What is the relationship between Standards of Excellence (SE) and Pictorial Models (PM)? The question raises a few points of interest when you take into account the comparison method and the points system of judging.
Canary breeds have a SE and a PM which give a guide and reference point for the breeding of exhibition stock. These SEs are the written standard by which the breeder is guided when developing their chosen breed. The PM is taken from the SE and gives a visual reference point for guidance.
Judges are guided by the SE and PM and have a vision in their minds eye as to the finer points of any given breed. When judging to the comparison method you compare each exhibit to the SE and PM and grade accordingly. This in turn throws up a question in that to compare you have to decide class places and subsequently overall winners.
It invariably can lead to an over emphasis on certain features and over time lead to an increase in size of exhibition stock. This comparison method needs constant policing by judges so that any increase in size is checked, or that any obvious weaknesses are also addressed.
The PM is only the guide to the SE which is the definition of the breed; a judge judges to the SE and gives an opinion when they compare the exhibits. It is in your mind’s eye when you assess exhibits as to which fulfils the criteria of the SE.
Canary breeds change over the years and it is the show bench that has driven this change. The comparison method gives rise to such; as a comparison has to be made between each exhibit.
When judging some winners may not adhere to the SE per se or indeed come within your perceived mind’s eye of the PM, but a comparison has to be made.
So the comparison system has its faults in that over time the SE and/or the PM may seem to be not in keeping with the leading birds on the show bench. The SE and PM are guidance and judges have the responsibility to keep exhibits within these guide-lines, but also realizing that by the comparison method differences have to be compared and decisions made.
When breeding for exhibition you have to have something different that will catch the judge’s eye and take your exhibit to the front of the class; this is what drives change in the perceived PM but not necessarily in the SE.
The points system is a more controlled method of appraisal; it judges each exhibit individually against the SE while the judge also has the PM in their minds eye – each exhibit is judged against the SE and not their peers.
Which is the best method of appraisal? It is open to debate, but when individual specimens have been judged under both systems it is very much apparent that the leading exhibits will do well under both.
Reference: Published 19th July 2021 with the permission of Norman Wallace – IGBA panel judge and Chairperson of the North of England Gloster Club