So I wrote about the change of Intelligence to Follow in the FCI rules a couple of times already. I didn’t notice, however, that I have written the Follow-version in the evaluation recap I made earlier last year. Somehow that has eluded my eye and mind, which is really sad. If I have missed that while I was WRITING about it, how could have anyone noticed it?
Anyhow, in the earlier earlier version of the rules (42-2015-annex-en, valid from 15th of July, 2015) it says about Intelligence as follows:
Intelligence shown in the pursuit will make a Sighthound run a path that will put
it in a good position to take the lure, showing an agility without which even the
fastest hound will not succeed in a take. A dog will show its intelligence by
putting itself between the lure and its path to prevent the lure escaping to rough
In the current rules (51-2016-annex-en, valid from 1st of January, 2017), this has been changed to Follow as follows:
Follow is a dog’s capability to follow the lure and always have 100% attention
on the lure. Good follow is characterized when a dog:
1. Follows the lure for the whole course and actively try’s to catch the lure. Reacts quickly to the movement of the lure.
2. Follows the lure precisely and tries to make “jump to kill” immediately when it gets close to the lure.
3. Tries actively and aggressively to catch the lure through out the whole chase.
4. Go after the lure without making great assumptions as to where the lure will be travelling (course wise running).
Note the difference?
To me the Follow states it very strictly, that the hound must try to run towards the lure at any cost. Intelligence states it in much softer tones, giving room for interpretation and breed specific performance.
If we interpret Follow to the point, a dog ‘putting itself between the lure and it’s path’ is in fact doing a mistake, which would have been a merit according to the old Intelligence point: it is not trying to ‘actively and aggressively catch the lure’. Instead it’s trying to block it’s way.
Like a good hunter would try to do. Why nibble from the tail when you can cut to the throat?
Also a strict interpretation of Follow states that the dog shouldn’t take the terrain or obstacles into account while trying to catch the lure. “Follows the lure for the whole course and actively tries to catch the lure… without making any great assumptions as to where the lure will be travelling…”
Waiting for the interpretations on these points, not only for the dog owners and handlers, but also for myself as a judge. What ever the case, I still think that the follow should be scrapped and intelligence should be brought back with more emphasis on the breed specific chasing and conduct.