It was a great pleasure and honour to be invited again (my fourth time) to judge in Jamaica, and to find that fanciers continue to strive for balance and perfection while improving the average quality of the German Shepherd Dog here.
I will give my observations on the adult classes first, then make some comments on other entries.
The top star of the show in my eyes was Ch. Veneze Dazz at Altel, a son of Arak de la Ferme Melgre Leau, a Sieger Zamp son; but Dazz bears more resemblance to his tremendous grand-dam www.pedigreedatabase. com/dog.html?id=6198 who, I think, was VA-11 about a dozen years ago. Dazz is a medium-size, extremely well-balanced male with far-reaching fluid gait and true coming and going. Among the few that moved as smoothly were some of his offspring, so he obviously is producing high quality, and is not just a flash in the pan.
A very impressive recent import that won the Novice class is Jadsville’s Jarno of Stantamer, a son of Arex Wilhelmswarte. This is a very large, substantial dog with excellent character (especially noteworthy since he just emerged from quarantine via the UK). He will be an important genetic influence on the island, improving heads and contributing “bone” and reinforcing the good temperaments I saw generally. Bitches that should be taken to him should ideally have straight backs (between withers and croup) and parallel planes on the head, to compensate for these relatively minor deficiencies in this valuable dog. Some of Rothsville’s Dazz daughters might be good candidates.
Edging out Jarno in the final evaluation to get RWD in the Winners class was a Xaro v d Harten son, Frienden’s Carry v de Zomerdukslanden, also from the UK. This dog had a little better front reach (shoulder angulation) and moved a little cleaner going away. He is another medium to upper-medium size dog of good masculinity, although he has the remnant of what I call “the curse of the 1970s and `80s” - namely, a bit of the “broken back look” that hung on in many quarantine countries long after other regions corrected most of that. While the Standard calls for a straight and “level” portion of the topline there, we lost that to a great extent. Fortunately, Carry did not inherit the concomitant curse of extreme cowhocks that arose in that same era.
On the distaff side, we had some truly beautiful animals, too. Reserve CC went to a Dazz daughter out of Altel’s Maggie v Jadsville (the dam bred by Jalil Dabdoub, I believe). Breeder-owner Alfred Campbell’s Melissa v Altel is an easy-moving bitch approaching 2-year maturity, and has excellent character, proportions, and other traits. Could be a little less slanted in pasterns, and have a little more forechest, but with her energy, balance, smooth topline, and long croup, she moved extremely well.
Edging her out was my choice for best female, Mark Azan’s Ch. Conbhairean Usi at Frienden, bred by Heather MacDonald and David Green of the UK (they were at the show to handle and cheer on this lovely bitch). Usi’s litter brother had also impressed me at the Sieger Show in Germany, where he was high-V. Usi sometimes shows a very slight break in the middle of her overline, but her excellent shoulder assembly and drive minimized its effect in the gaiting. She is clean coming and going, has marvelous pigment and attitude, and expresses both strength and femininity. She should contribute much to the gene pool here.
I already briefly mentioned Dazz daughters. They won the top three places in the Puppy Bitch class and have much promise. First was Rothsville Wild Flower, owned by Nashon Mitchell. A very pretty yearling bitch, Frienden’s Cira owned by Azan & King, won her class, and is out of Conbhairean Usi, so she should have a great future. Other noteworthy bitches included daughters of Figo van der Lust and Paer Hasenborn. In the younger male classes, a nice Zamp son, Rafaye Hank at Jadsville, was the Mid-limit winner, and a Larath Zorro / Jutone Armana pup, Schicco v Altel, took the Junior class.
Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the exhibits, both in adherence to body structure and character development. I want to thank all who were involved with the invitation to return, as well as those who trusted me to pass judgment on their dogs. As always, my goal is to help exhibitors keep striving toward the highest standards of character, type, soundness, and health in this most marvelous of breeds, and dearest of companions and workers in our lives.