Judge Robert Olsen
Judging the ASSA National Futurity was, as I predicted the highlight of my life with the Shetland Sheepdog. I found the quality in all of the classes was high and deep and only wish I had more ribbons to hand out. Our breed is in good hands and has a bright future ahead. Thanks again to the ASSA members for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget.
GCH Laureate Invincible
My Best in Futurity, CH Laureate Invincible, a beautiful sable and white dog from the 12-18 months old class with a multitude of virtues, came the closest to our standard in this quality group of puppies. His symmetry and outline were perfection. His head qualities were wonderful with lightness and refinement, smooth backskull and sides, good head planes, rounded muzzle and just the right amount and finish of underjaw, and a correctly placed stop. His almond eyes were dark and obliquely set creating a very sweet expression. His ears were perfect in their size, set and tip. He had just the right amount of bone and a well-fitted red coat. On the move, he was effortless with good reach and drive and his tail carriage was perfect with his tail being carried straight out and level with his back. Add to this his showy and even temperament and you have one great and amazing young sheltie.
My Runner-up in Futurity, Clearsky Candy Crush, came from the 9-12 Months puppy bitch class and was very similar in all things to the Best in Futurity, possessing beautiful type, balance, correct structure, head qualities, sweet expression, showy temperament and movement. In the end, it was her very sweet expression and eye that drew me to her and gave her the Runner-up award. Of interesting note is that her dam, CH Barwood Clearsky Bedazzle, was Best in Futurity at the 2012 National Futurity. As the saying goes, quality like cream rises to the top.
Clearsky Candy Crush
I would also like to mention that in the running for Runner-up was CH Grandgables Turn On The Charm, who was so similar to Candy Crush that one may have thought he was her identical twin brother. This moderate boy was second in his class to the Best in Futurity and was another one of many virtues including an abundant coat and sweet face.
^ CH Grandgables Turn On The Charm
The 1st place 6-9 Months Puppy Dog was Lynphil ‘All Eyes On Me’ who won on his balance and outline, including sufficient neck, type, body structure with good front and rear, nice head qualities and expression and very good movement in all directions. He had a showy temperament and had a striking red coat that was sufficient for his age and was nicely fitted.
The 1st place 9-12 Months Puppy Dog was Barwood GorDon Make My Day who caught my eye the minute he came into the ring with his smooth and correct movement, plush coat and top condition. Another one with balance and nice outline that felt as good as he looked. His sweet expression, very nice head qualities along with his effortless movement and top conditioning took him to the top in his class easily.
The 1st place 6-9 Months Puppy Bitch, Wistwin Another Lil Piece O’ My Heart, was such a pretty and sweet young girl that was nicely balanced with outline and correct movement. Very feminine with a refined head and the sweetest of eyes and expression. Well-fitted coat of beautiful golden color that was sufficient for her age. Her showy temperament helped her show off her many qualities and her sound movement took her to the top of her class.
Wistwin Another Lil Piece O’ My Heart
Kell Oklahoma Sky took the 12-18 Months Puppy Bitch class on her outstanding and striking outline and balance as well as her strong commanding movement. Add to this was her sweet dark almond eyes, lean headpiece, high set ears, beautiful coat and bone. This larger girl was very feminine and very showy to boot. An interesting note to this was that her litter sister, Kell Runway Walk took 2nd to her in the class and was outstanding in her own right, including possessing a beautiful headpiece.
Some of my overall observations on the entire entry would be that the overall quality was good and deep. I did find many beautiful almond and dark eyes. Coats were good and, in most, sufficient and well-fitted but not too much. Yes, I did see some missing premolars and molars, the latter being the more serious fault that we, as breeders, have to take into account in our breeding program. I did see and feel some rears that were too steep and backs that appeared to be too short, throwing off the balance of the dog . . a very unsheltie quality. The Sheltie is a herding breed, and not a toy breed. The few dogs that had the short backs and steep rears, accompanied with an abundant coat, gave me the impression that someone is creating, perhaps unknowingly, a new breed of dog called the Toy Sheltie. I saw only a few puppies with the low-on-leg look, so that is a step in the right direction for the breed.
Thank you to Marjorie Tuff and Marcia Bittner for your great ring stewarding. In particular, Marjorie gave me several helpful suggestions on ring procedure during my judging that made me look like I knew what I was doing. The hospitality from National Show Chairman Rita Von Pusch and her National Committee, including Dick and Diane Wolcott and Joy Bass, made me feel like I was a ‘VIP” for the week.