As you begin your research for a well-bred, healthy dog, you’ll hear the same term over and over again: show quality. But what, exactly, does show quality mean?
The term show quality is primarily used by breeders who participate in the sport of showing dogs. The most competitive show dogs are those that closely conform to the Weimaraner breed standard. (This is where the term, conformation, comes from.) Dog shows are just like any other sport; the participating dogs have to be competitive in order to be win.
A show quality Weimaraner puppy is one whose breeder has evaluated and identified as a dog that has enough merit to one day become a Show Champion.
In order to be competitive at the dog shows, breeders (at minimum) have to evaluate their entire litter of puppies and pick the right dog(s). Further, there are two primary components to consider in picking a show dog:
Show-prospect dogs should have both correct structure and ideal temperament for its breed.
Structure. Structure is how a dog is built. The fourth paragraph of the Weimaraner Breed Standard speaks to structure: The back should be moderate in length, set in a straight line, strong, and should slope slightly from the withers. The chest should be well developed and deep with shoulders well laid back. Ribs well sprung and long. Abdomen firmly held; moderately tucked up flank. The brisket should extend to the elbow.
The above puppy was evaluated to be show quality from a conformation perspective because she met much the criteria listed in the breed standard.
The above puppy was NOT evaluated to be a show quality from a conformation perspective because she DIDN’T meet as much of the criteria in the breed standard.
Here are the same two puppies side by side: Can you see the structural difference between the two?
Temperament. Temperament is the dog’s personality, character, and disposition. The 11th paragraph of the Weimaraner Breed Standard speaks to temperament: which should be friendly, fearless, alert and obedient. The standard goes on to indicate that dogs exhibiting strong fear, shyness or extreme nervousness are to be very seriously faulted.
This judge is holding a piece of bait in her hand to check for temperament and expression during a dog show exam.
Temperament is not something that can be seen/observed in a photo of a stacked dog. It must be evaluated by physical interaction with a particular dog.
Every Barrett litter bred with consideration for show/conformation is different; Sometimes, there may be 2-3 puppies within a litter that are designated as show quality. Sometimes, there might be none, or just one. (And so far, once, we were able to finish 100% of the dogs within a litter in the show ring.) If a litter was exclusively bred for show quality, those not selected as such are considered pet quality.
All else being equal, there is nothing wrong with the pet quality puppy. A pet quality puppy is just as healthy, just as sweet, and would make an equally excellent hiking companion, not to mention steal your heart and hog your bed.
If you do not plan to show your puppy, or have your puppy shown by the breeder or professional handler, and you’re really just looking for a nice companion dog, there’s no compelling reason for you to own a show quality puppy, and you should be very satisfied with the pet quality puppy that has been chosen for you. In fact, you should be really excited, because YOU’RE GETTING A PUPPY!!!!! And if it’s from a reputable breeder, chances are likely that you’ve been waiting for this puppy for a very a long time.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me anytime at kim [at] barrettweimaraners [dot] com.
Cheers! – Kim