A Respected Curly Breeder Reviews the U.S. Curly Standard

When I was asked by the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America to chair the committee to rewrite the AKC standard, I knew it would be a difficult task. Curly Coated Retriever people are not known to be shrinking violets.  

I was allowed to request that certain people be members of the committee and I think we put together a solid core of folks who wanted to write a standard that emphasized the TOTAL dog: temperament, field, show, family companion, and all-around great breed.

 

The process to revise the standard was difficult and slow. Lots of different words can be used to describe a breed and we wanted to make sure we were writing a standard for breeders and owners as well as judges. 

The process in writing the standard was: I would take suggestions from the committee members and write the various sections. Those drafts would be sent to committee members for review, revision, etc. Then I would rewrite the section or sections we were working on. 

There was a special letter I received after struggling so long with the process and the wording of the standard, trying to mold ideas and thoughts into a word picture, trying to get a consensus which means every committee member had to modify some of our ideas, while trying to use words to convey a physical picture to judges and breeders and owners. It was quite difficult but also extremely interesting and fun.

I received a letter from Audrey Nicholls, of Darelyn Curly Coated Retrievers in the UK. She was, at that time, one of the most, if not THE most, famous and well-respected curly breeder in the world. 

 

She was so kind to write. And so passionate about the breed she cared to write to me about our proposed standard even if in a different country. Her letter buoyed my spirits and effort.

Most of her letter was actually critical of two aspects in the standard--size and angulation. But she loved a lot of it and said, with the exception of the size and angulation sections,  it was, according to Audrey Nicholls:  "almost perfect". She would later use some of the wording from the new U.S. standard in the book "The First Curly Coated Retriever Book of Champions", written by John Lennon. Audrey also included much of the U.S. standard in at least one article she wrote about the breed for a UK dog newspaper. 

 

Here is Audrey's letter to me, in which she both damns and praises but, in the end, pronounces the U.S. curly coated retriever standard "nearly perfect." I have hesitated to release this letter because I didn't quite know the etiquette of releasing a private letter from a late, great breeder. 

 

In the end, however, I decided to release it because of incorrect, inaccurate, and non-factual information provided by some U.S. folks. 

 

Scroll down for Audrey's letter.

 

Read about the
CCRCA Standard Revision Committee's approach to the shoulder angulation section beginning on the page:

I have six pages on this site addressing the forequarter angulation in the AKC curly coated retriever standard.

To understand the discussion here, I suggest starting by clicking the blue "Forequarter Angulation" above. Thanks. 

"Overall I thought the whole word-picture you were building was first class..." ~ Audrey Nicholls

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