Interview with a Breeder/Owner Handler Annette Lewis
My name is Annette Lewis. I’m originally from Dallas, but I live in Denison, Texas, now.
I never thought I’d own a small breed again. Then along came Shih Tzu. I fell completely in love with this breed. Never thought that when I said, “I’d like to do something with my dog,” that I’d have a kennel of them! My favorite thing is puppies; watching them grow and being a part of teaching them, from learning to eat solid food to learning manners, and eventually, going to their new homes with the beginnings of skills for their lifetime. I absolutely love being a responsible breeder and teaching others!
1. When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
Annette Lewis: In 1963, my older brother showed our Kerry Blue Terriers. My current breed is Shih Tzu, 2008
2. How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder?
Annette Lewis: As far as I can remember, 12 years as an Owner Handler, 11 years as a Breeder.
3 .Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Annette Lewis: I do go to handling classes on a regular basis with puppies, and older ones every so often. I haven’t attended handling seminars.
4 .Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
Annette Lewis: I have not tried any of these.
5. Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Annette Lewis: I do compete in NOHS, and rankings are nice, to see where you are within the breed.
6. How important is the Bred-By Class to you? How important are Specialties?
Annette Lewis: I like Bred-By, but it is not terribly important to me. I like young puppies to show in their classes. I love Specialties, as you get to see what else is out there in another area.
7. Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as a Breeder/ Owner Handler?
Annette Lewis: It can be a definite challenge with so many pro handlers out now.
8. Are you intimidated by the Professional Handlers? By the Judges?
Annette Lewis: No, I’m not intimidated by them.
9. Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder?
Annette Lewis: My first show Shih Tzu was from Dan Haley of Zephyr Shih Tzu. He has been a great mentor for all things show-related, grooming, and breeding. My mom was my first mentor in breeding, as she bred Poodles in the 1960s. I was right by her side learning. Dan has been a great mentor in breeding Shih Tzu, specifically.
10. How important is the Breeder/Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
Annette Lewis: I believe it’s very important, as the breeder is responsible for keeping the breed to the standard.
11. What are your goals as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder? Is there a milestone that has eluded you?
Annette Lewis: I want to encourage owners to learn how to show their dogs. You learn a ton of information, and I think it helps you to not get kennel- blind when you’re in the ring, and to evaluate for yourself what you see in the breed.