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Judging the Peruvian
By Jim Hupp


When an exhibitor is showing Peruvians, it is to their own best advantage to show only "show quality" Cavies, and to make sure it is in top condition. This includes a natural coat, clean and well groomed. This does not mean adding extra conditioner, starch and additives to a "NATURAL" coat. This also does not mean to trim, pluck or alter the coat in any unnatural way.

When a judge is judging the Peruvians or any longhair, it is to the overall running of the shows advantage to have your Cavy ready and combed or brushed out, and ready to present to the judge on a regulation show board at the designated table.

Show boards should always be regulation (16 X 16 X 4, covered in PLAIN Burlap).

For clarification to judges, if a Peruvian is not presented to you on a regulation show board, you can ask the exhibitor to present on REGULATION show board, or simply remove the animal from the incorrect show board and judge it on the table. The exhibitor will soon get the hint.

Do not DQ the animal just because the animal was presented on a non regulation show board. As a judge you do have other options.

During the judging, a judge will be looking for the animal closest to the Standard of Perfection. For the Peruvian as a breed this is broken down to many areas.

You will first be looking at the overall "picture" of the Peruvian. Balance of sweeps and for a good clean well groomed coat and presentation.

Than you start at the head, noticing the frontal or head furnishing. At this time it is a good idea to look at the Sylvester or cheek sweeps. They should be as long and as dense as the side and rear sweeps.

You can try to place the show board in an area in which you can view the presented Peruvian from an above view, or feel free to take the board from the table and look down on the animal.

When looking down on a full coated Peruvian you should see a full circle of hair. Even in appearance from frontal to side sweeps to rear sweeps.

Make sure you check the frontal. A good groomer can comb in the front of the side sweeps to give the appearance of a frontal. Simply lift the hair back from the side of the face and see if the frontal is still the same length. A frontal truly is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed.

It is a good habit for the judge will feel density, texture and evenness of coat, as well as color and markings, before turning the animal over to look for other possible DQís.

Peruvian exhibitors/breeders urge judges to really get in there and feel the coat. "Scissor" your fingers through the coat, and feel the density. While doing this, by all means feel the density, the softer and silkier it is the better the texture.

You can also have a coarser Peruvian, who by all means will feel denser, but in reality will be just coarser not denser, this is call "false density". Compare this animal to an animal with good texture, you will feel the difference.

You also have the Peruvian(s) that will have the supreme texture. They will feel great on texture, and might feel less dense then the coarser coat. When scissoring the hair between your fingers you will feel the difference and know which is actually the better density and texture. You are looking for that good balance of texture and density.

If you feel a residue on your fingers that you "scissor" the hair with, more then likely it has an 'added' conditioner left in the hair, which is clearly altering. You may also find some coats that have a residue when powder is used to increase density and a damp animal will also increase false density, and in all the above situations you are within your rights as a judge to DQ these animals.

The judge should be aware that the longer the coat, the less density it will have at the ends. The Peruvian should not be severely penalized for having a thinner coat toward the ends. However, keep in mind that length does not makeup for lack of density and/ or texture throughout the total animal.

However, if the Peruvianís hair is so even all the way around, and appears to be trimmed, feel the ends of the hair, if they feelís "sharp" it has been trimmed. This is altering the coat, which is also a DQ. This is not an easy call, so be careful in your decision.

When the Judge gets past the coat make sure the Peruvian is in good body condition under that coat. Peruvians are to have a medium length body with broad shoulders and good overall type.

While the Cavy is being examined for DQ's on toes and feet, hold the Peruvian so that the back feet rest against your body. This will prevent the animal from fighting you and tearing up the coat. When returning the Peruvian back to its original presentation, take the time to learn this method, making sure the feet are not tangled in the hair on any part of the body.

As a judge you can and should ask the exhibitors to re-groom the Peruvian in full show coat, but do this after you have looked at and examined each and every Peruvian in the class.

I have always found this helpful to give the Judge a mental picture in their mind before making the final decision in your placements.

According to the new Standard, grooming of any kind is NOT allowed at the show table. Exhibitors still have problems with this, it will help if a judge during the beginning of an assignment to remind the breeders of Peruvians and other longhair breeds to not groom at the table. If you want the animal re-groomed you as the judge will ask the exhibitors.

When a judge request some animals to be re-groomed, you should face away from the table, and have your clerk tell you when they are finished.

Important information for judges that have not raised the breed is the subject of evaluating a class of Juniors. Do not think the more coat the better. You do not want a lot of rosettes in the coat and that fluffy look.

When judging Juniors look for an animal with two rosettes placed near the rear. You want the coat growing flat and forward toward the head. This will be the animal when mature that has the even density throughout and the good frontals.

Peruvians are one of the three oldest recognized breeds of Cavies shown in the United States. There is many hours spent to keep a Peruvian in good show coat and are quite a challenge and a genetic challenge as well to produce them.

Showing a Peruvian in full show coat is not only a sight to see, but a time consuming chore.


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