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Ask the Judge - April/May/June 2008


What is the proper way to examine the neck marking?  It seems that there are a number of different techniques that judges use to check the neck marking, including pulling the ears apart, blowing into it and brushing the fur down etc.  Please describe the proper way to evaluate this marking.
From Kevin Hooper:
There may be a number of different techniques used to examine the neck marking, but there is only one proper way.  The thing to remember when examining our Dutch is to do so without distorting what is actually there. The best way is to hold the ears together and erect, and look behind to see how the neck marking appears.   If we brush the fur down, that will change the marking.  If there is a question as to a spot in the neck, then blowing into or using your fingers to move some fur may be warranted.
From Jan Coffelt:
This may be too simple of an answer for you but it is the way I examine for the neck
marking.
With the rabbit sitting on the table I gently take the tips of the ears and gently pull them forward and exam the neck marking.  If the neck marking looks clean that is all I do. However if the neck appears ragged I might blow into the area looking to see if there is a distinct spot.  I do not think it is necessary to dig or prod the area looking for a disqualification.
From Keith McNinch:
 I pull the ears apart and blow into the fur to observe the underlying marking, similar to evaluating other markings like the undercut on Grays.   This is the only true way to ascertain the correctness of the neck marking, especially when the fur is not in good condition.   When the fur happens to be in good condition, the surface characteristics will generally confirm the results of the earlier close scrutiny.   After all these years, I've never been instructed about the "proper" way to assess the neck marking, but instead have relied upon my earlier days of raising Dutch.   If I utilize the same essential techniques when examining animals in a class, then all exhibitors will be treated fairly.

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