An Eye For A Dog


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What is it about? 

Have you ever wondered how dog show judges learn to identify the subtle differences that separate a dog that is merely good from a dog that is outstanding? Now you can develop your own eye for sound movement and structure and learn how colour, marking, size, and even leash position affect the judge’s perception. You get to actively participate in over 100 judging scenarios similar to those a judge encounters in the show ring and compare your opinion with the author’s.

Who wrote it?

More about Robert: Robert was a noted international confirmation judge, illustrator and author of dozens of articles on purebred dogs. His earlier achievements included illustrating the classic Dog Locomotion and Gait Analysis by Curtis Brown, writing and illustrating The Basenji Stacked and Moving and authorising the You Be the Judge series of breed specific judging booklets. Bob was a regular columnist for Dogs in Canada, Dog News, Dog World U.K, Ilio and Popoki as well as dog magazines in Australia and New Zealand.

When was it published? 2004

Who published it?  Dogwise Publishing (USA)

Winner of the DWAA Maxwell Award for 2004 Best Reference Book.

Illustrations- Black and white drawings and diagrams.


 This book is based on Bob’s more than 20 years of writing and publishing articles for the dog fancy. He integrated his skills as a dog illustrator with his talent for taking a technical subject of evaluating and judging dogs into written form that could be understood by the broad spectrum that comprises the dog fancy. Bob’s work was, and is controversial. He was always learning. He welcomed honest disagreement – as long as the person could provide reasons for their opinion.

This theme carries through in this book. As Bob states in his foreword, “As the author, I will contribute an opinion as to the order of merit of each class, but in the end the final decision is that of the reader. Go ahead! Disagree with me, challenge me, and above all enjoy yourself!” The attitude of a lifelong student and teacher of purebred dogs, that I was privileged to know as a friend. Our discussions were always two way learning experiences.

Everyone involved in purebred dogs should buy this book. You can start reading anywhere or start from the beginning and read to the end – you will be challenged and you will learn – whether you want to be or not. The book consists of 29 Chapters divided into four parts Sections. Part I, Type, Balance and Proportions; Part II, Features; Part III, Movement; and Part IV, Faults and Illusions.” E. M. Gilbert Jr.

“If one were to believe the average dogbook review, every-and anything that is printed between two covers is wonderful and should be added to everyone in the fancy’s library. Not so! There are positives and negatives in just about any dog book written (who knows better than I?) and what is valuable in a book is lost if the reader is not discerning.

What I like about the late Robert W. Cole’s new book is that it inspires the reader to think and compare. Having what’s right and what’s wrong in a breed put down in crystal clear images allows the reader to make those critical comparisons that pave the way for understanding and improvement.

And certainly, this writer can’t help but be flattered by Cole’s use, albeit unacknowledged, of four of the five elements of breed type that first appeared in the Dogs In Canada series “Unveiling the mysteries of breed type.”
Breed type has too long been the dog game’s great enigma and any work that can help the student develop clarity in this respect is well worth the investment. Cole’s treatise contributes markedly in this respect. His unquestioned graphic ability beautifully illustrates how even subtle deviations in structure can significantly alter what is intended.

He devotes ample space to this occurring in the type elements of silhouette, head, movement and coat (colour; marking, etc.) Particularly helpful are his graphics illustrating how length and depth of body opposed to length of leg contribute to or detract from correct silhouette.


“How do judges pick winners? In this book, which won the Dog Writers Association of America 2004 award for Best Reference Book, readers learn how to puck the outstanding dog from the good and mediocre. Color, markings, size, and even leash handling can all influence the judge’s perception. The late Robert Cole was an outstanding illustrator, and his drawings show the reader subtle differences in balance and proportion, how movement should vary between breeds, and how faults can be masked.” Stephanie Horan

“Highest praises for Mr. Cole. This book puts into layman’s terms so many things from structure to movement to type. This should be a MUST READ for anyone showing or breeding. I love how he explains how different movements can be indications of structural correctness or incorrectness. The illustrations and “you be the judge” scenarios are highly effective educational tools. Dog Show judges should be required to read this cover to cover! Two paws up on this great title!.” Mary Magee

“[This book] tells how to actively participate in over 100 show ring dog-judging scenarios, offering a review of the concepts of breed type, balance, proportion, and breed differences. Chapters cover head features, proportions, trot profiles and more, making for an outstanding survey perfect for any library catering to dog owners and neo-pro show dog patrons.” James A. Cox


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