“Can your dog see?” “How does your dog see?”
These two questions just might be the most common ones asked of the owners of long coated breeds like the Old English Sheepdog, Komondor, PONS, Lhasa Apso, Bearded Collie, Puli and others. In fact, these dogs can see, though when presented “dripping” in show coat in a show ring, their vision is likely as filtered as ours is when our bangs get too long. Most handlers will discretely arrange their dog’s head coat before gaiting the dog, though the alacrity of some dogs’ movement causes head coat to fly back and out of the eyes during a trot, anyway.
There’s are a couple of terms used to refer to hair that overhangs a dog’s face: Fall, and Veil. Purists may regard the former as hair overhanging the entire face, and the latter, a portion of the dog’s forelock hanging straight down over the dog’s eyes, or partially covering them. We’ve heard the words interchanged frequently.
Old wives tales hold that tying up the head coat of a dog accustomed to having hair over their eyes will actually hurt the dog’s eyes (who were these old wives, anyway?) This would came as news to the people whose long coated breeds compete at the highest levels in obedience or agility. There was a time when the AKC didn’t allow head coat to be tied up, but Chapter 1, Section 17 under “Disqualification and Ineligibility” obedience rules now states: “Any dog whose hair over its eyes interferes with its vision may tie back the hair over the eyes with either 1-4 neutral colored rubber bands or a small plain barrette, or as they are normally shown in the breed ring. Hair may also be tied back with 1-4 rubber bands for hair interfering with the retrieving exercises.”
Polish Lowland Sheepdog or (PONs) in Cold Cast Bronze by Krzysztof Liszka is available for purchase in limited editions here.