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Proper Stop Length of a Dutch

by Kevin Hooper

I am writing this article to explain a question that was submitted to the Judge's Education Committee. The question arose when a judge commented on the stops of a Dutch being too short. After the class, the exhibitor brought the animal back to the judge, explaining to him that the stops were the correct length, if toenail length was considered.
This comment does have merit. When you look at the stops on the Dutch, the animal will do one of three things. It will either:
  • Curl it's toes (this is seen most often when keeping the Dutch posed as you examine the underside of the animal). This will make the stops look shorter than the next two.
  • Extend them (this is what they most often do if you try to view the stops from above while rolling the animal from side to side, looking at one stop at a time). They extend their toes in case they are going to be dropped.
  • Relax them.
The question is which is correct. Ideally you will examine the stops while they are in their posed position, yet upside down. You turn the Dutch over, keeping the same position as when it was posed on the table. You examine the undercut while the animal is upside down (belly facing up). Then you rotate the animal so the nose is up, then look at the topside of the stops without losing the posed position. This may require you to lean yourself, or your head, a bit forward to see the stop, while maintaing their natural pose.
Since we are to evaluate the underside of the Dutch while it is in it's natural posed position, then the curled toe position is mot likely correct. (I was not present to see this particular animal.) Also, the Standard say that the stops are to be 1/3 the length of the hock. I would not say the toes are part of the hock, but if they do extend their toes, it will make the stops look longer.

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