarian interpreters. I was incredibly impressed with his knowledge and his humility. He did us a great favor and we should learn all we can from his assessments. He expressed his hope that people would interpret his critiques and assessments appropriately – for the betterment of the breed. That is the spirit in which judging and assessments should be taken.
Judge Juhasz spoke of the physical characteristics that he looks for that makes a Kuvasz a Kuvasz – including but not limited to size, structure of the head, teeth, correct coat texture and pigmentation, among other characteristics and how this all comes together to make the Kuvasz such a formidable livestock guarding breed.
Knowing that Judge Juhasz has direct experience with Kuvasz as livestock guards, I asked him as to whether the breed is still an effective livestock guardian and how it compares with breeds currently touted as “the best”, such as the Turkish Kangal. His response was quick and firm: a good Kuvasz, in his estimation, still tops the list of livestock guarding breeds, because of his bravery, quickness in attack and good sense. Our challenge is to continue producing correct Kuvasz type, with the correct drive and temperament to carry out the breed’s traditional role as a livestock guardian. Indeed, that is what the KCC is trying to accomplish.
I am not active on Facebook and that is by choice, but I have heard that there have been some very negative postings about the event and the judging. I must respectfully disagree with these postings. We have heard from an international expert and judge who has extensive experience with the breed from its country of origin and neighbouring countries where Kuvasz are still performing their traditional work as livestock guards. If he sees a difference between some of our dogs and what the Hungarian Kuvasz should be, then we should learn from it, and not be defensive. He called it as he sees it based on years of experience as a well-respected impartial international judge. We had a wonderful learning opportunity under this judge. We should not squander that opportunity. This is all about the betterment of our breed.
I have been a Kuvasz enthusiast for decades and have tried to learn all that I can about this ancient member of the livestock guarding group. I have served as president of the Kuvasz Club of Canada, have written and presented about our breed and have been an advocate to maintain the kuvasz as a premier working livestock guardian. I have not been on the KCC executive now for a number of years but I am extremely impressed with the current executive, their knowledge and the direction they are taking the club and our breed. They are doing what I tried to do. I wish them and our breed, great success. They need our continued support. They have mine.
Past President, Kuvasz Club of Canada
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