Breeder Interview: Marjorie Martorella, Marjetta Pointers

    From the October 2019 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.

     

    PICTURED ABOVE: Ch. Truewithem A Taste of Triumph, the foundation bitch for Marjetta Pointers.

    1. Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, on the 12th floor of an apartment building. Not exactly a conducive environment for
    having dogs.

    PICTURED BELOW: BIS GCH Marjetta in the Limelight. He was owned by Jeanne Deeming during his specials career.

    2. Do you come from a doggy family? If not, how did the interest in breeding and showing purebred dogs begin?

    My mother was afraid of dogs so we were not allowed to have one, no matter how much my sister and I pleaded. My father’s family were all dog lovers and I loved visiting them and playing with their dogs. I finally was able to convince my mother to allow me to get a dog. I purchased an Irish Setter from a pet store. She was a wild child and I brought her to obedience classes. At these classes, I met a family who also had an Irish Setter and they were showing him in conformation. They told me about some match shows and I entered. I started showing her locally. I attended the Staten Island KC’s handling classes. It was there that I met Bud McGivern, Rose Ross of Irish Setter fame, Warren Ubberoth, Arthur Williams and many other top breeders of the time.

    I soon realized that my Irish was not as pretty as the others at the shows. About the same time, my sister’s boyfriend was looking for either a Pointer or a Dalmatian. I had him buy a Pointer from Bill Metz and co-owned the dog with him. He was a nice dog and finished his championship easily. I was hooked!

    I bought a French Bulldog for an uncle and finished his championship. All this was happening in my parents’ apartment! It was obvious I needed to move. I bought a place in New Jersey and continued showing the dogs.

    I then bought a Pointer from Helen Duggans, a Boxer breeder who had a litter from a Shandown bitch. I also finished her and eventually bred her. The litter was not very good although I did finish some of them.

    I visited with Dr. Parker and his wife Susan* in Rehoboth, Mass. He had a litter and wanted me to take one. While in the kennel, I was taken by a year-old liver-and-white bitch. Susan said Bob didn’t want to sell her but she would work on it. Susan and I went to the Worcester show the next day and Bob arrived later in the afternoon with the bitch. Bob told me she was so tightly linebred, she could be bred to a lamppost and produce good Pointers! “Donna” was Number one Pointer in 1976 and became the foundation bitch of Marjetta Pointers. She was the dam of 29 champions including four BIS winners, one being Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim who won Best in Show at Westminster in 1986. “Deputy” was shown by Michael Zollo and is the all-time top sire in the breed.

    *Susan and I have remained best friends all these years. She is Susan Bleckley who now shows Papillons and resides in California.

    PICTURED BELOW: Multi BIS Ch. Marjetta Darkside of the Moon. Abby was co-bred with Steve & Eileen Herman.

    3. Who were your mentors in the sport? Please elaborate on their influence.

    There were many people who influenced me in my formative years in the sport. When I was torn between Irish Setters and Pointers, Ted Eldredge of Tirvelda fame told me the Pointer breed needed a young person. Irish Setters at the time were very popular and there were many influential breeders throughout the country. I took his advice but still was enamored with the Irish and started showing them professionally.

    Jack and Flossie Rementer were Pointer breeders and Jack judged the Sporting Group. I would visit them about once a month and soak up everything I could about the breed. Wayne Cavanaugh and I would talk Pointers for hours on end. I co-owned a dog he imported from Ireland and bred him to my Donna and they produced two BIS littermates, Ch. Marjetta Mylestone and Ch. Marjetta Lady Vanessa. Although not in Pointers, Celeste Gavin and I were close friends and often travelled to shows together. She had a great eye and would help me evaluate my litters. She co-owned my Ch. Marjetta Lord Carlton who was a BIS winner out of Donna’s first litter.

    PICTURED BELOW: Ch. Hurwyn Marjetta Majestic, a UK import bred by Sue Wilkinson that had a major influence in my breeding program.

    4. The Marjetta Pointers are widely known, highly successful and well respected. What breeding philosophies do you adhere to?

    I have adhered to line-breeding. When doing an occasional outcross, it is important to do research on the background of the dog’s line as you are not just introducing him but also his family. When I would import a dog from England, I visited the kennels and was familiar with the dogs in the pedigree. After the outcross, I would go back to my lines.

    I think it is important to be able to assess your stock and be totally honest with yourself. Know what faults you have and need to improve.

    I have never been influenced by fads or breeding to the top dog of the day. I saw what happened to a top Pointer breeder who got caught up in breeding for color and it was the eventual demise of his
    breeding program.

     

    5. How many dogs do you currently house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained.

    I currently have three Pointers and one English Cocker. I have never had a big kennel and bred, on average, a litter every year or two. The most dogs I’ve ever had at one time was around eight. The Pointer is a breed that needs a lot of socialization. Since I live by myself and had a job, it was not wise to have more dogs than I could do justice to. The dogs have indoor-outdoor runs and large paddocks to run in. I have always felt that the dogs needed to have plenty of exercise to develop properly.

     

    6. Who were/are some of your most significant Pointers, both in the whelping box and in the show ring?

    As stated earlier, my foundation bitch, Ch. Truewithem A Taste of Triumph, has had a significant impact not only on my breeding program but on the breeding programs of all those who used her sons. Ch. Marjetta Lord Carlton lived out his life at the Cumbrian kennel of Henri and Nancy Tuthill, producing many champions for them. BIS Ch. Marjetta Mylestone also produced several champions. Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim was widely used and is found in many of our current pedigrees.

    I acquired another Truewithem bitch, Sweet N Sassy. I had judged her at a show and put her up. After the judging they told me she was a Truewithem bitch. I, of course, realized that as the Truewithem dogs were of a definite type. She became available and produced very well for me. Her most famous daughter was Ch. Marjetta Reatta of Kintyre who was a multi BIS winner as well as a National Specialty winner. Ch. Marjetta Darkside of the Moon JH is another multi-BIS winner. Two more BIS winners are Ch. Marjetta I’m No Angel and Ch. Marjetta In the Limelight who was No. 1 Pointer in 2012. I have bred nine BIS winners and 158 Pointer champions.

    PICTURED BELOW: Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim

     

    7. Please comment positively on your breed's present condition and what trends might bear watching.

    The first paragraph in our standard really explains the form and function of the breed:

    General Appearance

    The Pointer is bred primarily for sport afield; he should unmistakably look and act the part. The ideal specimen gives the immediate impression of compact power and agile grace; the head noble, proudly carried; the expression intelligent and alert; the muscular body bespeaking both staying power and dash. Here is an animal whose every movement shows him to be a wide-awake, hard-driving hunting dog possessing stamina, courage, and the desire to go. And in his expression are the loyalty and devotion of a true friend of man.

    It is essential that a Pointer have a good, outgoing temperament in order to do what it was bred to do. As breeders or judges, we should not breed or reward dogs with poor temperaments. Many people in our breed are involved in Companion and Performance events. These events have had a positive impact on the socialization of our dogs.

    I feel that balance is of utmost importance when evaluating a dog. A trend that is starting to be seen are dogs with straight fronts and over-angulated rears causing a sloping topline. This is not correct.

    Most Pointer breeders and judges will tell you that heads and tails are hallmarks of the Pointer breed. At the last two National Specialties, both judges (myself being one) commented on the tails in the breed. Breeders need to concentrate on the correct shape (tapered), the correct length (not longer than the hock), and most importantly, the carriage which should be straight off the back or not higher than 2 o’clock. When gaiting, the tail should lash from side to side. A Pointer with a long, curved tail carried high ruins the entire outline of the breed. It is a hound characteristic that is
    a fault.

    When evaluating the head, one needs to not only look at the profile to see the planes of the head and the stop. The expression also needs to be considered. I have been seeing many with incorrect eye shape which ruins the expression. The eye should be rounded, not almond shaped. The ears should be relatively short—to the bottom jaw when relaxed, with thin, fine ear leather. Long, thick ears are a hound characteristic which should be faulted.

    I also feel that we need to concentrate on the length of the loin and the lack of tuck-up on some of our dogs. The Pointer is a nearly square breed and should be a series of gentle curves.

     

    8. The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining numbers of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport?

    I believe getting newcomers to join specialty clubs and all–breed clubs is paramount in the future of our sport. Make newcomers feel welcome and give them positions and committee appointments. I think the clubs need to put on more social events rather than just business meetings. Getting to know each other on a personal level is very beneficial in maintaining interest in the sport.

    There are so many reasons for the declining number of breeders. One is the result of the propaganda promoted by animal rights groups such as HSUS and ASPCA. The mantra of “adopt or rescue, don’t buy from a breeder” has resonated with the American public. More and more dogs are being imported into the country, flooding the market with shelter rescues. Sadly, our side has done little to promote the
    purebred breeder.

    The zoning ordinances are also a problem with many communities having limits on the number of dogs as well as
    breeding restrictions.

    Veterinary costs have skyrocketed and make it difficult for people to have several dogs. C-sections are very costly as is artificial insemination. The airlines have made shipping dogs for breeding extremely difficult due to the cost, weather embargos and the breeds that are restricted.

     

    9. Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?

    I hope I will be around for another decade! I doubt I will be around for two.

    I have been in Pointers since 1968. I have one bitch I am currently campaigning and I may breed her if I can find a suitable stud. As I am single and have no family members interested in maintaining my breeding program, there will not be a future for my breeding program.

     

    10. Finally, tell us a little about Marjorie outside of dogs… your profession, your hobbies.

    I was a NYC teacher for 32 years. I have been happily retired since 2002. I am very involved in the New Brunswick KC and the Staten Island KC, being Show Chair for both and the NBKC President. I judge three AKC Groups. I am an avid reader and love to travel. I especially enjoy the summer as I am able to work in my perennial garden and enjoy my pool. 

    PICTURED BELOW: Multi BIS & National Specialty winner Ch. Marjetta Reatta of Kintyre. She is out of the Truewithem bitch I acquired after rewarding her in the ring.

     

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