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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just found this interesting to me,

When looking at a dog (mostly talking about pure breeds) what is the first thing your eyes go to?

Mine is typically topline, and Legs (blegh cannot stand things such as cow hocks)... nice feet are also great... my personal favorite being "cat" feet

What does your eye go for when looking at a dog conformation wise? C:
 

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Head. I was that way with horses too, which isn't smart because structure is more important, but there it is.
 

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Overall breed type. I'm not fond of either an overly coarse dog or an overly refined dog.

That said, my Leo, who is a conformation train wreck from her snipey muzzle to her gay tail, is hands down the prettiest dog I have ever owned.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@ LeoRoseI hear you,

I have seen really pretty dogs who do not fit the standard for their breed AT ALL.

@storyist Yes! expression and head is also a huge factor c:
 

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I look for structural soundness. I have noticed of late that even American Showlines are reducing the rear angulation in the hind limbs but the West German Showlines are becoming more angulated behind with a more roached top line.

So, my FIRST thinking when looking at a dog is TEMPERAMENT and suitability for the "job" or "jobs" I am going to have the dog do. That is paramount. THEN I look for genetic testing of parents for those things important to my breed. THEN I look at conformation. If I get Temperament and Genetic testing where I want it and the dog is structurally sound (learn your physics and physiology) (though perhaps not "pretty") then it is a go.

Horses were the same. I had a boss (very experienced horse woman) that would buy a horse based on it's head. Man.. she had a couple of physically unsound horses as a result of that thinking. I used to say, "You don't RIDE the head.."
 

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When just looking at a random dog that may or may not be purebred, my first glance generally takes in broad strokes - coat type, rough body shape, head - because I want to see if it's a breed I can identify. My wife and I have kind of an ongoing game to see who can identify random purebred dogs we see out (there's more purebred dogs than mixed breeds in Norway) so I'm often more interested in IDing the breed in general than evaluating conformation. My best win is when I somehow recognized a Danish-Swedish Farmdog on the fly, still not sure how I managed (they're more common here than in the US, but still pretty darn rare, and they look very terrier-y, even if they're technically in a different group). Because of this, sometimes I'll be looking for unusual traits like double dewclaws if I'm trying to confirm a breed ID.

But I'd say that in casual encounters, my eye does tend to go to the face and expression first, though as a poodle owner I also am very quick to notice movement in poodles and poodle mixes too. I don't know much about conformation outside of the breeds I own (and even those I'm far from an expert), so if I'm critically evaluating a dog for some reason, I'll be looking at obvious things like topline, knees (basically does the dog have them or not) and musculature. For curly coated breeds I may look at coat texture, and for brachy breeds I'd pay more attention to how extreme the nose is in both length and nare size/shape, but like I said, I don't know enough to pick out much outside of really obviously poor conformation.
 

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If I saw a Danish-Swedish Farm Dog, I'd probably think Standard Rat Terrier or Feist.
 

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@LeoRose It probably helped that both of those are probably even rarer than the Farmdog over here - a lot of American hunting and sporting breeds are in very, very small numbers here and you'll instead see European hounds and terrier breeds that are equally rare in the US. But I'm not sure why I assumed D-S Farmdog before a JRT mix of some sort. I'd only ever seen one before in person, at a distance, at an agility trial during a large show where there were hundreds of other dogs around.
 

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If I saw a Danish-Swedish Farm Dog, I'd probably think Standard Rat Terrier or Feist.
There's one doing Rally in this area (Colorado), and when first saw her, I thought rat terrier, then I started talking to the owner and found out more.
Horses were the same. I had a boss (very experienced horse woman) that would buy a horse based on it's head. Man.. she had a couple of physically unsound horses as a result of that thinking. I used to say, "You don't RIDE the head.."
Smart head hunters only use it as a first requirement - head doesn't suit, not for me. After that you pay attention to other factors that matter, but of course this thread started with the question of what's the first thing your eyes go to, and you can't judge temperament that way. Well, I can't.

And when I fostered rescues the old truth was driven home - if you like something it gets prettier - if you find something a royal PITA it gets homelier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was talking mostly about conformation, not when choosing a dog. Just when you see a dog.

I also am a sucker for gait, I've told my parents several times "Wow that dog moves beautifully" and they are like?!? looks like a jogging dog to me//
 

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@Deacon.dog Agreed. Poodles particularly have such a distinctive prance, too, it brings me joy every time I see it (and means I can recognize a poodle mix from across a field, lol). But I enjoy a dog with really nice movement whatever the breed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes! Poodles move so pretty! I love watching my boy prance around the yard. He knows hes handsome.

I think I just find it interesting that people usually have one or two features of the dog their eyes are just drawn too.
 
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