Structure, Structure, Structure
Can you guess what the most important part of spotting a show quality Chihuahua is? You guessed it! STRUCTURE! And when it comes to the structure of your Chihuahua, I suggest that you first learn the general structure of a dog and all of the terminology before diving into the structure of your dog.
Get yourself onto Amazon.com or to your local book store and buy the following books:
K-9 Structure & Terminology by Edward M., Jr. Gilbert and Thelma R. Brown
An Eye for a Dog: Illustrated Guide to Judging Purebred Dogs by Robert W. Cole
Both of these books will give you the best opportunity to understand the structure of dogs. They are filled with many diagrams and drawings that will give you the visuals to better understand correct and incorrect structure.
From there, I suggest you add these items to your Amazon cart:
Tricks of the Trade: From Best Intentions to Best in Show, by Pat Hastings
Puppy Puzzle DVD, Pat Hastings & Erin Rouse
These two go hand-in-hand and take the general lessons you learned from the first two books and brings the dog showing concepts into the mix. Pat Hastings is, hands-down the best teacher in town on how to evaluate puppies and dogs. The book covers so much more than evaluations and you will refer to it for many other things in your dog showing future but you must understand that the main audience for the series is breeders. If you simply wish to show a Chihuahua and not breed, those topics can still come in handy when selecting your Show Quality dog. The DVD takes many of the topics in the book and expands on them with visuals that truly cement the concepts for you. These two items are MUST HAVES for both showing and breeding Chihuahuas or any breed for that matter.
So now that you have studied and earned your honorary degree in canine structure, the next step is to specialize those lessons and come to better understand the Chihuahua breed.
The best source of information on the Chihuahua breed is to visit the Chihuahua Club of America website and read the Chihuahua Breed Standard. Ok, now reread it, print it out and frame it, reread it again – MEMORIZE IT! Now go an download the Illustrated Standard PDF file off the the CCA website.
We are very fortunate to have such an amazing tool for the Chihuahua breed because many breed clubs do not have an illustrated standard. The CCA has given us as well as AKC judges clear and definitive visuals to be followed for the standard. By simply reading the formal breed standard, which often times is described as vague, self interpretation can be an issue. If you follow the Illustrated Standard, there are no doubts what a proper Chihuahua should look like.
For more visuals, be sure to check out A Closer Look at the Chihuahua by Laurence Fitt-Savage which was originally published in the 1987 British Chihuahua Club Handbook.
So now that you have studied and learned about structure, you are better equipped to select the most ideal Chihuahua for you to take into the show ring. I am sure you are looking down at your current lap-lover and clearly seeing the correct traits as well as the faults with a clearer understanding on my comments about the chances of you having a show Chihuahua. It’s ok – Love them unconditionally! But if you want to show, you now have tools to find your future Best in Show!
Onto the next step. Where do you get your hands on this show contender? Before I share that secret, it’s time for you to learn about the different AKC clubs…..