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Lisa Myers | Asia Chinese Shar-Pei

Lisa Myers | Asia Chinese Shar-Pei

Interview with Lisa Myers, Breeder of Asia Chinese Shar-Pei

Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Lisa Myers: I live in New Orleans, Louisiana and have been in dogs for 37 years, 36 as a breeder.

What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Lisa Myers: Our kennel name is ASIA and we currently keep nine dogs.

Which have been my most influential sires and dams?

Lisa Myers: My most influential sire was CH Asias Excalibur Romans Eight. “Roman” sired BIS winners in five countries, although rarely used at public stud. He is the sire or grandsire of over 15 BIS dogs and over 25 BISS winners that include many National Specialty winners, and WKC and Royal Canin/Eukanuba BOB or BOS winners. Most recently, even though not bred for the last nine years, he is the grandsire of 2023 Top 25 Winner for the CSPCA and the dog that is now a three-time National Specialty winner. His outstanding temperament and construction are very evident in the breed currently. Also, CH Asias You And Tequila who was bred on a very limited basis and produced a two-time WKC BOB winner, with a Group 2 there, who has also won the CSPCA Top 25 twice. (Her name is “Asia” and she is owned by Jean Durdin.) He has also sired many BISS and Group winners.

What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?

Lisa Myers: The biggest misconception among pet owners is that the Chinese Shar Pei is not a good family dog. They are actually outstanding with children and everyone, when bred properly. The biggest misconception among the dog show fancy is that the Shar Pei is a “head breed.” Our Breed Standard mentions one essential feature, and that is proper movement… and one distinguishing feature, and that is the harsh coat. The best-kept secret is the Shar Pei is both an outstanding watchdog or a couch potato.

As a Preservation Breeder, can I share my thoughts on the sport today? How’s the judging these days? What do I think about the number of shows?

Lisa Myers: I worry that in many breeds (not mine), the quality of the dogs being shown has taken a serious nose dive. Many successful breeders, because of bad experiences or the “overnight experts,” just don’t want to mentor new people. Emphasis is put on rankings and numbers, with very little emphasis put on ongoing breed education other than for people applying to judge. Well, if I could make it personal, most of my most revered judges have now passed on to their next adventure. There are, however, some amazing newer judges. Unfortunately, dog handlers coaching judges about what is “right” or “wrong” about a given dog should stop. Especially if it is tailored to suit the dog they are currently showing as a special. There is a Breed Standard to refer to and I am sure almost any long-time breeder of outstanding dogs can clarify any questions that remain. I ring steward and hear the conversations that go on, and some of them are just short of shocking. As far as the number of shows, it sure makes them easier to get to, but sadly, many champions are made by majors created by loading the ring with everything that can walk on a leash (or, in many cases, that do not walk on a leash). Fewer shows might help to cure
that problem.

In my opinion, is social media good for the sport? Is it harmful?

Lisa Myers: I love social media when it showcases the dogs and handlers. I like seeing everyone’s successes and also follow with interest the complaints. There are many kennel clubs and vendors with Facebook profiles that have good info on them. I recently showed a dog in Orlando for a friend who is some kind of Instagram star. People that do not show actually came to watch him. The communication has opened up many thoughtful dialogs regarding dog shows and has put the world right at our fingertips. When social media is used to defame, bully, or perpetuate lies about a business or individual, however, it is very destructive.

What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole today and how can these be addressed?

Lisa Myers: I am sure this has been said previously by someone more eloquent than I… but rude behavior, backbiting, and the ranking systems perpetuate the general appearance of negativity that many newer exhibitors experience. I think that the local all-breed clubs and national clubs need to address how they can better welcome and encourage the novice exhibitor. And as a fancy, we have to do better.

What are some of the positive changes I’ve seen in the dog show community over the past decade?

Lisa Myers: I love that health testing has taken such a prominent place as an accepted and expected practice. DNA testing for genetically traceable diseases has become easily available. I like that exhibitors are being more closely policed regarding destruction of property and/or poor and irresponsible pet ownership practices. The NOHS has also been a positive experience for many owner handlers. In horses, we have had an amateur owner division for many, many years that is very prestigious. The NOHS point system and guidelines need revision, but it is a good start.

If I could share one suggestion with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them about my breed?

Lisa Myers: In Shar Pei, we have only a “preferred” height and weight. That being said, the breed is getting ridiculously huge to the point of appearing Mastiff-like. Our Standard says “moderate” over and over. There is only one “essential” feature of the breed in the Standard and it is proper movement. There is only one “distinguishing characteristic” and it is the harsh coat, which is denoted by the name of the breed.

For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Non-Sporting Dog?

Lisa Myers: Well, we all have a Poodle story, and other people may not find this funny but I still laugh about it. There is a famous Poodle handler I used to help over 20 years ago, sporadically, when she was in a bind. You all know this person. One time in Standards, she went Winners Dog at a big Specialty with the dog she had earmarked to special the next year… and it was near the end of the current year. She grabbed me and asked me to take in her highly ranked Special and she was to stay on the class dog to try to win for the largest major possible. Her assistant had the grooming tools. While I was in the ring waiting, he shook his head impossibly hard and dislodged his updo. Since we were all terrified of this particular handler in an affectionate way, I asked the assistant to give me her comb, which she reluctantly did. I tried, that’s all I can say, but it did not turn out well at all and it did not escape the notice of the handler who proceeded to let me have it. My favorite part was the “you are a SHOWER not a COMBER” and “you are not allowed to comb, only people who know what they are doing are allowed to comb.” So many people ringside were trying not to burst out laughing. I got the giggles and that just made her more furious, which made me and everyone else laugh harder.