Interview with Patti Pytlak, Breeder of Hyacinth Pekingese
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Patti Pytlak: I started doing 4-H Obedience at age 7 in Buffalo, New York, when my mother got a show quality Pomeranian. At my first puppy match, I saw my first Pekingese. He was a small black that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Years later, as a young adult, I got my first Peke, which finished her championship in 1989. I dabbled in the breed, showing off and on, during my college years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Patti Pytlak: My name is Patti H. Pytlak, and the H. stands for Hyacinth, which is what I chose for my kennel name.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Patti Pytlak: I got very serious about Pekingese. I bred to import lines that produced CH Hyacinth’s Mint Julip, who was Winners Bitch at our National, and two years later, Best of Opposite Sex at our National. Unfortunately, her one ovary was underdeveloped and caused her to lose a litter, and would never be able to carry.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Patti Pytlak: Years later, I produced a lovely bitch who became a major influence in my breeding program, CH Hyacinth’s Heartfelt Wish, “Cassidy.” She made a splash in the ring by going Best of Opposite Sex over four bitch Specials, as well as BOS at two Specialties. Cassidy went on to have two litters. In her first litter, she produced CH. Hohcin’s Bam Bam Bigelow and CH Hyacinth’s Make A Wish; both had been winners over Specials from the classes.
In Cassidy’s second litter, she produced four girls. CH Hyacinth’s Divine Secret Of The Heart and Hyacinth’s Tickled Pink both had awesome show careers, including BOB over Specials and an Award of Merit. Those lines continue to produce Champions that are correct in many ways. I must mention little “sleeve” GCH Hyacinth’s And That’s The Truth. “Sleeves” were highly regarded by the Chinese Emperors and are six pounds or under. “Edith Ann” made her mark in the ring with breeder-judges awarding her wonderful wins.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Patti Pytlak: Over the years, I have moved but have been in Ohio for almost 20 years. I currently keep about 12 Pekingese. I started keeping more males, as I wanted to be able to do more linebreeding. My focus has also changed. I am working with acceptable colors that are not seen very often in the show ring. Parti-Color and Black and Tan have been an interest for years. My dogs are all homebodies, with a room with air conditioning especially for them on hot days. I will admit, I have had many sleepless nights raising puppies in my bedroom. This can be a difficult breed to raise, and it takes commitment!
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Patti Pytlak: In my earlier years, I spent time studying the Breed Standard and going over quality dogs. Even though the Standard has changed some, my practice of selecting quality and structure has not. Somehow, I have a knack for looking at a pup within 12 hours of birth and being able to assess show quality. I make my picks then, and rarely have ever been wrong. Currently, I have a Peke that I bred in the Top 10 Breed statistics with a recent RBIS, GCH Hyacinth’s Criminal Intent.
I currently have two Pekingese excelling in Obedience, which is rare for this breed. Yes, they can be very stubborn but also very smart.
How important are Breed Specialties to me? How important are Group Shows?
Patti Pytlak: I have attended, as well as competed in, many Specialties. I find it a good source of evaluating the breed, plus looking at how certain sires are producing.
What are my priorities when it comes to breeding? What are the drawbacks?
Patti Pytlak: There are many traits I consider when planning a breeding. Health is first, and temperament. Since a number of pups go to pet homes, I want good temperaments for their owners.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Patti Pytlak: Our breed’s main health concern is airway obstruction, whether elongated soft palate or collapsing tracheas. It is important to eliminate those dogs from a breeding program. There is no test, but X-rays can help to identify.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Patti Pytlak: Unfortunately, as with many breeds, the Pekingese is dwindling in Preservation Breeders. It is getting harder and harder to attract new people into the sport of dog shows, much less into a breed that requires some serious grooming. Meanwhile, I will continue to breed quality show dogs and happy pets.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Patti Pytlak: Pekes can make an excellent pet for anyone, but I rarely will let a pup go to a home with small children. It is a Toy Breed, after all, and can be injured because of its small size. Many people have memories of Pekes being yappy and ankle bitters, but again, temperament is very important.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Patti Pytlak: Over the years, I am seeing a change in structure and heads. Our “envelope” (rectangular) heads are becoming more square. The pear shape, with a heavy, barrel chest, is also lacking, and the correct, unrestricted, rolling gait seems to be either a rock & roll side to side or a choppy bounce.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Patti Pytlak: I feel it is important for new breeders, and judges, to attend breed seminars and watch videos that the Pekingese Club of America has available for education. Study the Standard! Big coat should only be the icing on the cake.