When The Owner Takes The Lead

We asked Owner/Handlers & Breeder/Owner-Handlers to share some thoughts on dog shows what it’s like to show your own dog. Here are their responses:

  1. Place of residence? Profession? Passion (outside of dogs)?
  2. How long have you been in the sport? Original breed?
  3. What’s the toughest part of being a breeder? The best part?
  4. Do you feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs?
  5. What’s more important to you, an all-breed win or a specialty win?
  6. If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special?
  7. Is fitting your show schedule into your “regular” life a constant balancing act? How do you manage?
  8. To gain more recognition for owner/handlers, AKC instituted a program and points system particular to you. How has the NOHS program affected you?
  9. What advice would you give a newcomer to breeding?
  10. And for a bit of fun: What’s the funniest thing that you’ve witnessed, experienced, or heard about at a dog show?

Anita Bak

I live in Mt Laurel New Jersey, professionally I’m a Corporate Accountant. Outside of dogs, I enjoy photography.

My original breed is the Am Cocker Spaniel and I’ve been in the breed for 15 years.

I have always loved the breed, and when my husband and I decided to add a new family member the number one on our list, was of course a Cocker Spaniel. Camille, the sweetest and happy girl, never met a stranger in her life and was a true ambassador to the breed. She was the reason we got involved in this sport. She lived to be 15 when she past this past August. Over the years we finished many champions, and our dogs were showed in many countries. Our pride and joy is our current special, Danzel, GCHB Ania’s Celebrity Profile who ranked #1 Cocker Spaniel in NOHS, all varieties, lifetime with multiple Best in Show Owner Handled. He is also top ranked black Cocker Spaniel in both breed and all breed with regular Sporting Group wins and many group placements, always breeder, owner handled.

The best part of being a breeder? It’s very rewarding as a breeder to see the dogs I bred succeed in the conformation and performance rings, as well as preserving the breed for generations to come.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? The owner/handlers usually have a very good bond with their dogs, which could be an advantage. However, it takes a quality, well-trained dog, in good show condition for the dog to be recognized, and ranked at both breed and all-breed level.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Both are equally important to me. I have a great pride to be a Breeder/Owner/Handler of a dog that is recognized in both the “Breed point list AND the All-Breed point list”

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Balancing a full time job and actively showing in conformation is not easy. Showing Am Cockers requires a lot of grooming to make sure that as an Owner Handler I present my dog in the best condition. It means, spending full day at the office, and going home to bathe, groom and take care of the dogs. Using most of my vacation time to go to dog shows, sometimes considerable distance away, and be back at work the next morning, but I love it!

How has the NOHS program affected me? It’s a great feeling to be have OH top ranked dog. My current special is ranked #1 Cocker Spaniel NOHS, all varieties, lifetime. As his breeder I’m extremely proud what we have accomplished.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Find a mentor, or mentors, educate yourself. Find the best specie in your desired breed you can. Attend as many dog shows as you can. The glory doesn’t happen overnight, you have to work hard for it.

 

Sandra Bethea

Sangeo Bedlington Terriers, Sandra Bethea married 33 years to George Bethea. We are owned by three Bedlington Terriers. Hunni who is 12 years-old, Rion, who is eight and his daughter Bella Mae who is 3½. We enjoy competing in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Barn Hunt, Agility and Lure Coursing and many other events. It keeps us healthy and happy.

I live in McHenry, Mississippi and I’m a National Certified Master Groomer. Outside of dogs, I enjoy cooking.

I showed my first Bedlington Terrier in England 54 years ago at the age of five. My original breed is the Bedlington Terrier.

What’s the toughest part of being a breeder? Everything. The best part? Seeing how your pups take on certain traits of each parent.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Yes, it’s tTeam work. Even the hairs can communicate.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Both are great achievements. I Love seeing and competing with all the exhibits from around our country and world. If I had to choose, it would be a National Specialty Best Of Breed win.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Yes indeed. I wish Breeder Owner Handler were recognized for being a greater accomplishment.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I feel it helps me keep focused, in better health and motivates me to stay in better shape.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I have seen so many beautiful NOHS exhibits and exquisite Best In Show lineups, presentations and performances. NOHS has given me dreams that adventures and achievements can come true.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? You should do health testing on both parents, study the pedigrees and attend as many Specialties and National Specialties as you can so that one can see all the different dogs and styles.

What’s the funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? I entered my two Bedlingtons in a Brace class years ago. I thought I had them trained to perfection. When we arrived to the show for some reason they jumped over each other all around the ring. I remember the judges tummy jiggling and wiggling with laughter!

 

Cecilia Bozzo

I live in Wilmington, Delaware and have been Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse for 27+ years. Passion outside of dogs would be my work. I have tremendous passion for the babies we take care. As bedside nurses we are the front line to advocate for these very sick, tiny babies.

I have been in the sport for ten plus years. I started and remain in Chihuahuas.

The toughest part of being a breeder for me is that I have a profession which does not allow any forgiveness for calling ‘Out sick’ from work to work from home if I have a puppy or litter that is not doing well. Its frightening when I breed to litter knowing I may run into a situation like I did last year where I had a puppy that required around the clock care for weeks on end. The best part is breeding is having the gift of raising, training showing a beautiful and correct representation of the breed.

I can’t say either an All Breed win or Specialty win is more important. It depends on the Judge and the competition. My most meaningful wins have been under a Judge I admire and with
fantastic competition.

As a breeder/owner handler my wins are extremely special to me but I can’t say they are more special than if I were a professional because I have never been one. There have been wins that were very special to me in a highly steep ring filled with top professionals. It affirms the Judge found my dog to be worthy of recognition and awarded for its quality. I work hard at presenting my dog the best I can as I know I will be competing against very talented professionals who have worked hard to fine tune their craft.

As a shift working nurse I have the ability to juggle my shifts around so I can fit in my show schedule. I work every other weekend which allows me 50% less opportunity to attend dog shows unless I pick up some weekday shows the weeks I’m scheduled to work the weekend. I make a lot of weekend ‘trades’ to make sure I can attend the shows which are best for my dog. It’s a difficult ‘Balancing act’ for sure that has felt quite out of balance to be successful. Its definitely a choice I made and a lot of sacrifices have been made to chase dreams.

I truly enjoy participating in the NOHS. I began participating a few years ago to enable my young Special to have more Group ring experience. I enjoy competing in both the All Breed and Owner Handled Group rings. I generally only choose to go to shows which offer NOHS.

My advice to newcomers is to ‘Hold the vision and trust the process.’ This Sport offers to much. There will be many discouraging lows and incredibly inspiring highs. Experience gratitude for the gift your dog gives you.

I have a very ‘Spirited’ Chihuahua Special who has made a fool of me repeatedly over the years. She has made me laugh on the inside and die a thousands deaths on the outside at the same time. One of my *Favorite* episodes was at a Specialty in NYC last year. On the ‘Go around’ after a flawless ‘Down and back,’ she started off fantastic and suddenly I felt her stop. She stopped and sat butt down for a good ole butt ‘Scoot’! Initially I urged her to continue and I quickly realized she wasn’t having it. She not only ‘Scooted’ but she TWIRLED on her butt. I paused and laughed (What else can you do?) and she hopped up and charged forward on the ‘Go around’ like nothing happened. The audience got a laugh and, of course, a friend happened to catch it on video so I can relive the moment for life. Those moments are ones I will cherish along with the moments we received the nod from respected Judges over the years.

 

Kimberly Brown

I live in Furlong, Pennsylvania. My passion outside of dogs is running marathons. When I’m not showing or training, I do work full time at a company providing oncology care access to patients through collaborations with cancer community networks. Helping patients is very rewarding.

I have been exhibiting Basenjis since 2004. Basenjis are my original breed.

The toughest part of being a breeder is assuring preservation of the breed and continuing to breed dogs that are structured to do what they were bred for. The best part is achieving the right balance of breed type, movement, and temperament.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? The advantage is building a special bond with your dog from the beginning. Trust is a dual effort. You need to be able to trust your dog to do the right thing and your dog needs to trust you to keep them safe. If that is out of balance, it shows. Nurturing the relationship takes a lot of time and is worth every effort.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? To me a specialty win is more important. The competition level at Basenji specialties is tough! We all love our dogs and we all get to go home with the best one.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? The best thing about being an owner-handler is being able to share the moments, win or lose, with your four-legged best friend.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I saw a quote once that said “I am not an early bird or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.” Managing a full-time job, marathon training, and campaigning a dog could make me for a very exhausted pigeon. It is amazing to experience the endless energy that is fueled by passion. I am a driven by my passions and that makes me very happy. Over the years, I have learned to create more balance in my life. Balancing work, dogs, friends, and family is not an easy task and there is always one area that pulls you harder than the other. I used to show every weekend and that there my life off balance. It is very important to me to step back, assess what I need, and create the space to take care of everything to keep myself happy.

How has the NOHS program affected me? The NOHS program has done wonders for my dog and I. As a new team in 2016, my dog Bazinga and I were able to compete in the NOHS program. We BOTH gained a lot of confidence and we could each “settle down” before going into the regular Hound group. It has been amazing and we have finished #1 NOHS Basenji for the last three years.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Be patient, listen to many different breeders opinions, go to as many National Specialties you can, watch the National videos and read everything your parent breed club publishes on your breed. Learn, learn, learn…take it all in and truly understand your breed standard.

The funniest thing I have experienced at a dog show was in York, Pennsylvania 2016. My dog and I were in a very large group ring. After we made the cut we did an individual around for the judge. However, my dog, being the comedian and social butterfly he is, saw my mentor Pam Geoffroy. Bazinga saw his Auntie Pam and as we went into the corner he jumped over the ring gate into Pam’s arms for a cuddle. I had the literally pull him out of her lap and then continue our last go around. Totally embarrassing but hysterical at the same time. You see to Bazinga dog shows are about friends and not that going around in circles stuff.

 

Shawny Cirincione

I have been showing dogs for 33 years. I started showing in Junior Showmanship with six month old Scottish Deerhound puppy. As a JR, I finished my first dog. I went to work for Joy Brewster on the road getting experience. I worked for Joy for five years before heading out to show my own dogs. My husband and I have built our kennel under the prefix Hounds of Hobarra we breed Standard Wirehaired and Scottish Deerhound. We have produced three BIS winners, ten BISS winning and many multiple group winners. The dog that we have campaign BISS, MBIS, MRBIS, MBISOH, MRBISOH GCHG. Hobarra’s I Dreamed A Dream AKA Violet is the #1 OH All Breed Lifetime in the NOHS! The Winner of 60 BISOH. She was the first to win BOBOH at SDCA National Specialty Under Judy Webb. She was the #1 Scottish Deerhound All Breed for 2017 and 2018 and is currently #2 Scottish Deerhound All Breed. We have our next generation coming up with Violet’s Son. We have a lot to look forward to in the years to come.

I live in Danbury, Connecticut and I have been showing dogs for 33 years. My original breeds where Dachshunds and
Scottish Deerhounds.

The toughest part of being a breeder is making sure your puppies end up in the right homes. With caring and loving people that will love them until the leave the earth. The best part is breeding that special dog that makes dreams come true.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? I think the advantage a breeder owner handler has is the bond they have with their dogs plus they watched that puppy grow and can see its special gifts that special dog has.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? For us the most important thing was winning a specialty but my most memorable is winning my first BIS on a dog I bred owned and handled.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? It gives me such pride to tell a judge that not only and I the owner and handler of the winning dog but I am also the breeder. I appreciate judges that recognize my breeder owner handled dogs in the ring.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? It is beyond a balancing act with a full time job, a house and a very very supportive husband. It is a challenge sometimes. My husband and I work as a team to get everything done for the dogs plus some dates nights in there. We both give 100% when we our campaigning a dog and we give 100% to each other. Without his support we would not have the top winning dogs we have. We are a TEAM.

How has the NOHS program affected me? It has introduced judges to our breeds. It has also give people chance to grow in their handling skills and also give them a chance to win in breeds that are totally pro handler dominated.

The advice I would give to newcomers to breeding dogs is learn about your breed, get yourself great mentor. And realize this is not a money making game and it a hard road and it came be heartbreaking. But learn everything you can.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? The funnest thing I have seen is my Deerhound trying to jump on a ring side Toy grooming table and she did it and stood there on this itty bitty table super proud!

 

Terrie Crawford

My husband and I live in Columbia, Tennessee about 45 minutes south of Nashville. I retired with 41 years of service with AT&T as a Director managing call centers around the US. Not too much time for passion outside the dogs, but we love country music and go to concerts often. Live in the right area for that!

I have been in the sport since 1982. My original breed was Miniature Pinschers.

The toughest part of being a breeder is dealing with tragedies, breeding is not for the faint of heart. Unexpected things happen and losing a puppy is very emotional. On the other hand, the best part is raising happy, healthy puppies and whether it is getting them trained for show or placing them with the perfect pet home, it is a heartwarming experience.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? I think any individual can have a bond with a dog, including professional handlers. Owner Handlers should automatically have that bond if the dog is raised in a positive environment, professionals have to work a little harder at it.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Specialty!

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? I think so, knowing I bred and raised the dog to win is very satisfying. All wins are special, but the NOHS has a special place in all owner handlers hearts.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I am fortunate my husband and I are both retired, but even with that there is a “schedule” on what gets done when. We plan ahead and make sure there is time for “us” in addition to the responsibility of caring and showing the dogs. Plan, plan, plan! Our schedule is usually planned at least three months in advance.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I think any type of recognition is positive, but I would like to see the point system reviewed at some point. You get Owner Handler five points even if you are a single entry. I know entries in some parts of the country are hard to come by, but giving points for just “showing up” may not be recognizing the quality that is normally in the Owner Handler ring. There is no perfect system, but since the Owner Handler entries have grown it may be time to revisit the point system. The quality of the Owner Handler group continues to get better and better and I’m proud to be a part of it!

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? First get a qualified mentor. If you purchase a show puppy from someone who you trust and is a successful breeder learn everything you can from that person. Ask questions, try to go to shows with your mentor to watch ringside, attend your National Specialty and participate in any seminars that will improve your knowledge. New folks will be successful if they start off with the right dog and the right mentor.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? I saw this just recently, an exhibitor was showing and her lead broke. She was very “flustered” and went around the ring looking for assistance, and the dog gaited next to her perfectly. The dog was so well trained did not even need the lead! And ended up winning the breed from the classes!

 

Robin Gates

I live in McKinney, Texas and am a Healthcare Consultant. Outside of dogs, I enjoy travel and Time with family and friends.

I’ve been in the sport for 25 years, off and on and my original breeds are Manchesters
and Bostons.

The toughest part of being a breeder is being as prepared as possible and still losing a puppy. It never gets easy. The best part is watching our wonderful puppies grow into pets and loved family members.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? The bond an Owner Handler has is very special but where an owner handler has an even bigger advantage is the chance to focus on just one dog if they choose.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Specialty wins are always the best because finding competition in Manchesters is difficult. Being able to compete and win against other beautiful dogs in my breed is so rewarding.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? My current special is 100% BOH by me and every win is special. We are so connected and the way she looks at me when we work together always makes me smile.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Managing shows and work is always difficult but can be done. I have to make plans months and sometimes a year in advance to ensure I can get it all in.

How has the NOHS program affected me? The opportunity to show multiple times a day is just more exposure and practice for us.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Be prepared for anything and everything. It is a labor of love but the rewards far outweigh the heartbreak.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? When a friend and I were so excited to get to a show but then realized we forgot chairs, the grooming table, a grooming arm, we forgot to reserve grooming and booked our hotel wrong. We still managed to have a great time but we triple check now.

 

Christy Brown Hale

I live in Hendersonville, Tennessee and I’m a florist. Outside of dogs, I enjoy my family.

I have lived in Hendersonville my whole life and married for 26 years. My children are grown and married and I love being able to travel and show the dogs. I have met some amazing people and friends along the way!

I started in 1982 and my original breed is the Shih Tzu.

The toughest part of being a breeder? I’m not a breeder.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Not necessarily, I’ve seen many dogs that are bonded more to their handlers than their owners—it’s all about time spent with them building a bond.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Two totally different situations. Both are equally as important to me.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Competing as an owner Handler, I have had some exciting memorable wins that I will cherish forever.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Yes! I am very lucky to be able to participate as much as I do but the trade off is, constant catch up at work to be able to leave again.

How has the NOHS program affected me? The NOHS has enable me to compete at all levels of the show. Without it there would be many days that I would be done after Breed. NOHS has given me the opportunity to be in multiple groups and compete for best in show.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? I wouldn’t, I am not qualified to give any advice.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? In over 30 years, way too much to even remember!

 

Janice Hightower

I live in central Florida and am a clerk for our county school system.

Outside of dogs, I enjoy Jeeping with my husband, going out with friends, traveling to see friends in Tennessee.

I’ve been in the sport for 44 years and my original breed were Dobermans but had Brittanys growing up as
hunting dogs.

The toughest part of being a breeder? Breeding and almost losing a good bitch but still having to spay to save her life which is most important. The best part is having puppies to find good homes and hopefully show homes for some. Keeping old bloodlines going also. The one I almost lost is also the most titled Liver-Roan Brittany in the history of the breed and first CHIC liver roan.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? No, so many dogs live with handlers anymore the dogs are bonded.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Both, any are taken with pride and joy!

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Yes, back in my days of having litters and showing puppies all the time I was always ecstatic over winning with them and I had a special I showed to Top 10 owner handled all the time. I did not breed for a number of years but since I have gotten back into it with two girls I am not breeder of but they both go back to my old lines I had, each win is still so special to me!

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Yes somewhat due to getting time off. To manage, I make sure I like the show site and judges and try my best to have the time off. It’s hard for the working person to go to a three or four day circuit a lot of times.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I have enjoyed it. I have been in top 10 in my breed with one of my girls several times and my youngest girl REO was 21st as a puppy being shown only ten months of the year. She Has OHBIS and many group placements and Group wins. She has finished #3 (I look forward to showing in OH top 10 at Royal Canin!) this year when she was only shown in OH for nine months and July and August we did not show in AKC as I show IBACA and UKC also.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Find a mentor or people to talk to about the breed you have or want. Go to a good breeder who does the health testing needed for the breed. You have to have a good dog to start with. And no, puppies are not money makers. You put time, money, heart and soul into trying to make the best dog possible.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? Well there have been many, I have had my slip fall off and I just kept running and had panty hose fall too and flipped my shoes of as well as them and kept going. Have seen lots of funny things happen though.

 

Cynthia Huff

Cynthia Huff began showing and breeding Cockers with her mother in the 1960s and in 1971 she and her mother established Safari Standard Poodles, which has bred over 150 champions world-wide, including Best in Show winners on three continents. Over the years, her husband, Joel Haefner, and their two children, daughter Alyssa and son Leigh, have also bred and shown
Standard Poodles.

I live in Carlock, Illinois and am a retired English Professor. Outside of dogs, I travel, including to see animals in their habitat on land and in the ocean.

I’ve been in the sport for 58 years and my original breed is the Cocker Spaniel.

The toughest part of being a breeder is having your expectations dashed. The best part is having something wonderful
happen unexpectedly.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Sometimes but pros can have an advantage because they show so much.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? That depends on the context of the win. A win at the national specialty is more significant than an all-breed win at a local show. But a specialty win can be less significant that a win at a prestigious all-breed show.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? They’re harder earned and more exciting because you’re always there to experience them. But a big win for one of your dogs shown by a handler can be just as exciting.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Yes, it is. I’ve managed over the years by always managing my time really well.

How has the NOHS program affected me? For the last several years I’ve competed very successfully in NOHS and have had the top NOHS Poodle, all varieties, for the past three years. In 2017 my black standard dog, GCHG Safari’s Subversion, was #4 All-Breeds and this year his white half-sister, GCHB Safari’s Salome, is in the Top Twenty All-Breeds. I really like the camaraderie among
NOHS participants.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Hang in there for the long haul. Realizing your breeding vision is harder than it might seem.

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

 

Rebecca Ingersoll

My name is Rebecca Ingersoll and I am the proud owner of Twisted Acres Border Collies and Mudi. In December of 2012 I purchased my dream home in Benson, Arizona which gave me the ability to be able to do what I have always wanted to do. I have had Border Collies since 2000, but it was not until 2012 that I was able to focus on showing and then breeding. My passion is to breed true to type dogs that are able to herd and win in the show ring. In 2014 I added the Mudi to my family and am very glad to be able to help preserve a rare breed. I am now breeding both Border Collies and Mudi. I have successfully owner handled and finished my Border Collies and have my first bred by champion. I also currently have the top winning Mudi who is a Bred-By and the youngest Mudi to earn a CM. I love the adventure my life is now and the privilege of owning, breeding and showing my beautiful dogs.

I live on 15 acres in Benson, Arizona—my slice of paradise. I am currently a distribution clerk for the United States Postal Service. It pays the bills so I can do my dog shows and herding! Outside of dogs—just my daughters, family and friends I now have because of my dogs. I am expecting my first grandchild on November 19th.

I have been showing in conformation since I got my first conformation Border Collie in 2011. I have since added the Mudi to my family and show both Border Collies and Mudi.

The toughest part of being a breeder is the inevitable losses you encounter—the litters that don’t take, the puppies you lose, etc. The best part is that each litter is a new miracle. I enjoy every aspect of breeding, raising and placing puppies.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Never really thought about it. Interesting question. I do know that my bred-by wins are more special. But I enjoy any time in the ring with my dogs and making a connection is better than anything. Advantage-not that I have noticed.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? I haven’t been able to attend the Border Collie Specialty yet—so for them the first time he Won Best of Breed at a big five day cluster was HUGE! For my Mudi, winning Best of Breed this year at the specialty meant more, because that judge knows our breed—so I know she picked the best dog.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Definitely yes! Finishing my first bred-by was very special.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Yes it is. I have certain shows I always go to every year and those are on my schedule. The rest is as I can. Only so much vacation time I have to use. I am very fortunate to currently have my parents living in my guest house and they take care of the ranch when I am gone, which allows me to do my shows.

How has the NOHS program affected me? It hasn’t yet. Mudi are not included in it and I have the top winning Mudi. Border Collies, I have just started having winning Border Collies that I handle, so hope to start ranking.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Stay true to your goals and do what is right for you and your program. Find a mentor if you can.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? The funniest for me was when my bred-by Mudi, Ryder, jumped up on a pillar in the Best-in-Show ring while we were doing our individual go round for Best in Open Show. The crowd watching was very amused by it, but the judge did not know what they were laughing at as it was blocked from her view by all the other huge pillars. When she had us go around again, she said we could do a smaller circle by cutting through the pillars and I told her no, because Ryder will jump up on a pillar again and then she said is that why everyone was laughing—I couldn’t see it. He never broke stride-was up and down off of that pillar like it was something he did everyday.

 

Ron Jacobson

We have lived in Clemson SC for about the last 15 years prior to moving here from Nebraska. I retired from a large manufacturing company three months ago where a worked as a Manager of components production planning and shipping. Now that my long time job is done, it has opened up more time for me to purse my other enjoyments of playing golf, drinking bourbon and shooting targets but not necessarily together.

We have been showing Gordon Setters for over ten years and owning them for more than 25 years. They have been the only breed that we have showed however prior to Gordons we had English Setters and Australian Shepherds.

The toughest part of being a breeder? Currently we are
not breeders.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Owner handlers may have a small advantage with stronger bonds with their dogs especially if they only have a couple of dogs in the family.

However most handlers also build bonds with the dogs they show for any significant amount of time. They may have an advantage because they are showing their dogs several days a week and honing their skills without distractions from other family members.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? The specialty win in very prestigious and very special, but getting an all-breed win best in show would be more special to me.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? I am not a breeder, however in my conversations with breeders I feel they would say that any win they have is special since it validates the hard work they go through building their
breeding program?

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? When I had a full time work life it was extremely difficult to manage the time available to maintain a heavy show schedule. There was never enough time to spend with family and friends nor time to spend doing other things we enjoy doing. Now that I am retired, the pace is much different and I can manage the time much easier between things we like to do.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I feel the introduction of the NOHS has been very good for the AKC and keeping more people involved in showing their dogs.

There are many people that own very good dogs that do not have the money to spend having the dogs shown by professional handlers nor do they have the time and skills to campaign their own dogs. NOHS gives these people another way to prove their dogs are good enough to be winners.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Make contact with breeders in your local kennel club and talk to them about their experiences. Their knowledge will invaluable to you.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? The best fun in the group ring was having Sussex Spaniel sit up and beg while waiting for the final group review.

 

Kelli Kujawa

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My only passion is Dog Shows!

I bought my first show dog in 1998 a Shiba Inu named Sake that’s when the bug of showing started and now 21 years later I still love showing. My original breed was the Shiba Inu and then I ended up with a Vizsla in 2003 from my Shiba Inu groomer and my life changed. I had great success with GCHB Sztori Eddie Bauer ltd. We went on to win over a 100 breed wins multi group placements and two first award of excellence at the Eukanuba Dog Show. Eddie was my heart dog and was a once in a life time dog.

I think the toughest part of being a breeder is placing puppies. I have been very lucky with homes for my puppies as I have owners with three generations of dogs of mine and this my favorite part of being a breeder seeing my dogs make others happy. I do feel as a owner handler you have a different kind of bond with a dog that have you have raised and shown from the start as my dogs are so aware of everything that happens from leaving to go to a show and showing , As a Owner Handler you have the one on one time with your dog all the time from feeding to grooming to showing, It builds a bond. I feel a Specialty Win is more important to me as a breeder as these wins are from breeder judges who you have grown up respecting and to show them your dog is much more rewarding than all breed wins. Showing dogs and having a regular family life is hard as it is changing priorities around to fit dog show schedules, getting time off work and grooming schedules with the Afghan Hounds. I can not attend as many shows as I would like do to work so it makes the shows we can attend important. I personally love the NOHS program as for me it gives me a chance to show off my dogs more times in the ring and to show the judges what kind of dogs owner handlers have, I like the ranking of owner handler because owner handlers can not travel every weekend and be seen every show so it gives us a place to shine with our dogs. My advice to any newcomer to breeding is: you must have a mentor!

I had the best mentor with afghan hounds Kuhlbreeze Kennels, Deb Ridley without her knowledge of the breed, grooming pedigrees I would not have been as successful as I have been with my Afghan Hounds. All newcomers need to understand pedigrees and health tests and why do you want to breed?

I feel that not every dog should be bred and that it takes years of knowledge of the breed and mentors to breed the best dog to
the standard.

 

Jeanie Troyan McAdams

Jeanie Troyan McAdams is a breeder/owner/handler of Miniature American Shepherds and an AKC Breeder of Merit. Her kennel name is ‘Love That’ and she is a parent breed club Judge’s Education Breed Mentor.

She and her husband Dr. Douglas McAdams live in Denton County, Texas where they have a dental practice that Jeanie manages. Jeanie was on the parent breed club (MASCUSA) Board that negotiated entrance into AKC and the Breed was accepted into AKC FSS in 2012. The breed was fully recognized July 1, 2015.

She has had ‘Mini’s’ since 2007 and have been promoting the breed since then! She has had Australian Shepherds from 1975-2017.

Jeanie has trained and shown horses most of her life and her greatest passion was training and showing Reining Horses in the 1980’s to late 1990’s winning many National Reining Horse Association Major Events and NRHA World Titles. When she retired from reining she missed the training of an animal and putting a show record on them so started showing ‘Mini Aussies’ successfully in 2007 before they were recognized by AKC. Since recognized by AKC FSS in 2012 (and the breed’s name was changed to Miniature American Shepherd) she has been showing and promoting this fun breed at AKC shows across the country. While in the AKC Misc. she and her bred by boy won the highest number of Certificate of Merits at that time, 17!

Jeanie has won the MASCUSA National Specialty three times, two with bred by dogs. Since the breed became recognized by AKC just over four years ago she and her bred by dogs have won one AKC Gold Grand Championship, two Silver Grand Championships, five Grand Championships and six Championships. They have won two regular AKC Best in Shows, one Reserve Best in Show, 34 Regular Group One’s and many Group placements. Five of these dogs have won or placed in the regular group ring and have been ranked high in the all breed and breed stats. This year her bred by boy is currently #2 All Breed MAS, #4 Breed MAS and #1 NOHS MAS. Several of her bred by dogs have won Specialties! In the NOHS ring her bred by dogs are #1 and #2 all time NOHS MAS, has been #1 All Breed NOHS and have won many NOHS Best and Reserve Best in Shows. At the AKC National NOHS competition, she and her bred by boy won the 2016 NOHS Best in Show and has won the AKC National NOHS Best of Breed MAS every year since the breed has been fully recognized.

Jeanie’s biggest passion is showcasing her bred by dogs in the regular AKC Group Ring and AKC Best in Show ring. Her philosophy is “It’s more fun to win with a bred by” and tries to make every show fun for her dogs.

My husband and I live in Denton County, Texas just a few miles from our Dental practice in Denton. My husband Doug is a Dentist and I manage our practice. Besides loving to put a show record on a dog, (especially a bred by), my passions include traveling, exploring, learning and trying new things, snow skiing, waterskiing, design, architecture and construction, reining horses (I used to own/train and show them) and just hanging out with Doug and the dogs
at home!

I bought my first Miniature American Shepherd in 2007 and started showing in conformation then at the ‘rare breed’ shows. This was before the breed was accepted into AKC and they were registered as Miniature Australian Shepherds. I was on the parent breed club board that negotiated entrance into AKC and was the Liaison for our Breed Standard Committee . Our breed (under the new name Miniature American Shepherd) was accepted into AKC FSS in 2012 and became fully recognized in 2015. I have had Australian Shepherds since 1975 but did not show them. Most of my Aussies were not much bigger than my Minis now! I am a board approved Judge’s Education Mentor and have done many Meet The Breeds promoting our breed to the public including numerous years at the AKC National show in Orlando, the Rose City Classic in Portland, OR and the Houston Reliant show. I was also one of three people nationwide nominated for the 2018 Showdogs of the Year/Purina Pro Plan Owner Handler of the Year award.

For me the toughest part of breeding is finding great homes for the pups. The best part is seeing one of your bred by’s float across the backyard like living art! Also it’s more fun to win with a bred by!

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? I think they should but it all depends on the Owner/handler and their attitude. It also depends on their work ethic, passion, energy level, mental outlook, physical ability, desire to learn, etc etc. There are many OH out there that work hard and are passionate about showing and they do very well not only in the OH ring but the ‘regular’ ring also. I also see some OH’s out there with nice dogs but they have a negative attitude and don’t try very hard so they may not win a lot. They always want to blame someone or something besides themselves. Many times they blame their dog, the judge and/or pro handlers. But that’s not the dogs fault! The dog will only show as well as you have trained him. I have helped numerous OHs over the years and some have been eager to learn, take advice well, then they go on and succeed. Then there are some that no matter how many times you tell them the same thing they don’t do it and/or make excuses. That is frustrating, especially when they have a nice dog. So you can’t generalize about any group, there will be a range of talent and passion. I love to see an OH with their dog out winning not only in the NOHS ring but in the regular group and regular Best in Show ring! They usually have a wonderful bond with their dogs!

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? I love them both! A specialty win, especially the National Specialty is thrilling because of what it is! I have been fortunate to win our regular National Specialty three times (just won back to back National Specialty with my bred by boy) and Select/ Bred By Exhibitor BOB and BOB/OH the other years I have shown (until our club changed the rule on not allowing ‘Specials’ to compete for BOB BBX). All but one year these wins were with Bred By dogs which is especially thrilling! My dogs have won the AKC National BOB OH every year we have shown in it. On the other hand, there is nothing like winning a regular AKC Best in Show with your bred by dog! To be in the regular Best in Show ring with some of the top dogs and top handlers in the country is a thrill! I have had the honor of winning two regular Best in Shows and 1 reserve BIS with two different bred bys, father and son! The dog I am currently showing is the only MAS to have won two regular Best in Shows and 30 regular Group Ones! He also won our National Specialty last year and this year and the AKC National NOHS Best in Show in 2016! He was the #1 ranked NOHS all breed dog for several months earlier this year! I showed his sire to a regular Reserve Best in Show and four Group One’s in addition to numerous NOHS BIS ! To win any big show under a judge you truly respect and admire, a real ‘dog man’ (or woman), is a thrill to me!

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Absolutely! Nothing compares to that feeling! It really feels wonderful when you are showing a 3rd or 4th generation bred by and put a great record of him/her!

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I don’t know how I manage! My ‘too do’ list is never done! You just have to prioritize and run off adrenaline! Managing our dental practice, taking care of our ranch and dogs, breeding, training and showing dogs, all without a lot of help is exhausting actually! But, I know that one day this will all end so I want to take advantage of this time in my life and not waste a minute of it!

How has the NOHS program affected me? I think it’s a great program and gives people another option to show.

What advice would I give the newcomer to our world? If you have a nice dog and are a good student you can do well especially showing in the NOHS. Buy some handling books and if possible take lessons. Keep it fun for your dog. Study show videos, like Westminster breed videos on their website. Know your breed’s breed standard and carry a copy with you. Study the AKC rulebook. Know your judge’s ring procedure. Get to the show early and be prepared. Be organized. Keep it fun for your dog. Watch other breeds, watch the group rings and Best in Show. You can learn something from everyone, either how to do something or how not to do something! Keep a positive attitude, don’t talk poorly about anyone or their dogs at the shows and smile! Don’t take it personally if a lot of the people showing dogs seem to be in their own little world and may not come across as being friendly. A lot of them are there to do their job and are focused on their dogs and schedule. You can introduce yourself to others and especially Owner Handlers showing other breeds. Keep it fun for your dog. Be positive on social media. Most dogs love going down the road with their best friend, make it fun for them! Train at home, be prepared when you get to a show and have fun! Remember you are either going to win or learn a lesson that day. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t go as planned. When it does all fall together though it is a blast! Did I mention keep it fun for your dog? Keep it fun for you too!

The funniest thing that I have experienced at a dog show? I was walking by the Doberman ring at one show while they were trotting around the ring and suddenly one exhibitor’s slip started falling down and ended up around her feet but she kicked it out of the way and kept on going! A few dogs behind her there was another gal who was trotting around and suddenly her shoes started flying off her feet! At the same time there was another exhibitor who was also having a ‘clothing malfunction’! It was so funny that all three exhibitors never missed a beat and still showed their dogs well! They were all laughing when it was all over!

 

Ashley Mroz

I live on a small farm in Lapeer, Michigan. I am currently self-employed which allows for more travel time, which is one of my passions outside of dogs. I also love nature photography, and of course using my dogs as practice subjects.

I started in performance events with my mixed breed about 13 years ago and then transitioned to the conformation portion via junior showmanship with Bedlington Terriers about ten years ago. About eight years ago I got into my current breed, Field Spaniels, and whelped my first litter five years ago.

The toughest part of being a breeder? Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, it is rough sending them off on their new
adventures, but it all gets better when you get to welcome new members to your dog family, especially when you can see most of the puppies on a fairly regular basis. The best part is watching your puppies succeed in whatever they do—conformation, performance, companion, I love receiving any kind of positive update from
their families!

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? I wouldn’t say that’s an advantage specific to owner/handlers any good handler will form a bond with the dog they show on a regular basis.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Coming from a rare breed, there are times some all-breed shows are just as large as a specialty or National, so yes a specialty win would be special, but some of those large entry wins are an honor to receive as well.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? I am a Breeder/Owner/Handler and those wins and titles earned are very dear to me, it’s always been a goal of mine since I started in dogs to be able to title my bred-by dogs and it is always a joy when it becomes a reality.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? The summer is one of my busiest times and I unfortunately have to miss any Saturday of the shows I enter, but I drove back and forth the “semi-reasonable” distances to fit it all in. I wanted to complete some goals, but I also needed money to complete them, so it is definitely a balancing act.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I did take part in Owner/Handler quite a few years ago and enjoyed the extra opportunity to show my dog, I have since become ineligible to compete, but I think it is a great program for those new to the sport to get extra time with their dogs and the judges.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Go with your gut about anything from which puppy to keep, to placing a puppy in a new home. Also there is no perfect dog, think about your breeding program first before the show ring.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? I cannot think of one offhand, I just remember enjoying themed shows and having the exhibitors be apart of it, like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Hippie, or Aloha. I think people are more relaxed and it’s always fun to see everyone join in on the fun.

 

Cathy Rogers

In 1973, we purchased a Miniature Schnauzer on the condition it would be shown; something I knew nothing about. Thanks to a great mentor who is now a friend of 50 years, I learned. In the 80s I saw a Norwich at a show and was smitten. In the 90s during a hiatus from dogs, I bought a two year old Appaloosa. For ten years I lived and breathed horse shows. I learned so much about movement and structure during that time. Then, I bred my last Norwich, just once more to have a pet for myself. She ended up going WB at the Specialty from the Puppy Class. She is the dam of a Multiple Best in Show winner, a dog handled by myself. It’s been a wonderful ride!

I live in Northern Kentucky and I retired in 2011 after 30 years as an Elementary School Teacher. My passion (outside of dogs)? Family—I have a new granddaughter, my first grandchild. I enjoy spending time with her. Also, I loved showing my horse in the 80s. I learned valuable lessons about structure and movement during
that time.

I’ve been in the sport for 45 years (35 years in Norwich) and my original breed are Miniature Schnauzers.

The toughest part of being a breeder? Choosing the right stud dog for my girls. I agonize over that. The best part is when you choose correctly and you get something better. Also, placing puppies is great; people get such joy from owning a beautiful
healthy puppy.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Absolutely! Living with mine as pets give us many teachable moments. You have the opportunity to discover what really makes a dog tick which allows you to get in their head which a definite advantage!

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? As a breeder owner handler every win is very important. It’s not easy. But as a low entry breed, Specialty wins allow my dog(s) to shine among their peers.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? I think they are. You have been onboard planning the breeding, choosing puppies, conditioning and training the prospects, and when it all clicks, it is the BEST!

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act?

Regular life? When I have a good one to show, other things just have to go on hold. There’s no time like the present. Prioritizing is difficult, but it is the only way to get it all done.

How has the NOHS program affected me? I think it showcases the owner handled dogs. Judges know you as a breeder owner handler. I hope that helps them take me seriously.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Find a mentor. Study your standard; know it well. It is your road map, whether you breed or not. Handling your own dog, it will give you direction. It can take a while to see success in grooming terriers. Don’t get discouraged.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? Well, don’t wear a dress with a full skirt at Muncie shows where they have these huge fans on the ground, blowing into the group ring. I have seen some interesting events because of that.

 

Kimberle Schiff

I live in Tenino, Washington and I’m a psychologist.

I’ve been in the sport for 24 years and my original breed is the Doberman Pinscher.

What’s the toughest part of being a breeder? The toughest part for me is being single, having 100% of the responsibility to raise and care for puppies while also training and caring for my adults who are all being actively showing. I wind up getting up very early, driving to shows, hiring sitters to come in to sit with my pups and making the sometimes three hour drive home after groups to be able to campaign my special and also continue my breeding program. The best part? There is no better reward than a beautiful litter of puppies full of promise in the house or getting into the ring with one I have bred and trained and having that dog recognized for its quality.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? Yes and no. We have a bond and that is very important. Sometimes however we have less time to train and perfect our techniques with the busy house filled with puppies and adults and oftentimes a weekday career that helps us fund our dog breeding and showing hobby.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? A specialty win. Especially in a low entry breed. It’s easy to win in competition against a few but to win when you have a large national entry is a far better assessment of the quality of your dog.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Yes. When you win it yourself with your own home bred and trained dog, the win is far sweeter.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I am lucky to have a very flexible job where I can fit my work life in around my life with dogs.

How has the NOHS program affected me? It gives me another group to compete in which is always good practice and experience for me and my dog. I do look for, and tend to be more likely to attend a show if they offer NOHS or other breeder specific competition like a breeders stakes or a BBE group competition.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Attend your first national without a dog. Meet everyone, talk to everyone. Attend every dog related seminar you can find. Find a good mentor and learn everything you can. Listen. Understand population genetics. Learn to chart pedigrees for health and temperament as well as looking at conformation. Don’t go for the popular sire or follow the crowd. Do your best and be prepared to pet them all if you don’t like what you get from a combination. Set your expectations high and don’t accept average.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed, experienced, or heard about at a dog show? I attended the world dog show in Sweden in 2008. The Pinscher-Schnauzer specialty the day before was outdoors and it was hot. There was a woman competing in shorts, a tank top and high heeled sandals. About half way through the class her shirt came off and she had only just her jogging shorts and sports bra. When it was her turn to take her dog down and back she realized she could not run in heels so she kicked them off and into the crowd and kept on running in bare feet.

 

Jacqueline Siotto

I am a multi-generation dog show breeder/exhibitor and retired from the Medical field. I have shown many breeds, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Basset Hound, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, French Bulldog, Maltese, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, just to name a few. I have shown and bred Miniature Pinschers since 1980. I took a medical leave of absence from regularly showing/breeding from 1999 to 2008, and I just finished my 23rd bred by, Champion since 2010.

I am the Miniature Pinscher Club of America/AKC Breeder Referral, Vice President of The Miniature Pinscher Club of Northern California, member of the Pacific Northwest Miniature Pinscher Club, Board of Director of Del Valle Dog Club, and a Secretary of Nor-Cal Toy Dog Fanciers. I also am active in Miniature Pinscher Rescue, Senior Dog Rescue as well as various other rescues.

I am working towards obtaining my Judges License in a
few breeds.

I live in Northern California and I’m retired. My passion outside of dogs is helping homeless military vets and football.

I was born into the sport, multi generation, so over 45 years. My family had Great Danes and I was given my first Min Pin in October 1979, to show in Jr’s.

The toughest part of being a breeder? Is losing a dog/puppy, it’s heartbreaking. The best part is seeing a well-bred, well-socialized puppy/dog of mine being a cherished family member and providing a service to their family, be it seizure alert, a companion to an autistic child, etc.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? That’s a possibility, however, I feel that a well socialized dog/puppy and a great Professional Handler can have that deep bond/connection.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? Both are an amazing honor. I have an all breed BIS awarded by a breeder judge and Specialty wins.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Personally I feel that they are—especially when you are up against legendary dogs and people of the sport.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? Yes, it was hard to set the date for my wedding due to dog shows while I was campaigning a dog. I have a very patient and supportive husband. I sit out a few shows a year to attend the Hot Wheels National Convention’s since he is as passionate and deeply entrenched in Hot Wheels collecting, as I am in breeding/showing dogs.

How has the NOHS program affected me? It has given me the opportunity to refine in ring technique for both myself and the dog and provided yet another set of goals to achieve.

What advice would I give a newcomer to breeding? Don’t rush into breeding, study the breed, pedigrees and the actual animals themselves. Remember the sport is about breeding stock, not wins, not how many pups you can produce. Quality not quantity.

The funniest thing that I’ve witnessed at a dog show? I witnessed Sylvia Rodwell put a live lobster on a lead and attempt to walk it in a ring during lunch at a Specialty decades ago.

The fundamentals of showing dogs is universal; I am happy to answer questions, offer suggestions,bounce things off of and encourage new exhibitors, so don’t hesitate to contact me or find me at a show.

 

Mark Stempel

I live in Bohemia, New York which is in the middle of Long Island. I am a retired High School music teacher (39 years). Other than dogs, my passions include my family and Classical music.

I have been showing dogs for 26 years since I met my wife and partner, Jacqueline. My original breed was English Toy Spaniels, owning the 1996 Westminster Breed winner and Group pull. My true love is my Shih Tzu.

The toughest part of breeding is the occasional problematic puppy. Spending the hours/days helping a puppy get over the hurdles is very tiring—but so worth it when everything turns out well.

Of course the best part is producing healthy happy puppies with more of our puppies in a litter being show quality. This becomes a dilemma, as choosing the puppy to keep for show can be
very stressful.

I think that owner/handlers have a special bond with their dogs especially if they also bred them. My time and work with my dogs seems to make them even better in the show ring.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? To me an All-Breed win is the ultimate. Here in the Northeast, the competition tends to be especially tough. When my dog and I won an All-Breed Best In Show—I was hit with the realization of the quality of all the other dogs. Being awarded a BIS as an Owner/Handler, was especially fulfilling with a ring full of outstanding professional handlers.

Being a Breeder/Owner/Handler means that I have had my hand in the total process with my dogs. The wins mean so much because of the time and effort that has gone into the dogs whole life and career.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I am lucky in that I am now retired and can spend as much time with my dogs as I choose to.

The NOHS has become one of my primary focus concerning dog shows. I love competing in the NOHS as much as in the regular group ring. There is a different camaraderie of the competitors in the NOHS ring. Not always, but for the most part, the owner/handlers root for each other and tend to be very supportive. The judges mostly have to concentrate on the dogs and not be affected by the other outside factors that unfortunately so often effect the outcomes in the regular ring. As much work as AKC has put into the NOHS, there are still some areas that hopefully will be looked at in the future—1. The asterisk (the judges book tells them nothing else about the dogs—why do they need this information?), 2. The same judge doing the breeds and group at the AKC NOHS championships (if they judged all the breeds—haven’t they essentially already judged the group?).

I am extremely proud of my accomplishments in the NOHS. Since its inception—I have been lucky to have the #1 Shih Tzu for seven of the eight years. In 2016, GCHS Marja-Tu Chu Dream Catcher “Dreamer”, became the #2 All Breed NOHS dog in the country. I will continue putting as much effort into the NOHS as well as competing in the regular group ring.

Newcomers to breed need to learn as much about their breed and the standard as possible. Breed for Preservation of your breed. Also get connected to an established breeder (any breed) who can help you with the whole breeding process and assist you when problems happen (and they will).

I’ve had one very funny experience in my career. Not that long ago I was in a Best In Show ring. It was a very large ring with the table way over to one side. I was the only table dog and was the last dog in the lineup. I placed my dog on the table when the judge was examining the last floor dog. The judge then started going over the six dogs before me for his choices. He forgot about me over to the side. Thankfully the Field Rep. got his attention and sent him over to me. The judge was mortified (unnecessary as it was at the end of a very long day). I told the judge when he came over that I was as tired as he was—and not to think anything of it. The spectators got a good chuckle, and my dog did get awarded the NOHS BIS!

 

Judith Webb

My husband and I live in a small town in the quiet corner of Connecticut. I trained as a Dance Teacher, although retired now I still enjoy the arts and spend my spare time painting my favorite subject, Cockers.

I started out with my first Cocker 15 years ago taking part in agility. A couple of years later I found my first show potential Parti color Cocker and two years later bred my first Parti litter.

The toughest part of being a breeder? For me there are a few tough parts, the whelping process and the heartbreak that sometimes comes with it, a breeding you are so invested in, studied the pedigrees, lined up the Stud then for some reason it does not take, this can also be so disappointing.

One of the best parts is seeing the litter you have planned, had so much hope for, turn into a beautiful litter and then produce that special dog. I also enjoy seeing and hearing from the families that have our puppies, the wonderful stories and photos always make it all worth while.

Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? In part, yes, I think as an Owner/Handler we do have a special bond, but I also think the professional handlers have a very strong bonds with their clients’ dogs. We campaigned a dog, Jon, last year with a handler, Jessica Legath and seeing them together was always a thrill.

They made a wonderful team and their bond was undeniable. After coming home and not seeing each other for over six months, Jon met up with Jess at the summer National, he didn’t miss a beat as soon as he saw her he placed his front paws around her neck and gave her the biggest welcome lick.

What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? A specialty win is most important to me, its recognition by my peers that I’m doing a good job, and to win is the
highest compliment.

If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Most definitely, showing and winning with a dog you have bred is so exciting, it’s recognition of your breeding program.

Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I’m lucky as I don’t have a full-time job, I can pick and choose my shows and travel, although I do prefer to stay close to home.

What advice would I give the newcomer to breeding? I would say make sure you have a mentor, and to invest in a good foundation dog. Spend time ringside at all-breed and specialties this way learning to recognize where you would like your breeding program to go. Study the dogs of the past, their pedigrees and their offspring. And don’t be scared to ask questions.

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