- Where do you live? How many years in dogs? What do you do “outside” of dogs? Any other hobbies or interests?
- A brief overview of your experience as a breeder.
- Describe your breed in three words.
- How does your breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds?
- Does your breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Why or why not?
- Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire?
- What’s the largest health concern facing your breed today?
- Any trends you see in your breed that you believe need to continue? Any you’d like to see stopped?
- What can your parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed?
- To whom do you owe the most? In other words, which mentor helped you the most as you learned the ropes?
- Biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges?
- Biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders?
- Anything else you’d like to talk about?
- And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a dog show?
- And of course anything else you’d like to share would be welcome.
I am a retired ballet teacher, songwriter, music publisher, PR and advertising executive and private foundation manager who lives in Nashville, Tennessee and has been breeding and showing Maltese dogs since the early 1980s.
Originally from South Hill, Virginia, I’ve made my home in Nashville, Tennessee since the mid 1970s. My breed has always been Maltese and, like many others, my first was a pet. I purchased my first show puppy in the early 1980s when I was also a young mother with a new ballet school and a founding board member of The Nashville Ballet. Like a dream, that puppy became a top special for several years and I was hooked. My second show Maltese was a top winning Maltese bitch and she knocked my socks off when she won a group two placement at Westminster in 1989. Surprisingly, breeding was not first and foremost on my mind. Passion and patronage came first for me. Looking back, I think it was for the best I spent my early years studying, researching and learning. The very few litters I bred in the early years did produce champions and one group placing special. In 1991 a tragic car accident slowed my dog show career down to a crawl. I only finished a few Maltese during these years and focused on healing. I threw myself into the other areas of my life: gardening, writing, music publishing and PR while my children grew up. But, I don’t give up easily and the best was yet to come.
My beginnings in the 1980s was a fortuitous time filled with dogs and breeders whose influences are still resonating in the Maltese breed. Among them were Glynnette Cass, Bill Cunningham, Miriam Thompson, Mary Day, Kathy DiGiacomo, Daryl Martin, Michelle Perlmutter, Carol Frances Andersen, Elyse Fisher, Barbara Bergquist, Frank Oberstar and Larry Ward. These are the people who formed my goals as a breeder. One piece of advice I still carry with me with each litter I plan came from Miriam Thompson who told me, “Always breed forward”. The other piece of advice I also ALWAYS follow comes from my “non dog show” husband, George, who continually tells me, “We don’t farm dogs”. Every litter produced at our house has to be WELL planned and full of enormous hope.
The Maltese breed in three words: Silk, floating and harmony.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Because of the grooming needs of Maltese I don’t find it to be one of today’s more popular toy breeds. Today’s world is so fast paced that hours of daily grooming don’t seem to fit into the lifestyles of our young people. Additionally, our breed has always been so elegant that it has appealed to the celebrity crowd which has caused enormous greed within the breeding community. This kind of appeal has attracted many pet breeders to produce Maltese which means we see them offered more often as scams on social media and they are showing up far too frequently in rescue. Unscrupulous breeders are now buying from foreign sources as pets with contracts but boldly breaking those contracts and breeding since they know there is little chance of contract enforcement internationally.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? You can imagine being the only breed in seven groups who wears a flowing white, silken gown of hair to the floor on a body only 4-7 pounds that the playing field has rarely been level for the Maltese in the group or Best in Show ring. In the old days the show sites were far more civilized than most are today. Showing in an equestrian facility on a red dirt floor is not the same for a Maltese as it is for any other breed in the show. I remember showing at a site I’d never been to before in January. It turned out to be an equestrian facility with a WET freshly turned red clay floor. I showed in breed and it took until time for group to brush out the clay. I showed in OH group and was totally unable to get enough mud out before regular group and could not show. I’ve regretted that I showed at all since it took a couple of months for the red clay stain to finally come out of her coat. The Maltese faces obstacles in the ring faced by no other breed and, no, I don’t think they get their fair share of attention in today’s show ring so on the days when the Maltese rises to top honors it is cause for a standing ovation.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Coat is a huge issue when campaigning a Maltese and there is no question it is much easier to campaign a dog than a bitch. Size is also a tremendous factor in Maltese. There is a huge difference between a four pound Maltese and a six to seven pound one. Many judges seem to have a prejudice regarding size when our standard does not present any prejudice at all. In fact, it asks the judge to disregard size in preference for quality. The perception in the breed ring is different for a judge than in group since a six pound Maltese may appear to be much larger than a four pound in breed competition. Additionally, size is not always a good judge of weight. A taller dog can have far less substance than a shorter dog with more body.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? The most frightening health concern facing Maltese today is the family of meningoencephalitis diseases, GME (granulomatous meningoencephalitis), NME (necrotizing meningoencephalitis), NLE (necrotizing leukencephalitis), and MUE (meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology). There is so little known about these conditions and so much fear and fiction spreading within the dog community, particularly the pet community. I am also concerned about the changes we’ve made in our breed regarding skull shape. Many of the Maltese I am seeing today have a more domed skull, ultra short muzzle and wide set eyes set in a shallow socket. This is not the head described in our standard. Although we are not a “head” breed, I think it is vital to breed the healthy head called for in our breed standard.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? In the last few years I’ve noticed the breeders and exhibitors of Maltese are realizing how few of us there are left and are working together more to attract new people and care for each other in a more positive way. I see a genuine concern for the survival of our breed since we are now one of the low entry breeds and our litter numbers are so far down with AKC. I see us banding together more as preservation breeders and presenting ourselves as the knowledgable, caring, discerning and determined servant leadership we are and trying with all we have in us to keep Maltese healthy and beautiful for the next generation. Trend to stop: Gothic Maltese eyes! Leave off the make up, please.
What can the parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? I don’t think it’s just the responsibility of the parent club to increase awareness and popularity of Maltese. I think it is up to each of us who love Maltese and the sport to do our best to promote our breed in everything we do. I enjoy collecting Maltese history and sharing it on social media. Sometimes I don’t have all the information in a photo I’ve purchased but each and every mystery has been solved through sharing it with friends. An added bonus is by sharing on social media I’m creating a permanent archive of Maltese history that could easily be lost forever.
To whom do I owe the most? Through thick and thin and since the beginning of my days in the Maltese ring back in the 1980s I’ve been blessed with the friendship of Daryl Martin. What a fierce competitor and what an equally fierce friend she has been to me. Her only requirement is total honesty. I call that true integrity. A friendship with Daryl is one of life long learning as she is definitely an encyclopedia of the dog world.
Probably the biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges would be seeing under the the hair of the Maltese and understanding a classic head versus the baby doll head that has become fashionable but is not correct. I’ve found the best way to see through the hair is to imagine them naked. The Maltese is all about balance.
New and novice breeders have a mountain of research ahead of them if they truly want to understand the heritage of their pedigrees. So many are only interested in the previous generation and have been told to only look back three generations. We are not creating a new breed but trying to preserve an ancient one so it is vital to look as far back as you can go to truly know what is in your lines. It’s not always easy to find the old information so when you go to your nationals and old magazines, catalogs, photos and pedigrees are offered for auction, bid, bid, bid!
What else would I like to talk about? I think it’s always good for us to share something we’ve learned to help others so I’ll leave a grooming tip. For many years I’ve used cornstarch abundantly but I had an experience that made me switch. My girl came back from a very short trip with a handler with very runny eyes. Turns out she’d picked up red yeast on her only trip away from home. Clearing up the yeast took some time but, in the process, I learned about the magic of cream of tartar. It has some anti fungal qualities and gently lightens stains. I’ve been using it ever since in place of cornstarch.
Humor at a dog show. Best to laugh at myself than at others so here goes: After all these years I had never had a dog mess in the ring until my last show. I felt just like a novice since I didn’t recognize the signs and my girl ended up going on the move. Fortunately, it all stuck in her hair and I noticed when I knelt down and found it. With no time to waste, my decision was to put it in my pocket. Fortunately, it was firm. We didn’t win that day, of course, and when I told my story to an old timer she said I reminded her of a novice years ago who did the same but was wearing white pants and the mess showed through her pocket.
I live in Pace, Florida on a 100 acre horse facility. After my granddaughters grew up and didn’t ride and show anymore, we leased the horse part out. So I needed another hobby.
I bought my first Cavalier pet 15 years ago. A tri boy named Bentley. As the story goes you can’t have just one, so I got a Blenheim bitch pet who is still alive today.
I live near Pensacola and every March we have a dog show there. I always liked going and seeing the dogs. After watching the Cavalier ring I decided that I want to show Cavaliers for my hobby. I bought my first show dog from Lorraine Hughes in Wales and proceeded to go to handling classes. I went to my first show in Tallahassee and realized it was harder than it looked. I did finish my boy and got his grand and was looking for a new show prospect. I got in touch with Mayfield Cavaliers and got a nice Blenheim bitch from her and proceeded to train and show her. That is when my Shih Tzu friend , Ginger Raber came into my life and helped me and stills does to this day.
The Cavaliers are the most loving dogs I have ever had. There is just something special about them.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Cavaliers are very popular among pet people. They love children and senior citizens alike. They will play ball or lay on the sofa with you. Everyone I have sold a pet to keeps in touch and just loves their Cavalier. At some shows the Cavalier breed is one of the largest classes so very popular.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? More and more in the group ring Cavaliers are being recognized.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Cavalier breeders are aware of the health issues. Also the pet market does their research so are knowledgeable of their issues. I believe through testing, breeders are helping to breed healthier dogs.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Personally, I love my males. The problem can be that sometimes they love you too much.
Males usually have more coat, while the girls sometimes will blow coat when in season. It just depends on each dog.
It is very hard getting started in dog shows. First you really need a breeder that is willing to sell you a nice dog. Without guidance you can flounder and get discouraged. I believe the person responsible for helping me the most is, Ginger Raber, a Shih Tzu breeder for 30 years.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? To me the judges have a challenge in the Cavalier. They come is different styles size and heads. The standard is wide so it depends on each judge.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Beginners need to find someone in their area to work and guide them. Go to shows with them and watch what is winning.
In saying all this. the Cavalier is a very loving breed.
One of the funniest thing to me, but not at the time, was when in the ring my skirt (the pull on type) started sliding down to my knees.
I retired with AT&T after 41 years of service. I have been in dogs since 1982 and have met so many wonderful people in many breeds. I recently married and my husband (Ed) has become interested in the sport and we travel to dog shows throughout the country. Life is good!
My husband and I live in Columbia, Tennessee, about 45 minutes south of Nashville. I have 37 years in dogs. What do I do “outside” of dogs? Not too much time outside of dogs, but we love country music and go to concerts often. We live in the right area for that! I love to read and travel, even outside of dog show travel! Going on an Alaskan cruise this year, can’t wait!
My original breed in 1982 was Miniature Pinschers and have bred many top winning champions. I got my first Toy Fox Terrier from Dana Plonkey in 2007, and have co-bred many litters with Dana. I am definitely not a “big” breeder, usually have one or two litters each year. Quality of the breed is very important to me, as well as health testing. I have been fortunate to have had quality puppies that have brought joy and winners to their new homes.
My breed described in three words: fun, loyal and active!
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Toy Fox Terriers are not high in the total breed ranking, overall according to the 2018 ranking they are 111 out of 192 with only a couple of toy breeds lower. The American Toy Fox Terrier Club is focused on breed awareness to make sure everyone understands what a wonderful little dog they are!
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? The toy group is a tough group, a lot of great dogs out there. But I also think if you have an outstanding dog that has that “look at me” attitude the judges will reward that.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? I do not feel a male has any advantages over a good bitch, some of the best show dogs in the past have
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Fortunately, we do not have a lot of health issues, and good breeders test before breeding to insure problems are not passed on to puppies. As with most toy dogs, patellas can be a concern.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? Our breed is getting better and we are seeing more great dogs from different parts of the country. We need to continue to study pedigrees and breed to improve our existing stock. Don’t just breed to your friends dog because it is convenient, breed to the dog that will improve your line.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? The club is participating in Meet The Breeds whenever possible, utilizing social media to make sure folks understand how wonderful the TFT is! The club needs to continue education. I hear a lot of people say, I had a dog like that when I was a kid….did not know they were still around!
I owe the most to Dana Plonkey, I would not be successful today without his mentoring.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? Judges need to judge the standard, we have a good illustrated standard that every judge should have. Judges need to remember balance is very important in our breed. We have a height variation of three inches,(8½-11½) if the judge is unsure go ahead and measure!
I live in the DFW region of North Texas on an acreage. We decided to move to a rural unincorporated area of Texas when my husband agreed that my dogs could compete with the best in the country and to do this right, I needed the space and privacy that a rural environment provides. Although I have been in Yorkies for 30 years, our move to the county 16 years ago allowed me to pursue my dream and really build my bloodline.
Dogs are my passion, but it takes a real job to support my dream. I am a mortgage loan officer, which allows me the flexibility to be home when my dog needs dictate my presence is required. I had been an underwriter and operations manage in my field for many years, but I needed to make the change to do this right. I love cooking and baking as I love to eat good food. I enjoy gardening as digging in the dirt is a huge stress reliever for me. Reading helps me relax as well, as those who know me well know I can be pretty wound up at times.
I started with a beautiful Yorkie who was not a show dog. I thought I had done my homework and bought from a show home but was sold a dog that did not have the temperament to be in the ring. Fortunately for me, Carl Trehus explained to me that I should breed this pretty little thing to the best possible male and if none of the pups turned out, sell all of them and buy something worthwhile. At that time Lee Grunewald had a lovely dog I bred to and with her guidance, my first litter produced my first champion. I was hooked! Lee and I butted heads over the years, but my goal was the produce my own bloodline, not merely reproduce hers. When I was a teenager, I never belonged to a clique and was not about to start as an adult. Bill Hinds stressed to me the importance of producing healthy, large litters, and to listen and learn, as sometimes the things that are not said are the clues worth listening to. I’ve had some health challenges with hip dysplasia and Leggs-Calves-Perthes, but that’s been 15 years ago and I’ve brought in a lot of other lines to rectify that problem.
I am proud to be able to say every bitch in my kennel is a champion. I have owned a top 5 dog in five of the last six years, three of those years were bitches I bred.
My breed described in three words: breathtaking, intelligent and challenging.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Yorkies are currently ranked number ten among all breeds, and is the top ranked toy breed.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I am so proud to see multiple Yorkies regularly winning group placements and there have been best in show winners as well. This has really changed over the last ten years. I think we have been fortunate to have some good backers responsible for campaigning our breed using top handlers to increase our visibility.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? As far as class dogs, I don’t see a lot of difference. You usually need a bitch to be in more coat to get them finished. When it comes to specials, males have a definite advantage, as many females lose color when they come in season and unlike a short-haired breed, you cannot easily bring a brood bitch in and out of the specials ring, as a litter of puppies will wreak havoc on that lovely coat, and they must be in top condition to win. My best Yorkies have been my bitches, and I won’t breed them and take away their puppies just to keep them in the ring, as I feel that is unbelievably
cruel. My girls are great moms and deserve to enjoy the rewards
The largest health concern facing my breed today? To be honest, it’s the breeders who deny they’ve ever had a problem. Every line has some type of issues and being transparent helps us overcome those problems and not double up on problems and that’s a start at eliminating them from our breed. Our focus needs to be finding genetic markers for diseases that are fatal: PLE, liver shunt, kidney disease, etc.
Any trends I see in m breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? Bringing in the European lines has really improved coat color and head carriage. Many of the younger breeders are really focused on producing healthy dogs. I love natural tails and it’s becoming much easier to win with a natural tail and I feel strongly our breed standard needs to change to permit natural tails before the law requires it. I would love to see more focus on structure and movement as there are still far too many Yorkies that carry championship titles who will be crippled as they age as many of our rears are terrible.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? I don’t think YTCA needs to do anything additional as our breed is incredibly popular, at times to its detriment.
I definitely owe the most to Lee and Earl Grunewald. I learned about structure and movement from them, and understood that every dog should be sound coming and going under all that coat. I learned a lot about dealing with illnesses and whelping problems. I was allowed to come for puppy fixes when I had no pups to love on (I am an unabashed puppy junkie!).
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? The phrase “Quality, texture and quantity of coat are of prime importance” comes under the heading of COAT. Coat is the SIXTH paragraph of our standard. Nowhere in the standard does it state the dog can be crippled as long as it is dripping in coat. Do not treat coat any more importantly that the other sections of the standard. Every dog should be sound. Nothing is more beautiful than watching a Yorkie with flawless movement float around the ring. That is what we are looking to achieve. Also, please put up quality, even if it is a puppy. Learn to understand how the gold head on a puppy changes from black and that it varies by blood line, but strangely enough, it all tends to end up gold, as skin color is what dictates the coat color. And above all, always pick the best dog on the day they are shown to you, not the dog that has the most advertising.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Believing a dog they buy is healthy because of current DNA testing which is clear. Unfortunately, for our breed, DNA does not exist, for PLE, LCP, liver shunt or any number of crippling or fatal diseases or conditions. Buy from a long time breeder who is honest and upfront about issues they have dealt with over the years, as it takes many years to build a sound, healthy bloodline.
Also, I would love to debunk myths about dogs that have been passed along as fact.
- Dogs are not color blind. I had one instance where my Yorkies had stolen anything that was blue that they could take outside through the dog door and lined them up along fence—as varied as blue toys, a bandanna and a shower puff. Another time all toys that were black, white or gray were arranged in a circle. I also had a Maltese that loved hot pink. Not any other shade but electric hot pink.
- Dogs understand what you say to them. Science is finally catching up with what we breeders have known for years.
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? I’m going to say the hotel counts, as it was the time a new Yorkie exhibitor went with me to her first out of town dog show. Her dog slept with her and I woke up a bit early and could smell dog waste. So I turned on the light looking on the floor for the mess, only for my friend to start screaming as she had rolled over on her pillow, onto the mess and it was now smashed into her long hair. I chased her into the shower and by the time she got out, I had cleaned up the mess (always travel with Woolite carpet cleaner) and gotten me and the dogs ready and we made our early ring time.
I am a second-generation preservation breeder of purebred dogs, growing up with Great Pyrenees and purchasing “my” first dog at age 13, a Sheltie. He completed his Championship at 13 months, and I have been “hooked” ever since.
I am drawn to many different breeds and have owned a variety of them consisting of Border Collie, Collie, Borzoi, Silky Terriers, Pug,Tibetan Spaniels and Papillons. Some of these breeds were shown others were companions but my family loved them all!
Purebred dogs have afforded me friendships all over the world. I have had the pleasure of judging Tibetan Spaniels in Australia, Scotland and in the US. I have judged the National Specialty twice and will judge it a third time in March 2020. There is no greater honor than to be invited to judge the national one time, let alone a third time.
While I am still involved in Tibbies, although on a smaller scale, I am presently raising and showing Papillons. I have been involved with the breed for the past 11 years. I am pleased and proud of what I have produced to date; having a male ranked in the top 10 last year and numerous Champions and Grand Champions.
In my personal life I have been married for 50 years to my husband Floyd, have two grown daughters and six grandchildren. I am a retired elementary teacher having taught for 37 years. The last 13 years of my professional life, I was a reading specialist K-5. I was also the Culpeper County Teacher of the Year.
My family moved to North Carolina three years ago, having lived in Virginia for some 38 years. I am a retired Elementary school teacher and a Reading Specialist. I love antiquing, crafting and traveling.
I am a second generation purebred dog enthusiast, having a family who raised and showed Great Pyrenees. As a child I had my first show dog at age 13. As an adult I have raised Tibetan Spaniels for some 35 plus years. Like many in dogs we down-size as we get older. I had a great friend who raised Papillons so had been around them for many years. As I was watching a Pap Nat’l it popped into my head, “I need a Pap.” And so then it began!
My breed described in three words: intelligent, active and loving.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I believe it does, but some may feel it is only with professional handlers. With that said, the professional is paid to do a job and do it well.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? A quality dog is a quality dog and makes no difference, male or female. Regardless of sex they must exude the written word of the standard.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? The Papillon breed is fortunate to have genetic testing for PRA1 and NAD. With the breeders that have walked down the sorrowful path of losing puppies to NAD, in the past, and their contributions to this breed the genetic testing is there for the breeders of today to utilize. In turn we now can save future litters from disaster. This is one example of what makes breeders preservation breeders.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? I feel Papillons are a well-known breed and with too much popularity comes additional issues that breed clubs and the Parent Club have to clean up and care for. Popularity is not always a positive thing for a breed.
I owe most to my friend of many years for the knowledge she passed on to me and others about Papillons. I thank the breeder of my foundation bitch for sharing her with me so I could begin my quest to live and learn about Papillons. I also thank the many other breeders that have shared their stud dogs, their friendship and laughs with me. It takes a “village” to preserve the purebred dog and our sport.
I also owe thanks to the people that came before me, that took the time to guide my learning to be a working club member in both All Breed and Specialty Clubs both at the regional and National level.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? Being too eager and rushing into adding breeds before you’re truly ready. Knowing a breed you are judging can take more time than one realizes. Not knowing the essence of a breed can change the course of that breed and have grave consequences for that breed for years to come. New judges need to think about that.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Learning that “winning” does not necessarily mean the dog is a quality animal. The old adage goes, “show something long enough, anything can finish may just be true.”
Also, in Papillons, raising a Toy breed litter is not for the faint of heart. There can be long nights and sorrow when you have to hand raise a litter for various reasons. That is true of any breed but with Toys you may only get one puppy and if you lose it your progress is slow as a breeder.
I’d also like to share that long-time breeders need to be more welcoming to the newcomer to encourage and guide. With that said, the newbie needs to be teachable and not feel entitled since they purchased a dog it should win every time it walks in the ring. Us oldies had to pay our dues in sweat and tears and in our society today we expect instant gratification for many. Dedication is key to the purebred dog and the sports survival but we need younger people to want to breed purebred dogs. I pray we can carry on.
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? I have a friend, in another breed, that was showing her dog and moving it around the ring. While moving the zipper on her skirt broke and as she moved she walked right out of her skirt. We were shocked, at first, and then broke out in laughter as did she! She stopped, went back and picked up her skirt and finished showing her dog. Thankfully she had a slip on!
I live in Miami Florida. Outside of dogs, I work and enjoy yoga, walking and traveling. I am not a breeder.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Russian Toy: a rare breed only 15 years. Recognized this last year by AKC to compete and received Certificate of Merit. Hopefully they will be recognized in July and will officially be in AKC.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Yes, I believe the breed gets its fair share of attention.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Your dog can be the most beautiful but if it does not move well in the ring—long or short hair, male or female—it just does go through.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Patella.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed? Russian Toy Club is working very hard at having breed recognized.
I owe the most to two people. When I started Barbara Ilardi was my mentor and helped me tremendously. As far as showing Alondra I have to give credit to Jessica Herzon who’s done an amazing job with Alondra.
Lois march, US Navy veteran, MD and board certified otolaryngologist, have been in IGs since 1975. I started in San Diego during residency, brought 12 dogs to Virginia where I had a kennel for 12 years, and then migrated to Georgia where I have the biggest and best kennel ever and provide jobs to ten people. I’m old enough to retire but can’t give up medicine, it’s too much fun. I have never had a husband who could go the distance with all the dogs so am happily single but never alone!
This photo is of myself showing gold GRCH Marchwind sweet victory, who was number one IG in 2017, won the breed at Westminster and got a pull in group, making me locally famous!
I live in Vienna, Georgia, very rural. I have 100 acres and own all the houses my neighbors live in. So I invited another IG breeder and Charlie, my handler, for many years to live here as neighbors.
I have been in dogs since I was 12 years old and I am 71. I still practice medicine as an otolaryngologist but now consider that my hobby and the dogs my business.
I have always used handlers but also showed dogs myself. I usually have a dog in the top ten and many times number one or two. I have had four best in show Italian Greyhounds. My medical education has been very helpful in dog breeding and raising.
My breed described in three words: fascinating, loving and childlike.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? I think IGs are around #80 in popularity over all and of toy dogs maybe #12.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? With the right handler, I get the right attention.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? This is a bitches breed. They are more elegant, have more extreme underline and are more representative of the breed type. All that said I am always looking for a male as a special.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? It’s still broken legs.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? The big front lift is a current trend. Unfortunately, it is being rewarded despite other problems and too much front lift drops the shoulder and drags the rear. I would like to see reach and drive rewarded and we desperately need to get back
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? The parent club does not want to increase the popularity and awareness of the breed. They like the way things are.
I owe the most to whoever handler I am currently using is a big help to me in selecting the dogs that I should keep and those I should sell.
The biggest pitfalls for novice judges is being influenced by breeders pushing their own dogs type. Unfortunately there is not a lot of agreement among the fancy as to what that is and there are many variations on the theme. They must be very confused. They need to remember the basics: soundness, good temperament and moderation.
The biggest pitfall to new novice breeders is being influenced by other jealous breeders who try to discourage them or get them into their clique. It always seems like we are all divided into enemy camps. It would be nice if we worked together and if we welcomed new novices with open minds. I don’t see that happening however!
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? An amateur owner/handler losing their skirt in the ring and finishing the class in their slip!
I have been in Maltese my entire life, successfully throughout the years. I have had the privilege of seeing the dogs and breeders from the past years especially when we had a smaller gene pool. Besides being a successful breeder, I am one of the few people that have handled dogs besides campaigning many different lines and pedigrees, so I have had a hands on far different than 98% of the Maltese people. This background has given me a great picture of the past, present and future of our breed. Even as a youngster I was one of the few people that traveled totally around the country to also have the scope of our breed from one coast to the other. I am happy to say I have mentored/shown for many of our present Maltese breeder judges too. I also am an honorary member of the American Maltese Association. I went with my mother to the original meetings that were held when the AMA first started. I am still a student of our breed and of our sport.
I live in the Chicago area on the Northshore for my entire life, other than the first three years where I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have been in dogs my entire life as my parents were showing and raising dogs from the early 50s. Outside of dogs, I frequently go to the theater and dinner with my “theatre group”, Jere Marder and Matt Hougland, with some other added people on various occasions. My hobby is my lifetime work of making beautiful lifetime companions with my dogs.
I personally have bred Maltese as a continuation of my mothers work since the late 50s. I have also through the years bred additional breeds, quite successfully too. I have bred many best in show and group winning Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers, Shih Tzu and Silky Terriers. However in the past twenty years or so, I have stayed strictly with Maltese, the love of my life.
My breed described in three words: beautiful expression, sound body/mind and silky, white coat.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? They are not as popular as they used to be in the show ring due to the intense presentation, the hardship of small litters and the fact people want designer dogs. However as pets once a Maltese person, always a Maltese person. So many people repeat having one through their life time. Sometimes they have one growing up in their family, then they get married and have one and then after the lifetime of one dog they usually replace it again with a Maltese.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Truthfully they are not as popular in the group ring as they once were. They used to command the group ring all over the country. However now that there are more breeds to choose from and the rare breeds have come up in quality like the Affins, the ET’s, Griffs, and also the addition of more breeds, they seemed to get overlooked even if they are great quality as compared to past years. I also think people the newer judges cannot grasp the idea of breeds with coat and put up more breeds that are either smooth like Pugs or even double-coated like Poms.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? Trends for sure, the balance and heads and tail sets are very different on many dogs than in the past. The presentation is so different too. So many dogs just because they are groomed to perfection to cover their faults or for the glamour have taken away from the true quality of what the dogs really are. The topknots have totally changed the balance of the heads. Maltese are not the only toy breed affected by this, the Yorkies, the Shih Tzu all have the same problems. The coat textures have changed as well. It may look like they are better, but in actuality the preparation and hair products have made the difference.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? The parent club tries to educate the judges what the standard states. However, the judges can only judge what is in the ring. I do not think the parent club can increase awareness of the popularity of the breed. There are many Maltese being sold as pets they are popular that way, just not in the show ring. Years back, many Maltese were exported to foreign countries and there was a big market for champions. In those days more people showed so they could sell their dogs and therefore more were shown. Today the people just put a good website up and sell their dogs without the investment of proving the quality of their dogs.
Of course my biggest mentor was my mother, Rena Martin. We both learned by experience. And the important part of that was learning and knowing dog structure, the standard and right from wrong and always trying to breed for better. The way you do that is through constantly studying pedigrees and dogs. Today’s people have no idea even what the parents of the dogs look like or how
The biggest pitfalls for new judges are not knowing the standard and not being able to see beyond the grooming. Sometimes the new judge will pick up one term from a seminar and only judge on that. The overall balance is most important and knowing what makes a Maltese different from other breeds! As for the new exhibitor/breeders the same is true. With the breeders just going to other countries because they will sell you a dog is not the answer. The only way that would work is if they know the background of the dogs and buy more than one to create a line. So many new breeders like a look that is not typical of Maltese too. Health has become a big factor for breeding Maltese today.
My favorite dog show memory? An old story that still to this day is funny, Billie Kendrick judged Maltese at least 50 years ago. We, as in today’s world, had put dogs in to make points. Somehow, with the confusion, someone handed my mother the dog that went Winners Dog, our famous Jingles. But this was the bitch class. Billie Kendrick put him up again, and then we realized we had the same dog! Obviously things got straightened out, but he was consistent!
Rhonda and I live in Trinity, North Carolina. I have a daughter living in Greenwich, Connecticut. Professionally, I am an engineer by education, turned to businessman in the later stages of my career. I serve on several boards including the Southern Economic Development Council and the NC Community
Personally, I am a Master Gardener, avid sailor and fly fisherman. I currently serve as the President of the American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA), and have shown Brussels Griffons in conformation for over 20 years.
The most rewarding part of being owned by this breed is the friendships we have developed. Best of Breed Rosettes eventually are stored in the attic—good friends last a lifetime.
Our hobbies include pleasure boating, fishing, traveling and visiting as many wonderful restaurants as possible.
Breeding Brussels Griffons, while a lot of fun, can also be heartbreaking. These little creatures can be difficult to breed and even more so to whelp successfully. It is not for the faint of heart.
My breed described in three words: inquisitive, velcro and loving.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Brussels Griffons remain fairly rare.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Yes, when it is deserved.
The quality of Brussels Griffons has come a long way since I began showing and breeding them. Judges are recognizing them in the Toy Group Ring when it is deserved.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Gender and coat type do not seem to be reasons for winning or losing. Overall type, movement, soundness and attitude remain important.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Although we enjoy a fairly healthy breed, health testing is recommended.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? We are seeing more dogs from Europe being shown in the US; which means more natural tails and ears. We are also seeing more quality Smooths being shown and recognized.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? As President of our Parent Club (ABGA) one of our primary missions is to educate judges and the general public. Responsible breeding and ensuring the health and welfare of every Brussels Griffon is the most important mission.
My experience as a breeder begins with a great foundation bitch from Kay Braukman (K-Dee-Bees Brussels Griffons). Without Kay, there would be nothing to talk about.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges is not having access to good quality dogs to learn the standard.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? The difficulty in successfully whelping a litter and establishing a good quality foundation line. New/Novice Breeders should be ready to be patient as they begin the journey of breeding Brussels Griffons. Established breeders will not place good breeding stock with a novice person until they feel secure in their purpose.
In 2020 The American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA) is observing our 75 Anniversary. Our National Specialty will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on March 9th through March 11th. The year-long celebration will continue with various Supported Entries throughout the year and culminating with our Roving National Specialty at the prestigious Morris & Essex Kennel Club show in October.
I began my life in dogs in 1968, having attended my first dog show and fell in love with my first love—a Miniature Poodle. That led to a 20 year love affair, breeding and exhibiting over 100+ Poodles in both the miniature and toy varieties. Then in 1989 we got our first Pekingese and went on from there. To date we have bred 117 American Champions, including nine Best in Show winners. I was one of the founding members of the Pocatello Kennel Club AND the Eagle Rock Kennel Club. My life outside of dogs was in education, retiring in 2011 after serving as a college dean for 18 years.
I live in southeast Idaho near Shelley, Idaho. I am a retired college dean and currently my life “outside of dogs” is gardening.
I began my ‘life” in dogs in 1967 after I went with a friend to a dog show in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was smitten with the Miniature Poodles that were being shown. In 1989, I fell in love with the Pekingese.
My breed described in three words: regal, arrogant and stubborn.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Unfortunately the Pekingese’s popularity has declined dramatically, with registration dropping more than 90% in the last ten years.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? The Pekingese is the top winning toy in the group, winning more group firsts than any other toy breed.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? In Pekingese, the males get a lot more attention than the girls, mostly because the bitches don’t carry the huge glamorous coats that the boys do. However, when I have had a bitch that carried the huge coat (most don’t), they have held their own against the boys.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Overall the Pekingese is a fairly healthy breed. Heart issues is probably the largest health concern. As breeders, we need to recognize that and work to rid our lines of those that tend to have more heart issues than other lines.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? My biggest concern is the lack of true understanding of our breed by people who are currently “breeding”. Many dogs being shown today are too long and so many people exhibiting today do not understand the correct movement.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? A lot and they are doing very little to let the public know about this amazing little breed. Having a booth at meet the breeds during the AKC National Championship show is not helping very much to stem the decline in the once most popular toy breed.
I owe the most to my mentor in Pekingese, the late Nigel Aubrey Jones.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? Not too many. If they have studied this breed well, they shouldn’t have too many pitfalls. But I always caution new judges that they need to be able to see the “correct” dog in the ring. Many times the dog that is “different” than many others in the ring are actually the correct example and the others fall outside the standard.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Pekingese are not an easy breed to breed and raise. The first two weeks can be very difficult. But after that they seem to thrive then turn into little monsters.
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? It is exasperatingly funny to see a Pekingese enter the ring and then decide that he or she is not going to take a step. Talk about stubborn!
Marisa has been involved with the dog world for 25 years. She has been breeding Japanese Chin for 20 years and has bred, owned and handled multiple Chs, GChs, group winners, specialty winners and even a Master Agility Champion under the Dizzy prefix! She was in product development for 15 years, developing pet products and now enjoys being a real estate agent and handler. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Shawn, two German Shepherds, two Shelties and all her Japanese Chin.
I live in Hazlet, New Jersey and have 25 years in dogs. I’m a Real Estate Agent, agility instructor, handler and Certified Canine Massage Therapist.
I have experienced the highs and lows of breeding, as all preservation breeders do, but I wouldn’t change a thing! I look at breeding as an art. The standard is the masterpiece and you are trying to replicate it.
My breed described in three words: regal, impish and sensitive.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? I would say low to the average. This is actually a blessing in disguise as the breed is not popular in pet stores.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I would say yes and no. I feel breeds go through resurgences every few years where a breed gets more and more recognized as the ones showing are closer to the standard. We are in that resurgence now with Chin placing in groups fairly regularly. We are lucky that breeders are truly putting out their best to be specialed and those that are out are lovely representations of the breed.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Bitches typically don’t carry the coat of the fully matured males. As far as size, our ideal size in our standard is 9-11 inches. Bitches and dogs both can be that size. There is no difference in our standard and there is no disqualification either. You can show a 6 inch dog and a 12 inch bitch. When it comes to breeding I evaluate to the standard. There is no “down to the wire” in my case. Because Chin typically have small litters, finding the “outstanding” one comes a little easier when you only have one or two. In the same sense, you don’t have many to choose from so each breeding should be carefully planned.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Heart issues, by far. Heart disease seems to be claiming our lovely breed. Our lifespan is around 12 years or more but more Chins are being diagnosed with heart disease by age eight. Breeders need to be checking for problems early on and keep checking each year. Unfortunately, by the time they are diagnosed is usually after breeding age. If we are diligent and share the results of those early tests, maybe we can start winning against this disease.
Any trends I see in my breed that I believe need to continue or like to see stopped? Our breed is a square breed and I am happy to see more and more square dogs in the ring. We “lost our legs” for a little while but as of late, we are showing more leg with a proper short body. The “eye trend” is a big one. Our standard states, “Set wide apart, large, round, dark in color and lustrous. A small amount of white showing in the inner corners of the eyes is a breed characteristic that gives the dog a look of astonishment.” The Japanese chin should NOT have pupils on the side of their heads with a huge amount of white showing. Small amount is just that, small amount. Of course, this leaves it open to interpretation. Judges need to look at the dog on the ground, not on the table as many Chin shut their eyes while being examined. White is white. If it is there, it is there. It seems this trend of huge amounts of white in the eye, resulting in the dog being wall-eyed, is happening. Not only is it wrong, it has huge health complications as well. Sari Teitjen, an expert in our breed and the unofficial “grand dame” of the Japanese Chin wrote, “…the eyes should never appear to be bulging or protruding.” Just as important is that the eye should be round, dark in color
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breed? Because we have a small club (approx. 100-125 members), we rarely do any kind of meet the breeds. We also only have a few specialties a year. Also, we have very few “young people” in the breed. I think the club tries very hard to participate in events but it all comes down to volunteers. I don’t think it is the club per se, it is more its members. If more members would step up and do the events, I think it would help with the awareness of the breed.
I am lucky that I have had many people help me. My first mentor was Carla Jo Ryan. She helped me understand the breed and put into words what I was looking at. Other notable mentors are Nanette Wright and Lisa White. Sari Teitjen was a huge influence on me, taking me under her wing so to speak, with her mentoring. She used to tell me, “You are the youngest in this breed. I need to teach you right.” But most of all it is Maripi Wooldridge and Jennifer Stevens of Chindale. They have become family to me and I can always count on them to discuss breeding plans, pedigrees and puppy evaluations. My breeding program has gained so much because of them. I owe to so much to all of these people.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? Getting “sucked in” to the trends of the breed. And honestly, this is any breed. The standard is the standard. Trends come and go. Judge the standard. Judge what you have learned and taken so much time and money to earn the approval of judging the breed.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Feeling that breeding to the #1 dog is the way to improve your breeding program. That particular dog may not be the right one for your bitch. Your breeding program should be influenced by your mentors but ultimately it is up to you to develop it. Read your pedigrees. Go back and look at what a sire has produced in the past and look at the bitches he was bred to. It is a two way street! Look at lines that consistently produce the type of dog you want to produce. Go from there.
This breed is so unique, so quirky and I am thrilled to be a small part of it. They are wonderful companions and lovely show dogs. I am thankful to all my mentors who have helped me produce the dogs I am producing today. Remember, you don’t own a Chin, a Chin owns you!
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? Um…really? Aren’t all dog shows a ball of laughs?
I am President of The Heart Of America Chinese Crested Club, Director for Chinese Crested Club Of America and Cornhusker Kennel Club.
I am always willing to help a new comer or assist another exhibitor if they need an extra hand. If you see me at a show, please introduce yourself. We all need to join together to promote our great sport.
I live in Nebraska. I have been raising dogs for 26 years and have been showing for ten years. My life revolves around spending time with my family and showing my dogs.
I breed and exhibit both Miniature Pinschers and Chinese Cresteds. In 2018 and 2019 I had the number one ranked Miniature Pinscher Dog, #2 BOB. Last year was a bucket list year for me as I won the Miniature Pinscher National Speciality and the Regional Speciality.
I have won BOB in the National Owner Handler Championship for both Chinese Crested and Miniature Pinscher.
My breeds described in three words: Miniature Pinchers are loyal, spirited and intelligent; Chinese Cresteds are clownlike, addictive and affectionate.
Do my breeds get its fair share of attention in the Group? I believe both of my breeds receive their fair share of group placements.
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? With both of my breeds, I always prefer to show males. I find their temperaments to be more consistent. With males, I feel I am their world and they are willing to do anything to please me. When it comes to the females, I am allowed to live in their world.
The largest health concern facing my breeds today? I feel that the largest health concern for both breeds is Epilepsy. There is ongoing research being done to locate a genetic marker. Once a genetic marker is found breeders will be able to test and eliminate affected dogs from the gene pool.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of my breeds? I would like to see all parent clubs invite the public to their National Specialities. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to talk to reputable breeders and see excellent representations of the breed standard.
I find my local kennel club has helped me the most. We have training classes and very experienced exhibitors that have helped me on all levels.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? I find the expense involved in getting their judging license is the most challenging for new judges.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? Finding suitable breeding stock is a big challenge. Finding a breeder who has quality dogs and who is willing to trust a new person with their bloodlines can be challenging. As a breeder, my first priority is to protect the integrity of my bloodlines. Yet, I feel a sense of duty to help newcomers to grow the sport of purebred dogs.
I feel as exhibitors, we need to be more responsible for how we behave at motels and show sites. It is becoming increasingly harder to secure venues simply because people do not leave the facility as they found it.
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? Anytime I have the opportunity to watch the PeeWee Showmanship, I find a reason to smile and laugh (in a good way). The kids are so genuine in their attempt to work as a team with their dog. Yet, there are always comical antics.
I’d also like to share that good sportsmanship never goes out of style. Without competition, our sport has no future. Be kind to each other.
Erica Venier & Rachel Venier
I have been interested in dogs for as long as I can remember, having been introduced to the world of purebred dogs by a 1918 copy of The New Book of The Dog. Paging through that book made me determined to have a group of beautiful dogs of my own one day. After a few common missteps I bought a Sheltie bitch who eventually won the Working Group. That experience cemented the desire to continue to have fabulous dogs.
I purchased my first Cavalier in 1996. My daughter, Rachel Venier, is my teammate, brainstorming breedings and training youngsters. Together we have finished well over one hundred AKC Champions in three breeds, among which are are four ACKCSC National Specialty winners including the 2019 National Specialty winner, USA/AKC GChS Orchard Hill Inclusive.
Orchard Hill is quite literally located on a southern facing hill outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. For the last forty-five years we have been fortunate to be able to use our ten-acre property as a home base for all of our dog and horse activities.
Although we no longer keep horses the lessons learned from them have been an invaluable help in the development of ourselves as breeders and, as importantly, as educated stock men. “Outside” of dogs Rachel works as an attorney for the United States Government. I was an art major and I am still interested in the fine arts but almost every moment of my time is spent working with the dogs.
A brief overview of our experience as a breeder:
EV: I began breeding and showing Shelties on a limited basis in 1974. I was fortunate enough to have bought a very well-made Sheltie bitch who was perhaps not as gorgeous as some of her competitors; her blaze was distracting and her head of an older style. But her shape, balance and way of going were impressive; she won a major by winning the Working Group and taught me what floating movement looks and feels like. I brought that knowledge with me when buying our first Cavalier, an eventual Toy Group winner who became the basis of our breeding program and is behind every dog we own today.
RV: Growing up, Mom taught me the fundamentals of type, structure and movement. Watching the Shelties play, Mom would candidly evaluate each dog for me. Even if I was too young to fully-absorb the lessons when they began, they lasted through my lifetime. I focused on campaigning show hunters through my childhood, but came back to dogs in my last year of college.
Our breed described in three words:
EV: Innocent, joyful and sporting.
RV: Gay, moderate and natural.
How does our breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds?
EV: Unfortunately Cavaliers have become wildly popular in this country over the last twenty-five years. As we all know, with enormous popularity comes great responsibility for serious breeders. At Orchard Hill we attempt to protect our dogs as much as possible by placing the majority of them in pet homes to be neutered. We are careful to share our best dogs with trusted friends whom we feel will be as responsible to the breed as we have always been.
Does our breed get its fair share of attention in the Group?
EV: This is a dangerous question! At the risk of stepping out of line, I firmly believe the enormous popularity of the breed has meant that many Cavaliers are shown which may not be up to the challenge of placing in the Group. This is not meant as a stinging criticism but rather as a pragmatic way of looking at our current situation. Cavaliers have improved enormously over the last twenty-five years; as more talented breeders try to compete in the Toy Group one hopes that they will continue to recognize the importance of breeding for the overall animal, rather than concentrating merely on the head. With hard work and painful self-reflection the breed can continue to improve. And as that process unfolds more Cavaliers will be recognized in the Group.
RV: We breed to the objective Standard, recognizing that everyone subjectively interprets it. Our interpretation of the Standard is a structurally sound dog of quintessential Cavalier type. We consider soundness to be a part of proper breed type. Every breed has a defined structure and movement that is correct for that individual breed. A dog with proper breed structure will have the correct breed outline standing and on the move. Well-set shoulders and a properly angulated rear will give a Cavalier reach and drive, but will also contribute to the proper Cavalier outline both baiting and moving. When we view a Cavalier across the ring we want to see the outline of a Cavalier, not an American Cocker or English Toy Spaniel.
Focusing on correct make and shape has meant that we occasionally place beautiful dogs in pet homes because of a structural fault that we do not want to present in the ring or introduce into our breeding program. But we hope that we are coming closer to producing the ideal Cavalier (that we hold in our mind’s eye) by focusing on breeding dogs that are correctly made as well as pretty. And hopefully sound, pretty dogs will be recognized in the Group.
What is the largest health concern facing our breed today?
EV: Although, of course, Mitral Valve Disease is always on the minds of responsible Cavalier breeders, I believe the most serious health concern facing our breed today is rampant popularity. Think about it: any breed which becomes wildly popular will suffer from indiscriminate breeding practices among those people looking for instant gratification. To their great credit most serious breeders appear to be diligent about health testing and, when possible, eliminating effected dogs from the gene pool. Cavalier breeders need to put the interest of the Breed ahead of their own self-interest. And happily, many of us do just that.
Any trends we see in our breed that we believe need to continue or like to see stopped?
EV: This is an important question for Cavaliers currently. The outgoing temperament of a Cavalier must remain a benchmark of the breed. No excuses. Timidity or aggression may be well-hidden by skilled handlers but equally clever judges can easily spot these serious flaws. Judges, when you suspect a dog has a less than ideal temperament please do not ignore your suspicion. As judges we do the breed a great disservice when we reward poor temperament, regardless of who owns or handles the dog.
RV: A positive trend: Cavalier enthusiasts are interested and informed about the breed the world over. We have strong international communication and collaboration among breeders. I think this has helped us improve breed type and should continue to serve us well. And a note of caution: the hallmark of a Cavalier is his joyful temperament. His ears are up, his tail is in motion when on the move, his body language “smiles.” He must never be sharp or shy. The responsibility to preserve correct temperament begins with the breeders. We must be honest with ourselves and not breed from any dog exhibiting fearfulness or aggression. Temperament breeds on.
To whom do we owe the most?
EV: My artist parents; Ernesto Lara, Peter Green and Beth Sweigart.
RV: My mother has, of course, been and continues to be my primary mentor. She sees dogs with an artist’s eye while at the same time seeing every detail of structure soundness and type. She is a perfectionist. It keeps me sharp and helps me stay brutally honest with myself when evaluating our own dogs.
What can Cavalier breeders and enthusiasts do to increase awareness and popularity of our breed?
RV: Our breed has grown in popularity over the years. Like most breeds, we need increased participation by responsible preservation breeders to protect and maintain the vitality of the Cavalier. We all need to help the breed by mentoring and supporting Juniors and newcomers to the sport. My mom and I have tried to share competitive dogs judiciously and support talented young handlers. This game is not about any one day at a dog show. It is about the long-term vitality and preservation of a breed we love.
Jacqueline S. Zwirn
I live in Northern California. I’ve been involved in dogs my entire life as I am from a multi generational show family. Outside of dogs I collect Hot Wheels with my husband and am an avid football fan.
I am a 3rd generation show breeder, and 2nd generation rescue volunteer. My family had Great Danes. I’ve owned and shown a variety of toys and a few hounds as well, but my passion is the Miniature Pinscher and has been since 1980. I take great pride in breeding and showing O.F.A. health tested Miniature Pinschers. Health and temperament are paramount in any dog and we all should strive to breed this way. I don’t breed often and in the last 11 years, after taking 15 years off due to medical issues, I have bred 24 Owner Handled Champions (I’ve finished many other dogs bred by peers), an All Breed Best In Show winner, multiple Best in Specialty winners and a few dogs with multiple NOHS Best in Shows.
My breed described in three words: intelligent, quirky and exciting.
How does my breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? I’ve found Min Pins are fairly popular and misunderstood. Seems like , every time I am out and about with a dog someone comes up to me and says “I’ve had a Min Pin” or “my friend/family member has a Min Pin”.
Does my breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I feel that the breed is starting to get more appreciation in the groups, and Best In Show rings.
I believe most judges do judge the dogs and while the movement is so different from every other dog, when it is correct it is breath taking. That beautiful side gait MUST be accompanied by sound structure and correct breed type, and some of the breeders are striving for a sound, typey stunning moving dog
Males vs. Females: how do bitches (coat, size, etc.) fare when it’s down to the wire? Coat isn’t an issue, in fact I had an exhibitor spill coffee on my bitch as I walked into the ring. I wiped it off with my hand and showed her to a breed win. Females can get moody when in heat so there is that draw back , but if you are specialing a male he may loose his brain if there a bitch in season around him. I personally love specialing bitches….my males are great but they are such sweet goobers and my bitches tend to have that extra “bitch zing” attitude in the ring. They have been known to turn and look at the judge while moving as if to say “ I own this ring” then look back at where we are moving…its really interesting to watch
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease involves spontaneous degeneration of the head on the femur bone, located in the dog’s hind leg. This results in disintegration of the hip joint (coxofemoral) and bone and joint inflammation (osteoarthritis).I’ve personally known top winning dogs who never limped and people just said its a “weak rear”, but upon (my requirement prior to breeding to my dogs) health testing they are found to be bilaterally affected.
Any trends that I believe need to continue? Health testing.
Trends I’d like to see stopped? Stop breeding only for the side gait. That is not the most important thing on a dog. The dog must be sound down and back. The dog must conform to standard, meaning stop showing over size dogs, stop covering color DQ’s and understand what correct breed type is. Learn the standard, adhere to the standard, respect the standard, and be true to the standard.
What can my parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed? Participate in public education beyond “Meet the Breeds” at Royal Canin. Get out there at various shows and have booth’s there, get involved in Pet Expos where “Joe Public” is. Education is key to the survival of the breed, the sport and the pure bred dog itself.
Honestly I owe the most to my mother, Delilah Underwood. She is who allowed the gift of my first Min Pin, she is who taught me ethics and to do it right ,or don’t do it at all. As for which mentor, that is a tie between David Krogh, Gene Haupt and Dee Chambers, all three were paramount in teaching me how to show, especially in the group rings. I still can hear Gene telling me things to this day and its been 40 years! I can hear David as if it were yesterday talking pedigrees and qualities with me, and Dee, well Dee, taught me what nasty games to watch out for in the ring.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice judges? The approval process and the lack of extensive hands on before they get approval. Its hard to get “kennel visits” because there aren’t kennels like there was 40, 50, 60 years ago. It’s hard for the judges to get their hands on every type of dog, especially those who’s owners/breeders that are willing to point out faults, DQ’s, etc.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new/novice breeders? The rush to do everything in the first year, such as showing a bred by dog to its championship. You have to crawl before you run. Learn the art of showing a dog, then the art of breeding, instead of jumping in blindly and both feet first.
I love and encourage new exhibitors, I am an AKC approved Dog Show Mentor. I will help and mentor anyone that asks for it, but they need to want to learn, not just hear what they want to hear. Our sport has some issues and only we can fix them. We need to be kinder to each other, we need to care about the dog itself and not just the ribbon. We need to not in-fight, because the AR loves when we do that. We need to be responsible and honest. its not all about just you and that ribbon, its about the breed and the sport.
The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? The late Sylvia Rodwell came out of her RV, at a Great Dane Specialty during lunch and put a live Lobster on a show lead, promptly put it on the ground in the ring and proceeded to try and walk it around—oh such a great and funny memory.