What Professional Handlers Forecast for 2021

2020 proved to be quiet a challenge for everyone in dog sports, but no one saw greater challenges than Professional Handlers who rely on dog shows to make their living. Showsight reached out to the Handler community and asked them some questions. Here are their responses:

  1. Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many as a professional handler?
  2. Are you a member of PHA? AKC Registered
    Handlers Program?
  3. In which breed and all-breed clubs are you a member?
  4. Are you an AKC Breeder of Merit?
  5. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from
    purebred dogs?
  6. With whom have you worked as an assistant?
  7. Do you specialize in certain breeds or Groups?
  8. How has COVID-19 impacted your business this year?
  9. Did you attend many shows during the pandemic?
  10. Have you had to supplement your income?
  11. What do you think of the many changes put in place at shows?
  12. Do you have any expectations for the sport moving forward?
  13. What are your clients saying about their plans for 2021?
  14. Are you planning to attend Westminster next year?
    Morris & Essex?
  15. What’s the first thing you plan to do once the pandemic is behind us?

David & Jennifer Harper

I live in NW Houston, Texas. My first dog show was when I was nine years old, and I started as a professional handler in 1986.

In which breed and all-breed clubs are we members?

I am a member of the Conroe Kennel Club and also help with the Singing River Kennel Club. I am a member of the Golden Retriever Club of America, American Shetland Sheepdog Association, Bluebonnet Norfolk Terrier Club, Houston Pomeranian Club, and the Hungarian Pumi Club of America.

Are we AKC Breeders of Merit? Yes, for Goldens, Shelties, and Norfolks.

Do we have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I love to cook. Anyone who goes to shows knows our trailer is always an open table.

With whom have we worked as assistants? I’ve worked for some of the greats; Ron and Eloise Hudson, Anne Clark, Ron Buxton, Tom Span, and Michael Kemp.

Do we specialize in certain breeds or Groups? No, I handle
all breeds.

How has COVID-19 impacted our business this year? The second quarter was a little slow.

Did we attend many shows during the pandemic? We have been at shows every weekend when they have been available.

Have we had to supplement our income? When there were no shows, we did more grooming and offered handling classes.

What do we think of the many changes put in place at shows? I love the enter/exit for the rings. The no forced air dryers is an issue. But for the most part, everything is going OK and we are getting through it.

Do we have any expectations for the sport moving forward? I think the smaller clubs will suffer and we will probably see more clusters.

What are our clients saying about their plans for 2021? Everyone is ready to get back to shows.

Are we planning to attend Westminster next year? Morris & Essex? Yes, we will be there.

What’s the first thing we plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Give my friends a hug.

Anything else we wish to share? I am very excited about some new young dogs that we are starting. Can’t wait to see everyone at the shows in 2021.

Judi Hartell

I live in Smith Point, Texas.  I’ve been in dogs for 57 years. I have 52 years as a professional handler.

Am I a member of PHA? Yes. AKC Registered Handlers
Program? No.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? The Norfolk Terrier Club, Norwich Terrier Club of America, Lone Star Norwich Terrier Club, The Bluebonnet Norfolk Terrier Club, Austin KC.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? No.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I enjoy reading.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? Jimmy Andrews.

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups?  Terriers and Toys.

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? My income has been significantly affected in a negative way.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? No.

Have I had to supplement my income?  No.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? Some policies, such as entering and leaving from separate entrances and exits, I think, is helpful. I think the judges are having a more difficult time without an inside steward. Picking up our own armbands, I think, is more efficient. The inability to use forced air dryers has a negative impact on the efficiency of getting coated dogs ring-ready. Masks and social distancing, I think, should be more strictly enforced until the pandemic is under control.

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? My hope is that we HAVE shows going forward!

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? They want shows again.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? No.

Billy Huntington

I live in Hernando, Florida.

How many years in dogs and as a professional handler? I’ve been in dogs for 12 years. I’ve been handling dogs for 10 years.

Am I a member of PHA or AKC Registered Handlers
Program? Neither.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? None.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? If I fill out the paperwork, yes.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? Nicki King, Howie Huber, Rindi Gaudet, and Phil & Amy Booth.

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? Not specifically; a lot of Miniature American Shepherds come my way.

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? Before the pandemic, I began a successful canine transport business that has increased greatly with COVID.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? Not until Florida started having shows again; Tampa and the numerous clusters in Ocala.

Have I had to supplement my income? Yes.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? Some are helpful (COVID or not), like one gate for entry and one for exit. This should cut down on dogs passing each other during a busy, stressful time. However, I think a lot of it slows everything down and lacks organization. I’ve watched a lot of new judges/foreign judges have confusion because they are left to their own devices without a steward close by to help. I know it’s for social distancing, but no venue is big enough to allow six feet for us all comfortably and in a manner that still promotes a good flow for the real reason we are all there.

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? The government impact and lack of consistency is making it hard for the sport to move forward at this time.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? They are showing where I’m going. They have dogs to finish and promote.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? Yes. Morris & Essex? Possibly.

What’s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Lick everyone’s face.

Daryl Martin

I live in a northern suburb of Chicago. I am second generation as a breeder and as a professional handler too. My mother, Rena Martin, was an AKC licensed all-breed handler in the days of Len Brumby. In those days, you also had AKC assistant licenses, which I held until I was of age to be a licensed all-breed handler as well. That was over 50
years ago.

No, I am not a member of PHA nor the AKC Registered Handlers Program. I was a member of the Handlers Guild. Years ago, after AKC stopped licensing handlers, they had a program called the Certified Handlers Program, which I was a member of—another program of the past.

I am a member of the American Maltese Association for 50 years, and have had the honor of a Lifetime Achievement Award too. I have held many offices throughout the years. Currently, I am the Chair of the Education Committee. I also am a longtime member of the American Shih Tzu Club and a former member of the Lhasa Apso Club of America. I am currently secretary of the Little Fort Kennel Club of Waukegan. I am a former member of Chain O’Lakes Kennel Club and Park Shore Kennel Club, in which I held offices and my mother started and founded the kennel club.

I am an AKC Breeder of Merit and also recipient of the AKC TOP TOY BREEDER 2020.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Yes, visiting with friends constantly (during the pandemic on the phone) and going to the theater.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? As stated before, I was an AKC licensed assistant to my mother. In those days, you could not show anyone else’s dogs other than who you were an assistant to.

I specialize in drop-coated breeds and other Toy breeds like Chinese Crested. I have shown Best in Show, Best in Specialty, Number One dogs, Group-winning & placing, top-rated dogs, and championships in many breeds in several Groups.

Covid-19 impacted my campaign this year on my top dog, Bis BISS CH Martin’s Time Bomb Puff. In 2019, he was the Number One Maltese all-breed in the same year he finished and was not shown throughout the year; 2020 was going to be his year to travel all around the country. He started with a bang but, due to the shutdown of Louisville, it came to a halt. With the shutdown of shows, my very dear client, Joann Kusumoto, did not want me traveling at all with covid ravaging throughout the country. Her concern for my health and the dog’s health is far more important than boasting of a #1 dog. He is Number One in her heart, so it doesn’t make any difference. She is a true dog person of yesteryear, which hardly exists in today’s caliber of exhibitors. Of course, I had other dogs that would have been shown too, but that didn’t happen. This is the first time in my lifetime I have been at home this long, ever!

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? No, I only attended two weekends after the shutdown; one when I stayed with a very close friend, and the other when I was able to stay at home.

Have I had to supplement my income? No, I have not had to supplement my income as I have a very gracious client, and also I have always been prepared financially to be able to exist and not need a handout from anyone.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? The changes have put a different twist to showing dogs, but also they do affect showing dogs. The outside venues are not good for the people who don’t have RVs if the weather is bad, like during the winter or if you have coated small dogs. The idea of not being able to see the competition will affect the education of breeders to compare dogs or those who want to learn. Part of showing dogs is discussing competition, watching competition, being around others to possibly learn. However, for the new people showing (who don’t even watch the end of breed judging and leave as soon as they lose) it won’t make any difference to them.

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? It is hard to say what the future brings.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? They’re looking forward to when it is safe to continue; and to showing great dogs and winning. I have people and dogs waiting, whenever the time is right and it is safe.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? Morris & Essex? I have been to the beautiful venue over 30 years ago, showing at Tuxedo and Westchester. Great anticipation to seeing it again.

What’s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Nothing different; do the best I can for my clients, the future generations of dogs, and being there for those who care!

Lynda & Dave O’Connor

We live in El Cajon, California, near San Diego. How many years in dogs? For Lynda, 45 years at least and 54 years for Dave.

How many as a professional handler? Lynda, 40 years, and about 50 years for Dave.

Are we members of PHA? We are both members of PHA. Lynda is a Board Member. Why? We want to represent and be part of a professional organization.

In which breed and all-breed clubs are we members? We are members of the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (the parent club) and Del Sur Kennel Club.

Are we AKC Breeders of Merit? Yes, Lynda is a Breeder of Merit.

Do we have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Just Dogs!

With whom have we worked as assistants? Lynda worked for Ray and Jeannette McGinnis. Dave traveled and worked for Ray McGinnis and Frank Housky.

Do we specialize in certain breeds or Groups? Mostly Spaniels and Sporting dogs. Would love to get into other Groups, but
not Terriers.

How has COVID-19 impacted our business this year? We have been to very few shows. There have only been a couple weekends in California, so if we want to attend shows we have to travel to more states in the Southeast.

Did we attend many shows during the pandemic? Yes, we did.

Have we had to supplement our income? Yes.

What do we think of the many changes put in place at shows? I think they are great ideas for all of our health and safety.

Do we have any expectations for the sport moving forward? We hope that we get through this pandemic and the shows can then get back to normal.

What are our clients saying about their plans for 2021? Right now, it’s wait and see which shows will happen.

Are we planning to attend Westminster next year? No, it is the same weekend as Woofstock out here in California. Morris & Essex? No.

What’s the first thing we plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Lynda wants to get a massage. For both of us, it’s get back
to work.

Anything else we wish to share? Just for everyone to be safe.

Celso Schneider

I live in McHenry, Illinois. I have been in dogs for 50 years, 43 years as a professional handler.

I am an AKC Registered Handler. There are two important sides to consider to be a member of a handler association: One is to promote the sport in the right way, improve knowledge, and acquire representativeness; the other side is that, by following the association’s regulations, I achieve a recognition that is important as a professional.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? I’m a member of the Fox River Valley Kennel Club.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? I am not an AKC Breeder
of Merit.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I like cooking, soccer, and technology.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? I’ve worked as an assistant to Peter Green and Maripi Wooldridge.

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? I show all breeds but knotted breeds; mostly Sporting, Hound, Terrier, and Toy breeds.

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? It has impacted a lot, affected all the plans I had for the dogs under my care. I have many dogs from abroad. Championships couldn’t be finished due to show cancellations or no majors around. Specials had their campaigns interrupted, affecting their ranking, and any strategy was useless due to judge changes and cancellations. It was a very atypical year with people giving up showing their dogs. Of course, all these issues are reflected in financial losses.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? Between August and November, I covered a good number of shows. However, since the first week of November, all the shows I entered my dogs in through the end of December were cancelled.

Have I had to supplement my income? Yes, and I am lucky to have great clients to support me; no one took their dogs home during the no-show time. This helped a lot.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? Some changes were necessary for the moment and will vanish with time, like masks and distance. Others may stay, like ring entrance and exit, and numbers distribution.

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? The sport showed a great reaction capacity when the shows came back. All the changes and exhibitor cooperation gives us a good expectation for improvement.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? Most of them are waiting to see how things will turn out with the pandemic, to establish a plan. Expectancy is the word.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? Morris & Essex? Yes, it is in my plan.

What’s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Get back to my normal life; at least as close to this as possible.

Anything else I’d wish to share? Resilience. This is what we’ve learned this year. May we use it to overcome 2020.

Terry Smith

I live in Arkansas. I have been showing dogs professionally
since 2005.

Am I a member of PHA? I am a PHA handler.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? I am a member of the Mastiff Club of America (MCOA).

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? I specialize in Mastiffs and have shown multiple Number One dogs in this breed for years now. I also show all other breeds, having Number One Clumbers, Chihuahuas, Manchesters, and other breeds.

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? COVID-19 has made it very difficult to keep my dogs at the top in all-breed, especially in the Working Group. Certain breeds tend to get the point for placements in the Group more often than others. And with so few shows to attend during COVID it made it difficult out there for those of us with dogs in breeds that are just as deserving of a placement, but are not the token four or five breeds to get Group placements. Covid was also difficult on the owners and backers, having to double and triple enter so that we might be able to attend a show that is not canceled. We had entered several shows and they would get canceled right after our money was received, and so lots of lost money this year for backers and clients trying to campaign a dog.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? I attended every show I could possibly attend during COVID because we were pushing a dog. Well, actually even more difficult, we were pushing a Mastiff bitch (which even on a normal year would have been difficult).

Have I had to supplement my income? I always plan ahead so, no, I did not have to supplement my income. TAKE THE LEAD did help me out with my insurance and I can’t thank them enough for that help!

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? What would help us best is to put entries back on a certain day to enter, like Wednesday. Opening shows to enter at all times of the day and night (and just any day of the week) is so difficult. I need to let my clients know when they will be charged and for which shows.

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? I do wish that our stats for this year would have been up-to-date. It was so hard to push our dogs to the top, trying to count every point in our breeds by ourselves. The stats were not put up until after the last show of the year. This doesn’t sound like much to some, but to others it was. You see, some of us had a bucket list to fill and time wasn’t on our side. RIP my sweet, sweet friend, AKC Judge Pam Winter, my owner/backer friend who passed away not ever getting to advertise her Number One breed dog and Number One all-breed (or to even see it in the stats).

Anything else I wish to share? God, please bless all whom we have lost this year and please help everyone to understand that we are all fighting battles that no one knows.

Greg Strong

I am blessed to live in beautiful Easton, Maryland; an area where people go to vacation. I was born into dogs (my parents bred Afghans and Lhasa Apsos), but have shown dogs professionally for 36 years.

I was a long-time member of the PHA, serving as Vice President for many of those years. When the AKC Registered Handlers Program was established I was eager to become a member. I am proud to conduct my business by the standards set forth by the program and help to contribute through the program towards the growth, continual education, and mentorship of the youth coming into our sport of dogs. I have mentored many young students in our sport and encourage all assistants to AKC Registered Handlers to become members of the AKC Registered Handlers Apprentice Program. I am proud to have Yoon Jung (Annie) Choi working with me as an AKC Registered Apprentice.

Early in my career, I was a member of Talbot Kennel Club in Easton, Maryland. I felt an all-or-nothing level of participation. However, due to all the traveling to shows, I regretfully resigned from the club, feeling as though I wasn’t able to give it my full attention and be a viable contributor.

I have whelped and raised so many litters for my clients over the years, and have recently taken over (with breeding partner Peggy Cropsey) my late mother’s breeding program of Löwchens. Through it all I have become a Breeder of Merit.

My interests/hobbies are simple. I enjoy boating, golfing, design and construction. I enjoy nature and the simplicity and relaxation of watching Bald Eagle, Great Blue Herons, and many other treasures of wildlife while relaxing on my deck.

As a youngster in grade school, I worked for Sporting dog handler Diane Gerthoffer for many years. I was also an assistant groomer in my mom’s grooming shop and, for several years, worked for a vet clinic. After high school, I ventured out to Southern California to work for the best Terrier handlers in our sport, Clay and Bergit Coady. The combined experiences (and a lot of trial and error) led me down a career path that I’m proud of.

I don’t really call myself a “specialist” in any breed or Group—that is left to the Poodle experts. I do, however, take each breed I show very seriously and try to study that breed en route to finding the best way to trim and present each breed to its full potential. I have Best in Show winners from all seven Groups and find myself showing a lot of Terriers, Working, and Herding breeds.

COVID-19 has had a huge negative impact not only for my business, but for all professional handlers, boarding, and grooming facilities as well. I own a well-established boarding, grooming, and training facility and, needless to say, it has suffered greatly. Our training portion of the business has done very well and grooming has held its own, but anything related to travel (boarding, daycare etc.) is basically nonexistent. The details, impact, and plan for recovery is immense and will take some time and a lot of strategic thought as the months (years) click on.

I did not attend any shows from the first weekend in March to the third weekend in September. In October and November, we attended a normal amount of shows for us, but the shows we entered in December were all cancelled.

I am very fortunate that, as of this writing, I have not had to supplement my income. Though I probably could have gone on unemployment, I felt that I didn’t really need to at this point and did not want to take advantage of the system as there were so many Americans who needed the help more than I did. I have focused on revamping/restructuring the policy and procedures within my facility, as well as working on things that were void of my attention due to all of our travels over the years. I have a portfolio of rental properties and they held strong through the pandemic.

I feel strongly that each and every host club of the shows that I have attended have done an amazing job with procedure and protocol in an effort to protect us at our events. Site Control, once again (as always!) has stepped up to the plate and has seamlessly helped the clubs to transition into the “New Normal.” I have always said that “Dog People” are so strong, hardy, resilient, and disciplined that we can handle anything thrown our way.

My expectation for our sport moving forward is simple: We will find a way to get back to normal. We will find ways to work around any obstacles put before us. We will continue to breed, show, and judge (and everything in between). We will prevail!

My clients, like me, have been very concerned about 2021 and how it will take shape. However, we all remain optimistic and will take each weekend as it comes, and try to make the best decisions for the career and for the safety of our dogs and ourselves.

I plan to attend Westminster and Morris and Essex. I’m really looking forward to both and the shows surrounding them!

The first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us is to go visit my Dad and Stepmom—if not before!

Shawna Swanson

I live in Glendale, Arizona. I have owned dogs all my adult life and got my first Rottweiler puppy in 1994. I got my first show dog (also a Rottweiler) in 2003, and my first Pharaoh Hound in 2008. I started handling professionally (only a couple of dogs at first) in 2009.

Am I a member of PHA or AKC Registered Handlers Program? I am not; I do not have a kennel. Most of my clients are ringside dogs, so the professional handler programs don’t really fit with what I do.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? I am a member of the American Rottweiler Club, the Pharaoh Hound Club of America, the Working Dog Club of Arizona, and the Phoenix Field & Obedience Club.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? Yes, I am. I have only bred one litter of Pharaoh Hounds (and only had four pups in the litter), but was able to meet all the requirements to become an AKC Breeder of Merit with that one litter.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Most of my life revolves around dogs, but I do enjoy traveling, camping and, recently, started paddle boarding.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? I got into dogs at a later age than most so, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to work as an assistant. Instead, I am eternally grateful to all the professional handlers who have offered me suggestions and taught me tips and tricks throughout the years. A few of the many who come to mind include Mari Lynn Davisson, Juliet Clendenon, and Stephen Cabral.

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? Since grooming is something I am still not an expert in, I tend to show breeds that don’t require extensive grooming. Although I’ve managed to finish dogs in six of the seven Groups and have earned Group placements in all seven Groups, I feel that my expertise is more in Sighthounds, Working breeds, and some Herding breeds.

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? It has made things extremely difficult for me. I was used to traveling to shows at least three or four weekends each month, so having all the shows canceled for almost four months was devastating.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? Yes, as many as I could. I attended the Learning Cluster in Oklahoma in June as well as several other shows since then.

Have I had to supplement your income? In addition to handling, I have always taught in-home obedience lessons. Although business decreased during the pandemic, it was something I was able to continue to do on a small scale to attempt to supplement the income lost from shows.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? There are a few of the changes that I think would be beneficial to keep. I especially like the entrance and exit gates to the ring and allowing exhibitors to pick up their own armbands from the table. The show-and-go concept has not really affected me, as I usually have multiple breeds to show, so leaving early is often not an option. I am really struggling with the mask requirements—I find it challenging to breathe at outdoor shows while running and, especially, when the weather is warm…and I miss seeing everyone’s faces
and smiles!

Do I have any expectations for the sport moving forward? I hope that, someday soon, we will be able to return to “normal” when we had choices of which shows to attend each weekend, and we worried more about closing dates than opening dates of shows.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? I actually haven’t talked much with my clients about 2021. I am waiting to see which shows are actually available and unlikely to cancel before discussing plans with them.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? Morris & Essex? I am not. Although the idea of Westminster in June is much more attractive to me than February, this year it is just not feasible for me. I have never attended Morris & Essex, and don’t plan on attending this year either.

What ‘s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? I’m anxious to get back to a regular travel schedule for shows!

Lane Tarantino

I live in Leona Valley, California. I have been involved in the sport my whole life. My grandmother has bred Parti-Color Cocker Spaniels since the late 1970s, and I always went to shows with her. I went out on my own about five years ago.

I am not a member of the PHA or AKC Registered
Handler Program.

I am a member of the American Spaniel Club and the Cocker Spaniel Club of San Diego.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? Yes, I breed Parti-Color
Cocker Spaniels.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? It’s not a hobby, per se, but I am very involved in the local 4-H group. I was a 4-H member for 13 years (ages 5-18). It was a very influential part of my life that helped to shape who I am today. I love going back to help the kids with their different projects and to give back to
the community.

I worked for several different handlers during my time as an assistant, all of whom I am grateful for shaping me into a handler. The person whom I worked for the longest, and am most grateful, is Dick Schaefer. I worked for him for five years, and he really taught me the business side of dog showing; something I think new handlers need to learn before going out on their own. (It’s not all running in
left-handed circles.)

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? I specialize in Cocker Spaniels, but I love all breeds of dogs!

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? A lot of my clients want to watch their dogs be shown, however, because California is still not holding shows, I have to travel out of state. Some of my clients don’t send their dogs for long periods of time to travel to shows. Others are waiting for shows to start happening on the West Coast again. Obviously, this affects business.

Did I attend many shows during the pandemic? I have attended any show that was going to be held during the pandemic—no matter where in the country. I am grateful to the club members who are working so hard for us to be able to not only have a show, but also for allowing professional handlers like myself to make a living.

I feel very fortunate that I have not had to supplement my income during these troubling times.

I hope we keep some of the changes that have been put in place after we go back to normal. I love that we now have an entrance and an exit in rings. I also love that at some shows the numbers are laid out for exhibitors to pick up on our own. Splitting the Groups in half allows not only more space between handlers, but also more space to really exhibit your dog.

I hope, moving forward from this year, people never take for granted the hard work it takes to put on a dog show.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? My clients are looking forward to shows returning to the West Coast, so they can watch their dogs without having to travel so far.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? I am still deciding if I will attend Westminster, though I have my hotel reservation. Whether I’m there or not, I know it will be one to never forget!

What’s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? See my family more. I live several hours away from them and, now that I travel out of state for work, I never get to see them.

Scott Yergin

I live in Woodstock, Georgia. I started showing dogs 1969; started charging in 1975.

I am not with any professional organization. Just never attempted to join an organization after AKC no longer licensed handlers. I didn’t see the advantage.

In which breed and all-breed clubs am I a member? I’m a charter member of the Jupiter Tequesta Kennel Club and a 30-plus member of the German Shepherd parent club.

Am I an AKC Breeder of Merit? I have done very limited breeding, but have been very fortunate with the breedings I’ve done.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I love water and snow skiing.

With whom have I worked as an assistant? I’ve worked for Ken Rayner Sr. and Douglas Crane.

Do I specialize in certain breeds or Groups? I specialize in German Shepherds and Corgis (at times).

How has COVID-19 impacted my business this year? COVID-19 has most definitely had an impact this year.

Did I attend shows during the pandemic? I attended Specialties.

Have I had to supplement my income? I did have to receive
government help.

What do I think of the many changes put in place at shows? I like the idea of entering the ring from one corner and exiting from another. I’ll leave it at that.

What are my clients saying about their plans for 2021? They all wish to become involved as soon as this pandemic comes to an end.

Am I planning to attend Westminster next year? Morris & Essex? Yes, assuming they have a show.

What ‘s the first thing I plan to do once the pandemic is behind us? Ditch the mask.

Anything else I’d wish to share? The pandemic, during an election year, has brought the worst out in people on social media. The dogs have always been a venue for dog lovers and a common ground for friendships. I hope that we can restore this idea and understand what’s really important in life. All of us are only passing through this time of life, so why not leave something good behind as an example? 

The professional handlers

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