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2004 NATIONAL SPECIALTY SHOW in Atlanta, Georgia
Critique of the Regular Classes
By Richard G. (Rick) Beauchamp

CHAMPION Birinci's Yahsi (Handsome) winning Best of Winners at his First Show
A National Specialty show is without a doubt the most important event in any breed's show year. It is where the breed's devoted come together to exchange ideas and find answers to problems they might be encountering in their respective breeding programs. It is where the bitch owner comes to see what the stud dogs of the day are producing. The National is also a market place of sorts where breeders shop for potential stud dogs and negotiate to purchase young stock to add to their existing breeding programs. Above all, it is where one can have a snapshot view of the breed's past, present and future in a single day's sitting.

An invitation to judge a national specialty show is an honor. Accepting that invitation entails great responsibility. The eventual winners selected by the national specialty judge could conceivably have great impact on the future of the breed.

Whether judging a specialty or all breed show, the primary duty of the judge is to select the dogs that by merit of their appearance indicate they are capable of making a contribution to the advancement of the respective breed. This responsibility weighs even more heavily at a national specialty in that decisions made draw the eyes of not only those within the breed but also of the judges who will be passing upon the breed in months and years to come. If the national show represents the best the breed has to offer the winners should reflect the intent of the standard as closely as possible.

Everyone who judges has their own unique manner in which they approach the task at hand. Personally speaking I enter the ring looking for the dogs whose quality best reflect my interpretation of what the breed standard asks for and that appear capable of passing those qualities on to succeeding generations.

A judge who comes from the breeders' ranks can not help but develop a mental picture of the ideal in any breed he judges. It is the way of successful breeders. One can not achieve a goal if that goal is not clearly in sight.

The Anatolian picture I have in mind as a judge is based upon the origin and purpose of the breed and how that history is reflected in the present standard of the breed. It is the same picture I would have were I be given the opportunity to be an Anatolian breeder. I look for the dog that has the best silhouette possible for the breed. The correct silhouette provides the framework within which both the breeder and judge must work.

The easiest part of judging is to recognize the really outstanding dog or dogs in any given class. They have most of the best and stand out immediately. The more difficult part of judging is creating order from among those dogs that come after the standout. Those that follow should be arranged in how well they adhere to the standards demands and not fall into the trap of making decisions based on an absence of faults. The mere fact that a dog has no outstanding faults says nothing of his quality and quality is the very essence of a sound breeding program.

Every breed has a distinct silhouette, the Anatolian is no exception. That silhouette draws a line around and serves as a prologue for everything that must be understood about the breed's physical appearance. The correct Anatolian silhouette not only gives you proportions, it gives you the distinctive and critical topline of the the breed.

The Anatolian has made great progress in developing uniformity. However, there is still a distance to go. Breeds make great progress when all within the breed have the same goal. The breed founders when everyone is aiming in personally developed directions.

Overall I found more continuity in the dog classes than what was present among bitches. Soundness, balance and correct proportions prevailed.

The Open Dog, Birinci's Yahsi, impressed me from the moment he entered the ring. Calm, dignified, observant--a picture of strength without lumber. He maintained the correct silhouette both standing and in motion. Slightly longer than tall, with what I call the "lazy-s" topline (a very gentle curve downward behind the withers then arching slightly up over the loin area). The correct and matching front and rear angles allowed him to move easily along. Coming and going confirmed what his side gait led me to anticipate--total soundness. Good head properties--power without coarseness with beautifully made and placed ears and a well shaped eye of good color.
Link to Champion Birinci's Yahsi Page

Reserve Winners went to Yahsi was Sahin's Binbasi Worf from the Bred-By-Exhibitor Class. A very young dog, barely past his first birthday but showing great quality and promise throughout.

The bitch class decisions were not as easy to make in that a number of the entries fell to the two opposite extremes of the Anatolian type spectrum. It became apparent that care must be taken to avoid the drift toward the breed's Sighthound influence on the one end and Mastiff on the other. The correct Anatolian stands midpoint between the two.

In deciding upon Winners Bitch, the 12-18 Month Class winner, Eiserntor's Cingene Sihir gave most of what I was looking for in overall balance and proportion, angles and expression. Her excellent silhouette was a deciding factor. Reserve Winners Bitch went to the Open Class winner, Tamoora's Sebatetmek that impressed with silhouette and proportion but whose size, bone and head properties tended toward toward the Mastiff end of the breed spectrum.

The Best of Breed Competition was most impressive and here again presented the wide type spectrum. Overall the quality was very good but in trying to stay within the perimeters that had guided my choices in the classes my eye was immediately drawn to the dogs Ch. Horizon's Zafer and Ch. Aegean's Kokkino Piperi and the bitches, Ch. Night Watch's Steel Magnolia and Ch. Maranda's Matilda Bay.

Of those four, the contest for Best of Breed eventually brought itself down to Zafer and Steel Magnolia. Interestingly both out of the same dam--Patent Pending Layla Of NW (worth her weight in gold I would say!).

The pair gave me everything I was looking for in balance, proportion, soundness and expression and it was in the final individual pass around the ring that Zafer impressed me with the ease in which he carried himself. Conservation of energy is a hallmark of Anatolian character and movement and Zafer gave meaning to those qualities. He became my selection for Best of Breed with Best Opposite Sex to the lovely Steel Magnolia. Best of Winners to the Open Dog, Birinci's Yahsi. Awards of Merit to Ch. Aegean's Kokkino Piperi and Ch. Maranda's Matilda Bay.

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