Judged by Mr Alan Wood
It was an honour to be asked to give my opinion on the large entry present that possibly represented a fair cross-section of the Japanese Chin breed at this moment. The entry spanned the range from joyously good to excrutiatingly poor. I had two lovely surprises in meeting young lady exhibitors I had known as babies but not since.
A previous secretary had told me that for her it was a heart-breaking breed. Personally, not a lot has changed. For me it was a rarity to own a Chin (whether bought or bred) with sound patellas after two years of age. They start sound & then succumb. Heart-breaking. One larger male we bred was the only dog to be free of this condition (& thanks to Murphy’s law he only had one testicle!). As a judge I feel that I owe an enormous duty to try to put up dogs who will benefit the breed healthwise as well as for type, movement & temperament.
After more than 25 years in this breed, experiencing its joys & its flaws I feel that it is time for some plain speaking.
One fundamental change to the Standard in the late 1980’s was the reduction of maximum size from 9 to 7lbs with emphasis on ‘daintier the better’ provided there was soundness (my underlining), plus type & quality. I did have the opportunity to see in the flesh the larger type before the change of the Standard in the 1980s & it is now my view that it was asking a lot to reduce acceptable size yet expect similar soundness, which was already suspect. Where were the smaller, sound, dogs & bitches among a small population expected to pass on soundness in the late 1980s in a breed that had suffered patellar luxation for decades? Clearly, the opinion of the ‘dainty’ brigade on the committee at the time prevailed when agreeing the revised Standard which cut size from 9lb to 7lb.
Patellar luxation does not always manifest itself until full maturity & does not always show up on the move unless chronic. I overlooked the comment during my judging alluding to rough handling & the comment after judging that "I am not a vet”. I used 25 years experience of the breed to check patellas gently. One exhibit was chronically unsound & there were four more of very doubtful soundness in the patella. I cannot emphasise enough not to breed from unsound bitches & to use older, sound, stud dogs.
This problem has to be dealt with so I would encourage the Japanese Chin Club, with the support of the Kennel Club & with breeders’ consent, to develop a list of mature dogs & bitches of 24 months or more with sound patellas, as verified by a vet.
The revised Chin Standard continues to require a ‘cobby’ dog. It continues to require width in the forequarters, as with the Pekingese from which the Japanese Chin was considered by most to have been derived.
The current Standard for the Japanese Chin still has similarities to the Pekingese Standard in the head, but the modern Pekingese head is wrong for the Chin, especially the length of muzzle. Chin mouths can be grossly undershot if the muzzle is too short. Some people try to tell you ‘Mouths are not checked in this breed’. That is ‘Tosh’! Here I would like to pay credit to one experienced exhibitor of Chins (& many other breeds) who has always trained their dogs to have their mouths gently examined & always puts down sound dogs. My placings reflected the new Standard for muzzle which also helps to prevent skin disease in the stop. There were several nice examples that I would have placed higher years ago but which tend to Pekingese type.
Illustration is better than words. It would be helpful to newcomers if illustrations of true type & exaggerations were produced, as did the Cavalier Club, & I hope that the Japanese Chin Club will consider taking steps in this direction.
All dogs placed from 1-3 appeared to have acceptable patellas.
MPD (10,2a) 1 Lubi & Hampton’s Yama I’m Kodi, b/w with lovely chrysanthemum head of preferred muzzle length & sufficient white of eye. Beautifully marked on head & body. Cobby body with width in front & a correct tail carriage. Coat still to develop. Moved well both ways. A lovely puppy who could go far. BPD; 2 Reeves-Sargant & Diment’s Alstella Winter Sunshine, sable of quality for which colour this exhibitor is well known. A good exhibit, finer in head & body than 1. Beautifully marked & with a better, silky coat than 1. Less expansive in underjaw & with a very short muzzle. Also moved well with his tail held over his back at all times; 3 Allcock’s Sleepyhollow I Have A Dream. PD (3) 1 Martin’s Sharlarnas Yoshi, b/w with the required qualities in the head. Eye with white showing & correct length of muzzle with cushioning. Nicely marked on both head & body. Of medium size with correct tail carriage. Movement not quite spot on; 2 Flynn’s Choya Kanayo of Linjato, b/w with equal quality in the head to 1. Longer cast in body. Also nicely patched coat. Benefited from a full male complement; 3 Allcock’s Sleepyhollow Mozart. JD (5) 1 Matches’ Godheim Imperial Wizard at Fochai, best of a rather disappointing class of overlarge dogs who may have been more popular 30 years ago. At least they were sound. Closest to the Standard was this boy with a good head on him with white of eye & good markings. Moved well with tail held correctly. Useful stud to the right bitch; 2 Tong’s Dalehouse Elements Of Elgar, very similar to 1. So the same remarks apply. A little longer in the back & not so correct on the move; 3 Williamson’s Rakuchin By Design for Kalumata. PGD (12) 1 Jolley’s Jonsville Evan At Dekobras, b/w. A good class topped by a quality exhibit who was of correct size & shape all round with good movement & correctly-held tail at all times. The very black markings on the head, while symmetrical, did not appeal to me in the challenge but a useful male in the breeding department to the right girls; 2 Vincent’s Yama Jeremy Sleepyhollow, another very nice exhibit. Good head qualities, beautifully marked. Not quite as small as 1 who also moved better; 3 Williamson’s Choya Rising Sun over Kalamata. LD (11) 1 Bartlett’s Pebblecombe Jinja, r/w with attractive head & body markings. A really good eye & cushioning. Of correct size & moved with tail held well. Moved well. Daintier than 2. In the challenge I felt that the principals had the larger nosepad & muzzle which is favoured by the revised Standard; 2 Steele’s Yama Manoochi at Threadgold, another very nice exhibit with a good head & eye, nose pad & cushions. Well patched coat. Moved well; 3 Paradise’s Shardlow Eton Mess. OD (11,1) 1 Davidson’s Hysterical Samurai Sou at Sharlarna, b/w. It is rare to find a dog of this quality who looks good, moves well & has such presence. Beautiful chrysanthemum head with correct eye, muzzle & cushioning. Lovely size. Beautifully marked with a nice stand-off coat. Good turn of stifle. Moved very well. CC & BOB. Glad to see successful people from other breeds, like this young gentleman, bringing their talents to this breed; 2 Allcock’s Sleepyhollow Raphael, b/w. Another quality exhibit with a good head but not quite the eye of 1. Profuse coat, well patched. Cobby, correct size, tail carried nicely over his back. Good movement. RCC; 3 Bartlett’s Vanistica Mahosukai of Pebblecombe. GCD (1) 1 Doran’s Ellinghurst Dark Sorcerer, b/w. Cannot see the point of this class if it encourages exhibits of such weak quality.
All dogs placed from 1-3 appeared to have acceptable patellas. MPB (9) 1 Allcock’s Sleepyhollow Miss Bussell, b/w with the most lovely head & correct nose placement. Cobby body with a well patched coat. Moved well with tail held correctly; 2 Vincent’s Yama I’m Katu, B/W having a happy temperament, unlike some across the entry today. Another nice head with lip pigment still to fill in. Cobby well patched coat. Moved well with correct tail carriage. Smaller than 1; 3 Benton-Taylor’s Sansarc Livia Drusilla. PB (5,2) 1 Wallhead’s Choya Kinuko at Merida, extremely pretty b/w with correct nose placement, lovely eyes & plenty of cushioning. Patched coat of silky texture. Dainty with fine bone yet sound & very true movement. A fine prospect. BP; 2 Fry’s Amantra Mina, b/w of great quality unlucky to meet 1. Pretty bitch but needing a little white of eye to improve the expression. Cobby & small with a well patched coat & happy tail. Moved well. Another promising prospect; 3 Cooke’s Jesandakai Angels Promise. JB (6) 1 Bartlett’s Simsalachin Piccola Bella Luna Pebblecombe, very attractive head with correct eye & nose placement. A medium size with a patched, profuse coat. Carried her tail correctly on the move. Moved well both ways; 2 Whitehouse’s Cheekychins Esme, b/w of good all-round type with a nice head, correct eye, cobby shape, well patched coat & carrying her tail well. Slightly larger than 1. Should make a good dual-purpose type; 3 Crane’s Sidlyn Wind Of Change. PGB (10,1) 1 Jolley’s Sharlarna’s Dancing Queen at Dekobras, b/w. Lovely bitch with a quality head having correct nose length. Dainty but cobby & carrying a good coat with happy tail. Moved very well; 2 Willis’ Jonsville Oriana Dainichi, b/w. Another quality bitch of the correct size with a lovely head & large nosepad. Patched, profuse coat covering a cobby body. I recognised the sooty tail as coming from line-breeding to an old favourite champion of 20 years ago. Top type but 1 moved better in front; 3 Reeves-Sargant’s Alstella Going For Gold. LB (8,3) 1 Allcock’s Yama Josie Sleepyhollow, b/w with an exquisite head of great beauty. Cobby body of correct size & carrying a well patched coat. Moved well with tail over her back. CC; 2 Oatridge’s Dalehouse Crystal Tips, another lovely head with good-size of nosepad. Correct size & with a well patched coat. Best front movement of the day with width in front & turn of stifle giving free movement. Her day will come. RCC; 3 Wallhead’s Fralee Elsie at Merida. OB (8,2) 1 Smith’s Amronchi Nina with Wyndcatch, medium sized b/w with a lovely head, correct eye & nosepad. Well coated with good patching. Tail carried over. Moved well behind. Well worth this success but out-performed in front movement in the challenge by the daintier pair from Limit; 2 O’Herlihy’s Jesse’s Heart Of Gold, r/w of lovely type. Cobby with profuse coat of correct texture. With the RCC bitch she shared honours for best front. A struggle to keep her tail up in a noisy building but I felt that her super type deserved reward; 3 Steele’s Javalcy Chna Doll at Threadgold. GCB (0). Best Breeder Mrs S C Vincent
ALAN S WOOD