Interview with Dawne Deeley, Breeder of TsarShadow Norwegian Buhunds
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Dawne Deeley: My name Dawne Deeley, and I live in Chilliwack, British Columbia. I am a CKC licensed Herding/Working Group judge, and have bred dogs for thirty years under the “TsarShadow” prefix, which is permanently registered in Canada. In the US, the name is co-shared with my co-breeder/handler, Doug Belter. I am best-known for my Karelian Bear Dogs and Norwegian Buhunds; in the former, MCH TsarShadow’s I Speak Of War holds the world breed record for BIS wins and national championships, and was No. 2 All-Breed / No. 1 Working Dog in Canada for 2012.
For Norwegian Buhunds, I owner-handled MBIS/Can. GChEx Kyon’s Freidige Siv HIC to become the first of her breed to win a BIS in North America, and bred MBISS/BIS/RBIS AKC GChG TsarShadow’s Ragnar Lodbrok—a multi-National Specialty and WKC BOB winner, and sire of multiple champions. In 2005, I was awarded the Order of the Lion by the Government of Finland for my work with Karelian Bear Dogs, and the advancement of journalistic relations between Finland and Canada.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Dawne Deeley: In general, the Norwegian Buhund in the US has come a long way since AKC recognition. Breed type is relatively consistent—although I still see issues in overall proportions—and temperaments have vastly improved. The breed is, in my opinion, very healthy considering the limited gene pool we have to work with, but outside importing is essential if we want to move forward. I have worked with breeders in Norway and the UK, and see outstanding dogs being introduced into North American programs; for the most part, everyone works towards a common goal, and I think today that is very rare.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Dawne Deeley: Entries in our breed have been steady, although majors are dependent on area. The Norwegian Buhund is particularly versatile and excels in performance and companion events, which I believe is the future for them. This is a breed that can do anything you ask, and to me that is a major part of its appeal. As far as encouraging newcomers, I would say visit a show in your area, and talk to those who are participating. See if it’s the right “fit.” You may find AKC is too rigid a format, but UKC can provide appealing alternatives in all disciplines. Whatever you do, don’t give up! We all started somewhere, and that wasn’t necessarily at the top!
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Dawne Deeley: We need to be much more welcoming to newcomers. Having travelled and competed all over the world for decades, I would offer that we extend a hand to those wishing to compete with mixed breeds in performance and companion events. Use this as a starting point to promote purebred dogs; don’t assume you know it all. That dog is as special to its owner as your dog is to you; as I said earlier, we all started somewhere. If you are persistent and consistent, your efforts will be rewarded.