Interview with a Toy Group Judge Sharon Masnick
Sharon Masnick: I grew up on a cattle and horse farm in Missouri. My family was never without a dog. I have bred several champions in Pomeranians, Pekingese, Shiba Inu, Japanese Chin, Chihuahuas, and Toy Fox Terriers. I pursued judging 11 years ago and can now judge BIS, the Toy Group, several Non-Sporting Breeds, Azawakhs, and Shetland Sheepdogs.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Sharon Masnick: I live in South Carolina near Myrtle Beach. I have been a judge for 11 years.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Sharon Masnick: My original breed was the Pomeranian. My kennel name is Golden Aires.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Sharon Masnick: Notable dogs include Ch. Golden Aires Moonwalker ROMX, Ch. Golden Aires True Reward, Ch. Golden Aires Show Me Show Me, Golden Aires Wallace Jr. ROMX, Grand Ch. Ben Aires Moonchipper, and a Pekingese, BIS BISS Grand Champion Ben Aires Razzmataz.
What are some of the qualities I most admire in the Toy Breeds?
Sharon Masnick: I admire their Big Dog attitudes in small bodies, their loyalty, and their beautiful, cute antics. They are easy keepers, requiring small equipment and a small area to house,
Have I judged any Toy Breed Specialties?
Sharon Masnick: I have judged Specialty Shows for Chinese Cresteds, Pomeranians, Cavaliers, Pugs, Havanese, Pekingese, Toy Fox Terriers, and several Toy Dog Clubs. In October, I have the honor to judge the Chihuahua National.
Can I offer any advice to exhibitors regarding the presentation of these “table” breed?
Sharon Masnick: Be sure to train your dog at an early age and be sure to socialize. To prepare them for a table exam, it is helpful to have several people go over your dog while on the table.
Some longtime exhibitors have “downsized” to Toys. In my opinion, has this had an impact on quality?
Sharon Masnick: No, but their experience and knowledge has been helpful and healthy for the breeds.
Toy Breeds can require special care. Do I have any advice to offer breeders, exhibitors, and judges?
Sharon Masnick: Do not select a heavy-coated breed unless you are willing to do the work to maintain a healthy coat. Also, realize that they may not work in a home with small children. Judges need to know how to properly examine the Toy Dogs, especially the correct way to pick up a Pekingese and the proper way to check bites on the different breeds.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Toy Dogs of the past?
Sharon Masnick: I feel there is a lot more grooming and trimming being done.
Why do I think Toy Dogs can become outstanding Show Dogs?
Sharon Masnick: They are small, have great attitudes, love people and attention, and travel easily. They also have the desire to please.
If I could share my life with only one Toy Breed, which would it be and why?
Sharon Masnick: Since I have had a Pomeranian since I was 18, my one breed would be the Pomeranian.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Toy Group?
Sharon Masnick: As I was going down the line for a last look before making my placements, I had a dog move out from the line, self-stack, and look at me as if to say, “I am the one!”