Interview with a Toy Group Judge Dick Miller
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Dick Miller: I live in La Harpe, Illinois. This is a very small town surrounded by corn fields and soybean fields. I purchased my first AKC registered dog in 1957. I have been approved to judge since May of 1992.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Dick Miller: The Chihuahua was my original breed. My kennel name was Mar-Rich.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Dick Miller: Mar-Rich ‘N Mina’s Rumor Has It (Clay) and Mar-Rich’s Minute Man (Rebel) were the two top winners in the show ring. “Clay” was an outstanding sire. He was the Chihuahua Club of America’s top stud dog two years running. He won the Variety at the National twice, under Mike Billings and Peggy Hogg.
What are some of the qualities I most admire in the Toy Breeds?
Dick Miller: I admire their boldness; a little dog with a big dog attitude.
Have I judged any Toy Breed Specialties?
Dick Miller: I have judged the National Specialty for my breed three times, and I have judged multiple Regional Specialties. I also judged the National Specialty in Finland and Russia. I have judged Pekingese, Pomeranian, Affenpinscher, Miniature Pinscher, and Papillion Specialties.
Can I offer any advice to exhibitors regarding the presentation of these “table” breeds?
Dick Miller: I feel over-sheltering Toy Breeds has a very negative impact on temperament. Some breeders do not allow others to touch their breed, except for judges in the show ring. It is my opinion that we cannot expect outgoing temperaments with dogs that are sheltered to this degree.
Some longtime exhibitors have “downsized” to Toys. In my opinion, has this had an impact on quality?
Dick Miller: I feel we cannot generalize in this regard. It is dependent on too many variables to make a blanket statement.
Toy Breeds can require special care. Do I have any advice to offer breeders, exhibitors, and judges?
Dick Miller: Breeders/exhibitors need to remember the teeth and gums of Toy Breeds. I brushed my dogs’ teeth and gums with Listerine. This made my dogs more ready to have an oral examination, and their teeth and gums were clean and sound. Judges, stay out of the dog’s face. No judge would get in the face of a Doberman. Chihuahuas dislike judges in “their” space. There is no need to talk baby talk to a Toy Dog.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Toy Dogs of the past?
Dick Miller: Overall, I feel the dogs of today are better examples of their breeds than in the past. This is especially true for my breed.
Why do I think Toy Dogs can become outstanding Show Dogs?
Dick Miller: Toy Dogs of today that have successful careers in the show ring have been carefully bred for type and temperament. There are exceptions, but the gene pool of Toy Dogs is not ignored when a breeding is planned. Top Toy Dog winners are not the product of an accident.
If I could share my life with only one Toy Breed, which would it be and why?
Dick Miller: I would not waiver from my breed. A well-nurtured Chihuahua is a delight to know and live with day-to-day. Dogs are much like children. A child that is raised to know no limits becomes a very annoying person. Dogs need to be shown limits of tolerance or they will be an annoying pet.
A well-nurtured Chihuahua is a delight to know and live with day-to-day. Dogs are much like children. A child that is raised to know no limits becomes a very annoying person.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Toy Group?
Dick Miller: I usually look at dogs’ bites myself. When we were asked to have exhibitors show the bite, I had an entry on my table. After I had completed my examination of the dog, I said to the exhibitor, “Bite.” The exhibitor responded, “No, he doesn’t bite.” After having a good laugh, I said, “No, I want to see your dog’s bite.”