by Dale Suzanne Tarbox
Sandale Great Danes

Dale Suzanne Tarbox, notable Dane Breeder and Judge began in the late 60s.  Her dogs are found on the pedigrees of many of today's winning and producing Great Danes. Dale has judged the GDCA National Specialty and been the Chairperson for the GDCA Judges' Education Program.


Many, many years ago, I was given a book that gave me an insight to the thoughts of a notable Labrador breeder from England.  Mary Roslin-Williams is the author of Advanced Labrador Breeding. It is no longer in print. Her daughter added a section to her mother’s book and had it republished as Reaching for the Stars.  I think this book is a “must-read” for anyone who is breeding any breed of dog.   While it is about her Labs, it is also about how she was able to breed them so successfully and with consistent quality.

As breeders we are constantly evaluating breeding “stock”.  As judges we do they same thing.
That was the purpose of dog shows, the evaluation of breeding stock.  What we do as breeders is to try to select the best phenotype to produce the genotype we want to produce in our individual breeds.  We cannot tell the genetic makeup of a dog from the outside.  However, you can improve the odds of producing correct TYPE by breeding dogs that exhibit correct TYPE.

When we look at our litters, we are acting as judges, trying to find the best.  The one with the most quality, the overall best balanced and most correct in type.  So you see how judging and breeding go hand in hand.

Mrs. Roslin-Williams advocates knowing the difference of FAULTS from FAILINGS, necessities and bonus qualities.  Faults are of construction, failings are cosmetic.  Faults are specified in our Standard.
Failings are those things that are not faults, but those things we prefer not to see in our breed.

Breeding and judging is a series of compromises, what you are willing to “forgive”. Believe me, you will rarely, if ever, in breeding or judging find the “perfect” dog.  We all have different FAILINGS we are willing to forgive just as we have different STYLES that we prefer.  That is what separates one line’s “look” from another or the decision of one judge from another.  However, we should never forgive FAULTS.  Not paying attention to faults is what will cause a breed to deteriorate.

To keep our breed TRUE TO TYPE you must know the faults and improve on them, wrestle with the failings and improve on them and then you will be rewarded with quality. This takes time and planning.  In this world of instant gratification, we must not settle, but work hard to keep improving.

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