We asked the following questions to our friends in the Maltese Community. Below are their responses, which are taken from the October 2019 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe. Pictured above: Daryl Martin (Left), Stacy Newton (Right)
- Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
- A Maltese floating around the ring is always a crowd pleaser. Is he as entertaining at home?
- What’s your favorite characteristic in this charmer?
- The Maltese is currently ranked by AKC as #37 out of 192. Has his popularity fluctuated during your involvement? Why do you think this is so?
- We know image is important. What clothing color do you favor to complement his gorgeous white coat?
- How do you place your pups?
- At what age do you choose a show prospect?
- What is your favorite dog show memory?
- Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.
I live in the Chicago area, a northern suburb. I often go into our broadway area to see the newest musicals Chicago has to offer. Our theatre group always does a nice dinner beforehand, and then we see a play. It is important to be able to do fun things.
Is the breed as entertaining at home as they are in the ring? Of course they are entertaining at home. They love to please and are very smart and loving too.
What’s my favorite characteristic? I love the personality of a Maltese; they think they are big dogs.
Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Since I have been involved in the breed since the late 50s early 60s I have seen the popularity always go uphill. Since they have small litters they are not on top of the numbers game. Years ago there weren’t as many breeds to compare numbers with either. Many Maltese pet owners are Maltese owners for life . Once they own one they always replace them with another one. If you are talking about at the shows. I just read a letter from Aennchen to Frank Oberstar that she was complaining in the 60s there were no majors. That hasn’t changed. The show game has gone up and down, but the want for pets has always been there.
What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s white coat? I wear a lot of black, but I do anyway. I also recently have worn a very deep electric blue with many compliments. Truthfully it is the dog that should stand out, not the handler. Many rich colors are worn. At specialties since everyone likes to wear black, I like to wear a different color to stand out!
How do I place my pups? I do not advertise. The few litters I have are for my own desire to make better dogs or consistent good dogs. Generally word of mouth is where my dogs go if I don’t keep them. Many of my dogs are replacing generations of dogs that people have bought in the past. As I said earlier once a Maltese owner, always a Maltese owner. My dogs generally are not sold as puppies either as I like to see how they turn out. You have no idea as young puppies unless they have a terrible fault to begin with.
At what age do I choose a show prospect? As I just said young puppies change. Show prospect is a funny description as anything can be shown. I am very critical of my dogs, and most of my pets that I sell are others show prospects. I do not sell to show homes, I keep my best and sell the others to pet homes. I have a couple people that I share with, who are very special. One I just lost this year.
Probably the most favorite memory was at the national in houston. Dorothy Nickles was judging. I had the great #1 Toy BIS BISS CH. Joanne-Chen’s Mino Maya Dancer, “Mino” entered as a veteran. I had not shown him all year, and I also had not trimmed him all year. He won the veterans class, but could not walk due to his long coat. I quickly yelled give me a scissors and cut his coat. In those days the amount of specials was triple or more what we have today, so I had a few minutes while the best of breed competition was organizing and veterans go to the end. I won the national! Nobody could believe how I did that so quickly, neither could I! I also was so proud because the bitch that I was specialing that year (we had a pitch hitter handler show BIS CH. Gemmery’s Citrine Bean , and she went BOS. She was out of my Bean Puff, and was and probably still is top producing BIS bitch in history of the breed.
I just would like the people to realize what our standard states and what Maltese are. Since I have been part of this breed probably almost longer than anyone else in the breed today, I have seen how our Maltese were years ago and where they have changed. It is only in the last five years or so that our breed is changing drastically, and I hope we go back to the middle. Granted grooming changes, but we need to realize the Maltese that are from the other countries are not what our akc standard calls for. We also need to be aware of the change in our breed and also the change in the health of our dogs too.
Stacy Newton and Ellen Kurland are the breeders behind Sarcenet Maltese. Stacy’s husband Zach is a professional handler who shows several breeds, including Maltese. Sarcenet Maltese is indebted to Angela and Larry Stanberry of Divine Maltese who provided a strong foundation to Sarcenet through their decades of exceptional breeding decisions and devotion to the breed. Prior to showing and breeding Maltese, Stacy showed and bred Papillons with her mentor Rita Koy and participated in obedience, agility and rally competition. Stacy thanks her cousin Noel Ramsey (Samoyeds and Alaskan Malamutes) for bringing her into the wonderful world of dog shows!
My husband (Handler Zach Newton) and I live just outside of Evansville, Indiana, in the southwest corner of the state. Outside of dogs I work a “3/4 time” flex time schedule writing legal briefs for a large employment law firm. My job is nearly 100% remote which allows me to travel to shows, although it also means that I sometimes have to pull “all-nighters” in the RV to get my work done! Prior to that I practiced in a traditional law firm as a litigation attorney for over 20 years. For fun outside of dogs I enjoy watching horror movies, reading (especially Stephen King) and shopping
Is the breed as entertaining at home as they are in the ring? Absolutely. Maltese are the ultimate companion dogs. They are game for whatever you want—they fetch, go on walks or watch TV. They are little clowns and always seeking attention. My foundation bitch is particularly funny and has passed her silliness onto her puppies.
What’s my favorite characteristic? They want nothing more than to be with their people, but they also love the company of other Maltese. There is an occasional scuffle, but for the most part they live in harmony. It is wonderful to be surrounded by dogs that get along well.
Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Our registration numbers are declining. There are fewer show breeders and the breeders we have are breeding fewer litters. The breed requires a huge commitment insofar as grooming and has the usual issues involved in whelping toy dogs. Litters are generally small. The breed is fortunate however in that there are some younger breeders who are very devoted to the breed and who do a terrific job with their dogs. Numbers are also down, in my opinion, because breeders who bred solely for the purpose of producing pets are now breeding small mixed breeds instead of purebreds.
What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s white coat? Black of course! I wear a lot of navy blue, and also hot pink and royal blue.
How do I place my pups? I’ve been extremely fortunate in that my “puppy people” have been referrals from friends in other breeds, and so there is a connection before I even speak with a potential new home. I don’t do applications—first contact is usually email, then phone calls and then if possible an in-person meeting. I am always excited about homes where the dogs will participate in some activity—therapy work, obedience, agility, rally. I previously participated in companion events with my Papillons and when raising my Maltese litters I do the same things I did with my Papillon litters to prepare them for those activities.
At what age do I choose a show prospect? I start looking at my puppies right away, things like coat texture and pigment and head shape can be seen early on. Deciding who stays involves an analysis of the reasons why I bred that litter more so than who I think is the pick puppy overall. If I bred to a particular dog in order to improve coat texture and length of back for example (areas where the bitch may be lacking), I’m going to keep the puppy that best displays those characteristics to move forward from. These are things that we can see as the puppies develop and I usually have my mind made up between eight to ten weeks.
My favorite dog show memory? Nothing can ever touch winning BISS at the AMA National Specialty in 2019 under respected breeder-judge Sandy Bingham-Porter with our Joey (GCHB Divine’s Takes The Cake At Sarcenet). My husband showed him and I paced outside the ring the whole time. The year before our Jeffrey (CH Sarcenet I Call Shotgun) won Best Puppy in Sweepstakes at the National at six months and a week old with me handling him, which was also a wonderful experience. Each special win reminds me of the birth of that dog—all that hope and love in a four ounce puppy coming to fruition months or years later.
I loved the beauty of Maltese for years before I got up the nerve to buy one to show—I was terrified of the grooming required. I’d like to tell people who are interested in a Maltese that yes, there is a steep learning curve grooming-wise, but it can be learned with practice. I’m so glad I got over my coat care fears because we would have been missing out on the best breed ever if I had not!