Survey: The Non-Sporting Group

From the January 2020 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.

  1. Where do you live?
  2. How many years in dogs?
  3. What do you do “outside” of dogs?
  4. How did you get involved in this sport? What made you decide to become a breeder?
  5. A brief overview of your experience as a breeder.
  6. Describe your breed in three words.
  7. How does your breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds?
  8. Does your breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Why or why not?
  9. What’s the biggest misconception about the breed among the general public*? *This can include other people who breed and show dogs, too!
  10. What can your parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed?
  11. What’s the largest health concern facing your breed today?
  12. Any trends you see in your breed that you believe need to continue? Any you’d like to see stopped?
  13. To whom do you owe the most? In other words, which mentor helped you the most as you learned the ropes?
  14. Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges?
  15. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen (or heard about) at a dog show?

 

Diane Burvee

Diane Burvee is an internationally-acclaimed French Bulldog authority who has authored several breed articles, including one on ‘Judging French Bulldogs’ that has been circulated worldwide and translated in 19 different countries. She has presented seminars and judge French Bulldogs in more countries than any current American Frenchie Judge/Breeder in recent times. On the homefront in America, she has bred, shown and owned more All Breeds and Specialty Best In Show French Bulldogs in the past decade than any other kennel including winning the National Specialty, Regional Specialties and Westminster, to name a few highlights. Her current special is not only the #1 French Bulldog bitch and #2 French Bulldog overall in the country but also the top-winning breeder-owner-handled French Bulldog in history with 8 All Breeds Best In Shows and countless BISS! Miss Burvee is currently working on a new PowerPoint on Judging French Bulldogs.

I live in the middle of the great county of United States in Kansas City. I’ve been in dogs since 1993 when I came to America to attend college (or university as my foreign pals would call it). Outside of dogs, I enjoy traveling to explore new destinations, and love discovering the gem of various ethnic cultures. I’m a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoy different cuisines.

How did I get involved in this sport? My uncle was a huge German Shepherd fancier, so I started to attend dog shows in different parts of the world as a kid, which is something I still do regularly today. My first breed was the aristocratic Afghan Hound, then the imperial Chinese Royal Dog, the Pekingese, and currently the French Bulldog.

Animal Husbandry and Theriogenology have always fascinated me, along with Biology and Reproduction being some of my favourite subjects in school. I have found that there is something unequivocally fulfilling to bring your vision to fruition through planning and carrying out breedings. It is however an aptitude that not everyone is gifted with.

I started breeding while I was in college so in a good way, I was lucky to start young, and hence, I was able to make mistakes, have time to rectify and learn from them. A young open mind is a sponge that can absorb and hold knowledge. Afghan Hound was my first love, and my foundation Afghan bitch was a typey blue bitch (of full American bloodlines) from Australia. I was so determined to breed her to what I considered to be the best dog for her that I chose to attend university in America so that I can be close to that stud in mind! Crazy things we do for love, or in my case here, the love of dogs! Upon graduating from college, I decided to have another breed, and the Pekingese was the chosen breed. At this stage, I was getting a bit more ambitious and self-confident (the beauty of youth!). My very first Pekingese was not only the Number One Bitch in the country, I also became the first breeder in Pekingese to utilize chilled semen hand-carried from England to successfully have an all-champion litter. I made my mistakes in Afghans, tested my breeding theories to great success in Pekingese, and then I apply them to further practice in French Bulldog, my current breed. I am the first documented French Bulldog Breeder in the whole wide world to have successfully bred a multi-sired litter utilizing imported frozen semen from two different countries. With breeding comes the highest highs and also the lowest lows, but I am a staunch believer that bitches are the backbone of the breed, and I never leave any stones unturned when it comes to seeking the most suitable studs for my bitches. The ideal studs can be in Timbuktu or Casablanca, and trust me if he’s the right one, I’ll be there to harvest his semen to bring his genes back to breed my bitch! True hard-core Breeders take breeding extremely seriously, and each litter is all tenaciously planned after much deliberation and research, without cutting corners or leaving things to chance. Why put our precious bitches through the stress of pregnancy, parturition, and motherhood expecting them to deliver the goods, unless we have done the homework on our part as Breeders and given them the best chance to deliver the next generation that we envision. This is where true breeders segregate away from the less serious ones. Real breeders never stop studying and aiming for progress, and their ‘proof in the pudding’ is evidenced by the type and consistency they produce generation after generation.

My breed described in three words: the French Bulldog should be comical, curious and affectionate.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? The French Bulldog is ranked the highest in popularity among the Non-Sporting breeds. Unfortunately with this popularity also comes the dark side of people breeding fad coloured ones for pure monetary gains. Or show breeders (including some supposedly top names) selling substandard and unhealthy specimens to Asian and Latin countries for quick big profit.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? No breed gets the attention or wins in the Non-Sporting group like the Standard Poodles, but the French Bulldog does get its fair share of attention in the group, but mainly the well-advertised professionally-handled specials. The judges seem to focus only on two components when judging Frenchies: they must have a distinct roach back (often the rewarded toplines are too exaggerated) or showmanship. The French Bulldog is a head and silhouette breed, and with silhouette, it means the whole balance and outline which includes the three very important components of upsweep, layback and underline, etc. and not just the topline itself. And it pains me to see judges allowing handlers to run the Frenchies in the ring like a Sporting breed to create flash, when this is a pear-shaped breed that should not move in such a way, if they are correctly constructed. I am grateful the French Bulldog breed is getting the accolades at the group level frequently, but I am not so convinced if that’s due to the deep pocket for advertising or the true bona fide quality of the dogs being campaigned. The next time you watch or judge, check with discerning eyes if the Frenchie in the ring truly have a proper square head made only possible by broad well-padded muzzle, and wide underjaw with ample cushioning. The square head, and the quintessential tall round bat ears, are the hallmarks of the breed and not the apple or wedge-shaped headpieces with no fills under the eyes, narrower muzzles and ugly droopy flews we so commonly see these days.

The biggest misconception about the breed among the general public is that it is a miniature Bulldog. It isn’t and it is not a breed for everyone. Owners must be acutely aware of its limitation when it comes to hot weather and humidity tolerance, or rather, intolerance. It is not uncommon to hear about breeders, and even professional handlers, losing dogs to heat exhaustion so everyone should be very vigilant when it comes to the 24-hour care of the dogs.

As far as among the people who breed, we need to strongly utilize line or in breeding to set type and lock it in, or at least breed type to type to achieve some level of consistency, because French Bulldogs generally don’t breed true! And that is frustrating for both breeders as well as judges to see a smorgasbord of head styles, proportion, balance and size in the litter or show ring.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? The parent club is doing their part to educate the public, but the reality is that there is only so much the patent club or even AKC can do. We really don’t need the breed to be anymore popular, but education to create awareness is always good so everyone who owns, breeds and judges French Bulldog know exactly what to do and expect. I wish we can also focus more on public education to help the general public understand the importance of acquiring dogs from reputable preservation breeders.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? In my opinion, definitely Brachycephalic Obstructive Airways Syndrome (BOAS), with pinched nares, elongated palate, exerted saccules and laryngeal collapses of different stages. Then, there are perhaps also the cardiac problems, and autoimmune issues that sometimes manifests in skin problems and allergies.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? Breed-specific health testings should be mandatory. Good education and workshops presented by qualified candidates so we can all continue to share and learn. Judges need to judge according to the Standard without personal bias, and bravo to the judges who call for scale as there are honky, big Frenchies being shown! I wish the fad colours breeders and puppy-millers would cease and desist.

I seriously owe thanks to everyone who has shared any French Bulldog related experience and knowledge with me, as we learn and grow from each interaction. I learned a lot about French Bulldog even before I own one as we have some top American breeders in the Midwest such as the late Herschel Cox, Ed Doherty, etc. In terms of mentors, I’m very grateful to have Collete Secor (Lefox) in California share her knowledge as well as one of Europe’s Top Breeders, Tove Rasmussen of Daulokke fame in Denmark. I must also mention the late Elaine Rigden who was so generous with her knowledge not just in Pekingese but also Frenchies, as her husband, Jerry Rigen, showed Francine—the Top-Winning French Bulldog Bitch in history. I made my mistakes as a breeder in Afghan Hounds, learned a great deal in Pekingese and applied plenty of those knowledge to French Bulldogs so my past mentors in other breeds play a big role in my success today as a Frenchie breeder
as well.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? The French Bulldog is one of the hardest breeds to evaluate when it comes to judging them mainly because on any given day in a class, the breed is all over the place. However, in the initial lineup, it should be rather apparent how you will place the class as type should scream at you! Unfortunately, there are a lot of plain boring generic Frenchies being shown, including some top-ranked specials. Judges seem to fail to comprehend type, and just judge them in a generic way instead of the breed-specific manner it deserves. Most judges over-simplify this intricate breed by basing their placements on a single feature such as topline. And in most cases, they actually get it so wrong because they end up with those with too exaggerated a topline such as camel or wheel back that the breeders are actually trying to avoid as they are harder to fix than say a level back. It is also common to see judges award based strictly on showmanship at the expense of type. Please do not allow any handlers to run with the exhibits to create flash! If a Frenchie is raced around the ring like a Sporting Dog, ask yourself if they can be truly be pear-shaped like they should be? French Bulldog is a head breed so please study the head from the front but also in profile from the side to ascertain upsweep and layback. It is also a silhouette breed so consider the whole outline including the very important underline and not just zoom in on the topline while forgetting the other components. Head and silhouette should always come first, then movement, when it comes to prioritizing while judging. Go with type and quality, and not what’s being advertised at the detriment of the breed. And my best advise is to have an open mind even after you have your judging license, and continue to ask questions and never stop learning about the breed.

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? A streaker! And also a well-known professional handler tooting loudly in the ring but pretending that it was her Frenchie that was farting.

Mayno Blanding

I live in Ridgefield, Washington. I began showing my dog in obedience when I was a teenager and have always had at least one dog in my life.

Outside of dogs, I love classical music and sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus for 18 years before moving to Washington state. I was a choir director for most of my adult life until I retired a few years ago. I have a large family and enjoy visiting my grandchildren and having them come to visit me.

How did I get involved in this sport? In 2000, I wanted a Bichon for Obedience but could only find a show prospect. I agreed to let the breeder show her and produce one litter. She was a beauty and won her championship easily over specials. I was hooked and have been breeding and showing ever since.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder. I have bred every couple of years and have consistently produced champions in each litter. I take breeding and placing puppies very seriously, spend hours socializing them and place them in carefully-selected homes. Many of my puppy buyers have returned for another dog.

My breed in three words: beautiful, loving and playful.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? They are slowly declining in popularity, perhaps because of the tremendous amount of work it takes to keep them white and trimmed.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Yes, they do very well in Group. I am always disappointed if my dog does not get a placement in Group and note that Bichons have usually been right up there with Standard Poodles in Group placements.

The biggest misconception about the breed among the general public? Many people do not realize how smart this breed is. They learn very quickly but are not shown in Obedience often for some reason. I myself have not shown in Obedience for eight or nine years, because I have been so busy with conformation. It is really difficult to do both in this breed because of the amount of time it takes to prepare for the conformation ring.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? I wish they would encourage local clubs to get involved with Meet-the-Breeds.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Auto-immune diseases including allergies/sensitivities. They have some eye concerns. Overall this is a very healthy breed.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? Breeders have greatly improved the overall conformation of the Bichon Frise. I judged the Bred-by-Exhibitor Special Attraction this year at our National Specialty, and I was extremely impressed by the quality I saw. As a member of the Health Committee, I wish breeders would do more testing—especially the long-timers. We are pushing hard to change this.

I owe the most to Rosemarie Blood, who was my mentor and sponsor for the BFCA. I used to talk to her after every show, and she helped me evaluate my litters. I miss her terribly.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Putting a pretty face over soundness. This should be one of the best-moving dogs in the ring. They should be solid little dogs with excellent angulation and beautiful reach and drive.

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? A friend lost her slip in the group ring one time. She just stepped out of it, tossed it outside the ring, gave a little bow and carried on. It was hilarious.

Cathy Clapp

I live in Hodgenville, Kentucky (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln) and have been in dogs since 1982.

Outside of dogs, I work at Edward Jones as Branch Office Manager. I read a lot and occasionally write.

How did I get involved in this sport? I had a puppy that others kept telling me I should show and started going to matches. He did well and I’d ask the judges if he was really worth showing and they’d always tell me they thought so. I entered in my first real AKC show and as soon as I walked ringside I knew that my dog was not show quality. But I was already hooked and continued to show him. Because I did, I met a breeder who was willing to take a chance on me and sold me a show quality red bitch. And while I did show her my first AKC title was not a Championship. In the meantime, I had trained that first dog in Obedience and I put a CD (Companion Dog) title on him.

What made me decide to become a breeder? It’s difficult to get a good dog and especially a good bitch. I finally decided the best way to try and get what I wanted would be to attempt to breed it.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder: I do not breed often—usually when I’m ready for something new to show. Because I didn’t want to become a collector I was always very hard on evaluating puppies and only kept what fit what I was looking for. And I didn’t have it easy. I had all kinds of reproduction issues with my first bitches so I eventually had to look at a new bloodline and start over. That was when I finally started having some success.

My breed described in three words: majestic, square and serious.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? Not that high. You have to be careful with temperament and they require a ton of socialization in addition to you have to put some effort into grooming. Even Smooth coats are not a wash and wear breed. If you want to show Chows you need to be committed to upkeep, not just day-of-show preparations.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? It seems to run in cycles. Right now Chows have been fairing pretty well in the groups but that’s not always the case. There are years where very few Chows receive group placements and years where multiple Chows seem to be placing. Maybe the fact that a Chow placed in the group at Westminster Kennel Club in 2019 (one I bred actually, GCHB FlamingStar The Lion King, owner-handled by Vicki DeGruy) put the spotlight on the breed and garnered them more notice.

The biggest misconception about the breed among the general public? That they are a “one-man dog” and they are all mean. While most would rather stay at home and be a recluse, the fact is if you get them out and socialize them they will be fine in public. And they are protective without being mean. One of their original purposes was as a guard dog and that instinct to protect what is theirs is usually there. But it doesn’t mean they can’t be polite in public. But they also aren’t a Golden Retriever. They’re more like a cat.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? Honestly, We don’t want more popularity. We’ve already been through that in the 80s and once was enough. They were so popular at one point that they were #3 in Litter Registration and #6 in Individual Registration with AKC. Chows were everywhere and they were breeding bad temperaments and all kinds of health issues. We don’t need that again.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? We have several known issues in Chows: hips, elbows, thyroid, eyes and patella. The biggest concern is the sheer number of breeders who do not check any of their breeding stock. Their attitude is that if they don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist. So they are breeding without any idea of what they might be passing along for the next person to deal with.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? We need to continue breeding good, sound, balanced dogs that have breed type. We do not need extreme overdone dogs which some are promoting. However, as long as there are people who think that is what a Chow should look like, I do not see it stopping. Non-show breeders especially are breeding both extremes—those with no breed type and those that are so heavy you wonder how the dogs functions.

I owe so much to the mentors that sold me my first show dogs, but I’d have to say the ones that helped me the most long-term were Harvey and Penny Kent of Sunburst Chows (now retired from showing and breeding). They gave me the bitch which my current dogs go back to and I have bred to several of their stud dogs over the years. When I was looking for something specific they were the ones that had it and were willing to help. They liked a similar style dog as I do so it was a good match.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Being nervous approaching a Chow. Believe me, Chows pick up on it and will react by backing away. If you are afraid of them, they don’t want anything to do with you. So don’t hover or stand and stare. Ask the handler if they are ready and then just walk up to the dog and put your hands on it. And always keep at least one hand on the dog as you are moving down the body so the dog always knows where you are. The biggest mistake is pulling away and then coming back from behind. Chows have deep-set eyes and can’t really see where you went. And that’s also why they don’t like you reaching over their head. Go for the chin or sides and work your way back.

And the other? Look for square and breed type and do what you think is right. And if someone decides to complain about your judging and how you put up the wrong dog because “their dog is ranked” consider the fact it’s quite likely that you might have had multiple ranked dogs in your ring and some of them are probably higher than the one that complained.

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? I know one of the funniest that happened to me was when I got suckered into taking a Swissy puppy into the ring (I think they had most of the litter there). That bugger grabbed ahold of my skirt and wouldn’t let go; I thought he was going to rip it off me as we were trying to go around the ring! I was never so glad to get out of the ring and still have all my clothes on!

Carol Fellbaum

I live in Houston, Texas. I grew up in West Bend, Wisconsin. I currently breed Bichon Frise but was born into Pugs and showed sporting breeds in Junior Showmanship. I’ve been exhibiting since I could hold the leash of a Pug, about 45 years. I have lots of interests but hardly have time to pursue them. My focus now is on breeding and showing Bichons, the breed I dearly love.

I became involved in the sport because my parents bred and showed Pugs in conformation. I always knew I wanted to breed dogs that I could successfully show in AKC shows. I like watching puppies grow and mature. I enjoy the optimism that they may grow into beautiful dogs to show.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder: my first foray into breeding was heartbreaking, with the loss of my bitch’s litter. My next litter restored my sense of excitement.

My breed described in three words. For Bichons: happy, fluffy and companion.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? I would say Bichons rank in the top half of the Non-Sporting Group.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Attention to the breed runs in trends. Since Bichons are a more difficult breed for a non-professional to maintain to compete in the Non-Sporting group, fewer people may want to tackle the breed.

The biggest misconception about the breed among the general public? One misconception is that they are easily housebroken. They are happy and intelligent, but their stubbornness can make them difficult to housebreak.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed? Our parent club can continue community outreach to include Meet the Breed.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Health concerns facing the breed are bladder stones, patella luxation, cataracts, allergies and cancer. Most of these issues can be eliminated through testing and judicious breeding.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? We hope breeders will continue breeding to the AKC written standard. The long legs and short back/Poodle look is a trend that should be stopped.

Some of the many people who have helped me learn the ropes at different times in my career are Judy Cooper of Tip N Chip Great Pyrenees, Judy McNamara of Kings Cross Bichon, Joanne Ruben of Glory B Bichons (my co-breeding partner), and Henriette Schmidt of Hillcrest Springer Spaniels.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? A judge must have a vision of what the breed should look like in their mind, and know the standard. With Bichons the trimming can create an illusion; this is a breed the judge must put hands on, feel them, get underneath that beautiful hair.

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? As I watched, a person tripped and fell while carrying a beautiful Old English sheepdog through a wet, muddy field.

Debra Ferguson

I am approved to judge both the Toy Group and the Non-Sporting Group, American Hairless Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Glen Of Imaal Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers and Welsh Terriers.

I live in a suburb of Seattle Washington, home of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Boeing and the Seahawks. I have had a dog all my life. I finished my first Champion in 1968, a black Miniature. Outside of the dog world, I am a Land Developer in the Seattle Metropolitan Area. My Company, Lakeridge Development and Classic Concept’s develop single-family neighborhoods, from the raw ground to the completed homes. My hobbies outside of dogs include horses, skiing and traveling.

I first started showing dogs in 1967 as a junior handler. I found my first show dog, a silver Miniature, in a snowbank in Alaska. I joined 4-H and started training my dog in obedience. It was not long until the local breeders discovered me and gave me a registered Poodle.

What made me decide to become a breeder? I became Mrs Ellis’ junior handler. Mrs. Ellis imported her Poodles from England with Bud Dickey in the mid-60s. I was fortunate enough to co-breed and handle for Mrs. Ellis.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder: dogs are my passion. I bred the Best In Show winner of the Poodle Club of America in 2010 and 2018. I have owned many best in show winning dogs, most notable of which was GCHP CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore, winner of over 115 all-breed best in shows and Reserve Best In Show at Westminster. In addition to being a long time Poodle Breeder, I have bred Bedlington Terriers, Collies, Doberman Pinschers and Pomeranians.

My breed described in three words. Elegant, proud and intelligent.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? According to a quick Google search, the Poodle is #2 to the French Bulldog. I had expected the Poodle to be number one.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? LOL, of course, it does! It is the ultimate glamour breed.

The biggest misconception about my breed among the general public? That this a “Foo Foo” breed, all glamour, with no vigor. Which is not true. These dogs hunt with the best of the sporting breeds.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? We have a fabulous Parent Club that puts on the Award-winning Poodle Club of America National Dog Show. It is not just the green grass and white picket fences that make The Poodle Club of America unique. It is the support of junior handlers, with a major education and scholarship program, judges education, support of the Canine Health organization.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Correct Structure.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue? Better health. Any I’d like to see stopped? People breeding for style ignoring correctly constructed dogs with moderate angulation.

I owe the most to Mrs. Ellis, L’Dyne Brennan and Wendell Sammet.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is that some judges fail to understand the correct structure of a Poodle. They comment that all Poodles are U-necked and carry their head over their back. It implies that the judge is judging the Golden Retriever, the Bulldog and the Poodle by the same standard. This is
not correct.

Janet Hartmann

I have interests outside of breeding and the dog shows, when not gardening or trying a new gourmet recipe, I do charity work for the Binky Patrol. I make blankets (e.g. quilts, comforters, and afghans), hats and scarves for the needy.

I spent 34 years in the computer industry supporting large IBM mainframes and personal computers. I always told myself that I wanted to do something different during retirement. A Christmas present from Barbara Chappell (Taywyn Bichons) in 2005 brought that ‘something different’ to my life. She gave me Lily, who was my first Bichon show dog. Lily was first shown at the 2006 San Diego Bichon Specialty. At seven months old she won Sweepstakes, Best Puppy and RWB. My lifelong love of dogs and this win hooked me on the sport. After Lily earned her CH title, I wanted another show dog so I bred her.

Mission Viejo, California is my home town. This city is a planned community with a Home Owners Association. Breeding in this urban vs rural setting has its challenges, but I make it work. This is fairly easy since I breed one litter every two to three years, when I need another show dog. Seeking quality vs quantity, I am now on generation four of award-winning Bichons. Generation five is looking very promising. Jaws and son Blade have won AKC National Awards of Merit. Blade is on his way to GCH Gold. I own the first and only female Bichon (Willow) that has earned the title GCH Gold. She has already produced five Champions.

Some Bichon breeders are looking to return to the basics of the standard. We want better movement, large round eyes to improve expression, dark pigmentation and flowing plumage on the tails. Screening OFA’s of the hips and patella’s have helped to improve the rear end structure. Improved diet and nutrition have improved pigmentation and coat.

Breeders need to make the purchase of a dog an easier, more enjoyable experience for the buyer. Some buyers are put off by multi-page questionnaires and contracts. The parent club looks to protect the interest of the breed and breeders by placing emphasis on the importance of screening and liability. The national group should also balance this position by reminding breeders that the popularity of the breed grows as more Bichons are in households as pets.

The show trim powderpuff appearance of a Bichon disguises the strong, sturdy structure of the breed. More emphasis needs to be placed on this structure to make the breed more appealing to men. Many men pick up a Bichon and are pleasantly surprised to find that there is a real dog under all the hair. Breeders should also counsel buyers on the ease of maintaining a pet trim to eliminate coat care as an obstacle to obtaining a Bichon.

The breed standard as written is a bit cloudy regarding size. The experienced eye can identify a balanced dog while an inexperience eye can result in errors. In the show world sometime you win and you do not know why. Sometime you lose and you do not know why. It is important to remain focused and centered. Barbara Chappell spoke to me, when Lily won at her very first show. She said, “Remember—you will not always win!” It is the best advice I
have received.

The Westminster wins of JR and Flynn have helped elevate the popularity of the breed. Winky’s performance in agility at Westminster 2019 added to the excitement. Bichons are natural clowns, happy and intelligent. Winky showed it all. Enjoy a good laugh by viewing this crowd favorite in his YouTube video.

Cynthia Huff

I live in Carlock, Illinois and have been involved in dogs for over fifty years. Other interests include travel, writing, and snorkeling. I was a university professor for over three decades.

As a child I went to the local show in Norman, Oklahoma and quickly became hooked by participating in conformation, obedience and junior showmanship. In the 1960s the logical thing to do if you had a nice bitch was to breed her and if you didn’t and wanted to become involved in dogs you got a good bitch.

My mother and I initially bred Cocker Spaniels, including several champions, before we bred our first litter of Standard Poodles in 1971. When Am. Can. Ch. Safari’s Evensong turned out to be a phenomenal producer and the top producing standard bitch in breed history at that point in time, we definitely became dedicated standard Poodle breeders. Breeding Standard Poodles has been very fulfilling not only because it’s been a family affair for several generations to include my husband and children but also because it’s meant meeting wonderful people and dogs all over the world. It’s also a continual challenge to breed the most beautiful, best tempered and healthiest dogs possible, which is why we’ve scoured the world to do so.

My breed described in three words: intelligent, elegant and versatile.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non-Sporting breeds? Poodles rank at the top of popularity, though standards less so than the other varieties

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Yes, because there is nothing more appealing than a beautiful, well balanced and sound Standard Poodle.

The biggest misconception is that Poodles are fou-fou dogs instead of versatile athletes and that they should only be judged on the basis of their hair, whether that’s the clip or the amount.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? Highlight the versatility of Standard Poodles more completely, including their suitability as a family dog, and show their superiority to all the so-called designer dogs which have Poodles in their mix.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Developing a genetic test for Addison’s.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? The commitment of standard Poodle breeders to extensive health testing needs to continue. The over emphasis on the amount and length of hair, especially in the specials ring, needs to stop so that the dog beneath the hair is the main consideration.

I owe the most to Mrs. Katherine Putnam of Puttencove.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Learning to judge the Poodle beneath the hair and to realize that Poodles should have good, basic structure and movement like other breeds

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? A spectator asking if a dog was “plugged in” when she saw him asleep on his side with his lead dangling to the floor.

Teri McAllister

I live in South Carolina (born and raised) and I have been showing Lhasa Apsos for the last 26 years. I also run a small all breed rescue for the last 26 years. Outside of dogs, I go camping with my family, I also enjoy gardening and taking photos of life around us.

How did I get involved in this sport? When I started working at a veterinary clinic, there was a coworker who bred Lhasa Apsos. I fell in love and still am all these years.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder. It is hard work raising pups and making sure they get enough to eat when nursing. A 24 hour job that is worth every minute watching them grow.

My breed described in three words: loving, sassy and smart.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I believe Lhasas get their fair share of attention in the group. Nice Lhasas that show themselves well and love the attention they receive in the group and it shows with their heads up and their flowing movement.

The biggest misconception about the breed among the general public? Many people have the misconception that they have bad tempers and bite. If bred properly, making sure the parents have good personalities and no health issues, this isn’t a problem.

I owe the most to Phyllis Huffstetler, who has been a great mentor and very patient with me. She gave me my first show Lhasa, his name was “Mister”. I learned a lot from him.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Listening to just one Lhasa breeder. You need to get info from different breeders from different areas.

One of the funniest things I have ever seen is a dog coming out if its lead and continue around the ring without the owner.

Krista Nuovo-Roe

Krista’s first Schipperke was purchased in 1984. Piloted by Krista as a 13-year-old junior hander, the dog garnered multiple group placements and a specialty Best in Show. Krista has bred six national BOB winners, five National BOS, numerous National WD, WB and BW, nine all breed Best in Show winners and multiple Bests in Sweepstakes and Bests in Futurities. Delamer kennels bred the all-time top Best in Show winning Schipperke bitch, BIS BISS Ch. Delamer Beach Blanket Baby, with 18 Bests in Show.

I live in Bloomingburg, New York. I’ve been involved with dogs my entire life, first with Alaskan malamutes, sledding, showing, back packing with my parents.

Acquired first Schipperke for show at 13.i I started breeding as a teenager and have now been breeding them for 28 years.

I have produced well over 100 champions, nine all breed best in show winners, six best of breed national wins amongst best of opposite, best in futurity, sweepstakes, WD, WB. We do general contracting. Our hobbies outside of dogs, consist of beach and water skiing. Winter activities include snowmobiling and new to snow skiing also love to overnight it in NYC and see a show any time of year.

I became involved in this sport because my parents were actively showing their Alaskan Malamutes and sledding, etc. I had always wanted to become a breeder, but never expected to as a teenager. It happened because of an unfortunate car accident that took the life of my breeder and mentor.

A brief overview of my experience as a breeder. I absolutely love my babies, I enjoy pairing up pedigrees and complimenting my dams with the right sire.

My breed described in three words: small, black and tailless.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? We tank at the lower end of popularity and recently became an AKC low entry breed.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I do believe that Schipperkes do get their fair share of recognition in the group—their unique, distinct, tailless silhouette and energetic, upbeat attitude commands attention.

The biggest misconception about the breed is that they are so cute and one must have them. However, Schipperke s are really more of a breed for an experienced dog person.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? Absolutely nothing! I do not want to see this breed become overly popular.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Generally speaking, Schipperkes are a very hardy, healthy, long-living breed. However, alopecia and mps3b are some more recent issues that have appeared in the breed. Fortunately, a genetic marker for mps3b was found and is no longer a threat.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? Two really good trends that need to continue, overall temperament has really improved since my childhood and movement for the most part is better overall. I think we are seeing a trend of long in loin and short on leg—not correct for a breed that calls for a square silhouette.

I owe the most to Anne K. Smith, who was my Schipperke mentor and breeder. Unfortunately, I was in my teens when she passed. I did not have one mentor but instead listened and observed more experienced long term top breeders.

The biggest pitfall when I often see new judging of Schip’s is often a judge simply putting up the biggest coat in the ring, often over looking the best Schipperke which may be a bitch with a tighter fitting coat.

One of my funniest experiences actually takes me off show grounds. It started at the dog show when I chose to wear a suit with no pockets, well, I have a self-stacking, kind of a hands-off, baiting breed. I had no place to put my liver. Another lady handler said, “Roll it in the top of your pantyhose.” So I rolled that huge chunk of liver in my hose.

I left the show shortly after with a coffee in hand. Down that road I traveled suddenly needed a pit stop, of course there wasn’t one, so I had to continue driving.

Finally, I see a rest area, I pull in my eyes had already turned yellow, I jump out of my car and run past some lady red hats and everyone I could—the rest room was full but I see an open door. I run in, rip my hose down and out flies this hunk of liver.

Oh boy, did I hear gasps and comments as it bounced from under my stall and down to who knows where it finally stopped. I imagined at this point liver was not what they thought was bouncing across the floor.

I stayed in my stall giggling as they all ran out and gathered around the sink asking each other, “Did you see that?”

Jaime Vasquez

I reside in Dallas, Texas and I have 12 years of showing Bulldogs.

I had Bulldogs for 20 years as pets, but wanted a healthy dog with minimal health issues so adopted a health tested female Bulldog and decided to show her in AKC shows. I took handling lessons and started winning with her and championed her and that is all it took and got addicted to the sport of showing pure bred dogs.

As a hobby breeder, I breed every two to three years. It is difficult because of my medical practice and duties of a physician. The level of health testing required for great healthy Bulldogs is a challenge but a must to further the breed in existence with quality.

My breed described in three words: loving, loyal and funny.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? Usually top of five of all breeds and a close second in group with the French Bulldog.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I believe that for the most part judges give a good look at the Bulldog in the group. However, it is difficult at times to compete with the “fluff” of the other breeds in some judges eyes.

The biggest misconception about the breed is that they can’t run and play like other dogs or do agility due to the brachycephalic head. However, with our great breeding standards these days, Bulldogs are exceptional athletes and do a great job in many competitive sports available.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? Bulldog Club of America is always on top of any problem related to the breed. They are always premier in handling all the positive as well as negative PR from the public. They are always creating information for the public about the breed both in social media and at AKC sanctioned shows.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? Many of the old health concerns have been addressed in health testing and the Bulldog today is a much “sounder” Bullie than in previous years. There is always room for improvement and as a breeder I am always striving to breed to the standard and breeding for the best quality Bulldog for myself to show as well as for pet homes of America.

There have been many people who influenced me down the path of breeding and showing. The list is endless! It does take a village! Lucky Watson has given me so much knowledge from his experience and the depth of information for creating the best Bully! I owe him a big thanks!

The biggest pitfall in educating new judges is that the Bulldog is unique compared to other breeds. While many attributes are shared amongst all breeds, the Bulldog has a special gait of a “roll” that is a must to see! They are not sporting dogs! The judges need more mentoring before they can truly see the Bulldog standard qualities.

One of the funniest situation at a dog show personally was showing a class dog to the esteemed Barbara Alderman. When I took the dog on the down and back the dog decided it was time to use the bathroom. Everyone laughed and clapped at it! I was all red and turned many colors of embarrassment! Needles to say, I was awarded the major point that championed the dog!

Lee Whittier

Lee Whittier is a professional mentor of dog show owner handlers. She has judged Westminster, Palm Springs, Del Valle, Great Western, NorCal Terrier, numerous specialties as well as shows in Aisa. She breeds and sometimes exhibits Tibetan Terriers. Lee lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Wayne, and three TT’s. Learn more about Lee at DogShowMentor.com.

I lived my whole adult life in Vermont until 2008 when I moved to Vancouver, Washington to work for AKC. The moderate climate in the Pacific Northwest is perfect for both my dogs and my flower-growing habit. We’re just a few miles from the Portland, Oregon airport.

Like many dog people, I rode horses competitively when I was growing up. Horses teach you a work ethic like no other sport. There’s so much at stake with proper care being the difference between the horse’s life and death.

As a young woman, a natural transition took place to showing dogs. I had been raised with dogs. My personal housedog was a black Miniature Poodle predictably named Pierre. My mother was a hobby breeder of Rough Collies and Golden Retrievers. I even found a ribbon among her keepsakes from Morris and Essex dated back to the 1950’s. According to her diary, for a short while, she was a member of the New Brunswick Kennel Club, or at least she attended meetings.

My involvement in the sport started when my friend bought a beautiful Akita bitch. I had to have one, so the search began. I did a passable job on finding a dog. To this day, after breeding Rottweilers for over 25 years, I have never had a dog as tough as that one.

His temperament led me to meet one of the grand dame’s of Rottweilers, Jan Marshall. She got me involved in obedience classes and the progression continued as she invited me to join our local dog club, the Woodstock Dog Club. I was a member from 1981 to 2008 and received the AKC Good Sportsmanship Award in 2008.

To say I worked hard to train my Akita is an understatement. Once I won my first five-point major, I was hooked on dog shows. Sadly, my beloved OKami died of parvo on the Cherry Blossom Circuit in 1982 before I was able to finish his championship.

In spite of that heart-wrenching event, I was in love with the sport. Thanks to all the breeders and professional handlers who were kind and generous, I stayed in the sport and bought my first Rottweiler. Having been raised with puppies, breeding was yet another natural progression. Twenty-five years later, I found myself the breeder of Best in Show, multiple group winning, obedience trial champion Rottweilers under the Legend prefix.

I was guided by successful breeders of Rottweilers such as Mike Grossman of Powderhorn-Wencrest and Sheryl Hedrick of Pioneer Rottweilers. Additionally, I have owned and/or shown Bullmastiffs, Samoyeds, Siberians, a Sussex Spaniel and of course now the Tibetan Terriers.

I had always wanted a TT. When I lived in Vermont, the only thing that kept me from having one was the harsh winters and my desire to show any dog I owned. I knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with the coat with the number of dogs and puppies I had at any one time in my active breeding program.

After I left AKC, I lost my last Rottweiler. As an experienced dog person, I had learned the value of a good mentor. I found that in David Murray of Players TT’s. He guided me and shared his knowledge generously, looked at hundreds of pictures and dozens of videos I sent to him, teaching me about Coat, with a capital “C.” I was determined and relentless. He was patient beyond words. I am also grateful to the many Tibetan Terrier breeders who shared their knowledge to help me capture the essence of the breed by mentoring me by the ring and in the setups. They helped me to breed well and judge well.

I am now the proud breeder of a multiple group winning, Top 5 Tibetan Terrier and have been nominated to judge the Tibetan Terrier National Specialty.

My breed described in three words: squarely-built, agile and profusely-coated.

The Tibetan Terrier is #96 in overall popularity in AKC breeds; in Non-Sporting we are predictably behind the Keeshonden and ahead of the Schipperkes. Coat care is known to be a factor for many breeds, determining their popularity in the general public. One exception in the Toy group is the Shih-Tzu which is often pictured as a puppy, so people aren’t as deterred by coat care.

Our breed is actually very popular in pockets. What I have found is that the kind of person who is interested in this breed is somewhat reclusive and often the dogs are not taken in public. They are also not easily recognizable by the general public because they come in all colors. When I take two dogs out hiking, people invariably ask me the breed of each dog because they are different colors, though they are easily identifiable to a dog person as TT’s.

The Tibetan Terrier is an easy dog to spot in the Non-Sporting group. The coat of many colors not only stands away from the body, but stands out in a large group of dogs. The Tibetan Terrier is a breed that should be light on its feet and greatly agile. As a result, we have many sound dogs in the breed which gives them an advantage over less sound members of the Non-Sporting group. The standard is 14-17 inches, and as in many breeds, the smaller ones aren’t always recognized as being as correct as the larger ones. Three inches is a big variation in a dog of its size. There are some good ones out there that deserve recognition and get it.

The biggest misconception about the TT is that they’re just cute, sweet, cuddly dogs. Yes, in the 21st Century, most of them are. Anyone interested in owning one should remember the original purpose of this breed. The larger puppies were functional dogs for the Tibetan people. When pack animals moved through the mountains, the TT’s would leap onto their backs and urge them forward with their barking. Think of the kind of dog that is athletic enough to leap up and determined enough to urge a much larger animal than itself to move forward in deep snow, rough terrain and high altitude.

They also had to be mentally keen enough to survive in the mountains. Sometimes that meant sensing danger in people who may not have been trustworthy. I have seen some in the ring that can be quirky. The smaller dogs were often sent to monasteries for breeding and as watchdogs. They have a far-seeing eye and can spot any object in the house that has mysteriously moved out of its rightful place. I have seen this breed climb a serious of six foot chain link fences in a matter of seconds. They can be primitive to this day.

Our parent club, the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, is already very proactive in educating the public about our breed. Our rescue is a tremendous resource, easy to work with and a great introduction to prospective buyers. Many later buy a puppy from a preservation breeder. Some breeders need further education in understanding the line between selling pets as pets with a binding contract, and letting go of the old ways of the mid-20th Century where we made ongoing breeding impossible. It’s important to be inviting. Most breeders do a great job of making friends with their buyers and encouraging them. I think the TTCA could go a step further and teach breeders, not only about safe sales practices, but about developing our buyers into authentic dog people.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? We still have dogs with primary lens luxation and PRA, in spite of our genetic testing. In my opinion, the largest health concern is allergies. I hear about it from almost all breeders who are willing to admit to it. Usually I hear about it from puppy buyers. The only way to stop it is to take affected dogs out of the gene pool.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? Scissoring, sculpturing, trimming and shaving are the only serious faults listed in the breed standard. Although this has gone on for a long time, it has become a much larger problem as the breed is presented.

The profuse coat is a hallmark of the breed, and when exhibitors change the coat, it’s not possible for the judge to evaluate it properly. Judges should stop this trend by rewarding the quality dog that is un-trimmed. The coat should stand off slightly from the body rather than lying flat like other drop coat breeds. It should give the judge the feeling that it could survive a Tibetan winter.

The second troublesome trend is that bigger is not necessarily better. The framers of the breed discovered that dogs over 17 are not functional in the mountains of Tibet. Likewise, dogs under 14 inches could not survive either. Therefore, they created a size range where the average dog is 15-16 inches. In the ring, we see dogs that are far too tall and heavy to survive under the original conditions they were bred for; however, rarely do we see a Tibetan Terrier under the minimum size.

In addition, the standard provides a weight range, 18-30 pounds with those average 15-16 inch dogs being 20-24 pounds. Almost all the dogs in the ring today are well over 25 pounds. If breeders really are preservation breeders, they should strictly adhere to the standard size and weight. They should promote the most correct dog to preserve its original purpose. That’s why we call them Preservation Breeders. Judges should award the correctly-sized quality dog.

I would be remiss not to mention their unique foot construction that allows them to walk on top of the snow. It is of unique construction, flattish, large and flexible. It served a purpose and is a hallmark of the breed. Losing this unique foot is a concern among some breeders and should be checked for by judges in the ring.

The greatest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is the notion that because they know their breed, it will be easy to stand in the middle of the ring and find the best dog. In fact, it’s the opposite. The best breeder in the world has still had the luxury of watching their puppies for weeks or months. In the ring you have very little time to pick the winners. I have seen many new judges who just stand there and stare, unable to make decisive choices. I have often seen this phenomenon. As a new judge, you have to prove yourself as a judge as much as you had to prove yourself as a breeder. There are a few, rare exceptions; the superstars.

It is difficult to stand in the middle of the ring and judge one’s peers or perhaps even more difficult is judging the breeding stock of those who have gone before you…of your mentors or who consistently bested you in both quality of dog and wins in the ring.

When you start to judge, the journey is just beginning. Work hard, relax and enjoy the process. You will meet amazing people who want to help you do well and be part of the judging community.

The funniest thing that ever happened to me was being in the 1991 National Specialty Sweepstakes class, down to the winner of it all and SPLAT I went down on my face, spread eagle. I think I had so much adrenaline going, I didn’t feel a thing, jumped back up, raced around some more and won Best in Sweeps with my bitch over 100 entries.

Leslie Anderson

I am originally form Des Moines, Iowa and moved to Greenwood, Arkansas about nine years ago to escape Iowa winters! I have been involved with dogs since a child but began conformation in 2002 with my first Shiba. Outside of dogs, I work as a Veterinary Technician and in the medical field since 1996. I am very interested and focused on my four-legged furbabies. I guess you can say I literally live, eat and breathe Shibas.

I grew up with GSDs and Rough Collies. Now that I was on my own and needed to downsize my breed. I had always been intrigued by the Shiba Inu since its acceptance into the AKC and the first time I saw them on TV (Westminster). When I started to contact breeders, I found only show breeders had the best dogs bred for temperament and correct look. I did not consider showing dogs before then but when I friended some of those breeders, I realized I may be able to learn from them and they were very accepting and helpful. I have always loved dogs and would attend our local shows which we had three of them yearly. I wanted to be competitive in the ring and decided to breed so I could pick of what I wanted to show from a litter rather than what was offered to me.

Since I have been a Vet Tech and worked in the medical field since 1996, it gave me a vast base of knowledge as a jumping off point. I spent several years learning as much as I could about the Shiba Inu which consisted of reading every book I could, endless hours of combing through websites, watching who was winning and learning from what they were doing to make them successful. I had two great mentors to start with and that mentorship was pivotal in my success over the years.

My breed described in three words:

Kani: bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength

Ryosei: good nature with gentle disposition

Soboku: alertness with refined open spirit

(definitions taken from NSCA site www.shibas.org)

These are three traits bred for and desired in their home country of Japan. Nihonken Hozonkai (NIPPO) is a preservation registry for the six national treasure in Japan. They are likened to Supreme Court Judges of the Shiba Inu breed. There is no higher authority on the breed and are considered experts as they only study those six breeds (Akita Inu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kai Ken, Kishu and the smallest breed, Shiba Inu.

These three traits are paramount for NIPPO to ensure the Shiba Inu stays true to their origins. So for Shiba Inu breeders we have an extra dynamic to include when making breeding selections.

How does my breed rank in popularity among other Non Sporting breeds? The Shiba Inu is a middle of the road breed among the Non-Sporting breeds. We are often referred to as the companion group but the Shiba has specific traits that make breeders be highly selective where they place their puppies. Shibas require a persistently consistent owner who understands they mentally think they are a large breed trapped in a small package as well as thinking they are vastly wittier than their owner. Their beauty and size are very attractive to a broad spectrum of owners but this breed does best with experienced dog owners. First time owners can be successful but it requires a mentorship type of relationship with these types of owners.

Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I think with the vast improvement in temperament over the past years and the increased number of judges coming in, the Shiba is now starting to catch some eyes. I hope this trend continues as we move forward. The Shiba must compete against the flashiness of the Poodles and Bichon as well as the presence of the Bully breeds and other spitz type breeds, it can be hard to get noticed.

The biggest misconceptions is the Shiba Inu is simply a miniature Akita. The Shiba is vastly different from an Akita. The Shiba is a nimble, dry bodied breed with upward slanting eyes, a round muzzle and tight lipline. The Shiba is athletic and agile with a sporty body and a tuck up. The Akita is a warrior and the Shiba is not. They were a hunting breed but they flushed birds and other small game. Shiba would assist hunters one on one against game as large as wild boar. Shibas did not engage the boar in a fight but rather used its smarts, cunning and agility to occupy it until the hunter could make the kill. The Shiba and Akita are from the same country but are vastly different in almost all ways.

What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? I think our breed is as popular as we can sustain. On a show front, I think our club has made some huge changes to judge’s education material and have great people to mentor and perform seminars.

The largest health concern facing my breed today? I think the largest health concerns are allergies coming from the commercial and back yard breeding fronts. I think preservation breeders are routinely utilizing the companies offering genetic screening in addition to already taking advantage of the CHIC program. I hope for the future we have access to early eye disease screening. That area could definitely use improvement for the Shiba breed.

Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or stopped? I love the trend of promoting “preservation breeding”. I feel as a whole, the Shiba breed is finally moving away from the tiny statured, fuzzy coated, round eyed Shibas that look like little toys. This is a smart, dry bodied rugged breed that would flourish without human assistance even to this day.

I owe everything to several breeders/mentors, it takes a village. But to pinpoint one who has been so helpful and a huge influence on my education, breeding and success is Yumi Hagiwara of Haouli Shiba. Yumi is a native of Japan and she brings that NIPPO eye to our breed. She spends endless hours educating breeders and judges if they are willing to listen. I cannot thank her enough for all she had done for me and others.

The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? I think the biggest pitfall is a preconceived notion about the temperament of the Shiba Inu. In the early days of acceptance into AKC our shibas were very primitive and could be difficult to hand and examine at times. I cannot stress enough how much all the breeders have worked to improve this part of the Shiba. Yes, they will never be like a Bichon but they have become amazing little living companions and we have changed those stereotypes.

The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? On a personal note, in my “early years”, this novice entered her Shiba in a coming dog show. As the weekend approached, I groomed my dog, organized my gear, packed my car and hit the road. All excited, I arrived at the hotel I had previously booked. On a side note, this was the first time I booked for my mentor and myself. Inside the hotel, I waited my turn and gave hotel clerk my name. He says, “I’m sorry but I have no reservation for you”.

I was instantly nervous and insisted I had a reservation. So, he looked again, and repeated, “I’m sorry but I have no reservation for you”.

I told him I was there for the dog show being held at the local fairgrounds up the street. He laughed and said, “let me look again.” He quickly smiled at me and exclaimed, “Oh…I do have a reservation for you, next weekend!” Yep, I was a week early! I was so embarrassed but laughingly said see you next week and quickly piled back in my car, turned towards home. I did confess to my mentor because it was too funny not to share.

Now here is the kicker—I did exactly the same thing, at the very same show, the following year, lol. But being a year wiser, I instantly recognized my error as I drove past the empty fair grounds, ugh, total novice.

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