The Siberian Husky : An Analysis of the Standard by Three Breeder Judges -
This presentation was originally written for an online seminar for judges-l email list and first published on 26 January 1998 by Alice Watt
The Siberian Husky
Three breeder judges, Alice Watt (me), Bart Miller, and Vern Harvey, have independently analyzed the AKC breed standard in a presentation for the judges-l email list. Here are our conclusions. As I was putting this together, I was impressed by how much we agreed on the essentials and priorities. Here is a short biography on each of us and our accomplishments in the breed.
ALICE WATT - I obtained my first Siberian in 1968 with the acquisition of a pet bitch. I later bred her and kept two pups, a male and female. The male went on to become my first champion. Unfortunately, that line proved to be a dead end, as it carried PRA. I then acquired a lovely red bitch from breeders in New Hampshire who not only showed their dogs but also worked them on a highly competitive racing team. All the dogs I've bred since then go back to this bitch through her progeny sired by Ch. Innisfree's Sierra Cinnar, the Westminster BIS winner and top producing sire for the breed. Since then I've bred 25 additional champions, including one who took BOS at a national specialty. I started judging Siberian Huskies in 1994 and have recently completed provisionals for Alaskan Malamutes as well.
BART MILLER - His interest in dogs is perhaps genetic. His grandmother bred Pomeranians, his father trained dogs for police work back in the 1930s, he had an uncle who bred Bulldogs, an uncle who raised and trained racing Greyhounds and one who bred German Shepherd Dogs. Bart showed his first dog in 1956, a Boston Terrier but spent the next 14 years involved with race horses. He returned to showing dogs in 1969 with an Afghan Hound and worked for Professional Handler, Malcom Fellows from 1970 until 1975 when Malcom retired after piloting the Old English Sheepdog to Best In Show at Westminster. Bart enjoyed a modicum of success with his Great Pyrenees and Poodles while showing other breeds for various people but never really as a full time professional. In 1982 he met his wife Patti and her Siberian Huskies.
As a Siberian breeder Bart and Patti have bred, owned or produced Best In Show winners in Canada, United States, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland and more. The great Spanish sire and Champion of numerous countries, Blueridge's Artic Blue Snowbird sired 9 clones of himself who went on to win Best In Shows including winning the World Show in Bern Switzerland in 1994 over 15,800 dogs.
VERN HARVEY - The Dog Fancy, and in particular, the Siberian Husky has been a major part of Vern Harvey's life for the past 26 years. Vern was a founding member of the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Atlanta, The Siberian Husky Club of Tucson, and the Canada del Oro Kennel Club. He is a former president of the Tucson Kennel Club and is currently the First Vice President of the Siberian Husky Club of America. Vern has owned, shown and bred many Siberian Husky champions of record. A former professional handler, Vern has primarily shown the breeds in the working and herding groups. Vern is equally proud that he has competed in sled races, weight pulls and carting events throughout the western United States. He has won a few, placed in most, and finished every event -- with no injured dogs! Currently, Vern is approved by the American Kennel Club to judge 8 breeds and Junior Handlers.
Official Standard for the Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog, quick and light on his feet and graceful in action. His moderately compact and well furred body, erect ears and brush tail suggest his Northern heritage. His characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. He performs his original function in harness most capably, carrying a light load at a moderate speed over great distances. His body proportions and form reflect this basic balance of power, speed and endurance. The males of the Siberian Husky breed are masculine but never course, the bitches are feminine but without weakness of structure. In proper condition, with muscle firm and well developed, the Siberian Husky does not carry excess weight.
ALICE: The first section of the Siberian Husky standard strives to create an image of an athlete. The Siberian should be first and foremost a dog capable of performing its function. This means it should not be a fat dog, a heavy, bulky dog, or a "power" dog. When I walk my Siberians on leash they feel light in comparison to other breeds of comparable height. They should not give an impression of plodding or of having to work hard just to get around the ring. A well-built dog is capable of almost levitating when it jumps, landing lightly and agilely. That does not mean they should not be strong, but it is the strength and stamina of the marathon runner, not the power of the weight lifter or the wiriness of the sprinter. It must be capable of covering ground with a long stride, not mincing around on its tiptoes. One of my pet peeves is judges who put up dogs who look an awful lot like the stuffed toys available in a toy store. You know the ones -- plushy, hugable, black or gray and white, and always blue-eyed. Now it is OK for a Siberian Husky to be all those things, but it MUST have something besides cotton stuffing under its hide.
VERN: In many breeds, the breeders decide what the dogs will look like and/or how they will move. The Siberian is a breed that has survived by natural selection.
Function and natural selection have defined the General Appearance of the Siberian Husky. Each feature, such as eyes, ears, tail, coat, etc. is a product of natural selection, and the survival of this breed is due to the functionality of each of these features.
Since FUNCTION DICTATES TYPE--and proper type includes proper structure (no Siberian heads on Beagle bodies), and proper Siberian structure ordains correct Siberian movement; then it follows that correct structure and movement are basic components of TYPE in the Siberian Husky.
BART: The "General Appearance" section of the standard is remiss in not mentioning body proportions. Without that ingredient we can not glean essential breed type 'tho we can understand without movement there is no type. But certainly the movement must be derived from correct structure. Were you to reward movement which appeared virtuous but was caused by a fault you would be doing a great injustice to the breed. Thus, were proportions included, the section would translate into the essence of the breed.
I think it is relevant to understand that, for years, a controversy has raged, and continues to rage, over sledding vs show types. As well, there have been many incidences of pimping one major line's style over another which has all boiled down, as I see it, into some very bad conceptions and judging of the Siberian Husky.
Perhaps "medium-sized" is a totally meaningless phrase because there is nothing with which to compare. However, in the context of the balance of this paragraph I interpret it to mean the Siberian is neither too big nor too small to carry out his function of "carrying a LIGHT load at a MODERATE speed over GREAT distances". Certainly a small dog, one which is under the size specified by the standard, as well as one short on leg is to be deprecated as is one too big and too clumsy to fulfill the function while, at the same time, being "quick and light on his feet, free and graceful in action". In my opinion a quote from the Samoyed standard fits well to explain this logic - "never so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy. Weight in proportion to height." As the last paragraph, Summary, states: "The Siberian Husky never appears so heavy or coarse as to suggest a freighting animal, nor is he so light and fragile to suggest a sprint-racing animal." Certainly the heights and proportionate weights are spelled out later - the bottom line being anything within these parameters is a "medium-sized" Siberian Husky.
As some writers on this list have suggested, your jumping on behind a sled will tell you absolutely nothing about this breed's function. No one's going to take you onboard for the 1089 mile (more or less) Iditarod race. And certainly, if any remain, no aboriginal Chuckchi Indian is going to take you out a couple of hundred miles to his seal hole. Sure you may be able to go out on a sprint team or a pleasure team but the requirements of build and conformation for a sprint animal have nothing to do with a dog designed as the energy efficient working tool of a sedentary Chuckchi Indian who required a dog able to travel quickly over great distances carrying a light load.
When Wayne Curtis, the famed Iditarod musher who ran the grueling Iditarod with an all Siberian team in a time here before unequaled by any previous Siberian team in history, was moving from Indiana to Alaska he took his dogs (in his specially designed truck) by road. Stopping over a couple of days at our house the local mushers, knowing of his fame in the Beargrease etc, dropped in to see his dogs and talk. What is of particular interest is that they thought his dogs had too much bone and were too big to run any race in which they themselves were used to participating. Of course they were used to the popular sprint races in which they had marginal success at best. They laughed when he told them size and substance was an essential characteristic of the breed.
Well you can't knock success, no matter how hard we all try! The proof is in the pudding and all the negative talk, expostulations and fabrications in the world can't top that. Use a little common sense - I'm not suggesting an open license to put up Siberians with the bone of an Alaskan Malamute but the bone on a Siberian is "substantial but never heavy" as befits the requirement for great distance at moderate speeds pulling a light load.
It seems to me what is immediately required, the essence of the breed if you will, is the Siberian's ability to get around that ring in an effortless floating manner without moving like a Malamute or, conversely, a diminutive miniature. I've not seen more than a dozen with that ability but when seen, it is a sight to behold.
The bottom line for me in the General Appearance is - First and foremost - THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MOVE
In direct conflict with this statement are those judges who have a bee in their bonnets about racing around the ring. Now come on folks, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize if they go so fast the dog is loping around the ring they're in need of being reminded to slow down. But the standard asks that the breed be judged at "A MODERATELY FAST TROT" I implore you to please judge by the standard as it is written not according to your own little peculiarities or eccentricities. Requiring exhibitors to move at a speed above a walk is a direct insult to the breed in particular and the exhibitor in general. An exhibitor should know the speed his or her dog looks best. You are not there to give handling lessons so I suggest you do your job and let the exhibitor do his. Now I'm not saying to remain silent if something is offensive such as the dog loping around the ring or in a gallop or if the exhibitor is putting into practice the old adage - 'if you can't conceal confuse', just use a little common sense. Respect given is respect earned.
"The Siberian Husky does not carry excessive weight". Be careful on this one folks. Dogs which live in the northern cold climates, like some parts of Canada or Alaska, can and do develop an undercoat you wouldn't believe. 99% of judges and many experienced breeders do not seem to be able to tell the difference between undercoat and excessive weight. (It also follows the amount of bone is often more than that which is really there.) The 1% which can, may comment on how well the dog eats much to the dismay of a great many exhibitors. I think the difference in the feeling from ribs to loin will tell the tale. Often people trying to make a long dog look shorter will pack the weight on to fool you into thinking it's shorter than it really is! So this is an interesting area to explore when it comes time to lay on the hands.
Another area with which to be careful while standing and watching is toplines. The dark coloring over the topline often presents an optical illusion of a dip. Also, a dog in good running condition will have well developed musculature particularly in the loin area and what you are seeing is a rise over the loin - not a dippy topline. He should be recognized and rewarded for this virtue - not penalized.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Height - Dogs, 21 to 23 1/2 inches at the withers. Bitches, 20 to 22 inches at the withers. Weight - Dogs, 45 to 60 pounds. Bitches, 35 to 50 pounds. Weight is in proportion to height. The measurements mentioned above represent the extreme height and weight limitations with no preference given to either extreme. Any appearance of excessive bone or weight should be penalized. In profile, the length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the rear point of the croup is slightly longer than the height of the body from the ground to the top of the withers. Disqualification - Dogs over 23 1/2 inches and bitches over 22 inches.
Correctly proportioned bitch
Correctly proportioned bitch
Short-legged bitch, even if you could see her feet.
Short legged male. Note high tailset.
Correctly proportioned young male.
Male with too short back and sloping topline
ALICE: I think because the height disqualification applies only to the top end, many breeders have tended to breed for smaller dogs. Within the breed, controversy has raged for some time regarding the need for a bottom end disqualification. The important thing to remember in these dogs is that ANYTHING within the designated range is acceptable. What is NOT acceptable is guessing a dog may be oversize and putting it at the end of the line and not measuring it. Also NOT acceptable is putting up a dog who is small because his legs are short and he is not in proportion. Although the standard does not designate an absolute ratio of height to length, it says SLIGHTLY longer than tall. I like to see a dog 10:12 or 11:12. Too cobby a dog will probably lack reach and drive or be unsound. It is likely to step all over itself trying to get its feet out of the way. Too long a dog is likely to have a weak top line. As in many breeds, bitches tend to be longer than males.
Again, a fat, soft, mushy dog is unacceptable. I like to be able to feel ribs underneath a light covering of fat and muscle. The underline should be defined with a tuckup. I also want to see definition in the loin when looking down at the dog. When in winter coat, Siberians look wider than they really are. Don't let that fool you. Feel the dog, don't go by just what you see on the surface. A Labrador or similar breed of the same height would weight 20+ pounds more.
The amount of bone a dog carries will also make a big difference in weight and substance. Note that the standard specifically mentions that a dog with excess bone should be penalized; more is NOT better. But neither should a Siberian be weedy. Again, strength and stamina are paramount. Mushers will tell you that a smaller, correctly proportioned dog is much preferable to a too-large dog. It can do about the same amount of work, requires less food, and doesn't have to haul as much body weight around in the snow.
BART: First and foremost, in considering the relevance of height, the length of leg from elbow to ground MUST be SLIGHTLY more than from elbow to top of withers. A major drag on the breed is, IMHO, short legs. The length has to be confirmed by your hand or you may find yourself rewarding only short plush coats and penalizing the somewhat longer true arctic coats.
The outline should be slightly off square. Longer coats may give you a more rectangular look but this can't be confused with a rectangle achieved through short legs. Certainly the slightly longer than tall is achieved, like the Shetland Sheepdog, from point of shoulder to "rear point of croup".
It should be evident from this standard that the croup is synonymous with the pelvis. Spira, Gilbert/Brown et al tend to define croup, it seems to me, as set on of tail. So the pelvis, by their definition, is part of the croup. By our definition the croup is the pelvis.
So the point of shoulder (where the upper arm meets the shoulder blade) to the point of the pelvic shelf (ischium) is slightly longer than tall. But the Siberian standard also asks for a well laid back shoulder blade. To achieve this you have to have a prominent sternum. So now what happens to the look is relative to your eye but to me it makes a rectangle. I'm really hesitant to use this description for I guarantee you someone will use it as an argument to put up low legged dogs.
Most breeders I talk to prefer the 23"+ males and 21"+ bitches. Because in them we have our bone and substance plus that elusive length of leg. Now I have seen many dogs correctly made with the same correct outline which are smaller in stature and at the low end of the standard but equally correct. The standard gives no preference to either end of the height limit and that doesn't mean preference is given to cop out, to the middle of the limit. That's the range, agree with it or don't judge the Siberian Husky because you're wasting our time as breeders.
Substance translates to substantial but not heavy bone. The Siberian is not fine boned, often a requirement for a sprint animal; nor is he built like a Malamute for he's not a heavy freight animal either.
The Siberian is designed to carry a light load at moderate speed over great distances. Too heavy hinders this work description as does too light - both are incorrect for a Siberian. Personally I'd watch out for those heavy, cumbersome, overdone, heavy fronts - that would be my suggestion as a clue for too much dog.
I know of one Siberian which ran the Iditarod in record setting time who, on a good day will measure at 23 1/2 (he will go more on other days). He has substantial bone. He was shown to his American championship but it took breeder judges to recognize his merit. Alice knows, I'm sure, who I'm talking about and might show you a picture without revealing his name. So when it comes to the laying on of hands - don't just give them a massage - FEEL for length of leg and prominence of sternum.
VERN: In the opening paragraph General Appearance, we basically ask judges to look for a medium-sized working dog. In this paragraph the standard defines medium for the judges by specifying--Dogs, 21 to 23.5; Bitches 20 to 22. In other words, from 21 to 23.5 is medium--over 23.5 is too large and should be disqualified. Under 21 is too small, but it is left up to the judge's discretion whether to penalize the animal or not. Perhaps because there is an upper end disqualification, judges tend to put up too many of the dogs at the lower end of the height range. When in doubt, measure.
Expression is keen, but friendly; interested and even mischievous. Eyes almond shaped, moderately spaced and set a trifle obliquely. Eyes may be brown or blue in color; one of each or parti-colored are acceptable. Faults-Eyes set too obliquely; set too close together.
ALICE: Eyes-In a recent discussion on one of the Siberian Husky lists a musher made a comment about not caring about type or head characteristics; conformation and attitude were everything. I was appalled by the statement because it showed how little this writer understood about the origins of the breed or its need to survive in Arctic conditions. My answer to him follows: "While I absolutely agree with you on the importance of movement and proportion, do not dismiss features of type, ie head, expression, eye shape, etc., as unimportant. Not only do they distinguish Siberians from other breeds, but they originated for some very important survival reasons. Eye shape, which should be almond and obliquely set, leaves less eye tissue exposed to the cold and therefore less likely to be damaged in Arctic conditions. Dogs with round eyes also have more protruding eyes. These are much more likely to be damaged in normal daily activity. Ask any Pekingese or Shih Tzu breeder about the problems their round-eyed dogs face...Muzzle length, head shape, stop, are all part of the facial structure than determines eye shape, so everything is related. And this is only one feature. Think about teeth and muzzle shape, sinus passages for warming frigid air and head shape, etc. These are NOT breeder's whims or items of fashion. They are an important part of our dogs' Arctic heritage and must be addressed if we are going to retain that heritage".
Eye color is immaterial in this breed. While it is known for its blue eyes, brown eyes, bi eyes (one of each), and marbled or split eyes are equally acceptable. Eye color does affect expression, however. Try looking at a bi-eyed dog from one side and then the other. The brown -eyed side tends to give a softer look. Also be aware that blue-eyed and light amber eyes tend to look rounder because you can see the iris more distinctly. Light-colored round eyes tend to give the dog a surprised expression. Parti-colored eyes can be difficult to see expression in, but they should not be penalized for their color.
Eyes should not be set too closely together as this restricts the amount of space available in the nasal passages, thereby restricting air intake and warming ability (see below.) I don't think I've ever seen a dog with eyes too obliquely set. Eyes which lack any slant have become much more common, to the point that it seems many breeders don't recognize this lack. A correctly set eye will have a foxy expression.
Almond eyes obliquely set
Almond eyes but not obliquely set
Almond eyes very obliquely set
This bitch is naturally bi-eyed. Eyes are somewhat round.
Note change in expression when thecolor is changed.
Blue eyes always appear rounder
Eyes have been modified to be more almond and oblique.
More round eyes. Note snow nose as well.Note change in expression when thecolor is changed.
Overly long muzzle
Nice head. Note the frame around the face made by a full ruff.
This head lacks underjaw and stop.
VERN: Siberian breeders today are more concerned with round eyes than eyes set too obliquely. Judges should be very careful in evaluating the eyes. The range in eye color--light blue to dark brown can create optical illusions, and make blue-eyed dogs seem to have round eyes, while the same dog with brown eyes would appear more oblique. Remember eye color doesn't matter -- no preference given.
Ears of medium size, triangular in shape, close fitting and set high on the head. They are thick, well furred, slightly arched at the back, and strongly erect, with slightly rounded tips pointing straight up. Faults - Ears too large in proportion to the head; too wide set; not strongly erect.
ALICE: Ears - Siberian ears are set high on top of the head, the higher the better, but medium in length. An ear which is too tall or thin would be subject to freezing. Most Siberians tend to have very mobile ears, turning them to listen, putting them back when they gait and up and forward to catch interesting noises. The ears form a triangle with the outside point on a level with the outside corner of the (obliquely set) eye. They should not be stuck on the outside edge of the head. When alert, the inside bottom edges are probably no more than one to two inches apart, depending on the width of the head.
VERN: Ears: When the Siberian Husky is running, the ears have to be mobile. He must be able to rotate it away from the oncoming arctic air and toward the commands of the musher. Therefore, ears too wide set should be faulted. Set being more important than size.
Skull of medium size and in proportion to the body, slightly rounded on top and tapering from the widest point to the eyes. Faults-Head clumsy or heavy; head too finely chiseled.
Stop - The stop is well-defined and the bridge of the nose is straight from the stop to the tip. Fault - Insufficient stop.
Muzzle of medium length; that is, the distance from the tip of the nose to the stop is equal to the distance from the stop to the occiput. The muzzle is of medium width, tapering gradually to the nose, with the tip neither pointed nor square. Faults-Muzzle either too snipy or too coarse; muzzle too short or too long.
Nose black in gray, tan or black dogs; liver in copper dogs; may be flesh-colored in pure white dogs. The pink-streaked "snow nose" is acceptable.
Lips are well pigmented and close fitting.
Teeth closing in a scissors bite. Fault - Any bite other than scissors.
ALICE: Within this description there is room for a lot of variation, and a lot of variation is what you will see within the breed. Head and muzzle shape have changed a lot in the last 50 years. Older line dogs tended to have shorter, squarer muzzles with more pronounced stop while many current lines tend to have a longer, more tapered head. What is important is that the head maintain the 50-50 proportion of muzzle to back skull. The dog needs to have ample room within the nasal and sinus cavities to adequately warm frigid air before it passes into the lungs. It also important the lips be close-fitting and dry. A sloppy, droolly mouth would also be subject to freezing with any moisture freezing on the coat. The head should be chiseled under the eyes, the muzzle slightly tapered, and there should be a strong under jaw. Too much taper and/or too little under jaw will produce a snippy muzzle. A square-muzzled dog will probably have a heavy head.
VERN: Skull: Should be in proportion to the body.
Stop: The rounded stop's function is to allow for the maximum development of the frontal sinuses which trap exhaled warmed air, thereby forming a warm cushion over the delicate tissues of the eyes and forebrain and also helping warm the cold inhaled air as it passes along the nasal passages. FUNCTION DICTATES TYPE
Muzzle: Short, snippy muzzles may be cute, but may be causing problems in the breed. Please see comments under Teeth
Lips: the requirement for close-fitting lips is also necessary for survival in sub-zero temperatures. The dogs' ability to work with their mouths closed helps them to avoid frostbite of the lungs.
Teeth: Scissors bite is the only correct bite. Too short a muzzle may be contributing to the even bites we are seeing in the breed.
BART: Siberian Head: Essentially it should be a pleasing head, not something which would gag a maggot. I think parallel planes are essential to this end as is a scissors bite. I see too many level bites. Similarities to a Malamute in ear set and mass are to be avoided. A tight ear set (ears close together) is essential.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck medium in length, arched and carried proudly erect when dog is standing. When moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward. Faults - Neck too short and thick; neck too long.
Chest deep and strong, but not too broad, with the deepest point being just behind and level with the elbows. The ribs are well sprung from the spine but flattened on the sides to allow for freedom of action. Faults - Chest too broad; "barrel ribs"; ribs too flat or weak.
Back - The back is straight and strong, with a level top line from withers to croup. It is of medium length, neither cobby nor slack from excessive length. The loin is taut and lean, narrower than the rib cage, and with a slight tuck-up. The croup slopes away from the spine at an angle, but never so steeply as to restrict the rearward thrust of the hind legs. Faults - Weak or slack back; roached back; sloping top line.
This bitch has a lovely arched neck. Notice the gentle flow into the backline
Another nice neck. Note the prosternum
Short-necked male lacking layback, prosternum, and arch
Male with short neck and abundant coat
ALICE: Neck length and set are determined by shoulder angulation and placement. In order to achieve the proper neck set the dog must have well-angulated shoulders and upper arm. Straight shoulders will produce a short, stuffy neck lacking the proper arch. (See section on forequarters.) Too long a neck will be weak.
Chest-The Siberian pulls from the front of the chest and base of the neck. These must be strong and well-muscled to enable the dog to work efficiently. There should be a distinct prosternum. The distance between the front legs should be no more than 3-4 inches. Too wide or too narrow a chest will restrict leg movement and pulling power. The deepest part of the chest should be just behind the front legs and level with the elbows. A dog whose chest dips below the elbows is probably too fat. Feel for it. A heavily coated dog may look like it has a deep chest when in reality what you are seeing is hair. From the lowest point the bottom line should gradually rise into a tuck-up. Too sharp a rise results in a herring gutted dog, one lacking adequate room for internal organs. Not enough rise restricts movement as the leg will have to move wide to get around the body. The same hold true for barrel ribs.
Back - "Level from withers to croup." If the shoulder is properly angled, the neck will fit into the back in a gentle curve with the withers back of the neck and not sticking up into it. Unfortunately, that is a weakness of the breed. Watch out for dogs with a lumpiness at the neck-body juncture. The croup should fall away at about a 30 degree angle. This will form a slight arch over the loin when it is well-muscled. Too little slope to the croup creates a high tail set and a dog whose over-extended rear drive pushes air, not ground. It is very flashy in the show ring but inefficient on the trail. Too much slope restricts the driving action. Pulling power should be transmitted in a straight line from chest through the back to the gang-line.
BART: Neck, Topline, Body - Again I would want to avoid seeing any Malamute characteristics. The Siberian top line is horizontal whereas the Malamute is slightly sloping. The Siberian should not look so heavy as to appear to be able to endure heavy freighting operations.
One should see a nice arch of neck blending smoothly into the shoulder. Of course the top line goes right down through the withers to the croup and they all have to flow.
The outline has to be a tiny bit off square but with a good forechest they appear a little longer again. Perhaps a rectangle is the wrong description considering the lack of leg which seems to go with it or too long in the loin. When I watch today so many of them don't have that little bit of arch over the loin.
A friend of mine who had much success racing, and who benefited from the tutelage of Lorna Demidoff and Doc Lombard, in the 1970s said: " I remember going into a native village and talking to a musher who looked at my champion dog and said nice dog but no arch over the loin and, therefore, no strength to the hind end." I asked her if she found judges today confuse an arch over the loin with a dippy top line.
She replied: "Of course they do. To me the standard is interpreted incorrectly when it says level top line. If they accept that as a flat croup there is no way the dog can move properly. The whole rear assembly is wrong. It doesn't drive, it just goes out behind."
Since a slight tuck-up is called for in the standard it is apparent a slight rise over the loin is necessary. Again, do not confuse a slight rise over the loin for a dippy top line. The croup must slope, this is essential in a dog designed for running. Certainly it isn't so steep as to restrict the ability of the rear legs to get well under.
Everyone reading this must understand anatomy so it is not necessary to explain time on the ground foot principles - (right Mr. Gilbert)
I see a tendency too much to flatter croups. Evident by tight tail carriage over the back in movement and often in repose.
You might find more of my friend's words interesting: "There is no way you can take short legged, little tiny dogs out there and compete against the big boys. There is no way you can even take a team of dogs out which are less than athletic and not know what you're doing.
"To see a team of working dogs going across the snow when you're out for 20 or 30 miles is, to me, how you analyze movement. Even though we sprint-raced I refused to change the conformation of the Siberian Husky to that of a sprint racer so we also had Alaskan's from the bush. I remember when Jean Fournier came up and saw them; she said, 'oh my gosh, they look like Huskies, they're darling'. They had fur, they were cute. We were fortunate enough, because of my husband's native connections, to have dogs which were from the finest Alaskan running stock around. As a result we ended up breaking some of the track records in sprints, winning the Exon, beating George Attla's kids in the sprints and things like that. We did very well.
"One of my biggest thrills was when we had a sprint team set a track record in one of the Exon limited classes for two days of racing. Both days we ran a dog soaking wet from the race track to the show ring and went Best of Breed. That was quite a thrill for myself as well as the dog which went on to become a [Canadian] champion.
"I learned a lot about that from horses. I'm into dressage which is kind of an art form on horseback. Movement is the essence of that particular sport as well. If you don't have the hocks and pasterns reaching up and under you're not going to get the desired suspension to do the required movements. Any four legged animal needs that little arch. Level certainly, strong of course."
VERN: Neck: A dog cannot reach any further than the tip of his nose. The Siberian should have good reach, so the head should not be carried upright in a stilted position.
Chest: The width of the chest between the front legs should be approximately the same as the palm of your hand. The name husky should not imply that they should have an overly broad chest.
Back: The medium length, level top line is the most efficient for the function of the Siberian Husky.
The well furred tail of fox-brush shape is set on just below the level of the topline, and is usually carried over the back in a graceful sickle curve when the dog is at attention. When carried up, the tail does not curl to either side of the body, nor does it snap flat against the back. A trailing tail is normal for the dog when in repose. Hair on the tail is of medium length and approximately the same length on top, sides and bottom, giving the appearance of a round brush. Faults-A snapped or tightly curled tail; highly plumed tail; tail set too low or too high.
ALICE: Of all the Spitz breeds, the Siberian has the most loosely curled tail. It has become a definitive requirement of correct type in the show ring. The tail curves over the back in a sickle or can even stand straight up. It should never snap flat to the back, curl over the side of the back, or have a double curl. Often very excited dogs, especially males, will crank the tail down tighter than ideal, but this is temporary and should not be penalized. When you judge Siberians it is important to see the tail up at least once to make sure it has not been "fixed" and is dead. Some dogs gait with the tail up while others let it trail behind; either is acceptable. Mushers claim that a dog who runs with its tail up is not pulling very hard. One thing to watch for is the dog with a high tail set and flat croup. It has a flatter curve over the back and a tendency to touch the back.
BART: Tail: I interpret the standard to mean a trailing tail when moving around the ring. As the dog moves it should drop down and flow as an extension of the spine. The wording about carried over the back in a graceful sickle curve is what I call a 'Demidoffism'. That is it was a description born of necessity during the breed's formative years. My racing friend, of which I spoke earlier, remembers Lorna Demidoff coming up to Alaska once and saying: "Lorna always wanted to see the tail sickled at one point. I think that was because too many of them around that time tended to too much slope to the croup and sloping top lines." To take a line from the Samoyed standard we could say, perhaps, should be seen over the back at least one during judging. Unfortunately wanting to see tail carried over the back all the time is reinforced because when it's a cold morning or those dogs are just being full of themselves, or the girls are being flirtatious the tail will be cranked over the back and often touching the back. That's not bad, that's reality. It is important to distinguish these differences. The standard's reference to the trailing tail being normal in repose left out a word in error when we changed the wording of shoulder lay back. It should say, as it did previously, trailing when working or in repose. I would caution to watch out for dead tails. I mean the tail shouldn't just hang there like a limp rag. If the dog has any attitude at all it should be seen up over the back at least once during judging. If you see a dead tail be suspicious it was a fixed tail and perhaps not use it in your placements.
My racing friend commented on Siberian bodies and running gear thus: "I didn't, in my breeding, want to change what I felt the Siberian was bred for or the type. In those terms, I didn't want to give him too fine bone or too sloping of a croup which the running dogs require to get to the maximum potential under themselves. There is also no way you can go along a trail with working huskies and see tails over the back. If the tail is up they're not working and they're out of there, I don't care what anybody says, they're history. To me the whole rear assembly would have to be set on so improperly for that dog to work with the tail over the back. I know, I've had some pull with their tails up and a lot which couldn't make it on the team. In my first years if they weren't good runners as well as good show dogs they would be placed in a pet home."
This team of Siberians was pulling into the Eagle River checkpoint in the Iditarod Race of '97. Notice all tails are down.
So I put it to her the breed standard is very confusing and perhaps argumentative in that, while requiring the sloping croup and set of tail, it asks for the tail to be carried over the back in a graceful sickle.
"It can be. It's carried over the back in a graceful sickle when at attention. When macho. That's what I understand the standard to say and that's what I'm used to seeing and that's the only time it should be up. When he's at rest the tail should be down relaxed, not tucked and not dead.
What is interesting is even the Alaskans worked that way. That's because the tail is an extension of the spine. The tail carriage is incredibly important to get the rear end to use itself properly. It has to flow from the rear end all the way to the tip of the nose. It flows through the back line. So if you don't have a good top line you've lost your dog.
"It may be carried macho but in a BIG ring when they move out they get into the working mode and the tails trail out. Siberians are bred to run and that's what they love to do more than anything else in the world.
"As you and I have discussed before, it's neurological as well. If you don't have the proper directives to the muscles and nerves it's not going to work no matter how well the dog's put together. Fortunately, in the dog world, it seems like most of the time if you get the structure you'll get the muscle timing as well, but not always. I've seen some beautiful animals standing still and jarring when moving. To me jarring is so untypical of a Siberian it alters the type. Again, tail carriage is type too."
Sickle tail--correct. Also
notice the perfect foot timing
and side extension.
Trailing tail--correct. Again,
notice the foot timing
and side extension.
This tail is really awful.
High tail set creates
a flat curve over the back.
Shoulders - The shoulder blade is well laid back. The upper arm angles slightly backward from point of shoulder to elbow, and is never perpendicular to the ground. The muscles and ligaments holding the shoulder to the rib cage are firm and well developed. Faults - Straight shoulders; loose shoulders.
Forelegs - When standing and viewed from the front, the legs are moderately spaced, parallel and straight, with the elbows close to the body and turned neither in nor out. Viewed from the side, pasterns are slightly slanted, with the pastern joint strong, but flexible. Bone is substantial but never heavy. Length of the leg from elbow to ground is slightly more than the distance from the elbow to the top of withers. Dewclaws on forelegs may be removed. Faults - Weak pasterns; too heavy bone; too narrow or too wide in the front; out at the elbows.
Feet oval in shape but not long. The paws are medium in size, compact and well furred between the toes and pads. The pads are tough and thickly cushioned. The paws neither turn in nor out when the dog is in natural stance. Faults - Soft or splayed toes; paws too large and clumsy; paws too small and delicate; toeing in or out.
These are probably among the best laid
back shoulders I've seen in the breed.
Notice the prominent forechest and smooth
curve from neck to withers. However,
also note the weak pasterns
A very well-built bitch!
This male lacks layback and has a short upper arm. Note his inability to set his front legs directly under his body
ALICE: The Siberian MUST have well laid-back shoulders and upper arm in order to function with stamina on the trail. Too often we see steep shoulders and lack of upper arm angle in the ring. Currently there have been a lot of winners with very flashy side gait who are actually extending from the elbow, not the shoulder. The leg looks like it is extending, especially when gaited very fast, but in reality the strides are quite short. Beware of a dog who pounds in the front or whose neck has wrinkles at the base. These are indicative of lack of layback. Some dogs look like they are working very hard with lots of shoulder action as they gait. They probably are working very hard when they shouldn't be. A correctly made dog will have a very easy, light, ground-covering gait that can continue for miles.
This is a breed in which soundness is functionally very important. An unsound dog wastes energy and tires more quickly. This goes for fronts, rears, and anything in between.
The leg length ratio is one all too often ignored by judges. The leg from the elbow to the ground MUST be longer than from the elbow to the withers. I like to look for about a 55/45 ratio. Be careful of the heavily coated dog as he may look deeper than he really is. Feel where the chest is and how much hair covers the withers.
Feet are neither cat nor hare shaped, but something in between. A typical snowshoe foot, it is webbed between the toes. Hair can/should be trimmed between the toes, and this trim, or the lack of it, makes an immense difference in the overall appearance. Many years ago I was approached by someone looking for a stud dog for her bitch. I had observed this bitch in the ring and was not happy about her feet, which appeared long-toed and flat. When I looked closely at the dog, I discovered her feet had not been trimmed, and they looked like the "slippers" on a Cavalier. We trimmed them, and they turned out to be nice, correct, snowshoe feet.
Nicely arched toes on
snow- shoe feet
Long toes, a hare foot.
Note: toes are flat
Short cat feet.
Toes need to be longer
BART: Forequarters: It seems to me a problem in the breed which has evolved sometime in the last 30 years while no one was watching was to shorten the upper arm. While the standard is silent on the point I believe if one should drop a line from the withers it would fall level with the elbow. One point in our standard which is interesting is "bone substantial but never heavy". I saw a Specials bitch this year at the National who a non-breeder may have called doggy. One who was too much for the newer and novice breeders. But one which quickly finished at specialties under breeder-judges.
Certainly a variance does occur in our breed when developed or evolved for sprint racing. It seems to me a finer boned, long legged, and often over-angulated dog is the result. IMHO I believe we need the heavier boned doggy bitches to keep honesty in our line. Perhaps, like in Poodles, we shouldn't show them. But do be aware they are there.
I would emphasize the line in the standard "length of leg from elbow to ground is slightly more than the distance from elbow to top of withers". And, I would urge this to be confirmed by the judges hands.
Certainly the oval feet are characteristic of the Siberian Husky and too many cat feet are in evidence.
VERN: FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders: A few years ago, we eliminated the 45 degree angle from the standard. In my opinion, this was a mistake. I realize the argument that there is no perfect 45 degree angle, but it gives the novice, the breeder, and the judge a better idea of what to look for in the front end assembly -- than merely saying well laid back.
Forelegs: The pastern should never be completely straight, but should have a slight angle--of approximately 15 degrees. A Siberian needs adequate bone for the balance of power and endurance. Concussive force involved in long distance running actually builds up the bone in the canine athlete. It is important to realize that the Siberian needs good length of leg and the longer upper arms are invaluable to the long-distance sled dog.
When standing and viewed from the rear, the hind legs are moderately spaced and parallel. The upper thighs are well muscled and powerful, the stifles well bent, the hock joint well-defined and set low to the ground. Dewclaws, if any, are to be removed. Faults - Straight stifles, cow-hocks, too narrow or too wide in the rear.
ALICE: Watch for dogs whose rear angulation exceeds the front angulation. The rear pastern (hock to foot) should be short to create stamina. A common fault is dogs who move wide in the rear. This is usually indicative of lack of balance front to rear. Front and back should match. Another problem which has recently surfaced is too much length in the stifle, creating a dog whose rear legs move closely and parallel. The ideal rear converges in a `V' shape as the dog gaits.
BART: Hindquarters: The call for "stifles well bent" seems out of place in a standard which cries out for moderation. I wonder if this was not written originally to place emphasis on faulty poker straight rear assemblies. If one breeds for more rear angulation would this not aid to slope a top line? Yet we call for level! To get "well-bent" would it not be normal for breeders to try to lengthen the fibula - tibia? Witness the Boxer as one example of exaggerated rears. Were we not all taught to see a line dropped from the point of butt to fall just in front of the hock? With a shortened fibula - tibia would we then not see, as we are seeing, a shorter upper arm?
VERN: HINDQUARTERS - Proportionately short hocks are required of the long distance runner, whereas the longer hocks are designed for the sprint racers. Angulation in the rear should be in balance with the angulation in the front.
Well-bent stifle with
Moderately bent stifle with long hocks.
Straight rear with short hocks
Notice the thickness of the upper thigh. Hocks are medium length
Equal angulation both ends with well laid back shoulders, equal upper arm, and well-bent stifles; balanced!
More rear than front angulation.
This dog lacks balance
Angulation lacking front and rear, but the dog is balanced
The coat of the Siberian Husky is double and medium in length, giving a well furred appearance, but is never so long as to obscure the clean-cut outline of the dog. The undercoat is soft and dense and of sufficient length to support the outer coat. The guard hairs of the outer coat are straight and somewhat smooth lying, never harsh nor standing straight off from the body. It should be noted that the absence of the undercoat during the shedding season is normal. Trimming of whiskers and fur between the toes and around the feet to present a neater appearance is permissible. Trimming the fur on any other part of the dog is not to be condoned and should be severely penalized. Faults-Long, rough, or shaggy coat; texture too harsh or too silky; trimming of the coat, except as permitted above.
More rear than front angulation.
This dog lacks balance
Angulation lacking front and rear, but the dog is balanced
These are two extremes in coat length. The bitch on the left has a very short, dense coat while the male on the right has a longer, fuller coat which creates more ruff and pants. Both are equally correct as they have waterproofing guard coat and do not obscure the outline of the dog.
ALICE: Coat - There is a great deal of variation allowed by the standard. Some dogs have a short, thick coat while others are longer. The key things to look for are a harsh outer coat which lays down and waterproofs the dog (although the current grooming fad is to blow it so it all stands up.) The undercoat should be dense to provide warmth. In bathing a Siberian, the most difficult part is getting the dog wet! A short-coated dog will lack the face frame of a long ruff, but it's a correct coat.
Medium length coat with abundant ruff frames face. A pretty feature but not required in the standard.
Shorter coat creates less face frame
An even shorter coat with even less frame.
Like some other breeds, Siberians can have woolly, long coats; these should be severely penalised as they would be a detriment to survival. These coats tend to get ice balls which weigh the dog down. I had a woolly puppy here in rainy Oregon; she was always damp and dirty where her normally coated sister would give a shake and be clean and dry. Feathers on the backs of the ears or front legs go with these coats.
Occasionally one will see a dog with a very cottony undercoat and almost no outer coat. This can be a sign of "hair follicle dystrophy," an inherited disease in which the dog does not grow adequate guard coat. It should be severely penalised.
Remember, the ONLY allowed trimming is on the bottoms of the feet and the whiskers.
BART: Coat: I give up on this one. Certainly too long is when the outline of the basic dog is obscured. So what is too short? Clearly the coat should be "somewhat smooth lying" but that's unlikely to be found in the show ring. Even if it was a lying coat we'd all spray it up, even with just water, to give a fuller appearance. Hell, if you take a dog and wash it the morning of a show then blow it dry it will stand or puff out. I do know Seppala made a comment in the 1950s in writing to the effect the dogs were too short in coat.
I think that trimming is severely penalized was because in days of old when woolies were in greater evidence it was a way of hiding the problem. Today's exhibitor tends to think it refers to sculpturing. I can tell you, coming from Poodles, the banded Siberian coat can not be trimmed without the world knowing it - it would be blatant. I think what they may think is sculpted is a short plush coat.
I believe if most saw a true and correct arctic coat you would penalise. I believe this has prompted breeders to more easily accept an easier to keep and groom, shorter, plusher coat. For me I am happy if the coat is soft, not silky, not harsh like an Alaskan Malamute. I am happy if I can look at the underline and not see some stupidly straight scissor line on the bottom of the chest. The more blatant the more it offends and therefore the more unlikely to use in the placements.
VERN: COAT - Coat length should vary from 1 to 3 inches. Don't mistake a great undercoat for too much bone -- feel the dog. Trimming the coat (other than as specified in the standard) is not allowed and should be penalised. However, don't mistake a dog in good racing weight who has considerable tuck up as one who has been trimmed. Also, expect to see occasional harness burns on the sides and/or rumps. If a dog has been paint marked for a sled race -- this should not be treated as a foreign substance.
All colours from black to pure white are allowed. A variety of markings on the head is common, including many striking patterns not found in other breeds
ALICE: Well, that sounds pretty straight forward. ANYTHING is allowable with no preference given anywhere. Although the typical "Irish" pattern is most common, Siberians can also be piebald (large coloured splotches on a white background) and pure white. There has been a furor since the last National Specialty when the judge dismissed a dog with a lot of facial color as lacking merit. The features were typey, the movement sound, but she lacked the standard markings normally seen in the ring. Many exhibitors have signed a letter of protest to AKC.
BART: COLOUR - All manner of colours and spotted dogs are allowed. So sayeth the standard, and that's what we go by.
Trivia, but it is written Short Seeley would bucket any dog with splash markings of any size. Early breeders of dogs and horses strove for matched teams. I doubt it was any different for the early Siberian breeders. Seppala had a matched team. Lorna Demidoff too took pride in a matched team. While these may have been grays or blacks certainly one could have matched splash coated dogs so there is no real argument not to put them up unless the coat texture was too short and plush or silky. The reality is a great many breeders bucket the mismarks at birth. The rest of the reality is judges didn't write the standard - they just judge by it so - all manner of colours are allowed.
VERN - All colours from black to pure white are allowed. If a solid black Siberian Husky comes into your ring -- judge it. It is probably just out of the older racing lines, and just because you haven't seen one before doesn't mean that it is not acceptable. Piebalds (white with black, red or gray spots) [and solid whites] are to be judged equally with more conventionally marked dogs. No colour barriers or prejudices.
All white male. Notice he shows no resemblance to a Samoyed
"Dirty face"is typical of many racing line dogs. It is also correct
The Siberian Husky's characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. He is quick and light on his feet, and when in the show ring should be gaited on a loose lead at a moderately fast trot, exhibiting good reach in the forequarters and good drive in the hindquarters. When viewed from the front to rear while moving at a walk the Siberian Husky does not single-track, but as the speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hind legs are carried straightforward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out. Each hind leg moves in the path of the foreleg on the same side. While the dog is gaiting, the topline remains firm and level. Faults-Short, prancing or choppy gait, lumbering or rolling gait; crossing or crabbing.
ALICE: Sound, extending, agile, effortless, light-on-the feet, balanced. That's what I want! Legs should converge front and rear. The topline should not roll. A well-structured dog gives the illusion you could set a water glass on his back and run him around the ring without spilling a drop. A dog who has to work hard just to get around the ring is not correct.
BART: Gait: This is it. This is what the Siberian Husky is all about. He's the athlete. His trot is free and graceful, smooth and effortless, a floating gait. And I've seen maybe a dozen dogs in the last 25 years who've had this movement or use it in the ring. I'm proud to have given two of them the group.
In Brown's work on Locomotion the Siberian is described as being a galloper not a trotter. I have talked to one Iditarod musher, several of the mid-distance runners and, IMHO, the Siberian is an endurance trotter - not a galloper.
Also IMO, the opinion of current educators of the Casey Gardiner School of Canine Science and many others the Siberian readily employs the natural gait of the flying trot, as opposed to moving its legs 100 miles an hour with short strides to get quickly around the ring.
Again I wouome movement or roll of coat does exist, particularly of the longer variety as opposed to short and plush. And, you all know all manner of things can happen on a down and back when the dold point out the standard asks for the breed to be "GAITED ON A LOOSE LEAD AT A MODERATELY FAST TROT" exhibiting good reach and drive.
Again, this is not an attempt to give an anatomy/movement lesson. You all know gait is judged by time on the ground. You all know withers don't rock and roll but do be careful, for sgs head is cranked up at the handler or he's in a mischievous mood.
Personally I think there's nothing more important than side-gait. To me, it tells it all. It's type in motion. On that basis I'm a little more forgiving on down and backs particularly when our standard calls for a well-angulated animal. ("Stiles well bent - shoulder blade well laid back") If the rear going away offends of course I'm less likely to use it - this is not a down and back breed but the more it offends the more likely it is to stay at the end of the line.
Nothing gives me goose bumps like an athletic Siberian out in a full trot with great reach and drive, his head level or just above (never below the horizontal, often roaching the topline) his topline rock solid and his tail trailing of in an extension of the spine. It's a glorious, exciting, electrifying site to behold and to me, what the breed is all about.
VERN: GAIT - The singularly most important facet of this breed is the gait. Without proper movement, a Siberian does not have proper structure nor breed type. If you're not well versed or well-studied in the area of efficient movement, you should not judge this breed. The standard calls for a loose lead at a moderately fast trot. A good Siberian can trot between 15 antracks in a small ring at a slow speed. d 18 miles per hour all day. Side gait with good reach and drive is more important than a dog that single
Beautiful balance with extension at both ends. Notice the front foot falls directly under the nose. A dog whose neck does not extend cannot exhibit his full length of stride.
The size and footing of the ring can play a major part in how the dog gaits. In my mind, the ideal Siberian gait is aerodynamically designed like a long flat line from the tip of the nose along and across the back to the tip of the trailing tail. If a dog is shown at the moderately fast trot, and he is not balanced, he will exhibit movement flaws.
The characteristic temperament of the Siberian Husky is friendly and gentle, but also alert and outgoing. He does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs. Some measure of reserve and dignity may be expected in the mature dog. His intelligence, tractability, and eager disposition make him an agreeable companion and willing worker.
ALICE: One of the most attractive features of our breed is the alert, mischievous expression with its friendly, outgoing approach to life. If you don't want kisses from your exhibits, don't judge Siberians! They are independent thinkers, a requirement for dogs strung out 20, 30, 40+ feet in front of their mushers, where they must analyze trail conditions and make decisions that could mean life and death for themselves and their owners. They have exuberance and energy, and after being confined in crate or on grooming table will occasionally burst into circles, butt scoots, and other releases for their energy. There is nothing the handler can do, so be patient, laugh with the audience, and soon the dog will return to its decorous self. A happy, waving tail should not be penalised. A cowering, snarling dog must be. Some dogs "talk." Don't mistake this for a threatening growl.
VERN: TEMPERAMENT - Siberians are upbeat, athletic, mentally and physically tough dogs. They should be independent and strong-willed in order to pull a sled 100 miles through a blizzard. They should be outgoing and friendly and should not be penalized if they don't set up and stand like perfect statues in the ring. They love to run and will demonstrate their competitive racing attitudes in the ring, as well in harness.
The most important breed characteristics of the Siberian Husky are medium size, moderate bone, well balanced proportions, ease and freedom of movement, proper coat, pleasing head and ears, correct tail, and good disposition. Any appearance of excessive bone or weight, constricted or clumsy gait, or long, rough coat should be penalized. The Siberian Husky never appears so heavy or coarse as to suggest a freighting animal; nor is he so light and fragile as to suggest a sprint-racing animal. In both sexes the Siberian Husky gives the appearance of being capable of great endurance. In addition to the faults already noted, the obvious structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Siberian Husky as in any other breed, even though they are not specifically mentioned herein.
DISQUALIFICATION: Dogs over 23 1/2 inches and bitches over 22 inches
Approved October 9, 1990 Effective November 28, 1990
ALICE: Moderate, moderate, moderate. The Siberian Husky should embody moderation. It should not contain extremes - not in size, bone, or characteristics of type. A show dog should be able to put on a harness the day after a show and perform on the trail. Siberians were never bred to be super fast sprint racers; that use is as foreign to its development as is the heavy boned power of the freighting animal. Siberians were developed to pull moderate loads on long treks by primitive people who depended on their ability to survive and work in a harsh environment on a minimum of food. Today's dogs should continue to embody these abilities, and any deviance from that ability should be penalized. Pretty markings and fluffy coats should only be the surface layer over a correctly conformed framework. The dog must be able to move efficiently without tiring; he must get along equitably with team members and owner. The coat, head characteristics, feet and tail must enable him to survive in the harsh Arctic cold.
Within the breed controversy has been raging over the possibility of a bottom end disqualification. In some areas of the US show animals are often at the bottom of the range or possibly under it. These dogs are no more correct than those exceeding the disqualifying height and should be penalized accordingly.
BART: Summary - Standing and moving the dog should look like a balanced athlete. Standing, there is NO wide ear set, NO sloping top line, and substance NOT more in keeping with an Alaskan Malamute, nor so fine as to look like it's leg would break if it jumped off the sofa. Movement is the essence of the breed. Your hands should confirm the attributes behind the movement; IMO, a prominent fore chest, length of leg at least half of depth of chest and that a line dropped from the withers would fall through or touching the elbow.
Don't confuse a dippy top line with an arch over the loin.
The dog should be moved at a moderately fast trot on a loose lead exhibiting great reach and drive - the objective being a floating motion with head level or just above level of the topline and the tail trailing out behind. The tail should be seen in a graceful arc over the back, not touching, at least once during judging.
A trick I picked up from watching Pat Doniere is to get them moving around while I stand in one corner - some of those great moving animals may have an absolutely horrendous rear assembly easily seen from this position.
VERN: SUMMARY - The Siberian Husky is the consummate canine athlete. His function dictates his type, and demands that he be capable of covering long distances faster than any other breed in the world. Natural selection has produced this dog, and it is the judge's obligation to maintain the functionality and quality in this breed.
This concludes the presentation on the Siberian Husky
SIberian Husky Breed Standard