AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year | Pequest Pekingese

AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year | Pequest Pekingese

AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year – Toy Group Honoree
David Fitzpatrick
Pequest Pekingese

1. The Pekingese is a breed that is both iconic in character and ancient in origin. What is it about the breed that has sustained your interest for so long?
My interest has been sustained by the challenge of attempting to breed great quality dogs that fit the standard and can be appreciated and understood by most judges, and the ever-present challenge of dealing with a breed that is stubborn by nature and is more interested in your pleasing them. A Pekingese of high-quality in top condition is a thing of beauty.
2. Breeding dogs requires the vision of an artist, the curiosity of a scientist, and the commitment of a philosopher. As a breeder, do you view yourself as an artist, a scientist or a philosopher? Maybe you’re a combination of all three?
I don’t view myself as any of the above. Perhaps others do. I just feel that I have a goal to improve on what others have started. I do have a vision of what I would like my dogs to look like going forward. There is always work to be done to maintain and improve where necessary.
3. In dogs, selection is key. How do you select your sire and dam combinations? How do you select which puppies will walk alongside you in the show ring?
I often go on my instincts at this point. I don’t look at the pedigrees as often as I used to, but they are always in my head, being thought of. There are some dogs you just know will make beautiful puppies together if bred. While most dogs in the pedigree are top-quality and from great producers, there are still some dogs I don’t want to double up on. A little might be good, a lot might be harmful.
My puppy selection process is quite simple. I pick the puppy that stacks up the best; good legs, body shape, topline, then we walk and walk. If they do not have natural carriage, I am not interested in them for showing. The dogs have to be good and project this through their carriage and movement.
4. The Breed Standard is the preservation breeder’s most essential tool. What are your thoughts on the importance of breeding to the standard and presenting the breed in the ring accordingly?
I think most standards are open to interpretation. Everyone is trying to breed to the standard. It is when your dogs are being judged that one sees who comes closest. It’s not always black or white, and I think it’s healthy for there to be a difference of opinions.
Proper presentation is important; times change and so does presentation in many breeds. It’s really up to the judges, if they know, to keep this in check and to not reward over-the-top, untypical presentation.
5. Today’s breeders have found themselves on the defensive from public criticism and legislative proposals that would restrict breeding practices. In your opinion, what can preservation breeders do to counter the anti-purebred rhetoric that has taken hold in this country?
I think every breeder can do a small part to promote their breed and purebred dogs to the public. People being exposed to the unique traits and purposes of their breed can help the public appreciate the importance of the preservation. Allowing people to meet your dogs and enjoy them can have a lasting impact.

AKC 2021 Breeder of the Year – Toy Group Honoree

  • Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization, which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership.

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