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Old 11-06-2012, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do I critique?

So looking at all the threads about critiquing our GSD's, I look at the comments and for the most part you could be speaking in a foreign language!
I was wondering if there was a simple way of explaining what:
topline
pasterns
croup
head
ear set
angulation, etc... all means?
Is there a website or another thread that explains all this? I mean I am a real novice, but I would like to better understand what to look for.
Are there any pictures depicting what you are looking at and commenting on? I understand what they are, I just don't know what you are critiquing.
Can you help a newbie out?
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Look for the Linda Shaw illustrated standard.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yep, I agree with Lies. Here's the articles that I'm aware of. Carmen let out a rumor that Linda is working on an article on toplines, but I'm not sure if it's out yet.

Linda's articles:
Front End
Rear End

There's also a DVD series called "The German Shepherd Dog: The German Way" by Canine Training Systems that is pretty informative.

Finally- I'll say in my opinion the biggest struggle in learning to critique is the lack of someone to tell you if you're right or wrong. If you want to debate a critique, you will likely have to push the issue yourself. Maybe if you're DRASTICALLY off, someone might tell you. But if you say a dog has a short croup and someone else disagrees, all you're likely to see is their own critique saying their opinion. That said, if you push and ask questions, I think you can learn a lot!
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'll add:

Another way you can learn is to sit back and read the other critique threads. Generally speaking, there are two situations where I, as a complete newbie, will attempt a critique. 1) If I think the dog looks easy to critique, which is to say that I believe the dog's structure just stands out in an obvious way, or 2) if I think the dog looks very hard to critique. I enjoy the challenge of the second type, and more often than not it's in those threads that you'll see me asking the most questions. Note, there is NO chance I will attempt a structural critique on a coatie at this point!!

The middle of the road dogs (in my opinion) I tend to sit back, read, and try my best to learn.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Lies and Wildo!
Wildo thanks for the links, the illustrations with descriptions were very helpful.
One day soon, I'll try and upload a picture of Bear for you to critique, even if he's a coatie!
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No. freakin. way.

They are SO HARD to read! I can't do it. I've even see Lisa, the subforum admin have some trouble critiquing coaties. It's really hard!
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Is it because it's so hard to see structure behind the coat if you're not looking at the dog in person?
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear GSD View Post
Is it because it's so hard to see structure behind the coat if you're not looking at the dog in person?
I would say yes, but i would change your sentence to end with: "if you're not TOUCHING the dog in person." You can't see through all that fur, or at least you can't without tons of experience [see Dainerra's recent critique thread where Lisa talked about looking beneath the skin based on experience- not getting mislead by coat markings]. With so much extra fur, I'd imagine you really have to know what you're doing to "see" the structure. Feeling the dog- actually putting your hands on the dog- feeling that point of shoulder, the top of the withers, making the triangle with your hands, following the spine of the scapula- all of that- all done in person, with your hands- that's what it really takes. At least for us that can't do it with our eyes yet.

...And same thing with the rear. Feeling the iliac crest and the ischium on the pelvis. Sometimes (for me) it's really hard to see where both those points are. Sometimes I see a dog is labelled as a short croup when I think the croup looked substantial. In most cases, I realized the iliac crests were lower than I realized, or perhaps the ischium were higher than I realized. Draw the line between them and checking the angle. Feeling the stifle and finding where that femur ends (it's such a weird joint, the stifle). It's all so much easier when you can feel the dog's bones.
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Last edited by wildo; 11-06-2012 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can understand that. I did learn from that particular thread that Bear is a wet dog, but he is still very young and still growing.
I'll keep watching the critique threads and hopefully can start getting a better understanding at what I should be looking for.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Another thing to do, go to pedigree and read the judges critiques on different dogs' breed surveys. That will give you a good idea of how judges do it.

Ex:
V Troll von der bösen Nachbarschaft
"Übermittelgroß, mittelkräftig, gutes Gepräge, hoher Widerrist, festert Rücken, kurze Kruppe. Gute Winkelungen an Vor- und Hinterhand, gerade Front, reichlich tiefe Unterbrust, geradetretend, gute Gänge. Sicheres Wesen. Härte, Mut und Kampftrieb ausgeprägt. Läßt ab."
It is of course easier if you know German, but you can also just look around for an English critique or translate the German via google.
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