Showsight Magazine’s Allan Reznik talks with Margaret Peat of Pramada Dachshunds, on her history with the breed, spanning back to the early days of her childhood.
Where did you grow up?
Margaret Peat : I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, until I graduated from college.
Growing up in Minnesota meant there were many long drives to dog shows throughout the Midwest and even a few cross-country trips in our little motorhome as well as flying, when I got to be older.
Showing dogs in the Midwest meant everything from remote fairgrounds to city center convention centers. The weather could be perfect or you could have to drive through a blizzard or try to stay cool in unbearable heat and humidity. I spent my formative years whelping litters, raising puppies, showing dogs, and doing pretty much anything any professional handler asked of me. As a teenager, I was whelping my own litters, but also ran through the mud at Montgomery County, logged countless miles at Astro Hall, sat on the bench at McCormick Hall, stood in awe at Madison Square Garden, and enjoyed just a few shows in beautiful California. When I made the surprising decision not to pursue a career as a dog handler, I chose to relocate to Scottsdale, Arizona. My time there was relatively short. In 2000, my career took me to the San Francisco Bay area. So, while my home growing up was in Minnesota, I truly believe I grew up at “dog shows.”
Your parents, David and Pamela Peat, are well-known Dachshund and Affenpinscher breeders and multi-Group judges. Was it a foregone conclusion that you would follow in their footprints with the same breed? Was there a time when dog breeding and showing was not on your radar?
Margaret Peat : I always knew I would have Longhaired Dachshunds in my life, but my first bred-by litter and bred-by champion was actually a Whippet. I didn’t continue in Whippets, though, as my heart was in Longhaired Dachshunds. It was another five years before I would have my first bred-by Longhaired Dachshund litter. While I had been involved in Pramada breeding since I was a child, the litter that produced CH Pramada’s Curmudgeon L, Ben, was my first bred-by Longhaired Dachshund litter. This dog was the culmination of over 20 years of Pramada breeding and, without a doubt, one of the proudest moments of Pramada Dachshunds.
After Ben’s litter, we had a few more litters in Minnesota. I graduated from college and ultimately moved to Arizona to start my career. Although I had a few litters in Arizona, in 1999 I decided to take a break from breeding and showing. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area and lived without any dogs for about five years. (It was almost seven years between litters.) Those five years gave me time to focus on my career and also re-assess my priorities for my breeding program. While five years may not seem like a long time, I wouldn’t have any dogs to restart my breeding program without the breeders who had Pramada dogs in their pedigrees. Thank you, especially, to Cynthia Geiser (Insight Dachshunds) and Kaye Middler (Tudox Dachshunds) for their dogs (Bob and Trista) that were instrumental in my return by allowing me to have dogs in 2004. I had my first litter in 2006, after taking the break, and I haven’t looked back since. In 2012, Tom Sikora and I co-bred our first litter and, since 2015, we have been co-breeding all litters together. So, Pramada Dachshunds has now become Pramada Koradox. While Tom and I don’t show as frequently ourselves as we did in the mid-2000s, we always make sure there are Pramada Koradox Dachshunds in the ring.
Who were your mentors in the sport? Please elaborate on their influence.
Margaret Peat : My parents, of course, are mentors who helped me develop into the breeder, exhibitor, and dog show enthusiast that I am today. My mom was instrumental in teaching me about breeding and whelping. Her knowledge as a nurse practitioner transferred to dogs in many ways and by the time I was 10 years old I was assisting in all aspects of breeding and whelping. In Dachshunds, specifically, Hannelore Heller was a huge influence in my understanding of handling, grooming, and learning pedigrees. I had quite a few other handlers whom I consider mentors, including Jay Richardson, Nina Fetter, Michael Work, Denny Mounce, Peggy Lloyd, Bruce Schultz, Gretchen Schultz, and Vicki Seiler-Cushman. Each of them taught me many things about care and conditioning, the business of dog shows and handling, and how to succeed in life. There are more handlers than I can even list who imparted wisdom to me over the decades while I was growing up at shows. Now that I am older, I know that the late nights hanging out with longtime Dachshund breeders gave me immeasurable exposure and knowledge about the breed, which I rely on to this day when looking at pedigrees and deciding about breeding plans. I was always “the kid” hanging with the adults, but getting to listen to so many knowledgeable people talk openly about dogs definitely influenced the breeder I am today.
The Pramada/Koradox Dachshunds are widely known, highly successful and well respected. What breeding philosophies do you adhere to?
Margaret Peat : Tom and I both “trust our gut,” but we may be more fluid than some breeders. We may have a plan for two to three generations of breedings but, after the second generation is born and develops, we might scrap those plans and go a different route. You have to be willing to change the plan, if needed. This constant evaluation and critical decision making are key to our success. We will never have a Pramada Koradox dog shown (either by ourselves or by someone else) that we do not believe is a worthy representative of our breeding program. This means some litters have no puppies that are shown and some litters produce multiple campaign-worthy champions.
How many dogs do you currently house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained.
Margaret Peat : We normally have between eight and 10 dogs (not counting puppies under six months) at our home, with two to three that are constant “house dogs.” We do not have a kennel set-up with indoor/outdoor runs. We have a dedicated room in our house and dog runs where multiple dogs run together. All dogs are handled daily in the movement from crates to runs, which allows us to monitor their condition constantly. The dogs not actively being shown are bathed every two to four weeks. Dogs that are currently being shown get bathed weekly and all dogs get bi-weekly maintenance of teeth, nails, ears, and brushing.
Who were/are some of your most significant Dachshunds, both in the whelping box and in the show ring?
Margaret Peat : Without a doubt, our most significant dog is Ben, CH Pramada’s Curmudgeon L, both in the ring and the whelping box. Ben is the sire of three National Specialty winners from three separate litters. He is found in the pedigrees of many top-winning Longhaired Dachshunds over the past 20 years. Ben also won the Group at Westminster Kennel Club in 1998, the first Longhaired Dachshund to do so. He was a multiple BIS and SBIS winner and, since I resumed breeding, we have focused our breeding program on him.
After Ben, it is very hard to narrow it down to talk about just a few dogs. The two dogs that were my “return” to breeding are, of course, significant. Bob, GCH Insight Rumorhasit at Pramada L, sired multiple litters for Pramada Koradox, but two litters (R & Q) were very successful and instrumental in the quality of Pramada Koradox today. He made his mark not just in the US as a stud dog, but also in the UK, Europe, and Russia. Bob has achieved Register of Merit Outstanding from the Dachshund Club of America, the highest recognition for a stud dog possible. Trista, CH Tudox Tristezas at Pramada L, is the dam of Brando, GCHS Pramada’s Living Legend L, and grand-dam of Daffy via Cali, CH Pramada’s She’s So California at Koradox. Cali is very significant to Pramada because Tom (Koradox) and I met through her. Brando, GCHS Pramada’s Living Legend L, was my first litter following my hiatus and helped to renew my love of breeding. While he was a multiple Group and Specialty winner, his contribution to our breeding program is where he really excelled.
Daffy, GCHS Koradox Pramada Daffodil SL, is a breeder’s dream. She has won multiple SBIS as well as BOS at our 2018 National Specialty. While her wins are wonderful, she is an incredible dam. Her first litter produced eight puppies, but she then took on another five when their dam wasn’t producing milk. After raising those 13 puppies, she won BOS and Select Bitch at the two host shows of our 2017 National Specialty. Tom handled Daffy as breeder/owner to these impressive wins. She has produced 11 champions, resulting in her being top producer in 2018 and 2019.
Charles, GCHS Pramada’s Xavier with Jorddachs SL, was the combination of Bob and Brando that I had planned when I returned to breeding. His successes in the ring include multiple SBIS, achieving his UK championship, multiple Group wins, and Group 4 at Crufts. As far as I know, Charles is the only American Dachshund to achieve a UK championship breeder/owner-handled. In fact, all of Charles’ wins were breeder/owner-handled.
Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition, and what trends might bear watching.
Margaret Peat : There are three varieties of Dachshunds, and I believe the Wirehaired variety has the most overall quality at this time. You can watch this variety across the country and find dogs with good balance, beautiful type, good temperament, and quality coats. Smooths have improved throughout my lifetime, most notably their temperaments. Longhairs, overall, have excellent temperaments, but I am concerned with the focus on prominent prosternum while standing versus carry-back of keel, excessive coat versus quality of coat, and speed of movement over balanced movement.
The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport?
Margaret Peat : I think we need to separate the state of purebred dogs from the state of dog shows. Dachshunds have a high number of active breeders, many of whom are involved in performance/field events as well as conformation. I think our breed is in a pretty good place with younger breeders as well as new breeders coming from other breeds or new to the purebred dog world. I believe the current state of dog shows is a result of the focus shifting from evaluating breeding stock to rankings and statistics. Encouraging a newcomer to Dachshunds has to revolve around the love of the breed and sharing those dogs with others—and not about winning in the ring. Getting people involved with purebred dogs needs to be about education and helping them find their love of a chosen breed. Nurturing that dedication, interest, and love is the key to longevity.
Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?
Margaret Peat : Tom and I want to continue to produce Longhairs that are respected worldwide. Sharing our knowledge as breeders is important and we consciously choose to contribute as mentors. We hope to continue to produce well-mannered, healthy dogs that are not just excellent representatives in the conformation ring, but also wonderful companions.
Finally, tell us a little about Maggie outside of dogs… your profession, your hobbies.
Margaret Peat : Being a dedicated purebred dog breeder is really a full-time job in itself. However, I have worked at Wells Fargo for almost 25 years. Outside of work and dogs, I love home improvement projects, crime dramas (both televised and in books) and exploring different parts of our beautiful world.