The Toy Group: A Community Discussion

    The Toy Group: A Community Discussion

    We asked the following questions to people actively involved in Toy Breeds. Here are some responses.

    1. A brief overview of your experience as a breeder.

    2. Describe your breed in three words.

    3. How does your breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds?

    4. Does your breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Why or why not?

    5. What’s the largest health concern facing your breed today?

    6. Any trends you see in your breed that you believe need to continue? Any you’d like to see stopped?

    7. What can your parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed?

    8. To whom do you owe the most? In other words, which mentor helped you the most as you learned the ropes?

    9. Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges?

    10. Anything else you’d like to share?

    11. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show?



    I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I am originally from Twin Falls, Idaho. I am a life-long animal lover and I remember playing “dog show” with my Wire Fox Terrier as a child.

    I married my high school sweetheart, Lyne Aslett, and we have been together for over 50 years. His Naval service took us to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1970 and we obtained our first Silky Terrier, an Australian import named Morgaree Dancing Lady. She was my first Champion. Another Naval transfer to University of Idaho, Moscow, ID allowed me to be involved with a group of dog show enthusiasts in Pullman WA and I stewarded my first dog show in 1972 for Palouse Hills Dog Fanciers. I met Kay D. Magnussen from Redmond, Washington and I obtained a Silky from her. Ch Kiku’s St. Nick’s Vixen became an ROM dam under Kay’s mentorship. I joined the Silky Terrier Club of America in 1973 and I am a lifetime member. I have served as Newsletter Editor and Eastern US Silky Rescue Coordinator for STCA. I was a cofounder of the Chesapeake Silky Terrier Club. I am currently member of The Silky Terrier Club of Central Florida and also belong to Tidewater Kennel Club of Virginia, my all-breed club, where I serve as Recording Secretary. I have judged and stewarded for STCA Top Twenty and I have judged Puppy Sweepstakes for STCCF but have no ambition to become a judge. I still enjoy showing my own dogs and rooting ringside for my favorites.
    We are now in process of obtaining the Gold Level Breeder of Merit designation with AKC.

    I retired from Bank of America in 2009 and I now work part-time from home as a V.A. Staff Appraisal Reviewer.

    I currently reside in Virginia Beach,Virginia where my husband became a Realtor after his Naval career. We have four children and now enjoy our five grandchildren. We currently have three Silkys and many Silky Terrier granddogs. My children do not show dogs, but my daughter, Angelle, fostered puppies for Colorado Animal Rescue and her sister, Alison, is an Animal Control Officer for City of
    Virginia Beach.

    I am what you can call a “ jack-of-all-trades”. Professionally, I am a Mortgage Loan Underwriter. My hobbies aside from my dogs include many activities. I play cello and piano, paint with watercolors, sew quilts and crochet lap throws. I am a family history specialist. My husband and I enjoy ballroom dance about twice a week. Lyne and I served as Addiction Recovery Counselors at our church for two years.

    I have been breeding and showing Silky Terriers exclusively since 1972. We have bred over 50 AKC champions since our first litter in 1972, including the youngest Best In Show Winning Silky in America, (18 mos.), Can Am. Ch Aslett Kiku’s Blue Streaker. “Streaker sired over 54 American Champions and 20 Canadian Champions. I hope I never stop evolving as a breeder. Dog breeding is an artistic process that naturally changes focus over time. I currently co-own with Mark Benson, Jim Dillman and Barbara Beissel, America’s only Platinum Grand Champion Lamplighter’s Tattle Tail. Good temperament is a basic building block. Tattle Tail has that. A number one conformation winner is nice, but success can be measured by more than one yardstick. We have changed focus in the past few years to raise puppies that are great show dogs, but also great performance dogs. Science has proven that you can raise a smart dog and train him as a puppy to be great performer. That effort opens the door to winners in the show ring, in the performance ring and in our homes. This year’s puppy placements are equally split between performance and conformation homes. Everyone wins when the puppy goes to his new home at 12 weeks with polite manners and obeying basic commands. We have proven that when puppies are ready for the show ring at 12 weeks, you can win the Puppy Sweepstakes at the nationals year after year.

    My emphasis on good temperament and trainability has paid off with winners in our home and well as the show ring. Our 2019 special won a Toy Group IV at six months four days. My owner-handled dog last year had all majors to finish his championship, Toy Group placements as a 9-12 mo. old and won the Puppy Sweepstakes at STCA, Northern Cal. Specialty, and STCA Supported Sweepstakes at Salisbury MD. He finished the year with Best Silky in Sweepstakes at AKC and his Grand in January 2019 at 18 mos. He lives with my friend, Tracy, and is her house pet.

    The breed in three words: silky, perky, and perfect
    (for me).

    The breed ranks second from the bottom of the Toy Group. Silky Terriers were 112th in breed rankings in 2018. That is down from 61st in rankings in 2000. We
    fear extinction.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? We currently have one Silky in the Top Twenty in Toy Rankings. Best In Show wins are awarded to Silky Terriers. I consider this remarkable when you see our low total numbers. The Silkys who are currently being shown are high quality.

    The breed club advised testing patellas and eyes. FaceBook Silky Groups tell another story. Older Silkys are prone to Pancreatitis. Currently there is no known test or screening. After the age of 10, most Silkys must be carefully monitored for gastrointestinal distress symptoms. Silky owners have been persuaded that boutique foods are the answer to our gastrointestinal problems. I think you will see that the research is paid for and done by the big dog food companies and that is where I will place my trust. I stick with the Big 3.

    Another common problem, due to lack of education, is stress fractures and soft tissue injuries to puppy joints which result in problems as they age. I have found that Legg-Perthes can be eliminated almost entirely with restricting the bouncing up and down puppies tend to do in the playpen. We raise the floor 12″ from the top of the pen and cover the top. This alone has prevented the joint injuries that, I believe, leads to Legg-Perthes. Puppies cannot be allowed to run up and down stairs or other strenuous jumping or climbing activities before age two. Breeders must educate new owners. Reining in an exuberant Silky is no easy task. I am watching my crew climb half-way up the trunk of the tree out back. They are sure they can catch that squirrel!

    Health screening is recommended for good reason. Tolerating a missing tooth or two becomes exponentially worse with each generation. Luxation of patella will be passed on to puppies. If your dog has seizures, you should not breed it.

    The lifespan of any Silky can be extended two-four years with weekly teeth cleaning at home and (I believe) Pancreatitis is linked to poor dental health and tartar build-up.

    Trends I see in the breed that I believe need to continue: trends are not far removed from fads. Show and grooming trends are another “ soap box”! Coats should not trail the floor. If you want that coat dragging the floor, get a Yorkie. I want to see the feet and that is impossible if you do not get the hair trimmed on the feet. Tail length, docked or not, should not be a discussion item in a show ring where selection of breeding stock is the criteria for the event. It is just another grooming item. I would like the discussion to stop on that trend issue. The size of the specimens being exhibited today is larger than ever. Breeders want seven pups in a litter, and they don’t seem to mind a 13″ height at the withers. I picked this breed for the 9″ and 9 pounds size. As I picked up my armband, a steward commented last year that my 9″/9 lb. dog was not a Silky, but a Yorkie! I can only pray she never judges our breed.

    Silky Terrier Club of America needs to jump into the current century with public relations. The web site looks like an antique. The breeder referral is not helpful. There is never a breed column in the AKC Gazette. Our AKC rep is rarely in attendance at Delegate meetings. The membership application process is exclusionary. Regional clubs are struggling and have little or no support from national. AKC is willing to help. STCA needs to step up. Silkys dropped another six places in the registration rankings in 2018. New owners are almost all folks who are replacing a previous Silky. Many of them lose patience with the long wait for a puppy and get another breed. They have to truly love this breed to wait a year for a puppy.

    I owe the most to my first mentor in the breed, Kay Dunkerley Magnussen, from Redmond Washington. Were it not for her, I would not be where I am today. She was an all-breed handler and horse breeder, so she knew structure. She was patient with my mistakes. She showed me by her example the correct way to start a new breeder down the correct path. Our early dogs were co-owned with a mutually agreed upon stud for two litters. She would then sign the dog over to me. It allowed her to help me along and then turn me loose on my own. She died in a car accident in 1986 and I miss her to this day. More recently, Mark Benson has been a true friend in the breed and an example of one willing to take our dog to #1 while ferrying a rescue Silky to its foster home.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Judges must learn from stewarding for a time . If there is not enough time spent as a steward, the ring can go wonky on you quickly. It also tells you if your feet and knees and back are up to an 8 hour assignment spent mostly standing and stooping over. Take those breed education seminars and try to get to more than one. The examples of the breed you see in North Carolina may be startlingly different from the ones you see in New Mexico.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? Easter Sunday show in Hampton Virginia in the 80’s when one of the handlers entered the ring and stacked a huge stuffed Bunny in the line up. The judge went down the line and dismissed the Bunny. When the handler took the bunny and left the ring, he left a pile of plastic easter eggs on the floor.


    Dr. Susan Barrett

    I was born and raised in the Texas panhandle and grew up on a ranch. My dad raised and trained bird dogs and we had quail, chickens, cattle, and horses. I grew up driving a tractor and building fence and helping with calving. I knew at around eight years of age I wanted to be
    a veterinarian. I also played basketball since second grade and was a Texas High School All Star player and honored in Sports Illustrated magazine. I received a BS in zoology from Oklahoma State University in 1976 graduating Phi Kappa Phi national honor society for top ten percent and graduated from the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 Phi Zeta national honor society for the top ten percent in my class. I was awarded the Oklahoma City Kennel Club Scholarship for most likely to succeed in small animal practice and the the veterinary faculty awarded me a scholarship for the top senior in my class for scholarship, leadership and clinical proficiency. I have built four veterinary hospitals in the past 39 years in the Sacramento, California area where I continue to practice. I am a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association. I am a member of Rotary International and spend many hours helping my community and am a Friend of the Folsom Zoo as a docent. I have two married adult children and two grand children and my Cavaliers who I all adore.

    I have been involved with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for 20 years, I have participated many years with a Cavalier as a therapy dog, have completed Canine Good Citizen certification, and for 15 years have been involved in conformation and/or breeding of champion Cavaliers as a participant in the AKC Breeder of Merit program. My registered AKC kennel name is Wyndancer. I also support juniors and placed one of my home bred champions with a young girl who wanted to learn to show dogs. I helped her at classes and taught her everything I know about handling and within two years she earned the number one ranking in the Cavalier junior program 2017 which was thrilling. The friendship we have is treasured and I am so proud of
    her accomplishments.

    I have been in private small animal practice for 39 years and still going in Sacramento, California. As a practice owner, besides medicine and surgery, I also provide clinical rotations and teaching for veterinary technicians and veterinary students and am involved with numerous veterinary associations. I also give seminars on Cavalier health to various clubs. In my spare time I enjoy investigating true crimes and writing true crime stories for publication, giving back to my community both locally and internationally as a member of Rotary International, and spending time with my grand children. I also started and am admin of three Facebook groups: Cavalier King Charles Health and Breeding, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mitral Valve Disease and Management and Cavalier King Charles Handling and Mentoring for the Show Dog. I also have a Facebook page Health and Welfare of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a WynDancer Facebook page. This keeps me busy with consultations and education of Cavalier health, breeding and showing.

    I have been showing Cavaliers for 15 years and breeding Cavaliers for five years and have finished eight home bred champions and grand champions with more to come, including one who is a Grand Champion Gold and has been number one ranked and/or top five Cavalier in 2018 and 2019 at three to four years of age, which is a thrill for me as this boy was from my third home bred litter. My Cavaliers are my family and i enjoy loving them and training them in obedience and conformation. I adore Cavalier puppies and enjoy helping them to thrive as wonderful, loving companions for others as well as myself. I began showing Cavaliers that I bought from fellow breeders as show potential dogs in the mid 2000s and have finished numerous lovely dogs who I treasure, one winning 1st AOM at Westminster 2013 before breeding my own home bred champions. In my breeding program I strive to breed to our standard, for good health and good structure and for the sweet expression and temperament the Cavalier is known for.

    The Cavalier is becoming more popular every year as a family companion. Its sweet, gentle disposition, small size, and happy nature make it very desirable to pet owners. It is also easy to care for.

    The Cavalier was allowed to be shown in AKC in the mid 90s, so it is relatively new to AKC. It comes from England and was bred from the King Charles Spaniel perhaps with Cockers or Papillons starting in 1926, due to a gentleman from Long Island, New York, who went to Crufts looking for the little dog in the paintings of the English kings. It first came to the US in the early 1950s and was shown in the original breed club, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA, before being allowed to show in AKC in the mid 90s. The breed has been evolving from the first Cavaliers produced and it is much more common now for Cavaliers to be recognized in the group ring by judges who appreciate its beauty and structure and wonderful temperament.

    We need to encourage breeding the Cavalier to our standard and the type of our original standard. Our standard is basically the opposite of the King Charles. We should strive to keep the Cavalier a toy which is 13-18 pounds and to keep the sweet expression and temperament. Our breed is known for a pretty head with a sweet expression. Cavaliers are bred to be a companion, not a sporting dog. Both a sweet, gentle expression with cushioning under the eyes and a good temperament are required for our breed. At the same time we want to breed for good structure and good health which go hand in hand. Our present US breed clubs recommend testing for hips with OFA, eyes and heart with specialists and patellas by a licensed veterinarian. I would like this to be required for showing in conformation. There is no requirement for health testing, to the detriment of the breed.

    The trend I see that should be moved away from and discouraged by judging is the overdone head with big heavy jowls rather than the well-tapered muzzle per our standard, too big at 22-25 pounds rather than the toy of 13-18, too heavily marked rather than the pearly white with well-broken patches of color, and long in body and short in leg, rather than our standard of slightly longer in body than height. Other popular trends which we need to move away from are domed heads (associated with the neurological syndrome syringomyelia) and almond shaped eyes and too much coat. Other trends that should be discouraged are altering dogs for competition. Dying the dog’s coat, excessive trimming (which is to be faulted), and even breaking or snipping tails to get the tail to come straight off the back are being done to win and I believe for showing dogs in conformation, AKC should require the owner to sign a document that none of this is done. All Breed judges should be trained to our standard, which includes seeing pictures of Cavaliers as well as those in the ring if possible that are to our standard in body and color and type.

    The biggest pitfalls for new judges is our standard is disappearing and hardly recognizable. Some AB judges focus on structure like Cavaliers are a sporting dog and think they should move like one—they should be shown on a loose lead or slack lead at least, not strung up and raced around the ring with a motionless tail. They should be moved at a normal pace around the ring walking happily and with the tail in constant motion. Judges need to look for type first per our standard as soon as the dogs enter the ring, Cavaliers are a head breed and plain heads with no cushioning under the eyes, domed heads with almond eyes, big hanging jowls, or long snipey noses are not correct. The dog has to have the correct head with a sweet expression as well as proper structure, not either or they are bred for companionship and lap sitting, not for racing or hunting. Often seen in the breed club is a pretty head, but poor structure and long and heavily marked. AKC AB judges tend to put up a plain head or heavily jowled Cavalier and put up only who has the flattest topline on the go around, disregarding this is a head breed—find the one that has both correct per our standard and type. If a Cavalier is not our standard and type in size, expression, cobby body (not long) well broken color, then eliminate those. Then eliminate outright faults such as shy temperament or excessive trimming. More judge training with breeders who know the standard and adhere to it needs to be done in my opinion. More AKC Breeder of Merit only breeders should be asked to help train AKC AB judges for Cavaliers, not just a few chosen from a breeder club. I would like to see a judging panel of three judges for shows to eliminate politics. One should be an AKC Breeder of Merit showing in conformation with at least 10 champions for 10 years. The breeder judge must totally unbiased toward the exhibitor or breeder. All judges should excuse an exhibitor or themselves if any dogs’ owner is a close associate or friend with the judge or if any breeding or buying of dogs has occurred between them. The judge should not be friends with a dog’s owner or breeder or have had any contact with them for assignments in a club or anything else. We need to move to judges only judging the dogs. To do otherwise is the down fall of the sport.

    To increase awareness and popularity of our breed the parent clubs should embrace every exhibitor, breeder or owner who wants to be a member of the clubs and encourage and welcome them in the clubs and in the various competitions including conformation, agility and obedience. Happy and engaged owners and breeders will then promote the breed to the public. This promotes participation in breed club events also. Politics and cliques need to be discouraged. Failure to do this is harming the breed as many are left out from competing making competition worthless.

    The person who helped me the most to become active in showing the Cavalier was Diane Harris of Brigadoon Cavaliers. I am forever grateful for her kindness and friendship to this day and for sharing a beautiful tri boy with us to show. We loved him so very much. Diane went to shows with us, gave us tips, taught us the ropes, and most of all was kind to us and laughed with us no matter what silly things we did. I am where i am today due to the mentorship of
    Brigadoon Cavaliers.

    The funniest thing I have ever seen at a dog show was professional handler Bill McFadden going around the ring dressed up as Tiny Tim at Woofstock in Vallejo, California.

    Joan Behrend

    My kennel name is Li’l Behrs Pomeranians. I came from a household that never had a dog, and I didn’t have one until I was 30 years old. As our first family’s mixed breed aged and my sons grew independent, I decided I wanted a lap dog, and bought my first Pomeranian. She had the pink AKC paper, so I spent $8 and registered her. There was a match show at the local park, where I met members of the Brookhaven Kennel Club on Long Island, and the rest you can probably write yourself.

    Twenty years later, I have had some wonderful successes in the breed, and, of course, some heartbreak. I have always owner/handled my dogs, and I have had two that I have bred and shown to the Top Twenty of our breed. The heartbreak part is that neither the Top Twenty dog nor bitch ever had any get. I don’t breed often, only when I want something to play with at the shows. I had one Min Pin litter with Kim Calvacca and Vikki Oelerich which was very successful. Otherwise, all my litters have been Poms.

    I have done agility with several Poms and a Min Pin, but I prefer the conformation ring. For many years I lived on Long Island, outside of New York City, and had the opportunity to do print and television work with my dogs. They have appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Oprah magazine, and have done television ads for Target and USA’s Westminster Kennel Club broadcast. Two of my girls appeared in the WKC ad for four years back when the show was on the USA network. One of the girls had taken BOS at Westminster in 2007.

    My recent highlights were I just showed a co-owned four year old bitch to Best Of Opposite Sex at Westminster Kennel Club, then a month later at the American Pomeranian Club’s National Specialty under Esteemed Breeder/Judge Ed Biven. The Pomeranian has become popular in many foreign countries. Three years ago it was announced that the APC Nationals had drawn entries from 28 different countries. I believe we have had a similar entry since. The quality is deep at this show and I appreciate the high recognition.

    As for our little toy breed, the Pomeranian does stand out in the Toy Group ring. A beautiful, self assured little hairy ball, they do grab attention. Pomeranians come in different colors. Orange tends to be the most popular and typey, but breeders are getting some lovely dogs in Black, Chocolate, White, Black and Tan, and other less common colors.

    One of the health concerns the Pomeranian has is Alopecia X, sometimes called Black Skin Disease. This is a hereditary problem which has worsened in the breed. The dogs can lose their coat all over their body, except for the head and legs, anytime over their lifetime. Most of the time it becomes apparent when the older puppies don’t shed, their cottony coat just gets brittle and breaks. They never get an adult coat, the coat just dies. This can present itself as a thick cottony undercoat which turns grey in color and gets thin first in the hind quarters as the dog matures. Over the years, the talented exhibitors have started to sculpt the coats on the dogs, and judges are not skilled in recognizing that it is an unhealthy coat, and not just a tight trim. Our standard reads that the Pomeranian may be trimmed for neatness, but they are getting more and more sculpted as judges are rewarding the overtrimmed dog. The American Pomeranian Club is just finalizing a guide for judges reinforcing the need for the coat to be presented with guard hairs untrimmed and full pants on the rear. If the judges look for the proper double coat, guard hairs and full furnishings, the unhealthy coats will not be rewarded.

    Vikki Oelerich and the American Pomeranian Club have also been diligent in attacking the problem by searching for a DNA marker, and it was announced at the annual meeting last month that they are close to finding where the gene is located that mutates. A DNA marker will be invaluable to breeders as the problem can sometimes not present itself in the breeding stock for years.

    Pomeranians are also hard to breed. They have usually one to three puppies in their litters and when whelping so many things can go wrong. Their puppies are relatively large in comparison to the dams and there are so many horror stories about whelping them that they call the Pomeranian the “Heartbreak Breed”.

    My current successful Poms have come from Elizabeth Heckert, Silhouette Pomeranians. She started in the breed in high school and has bred over 50 champions around the world in the last 20 years. Twelve years ago I sold her a bitch for a little money and a puppy back. This turned out to be as beneficial to me as it was to her. I have received some lovely bitches from her program, the latest being the one I took to WKC and the Nationals. GCH Silhouettes Sweet Potato Pie, co-owned by Elizabeth and me has given me an orange boy and girl that we co-own by CH Chriscendo Common Sense, bred by the incomparable Christine Heartz, sire of the Best Of Breed dog at the APC Nationals this year, and Elizabeth has just bred her again, hoping for Black and Tan puppies.

    While I am happiest with a house full of Poms, I have continued in the fancy because of the many friends I have made over the years. I lived in the New York area for 15 of my 20 dog years and mainly did the dog show circuit in the northeast. I spent some wonderful times with friends and competitors going out to dinner at shows, and at home during the week between clusters. I have made hundreds of friends from dozens of countries, and I look forward to those times just as much as the competition. I can go to any show in any country, and if I don’t know the competitors, I will by the end of the day; as we have so much in common to talk about. The friends I have made in the dog fancy are friends for life. My advice to a newcomer is to meet as many people as you can in your breed and always attend your parent club National Specialties, whether you show a dog or not. In fact, don’t bring a dog at least the first year, as it frees you up to learn. Kennel blindness comes from looking at your own and your friends’ dogs, and not seeing the best from around the country. In the case of Pomeranians, around the world. The National Specialty is like a family reunion for me, and I look forward to it every year. Joining an AKC club is also crucial. I have been Treasurer and Agility Chair for Brookhaven Kennel Club, my first Club; Secretary for the Empire Miniature Pinscher Club for the last 10 years, a member of Ladies Kennel Club when I lived on Long Island; a member of the Miniature Pinscher Club of America for more than 10 years; and a member of the American Pomeranian Club for 17 years and Awards Chair for the APC for 10 years. My husband was Treasurer for Long Island Kennel Club, and he doesn’t show dogs! Clubs have invaluable information, become your support group, and give you a chance to give back to the fancy.

    AJ of Showsight had suggested that I tell an amusing story. The USA ads for Westminster Kennel Club had a dozen or so showdogs in a sit/stay around the Westminster loving cup trophy. My Pomeranian, Thumbelina, did not sit/stay, so they put her in the cup. They rolled the cameras, and she sat up, looked around and ran out of the camera shot to the end of the set. USA showed that for years in slow motion, the beautiful movement of the heavy coated sable Pomeranian bitch. Where she was going was to the end of the set where she peed. Every time I saw that commercial I had a
    good laugh.


    Mark Benson

    I live in St. Petersburg, Florida and have 23 years in dogs.

    Outside of dogs, I spend time with my family and friends.

    A brief overview of my experience as a breeder: very fortunate experiences. We learn from our mistakes and
    breed forward.

    The breed in three words: keen, alert and devoted.

    How the breed ranks in popularity among other Toy breeds: 2016: 100th, 2017: 106th, 2018: 112th. We’re going the wrong direction.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: generally, yes. My Silkys have natural tails some judges at the group level fail to judge breeding stock, focusing only on tail length.

    Silkys are generally a healthy breed. The culture within the breed needs to be proactive and recognize developing health concerns.

    Any trends I see in the breed that I would like to see stopped: trends toward extremes, too big or too small.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed is more outreach and abandon the elitist attitude toward Silkys and the public.

    Clearly I owe the most to Barbara Beissel. She’s more than a mentor, she’s a friend.

    The biggest pitfall for new judges is exhibitors of low entry breeds may know about a breed than a judge. I’ve bred Silkys and only Silkys for 23 years, bred some crap but learned. Bred a lot of #1 Silkys (12) and learned. Continue to actively show. I may not have the best Silky at the end of my lead, but I know who does. (Thanks Barbara for let me use your line.)


    Gail Bertrand

    We are Bill and Gail Bertrand Owners of ReigningPoms We have been involved with Pomeranians since 2006.From the first moment we saw a Pomeranian puppy our hearts were captured and we knew that was going to be our breed. And you can’t just have one Pomeranian. We live in the DFW Texas area where we are very busy with other companies that we manage. Diversified PowerSystems, BNGB Properties, and BertrandTravel.

    Together we have built a small but very dedicated breed program that is consistent in quality and temperament. All of our Pomeranians are raised in our home. We enjoy them immensely by having them as a part of our family from all the kisses they give to that knack of doing funny things which always keeps us smiling. We have had the privilege and honor to collaboratively breed and co-own Pomeranians with other breeders whom we admire and respect of which many have competed successfully in the show ring.

    The breed in three words: warm, fuzzy and beautiful.

    Pomeranians are extremely popular and this is one of the reasons we must be good stewards of our breed.

    I feel like Pomeranians are noticed quite often in the toy group; I wish they had more recognition in the BIS ring.

    We need to be more dutiful in helping assure that our bitches are able to free whelp. We do a disservice to ourselves and our breeder friends when we continue to produce bitches who can only deliver via C-section. There are many opinions about the pros and cons of having a C-section. On my experience a C-section severs the bond between dam and pup (at least temporarily), it delays milk production, places dams at risk and cost inordinate amounts of money. Of course we need to continue to fund and support research of Alopecia X.

    We need to embrace more new people when they have an interest in competing in our breed. For some reason there is an air of exclusivity and this is off putting. We need to be more gracious in our wins and losses and be excited for others accomplishments.

    Our breed is extremely popular so I don’t think the club needs to do anything there. I feel that the club should be more honest in the challenges associated with the Pomeranian. I also feel that the national breed club should accurately catalog and track the accomplishments of all Pomeranians in competition. Our historical books are inaccurate because they are only chronicling accomplishments of club members and not of all Pomeranians in competition.

    I did not have a true mentor. When I started I had several people allow me to buy and campaign their dogs. I learned a lot from those experiences including how not to be a mentor. As a result one of the things that I am proud of is mentoring and being delighted in the successes of those whom I do mentor.

    I feel that new judges need to really learn what the structure of a Pomeranian should be and as a result what proper movement is. They need to be able to ascertain reach and drive and refuse to reward incorrectly structured and incorrectly moving Pomeranians.

    At this year’s APC Nationals after winning WB our little spitfire “Maria” Reignings Beyond the Wind broke loose from her lead and proceeded to run a victory lap around the ring before settling back in place to receive her winner’s ribbon. This move brought much laughter and many smiles to the faces in attendance. I am sure that it is an occurrence that will be talked about for some time.

    I’d like to thank ShowSight for coming up with such an insightful idea; Thank AJ personally for extending me the opportunity to share my experiences in this forum and all of our handlers and judges who have spent many hours providing positive criticism, unwavering support and heartfelt guidance in what is known as the “Heartbreak Breed”.


    Marcy Caton

    I live in Phillips, Maine, I’ve been in dogs for 24 years. Outside of dogs, I have spent my life showing horses.

    I started my dog show career in American Cockers, where a showed and bred them for 12 years under the Maplewood’ Prefix, I’ve also had Beagles and German
    Shorthaired Pointers.

    After that I found the amazing Italian Greyhound, and thats been my breed for 11 years. I’ve breed and finished over 35 champions to date and have had the honor of breeding RBIS winners, Westminster Winner 2018 and have had dogs in the top 10 in my breed for 10 years. I have also had two home bred dogs in the top twenty in 2018.

    The breed in three words: living with art.

    I don’t think this is a very popular breed among toy dogs in general.

    I feel they are often over looked in the group for a couple of reasons. 1) they are not flashy little fuzzies wagging their tales and being sight hounds tend to not have that attitude and 2) I’m not sure most judges understand the breed.

    One of the biggest health issues in our breed today I feel is epilepsy. We have no genetic markers yet.

    Any trends I’d like to see continue and any stopped: this is a tough question because I think it could be highly subjective as to what people feel is a trend. I do feel however that the breed as a whole and breeders are doing there best to improve health of the dogs.

    I’d like to see them stress more that these dogs are true sight hounds and should be judged as such.

    I owe the most to: this is a two part answer. First I owe my dog career to Laurie Ferland of Somerset Cockers, she sold me my first Cocker. She took me under her wing and showed me the dog show ropes, to her I owe it all. Second to Dr. Lois March, she sold me my first IG.

    The biggest pitfall for new judges: I think that would have to be knowing correct movement, I’ve talked to many new to IG that are unsure, what is correct lift as it can vary widely in the ring.

    As for the funniest thing—well I really think it would have to be the fashion, sometimes people forget they have to bend over.

    I’d just like to say that this breed is wonderful.They are loving and devoted, they are elegance personified. They need to be recognized for that.

    Terrie Crawford

    I just recently moved to Columbia, Tennessee right outside
    of Nashville.

    I have been involved with show dogs since 1980, starting out in obedience with a Miniature Pinscher. The dog was misbehaving badly and I took him to the local dog obedience class in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a natural, and graduated the class with honors. The instructor at the obedience class convinced me to take him to an obedience match to help support their local club, and I resisted, told her I had no intentions of showing a dog. Well, he won Best in Match and I got the show bug. While showing in Utility he suffered a back injury, and could not be shown any longer. That is when I asked about these people that just walked their dogs around the ring? I knew nothing about conformation, bought a wonderful show miniature pinscher from Marcia Tucker who quickly finished her championship in 1986. The rest is history! I began showing Toy Fox Terriers in 2007, buying my foundation sire from Dana Plonkey, CH Valcopy C-Lyn Sharpshooter.

    Outside of dogs I love to read and enjoy traveling in our RV. We love country music and frequently take advantage of the Nashville venues, love the Grand Ole Opry and going to concerts. But dogs are the biggest part of our lives!

    I have successfully bred several champion Min Pin and TFT litters, I bred my first Min Pin litter in the late 80s, my first Toy Fox Terrier litter in 2010. I have been fortunate to do co-breeding with successful breeders, including Armando Angelbello and Debbie Hornback in miniature pinschers and Dana Plonkey in Toy Fox Terriers.

    The breed in three words: spirited, entertaining and loving (I could go on and on).

    Toy Fox Terriers are ranked #111 out of the 192 AKC recognized breeds. Even though they do not have a high ranking in the toy group, the registration numbers are improving each year. The parent club continues to increase public awareness of this great little dog!

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: I feel if you have a great dog, with good movement and meeting the standard, has that “look at me” attitude in the group ring you will be competitive. The toy group is a tough one!

    Being a fairly new AKC breed, we are not aware of all the health concerns, but breeders prevent them by doing the recommended testing. Each Toy Fox Terrier should be tested for CHG (Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter), PLL(Primary Lens Luxation), SCA (Spinocerebellar Ataxia), and Degenerative Myelopathy. Patellas also need to be checked, this is a problem for many toy breeds, and Toy Fox Terriers are no exception.

    Our breed is improving, and breeders need to do research on the background of the dogs before breeding. More breeders need to consider going out of their area to breed to the best dogs. Everyone needs to find a good mentor, and do their homework on pedigrees.

    The parent club (American Toy Fox Terrier Association) has a great presence on social media and is also very active in Meet The Breeds in association with Westminster as well as the Royal Canin Dog show in Orlando, Florida. That needs to continue, but we need to figure out how to reach out to new folks!

    I owe the most to Dana Plonkey—he mentored me and is the reason I am successful today.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges: I am a ringside mentor for the parent club and judges consistently tell me the quality of this breed varies greatly, especially in different parts of the country. Show entries can be very low in most parts of the country and I always encourage judges to attend the larger shows, as well as the National, to get a better perspective of what this wonderful breed is all about.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show: this is from me when I was showing in obedience, I sent my dog out to a jump in a very small venue at a school where the spectators were in bleachers. My dog looked in the bleachers, took off and actually took a hot dog out of a child’s hand and then came back to the ring with the hot dog in his mouth and took the jump! Needless to say, we did
    not qualify.

    Toy Fox Terriers are very bonded to their owners. I recently came down with a bad flu bug and was on the couch recovering for several days. My TFT (Sully) laid on top of my stomach every day, only leaving to eat and go out to potty. Everyone said they knew I was okay when sleeping because they could see Sully moving up and down while I was breathing…they truly exhibit love and loyalty to
    their owners.

    I would like to see conscientious and top breeders communicate positively together for the overall betterment of the breed.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share thoughts about the great Toy Fox Terrier!

    Jessica & Mary DiPerna

    We reside in Michigan and have been working with the breed for three generations.

    Outside of dogs, we enjoy traveling to exotic places, shopping and spending time with family.

    A brief overview of being a breeder is to uphold the standard and to improve the quality of the breed.

    To describe our breed in three words would be: loving, sassy, clowns.

    Yes our breed ranks top of the chart for toy breeds.

    Yes, I do think our breed needs more recognition in the toy group.

    The largest health concern for our breed would be Pug dog Encephalitis and Patellar luxation.

    Any trends that I see in our breed that should be continued great structure and movement, cobbiness and dark
    pigment. And things that need to be stopped is light pigment and bad structure and movement.

    Yes, I believe our parent club is doing a great job with awareness and popularity in our breed.

    My mother’s mentor was her mother and my mother passed down her experience and expertise down to me so, therefore, my mother is also my mentor. Jan Ravotti also played a big part in my life.

    I do believe that the biggest pitfalls of novice and new Judges is they are quick to assess the breed without the knowledge and experience to uphold the standard where too much guess work is involved.

    The funniest thing for me that has happened at a dog show: as being a junior judge it’s hard to narrow it down but the funniest things for me is when the pee Wee’s do the cutest, funniest things and it always makes me smile.

    To close this article, I would like to say I have had the privilege of making many new friends, sharing experiences and making wonderful memories to last a lifetime. I’m so very blessed and thankful to have my dog show family and to do this sport with my best friend, my beautiful mother, thank you for everything you have done for me!

    One last note I would like to say to the newcomers: don’t give up and don’t get discouraged and keep trying because we all learn new things everyday and this is a wonderful sport to be involved in!

    Vicki Dovellos

    My experience in dogs and dog Clubs is vast.

    I have bred Japanese Chin for over a quarter of a century. I am currently Delegate to the AKC for the Japanese Chin Club of America. I have served as a Board Member and Officer in the JCCA in the past and chaired multiple National Specalties. I am President and a founding member of Illiana Japanese Chin Club, a regional specialty club in Northern Indiana and Illinois. I am also Showchair for Lake Shore Kennel Club and have been for over a decade.

    I live in Valparaiso, Indiana. I’ve had over 25 years owning, breeding and exhibiting Japanese Chin. Outside of dogs Im very involved in my Church and serve as President of the Women’s Guild.

    I bred my first litter in the early nineties, and co bred many litters with many other breeders. I have very successful co bred many litters with Dale and Jane Martenson, those litters resulted in many top winning, top producing Chin.

    The breed in three words, directly from our Standard: small, stylish and lively.

    How does the breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Sorry to say, very low. Its something that has always surprised me. They are such clean, quiet, sweet dogs. They make such wonderful pets for older people and
    apartment dwellers.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? No! Absolutely not! I wish I could explain it, it’s another mystery to me. Some of the reason is because they are rarely professionally handled, and they are possibly not presented or conditioned well enough.

    The largest health concern of the breed: The breed has always a tendency to develop Congestive Heart Failure/Heart Murmurs when they reach double digits in age.
    Not every Chin has it, but it does happen. Overall, I feel they are a healthy, sturdy dog.

    Our Standard calls for ‘a small amount of white in the corner of the eye’. I have had more judges comment on that! Any amount is a small amount! As a breeder I have never liked excessive white. I feel dogs that have too much don’t see well. It’s so important for the dogs pupil to face forward! I hope the judges remember that when giving out ribbons, to be a good pet good vision is utmost. Also at the last Judges Seminar I presented, I heard breeders discussing ‘breeding’ to achieve long, long skirts, called a bridal train. Let’s not make long coat a breeding priority! Let’s make healthy, sound, typey dogs a priority! Let’s achieve luxurious coat by proper nutrition and extreme conditioning. Gizmo isn’t going to get 18 inch long furnishings by playing with a litter of puppies every day!

    As a member of the Parent Club and serving as the delegate, I think we all need to encourage membership. There are active breeder/exhibitors who are not members and that’s a shame. We need to share our knowledge and encourage people to be more inclusive. And we all need to remember to keep our words to each other sweet. You never know when you might have to eat them.

    I owe the most to, of course, Dale and Jane Martenson. We have shared so many wonderful top winning dogs. It’s been a fantastic experience and they’ve become family
    to me.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is the lack of entries. It’s going to be a problem for all Judges.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? Too many to mention—the Bullmastiff that threw up the handlers thong, and she yelled “Ive been looking for that!” Or the time the exhibitors slip fell off in the ring and the National. She picked it up and tossed it out of the ring. It landed in a very prim and proper Judge sitting ring side lap! Then at our Banquet we raised money by having it modeled (by Dale Martenson)!

    I am so concerned about the dwindling entries and the overall lack of new people showing dogs. Look around the next dog show you’re at—almost everyone is over 50. If this continues breeds like Japanese Chin will become extinct. its something all dog people, all Clubs and AKC should be attempting to figure out.


    Anne Eckersley

    I am originally from Scotland, UK but have lived in Connecticut for the past 38 years. Being so involved in breeding, showing and judging Cavaliers all over the world, as well as the many positions on Committees and Boards over the years, it doesn’t really leave much time for other hobbies.

    A brief overview of your experience as a breeder: like most breeders my start in 1976 was with a pet who taught me about the wonderful world of Performance. My first real show dog was a Tricolor bitch that I obtained from Maxholt in UK—a kennel renowned for Tricolors, my favorite color. A producer this bitch was not—instead she was a successful show dog! But from other Maxholt bitches I produced CKCSC Ch Chadwick Calamity Jane, an important bitch for me as she produced gold in every litter and appears in the background of most of the Chadwicks today. She lived an extremely full life for
    16 years. I have bred CKCSC and AKC Champions in all four colors and have bred some top winning dogs over the years. It became apparent early on that health and temperament were as important as beauty and conformation since most of a breeder’s pups are sold as family companions. Thus I embarked upon a health-check protocol for the parents of my litters (cardiologist,ophthalmologist, hip dysplasia and patella luxation). My goal is to produce temperamentally sound, healthy, happy and beautiful Cavaliers. I also breed Tibetan Spaniels, a breed I admired in Scotland and enjoy their wash and wear coats and long healthy lives.

    The breed in three words: gorgeous, friendly
    and captivating.

    Cavaliers have become, unfortunately, extremely popular. Most likely because they make the most wonderful family companions and are as comfortable with children as they are with the elderly. Their hunting instincts propel them to give chase to birds and rabbits, shunning any velvet pillow for a romp through muddy water. Yet they also love curling up on a sofa or showing themselves off in the show ring. Truly a breed for all reasons.

    Cavaliers are supposed to be a naturally shown dog but in comparison to the impeccable grooming and scissoring of the Maltese, Yorkie, Shih Tzu and the other long coated Toy breeds, Cavaliers look disheveled and unkempt. Despite the fact that this is what they are supposed to look like, judges tend not to deviate from what they are used to judging and thus Cavaliers in the past have not done well in the Group. So now that Cavaliers are sculpted and coifed to perfection, they are winning well in the group. Unfortunately much depends on who is at the end of the lead. If it is a handler or well known breeder, the Cavalier will get the nod. If an unknown newbie enters the group, no matter how wonderful the Cavalier quality may be or how well handled and groomed, it would be unusual for the dog to place in the Group. I believe that in many cases group judges are perhaps not comfortable with their knowledge of the breed and a safe bet would be to go with a known handler.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today is without question the inherited heart disease we see too often in young Cavaliers. 30 years ago CKCSC, USA (the only Cavalier Club offering Specialties in the USA at that time) began offering low cost health clinics at their Specialties in response to the realization that general practitioners were not qualified to detect the slight murmurs in young Cavaliers and as a result these young affected dogs were being bred—to the detriment of the breed. Today CKCSC still offers health clinics as well as stand-alone clinics coast to coast, as do many other breed clubs. With the health testing by Specialists that responsible breeders use as a tool to breed healthier dogs, there is no doubt that Cavalier hearts are better with later onset murmurs. Nonetheless, we cannot be complacent as the disease is present in all lines and can crop up as the Cavaliers near four-five years of age. Cavaliers have surprisingly few inherited eye issues and by seeing an ophthalmologist prior to breeding this will be kept to a minimum in the future. Patella luxation does not occur as often as some other Toy breeds and PL is mostly in younger Cavaliers 6-24 months. If a dog with PL is bred there will no doubt be problems in future litters as it is highly inherited. Hip Dysplasia is alive and well in the Cavalier yet fewer and fewer breeders clear their breedings dogs’ hips. It is true that generally Cavaliers do not have any physical problem with HD but as they age there can be an increase in painful arthritis. For me personally I prefer to breed for dogs that are pain free ALL of their lives rather than just when they are young and being shown. Then there is Syringomyelia.
    I take my hat off to the Canadian Cavalier Club who are at the forefront of setting up low cost MRIs, gathering MRI information and encouraging breeders to have their dogs cleared. Whilst SM does indeed occur fairly frequently in Cavaliers, the majority of them do not seem to have major physical issues with it unless it is chronic. But chronic disease in any form is just that—chronic, painful, debilitating. Today we see a small percentage of dogs with SM that are in that much pain that they need surgery—and how fortunate we are that there is surgery for this disease. There is no fixing heart disease—we must breed for good hearts. Chronic mitral valve disease is a death sentence and it is why I believe that MVD is the most important health issue Cavaliers face. DNA that helps breeders reduce the incidence of inherited diseases by breeding intelligently without reducing the gene pool is up and coming with more and more DNA markers for certain diseases. Cavaliers have a DNA for Curly Coat/Dry Eye and Episodic Falling as well as for Degenerative Myelopathy.

    The trend I see that needs to be stopped is the aggressive and shy temperaments that are so foreign to Cavaliers. Temperament is mentioned in the first sentence and last paragraph of the breed standard. Due to its importance I make no apology for repeating it here: “fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate” and the last paragraph in the Standard “Gay, friendly, non-aggressive with no tendency towards nervousness or shyness. Bad temper, shyness and meanness are not to be tolerated and are to be severely penalized as to effectively remove the specimen from competition” I would add that the excessive coat and trimming, sculpting, raking, stripping in a breed that calls for moderate coat and absolutely NO TRIMMING, are trends that need to be curtailed.

    What can the parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed? Goodness—I don’t think they need to increase awareness and popularity. The breed is already over the top popular.

    To whom do I owe the most? There was no such thing as a mentor 43 years ago when I started in Cavaliers. There was no internet, email and inexpensive telephone service worldwide. I learned by trial and error. Having said that, I do think that today breeders need help getting started and they should seek out a responsible mentor. A mentor does not have to be a big winner in the ring. Choose someone who is involved in the breed and is able to provide some sound advice. It goes without saying that if someone agrees to help you get started and supplies you with a top quality Cavalier, please don’t ever forget where you got your start from and be appreciative of that mentor’s kindness in offering you a successful show dog and answering copious questions you may have had over the years.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is everyone is an expert within a very short time, both with novice judges and breeders alike. Few have any patience and most are just not that interested in learning because they know it all.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show: I never witnessed this event but it is a true story A petite professional handler was showing a muscular, unruly and semi-trained large breed dog and she slipped in the muddy ring. The dog was thrilled at this new game and bounced on and off the handler preventing her from getting up. The dog then started to hump the handler at which point the judge came over and announced that he wanted pick of the litter!

    I have concerns where our dog showing sport is going. There is no question that it is becoming a professional rather than amateur sport. Professional handlers are worked to death at these four day show weekends. It used to be just Saturday and Sunday shows which allowed these handlers a home life. Championship shows are no longer a venue to assess breeding stock as it has become a cut-throat, highly competitive, win-at-all-costs, professional sport. No longer are the shows a family event and fun matches that used to be so popular are not offered very much these days due to lack of participation. Fun Matches were where you could practice in the ring, get help from the judge or fellow exhibitors, introduce children to showing their dog, talk and treat your dog in obedience and generally hang out for the day with the family.

    The Parent Clubs should be focused on taking back their breed and making an effort in educating their breeders on, in our case, what a Cavalier should look like and move like. What happened to the many seminars offered throughout the year on many topics but especially that of movement and structure. The fact is that annual National Specialties are just not enough and Regional Specialties are busy and held in conjunction with all breed shows. There is simply no time for education. So the breeders continue breeding adequate Cavaliers that are handed to handlers and become finished Champions. The breeder understandably thinks that this adequate quality dog is ideal for the breed standard because they are, after all, AKC Champions. The bar is never therefore raised and the breeders are never challenged to produce better and why should they? Their dogs are already winning and depending on how much clout their handler has or even the well known owner has, their dogs are often beating Specials. Unfortunately breeders have a false sense of the quality of their dogs. This is not helpful in improving the breed.

    Rosanne Fett

    I have been happily married for 44 years and have two wonderful adult daughters and three grandchildren who I don’t get to see as often as I would like. I fell in love with Yorkies when I first saw the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the brand new cable television about 36 years ago. I told myself I would do that someday. I still have not won BOB at Westminster, but have gotten BOS at that show and the same bitch special, GCHS Rosemark’s Saint Or Sinner (Vixen) won the breed at the AKC Nationals a few months before that. 2018 was a terrific year for me with 10 champions, which resulted in winning YTCA’s top breeder for the second
    time. GCHG CH, Can CH Rigair Unique Leo ROM was named top stud dog for the year. CH Rosemark’s Virtue was name top dam for 2018 (my second top dam award). I have lost count of my total champions and maybe some day I will make a list, but I never seem to have enough time. I want
    my dogs to run and play and that means lots of extra baths and grooming and washing floors. I want to wind things down before I hit 70, as I don’t want to have health
    issues interfering with the quality of care my
    dogs receive.

    I live on an acreage in Lavon, Texas. Knowing the limitations on dog ownership in the cities and suburbs, we sought out land that is in and unincorporated area of Collin County where we would not have restrictions. Plus, the dogs need room to run and play.

    I began showing Yorkies about 30 years ago but it wasn’t until will moved to our acreage 15 years ago that I was able to pursue this aggressively.

    I have been employed in the mortgage industry for 35 years. When the market fell apart in 2008, I made the decision to leave management and become licensed as a loan officer so I could have the flexibility to be home when a litter was due, and could control my time so I could actually travel to dog shows. It was scary going from a high salary to straight commission, but we have made it work.

    At this point the dogs seem to consume the majority of my free time. My daughters like to say I have two full time jobs and that is really true. I love to read. I enjoy working in the yard and gardening, but I’ve had a few physical challenges these last few years that have made that tough to do.

    I grew up on a dairy farm and every breeding was based on how to improve your stock. That has helped guide me when making decisions about how to breed. I am not a fan of blindly line breeding as my experiences early on were not good. I began to trust my gut and cultivate the input from friends who knew I valued their complete honesty. I’ve had some health issues that I’ve worked to eliminate, but to be honest, there will always be something pop up that you did not expect. I had a bitch with hip dysplasia, and for five years, every puppy that was born had a hip x-ray at four months. I learned from this that a dog with beautiful reach and drive does not have hip problems, so I sought out dogs with outstanding movement and who’s owners were willing to have OFA hip x-rays done for me.

    Overall I feel that I am good at spotting most weaknesses in my bitches, and ask for input from my trusted friend and handler, Tonia Holibaugh, when I am considering who to breed to. She can catch things that I overlook and since she travels more, she is likely to see who has great dogs that I would want to bring into my line. I am proud that I can
    consistently produce healthy dogs that make great companions and also dogs that can win in the ring. It’s very rare for me to have a litter with less than four puppies, more often my girls have five or six. I pride myself on understanding what it takes to produce strong healthy puppies.

    The breed in three words: breathtaking, intelligent
    and loving.

    It is the second most popular toy breed (I am excluding Poodles since all three sizes were included in their ranking) and ranks number nine among all breeds.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: I am so proud to see multiple Yorkies regularly winning group placements. This has really changed over the last 10 years as our structure has improved.

    The largest health concern of the breed today: I am sure not everyone in our breed could ever come to an agreement. Personally, I am glad to see that protein losing enterothopy (PLE), which is a devasting disease, is finally being researched by the Canine Heath Foundation.

    I would love to see natural tails added to the breed standard. These dogs are winning more consistently and I am proud that my special, GCHG CH, Can CH Rigair Unique Leo ROM, was the trail blazer in the specials ring. What I would love to end is the practice of coloring dogs to meet the ridiculous standard of dark steel blue. Yes, I have many very dark blue dogs, but that has not always been the case. We need to follow the lead of the Silky club and allow any shade of blue. I also feel that many have over emphasized the short back to the extent that it interferes with the
    dog’s movement.

    I am happy to see the younger wave of exhibitors/breeders who understand the importance of health testing. I am seeing many of the younger breeders who also understand structure and movement, as we have a huge number of exhibitors who just look at coat and their dogs are so crippled they can barely walk. If your dog bounces, the dog has a structure problem. A well breed Yorkie should just glide around the ring. When I first saw of Yorkie of this quality, it absolutely took my breath away and I understood what I wanted my dogs to look like.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed: actually, I wish our breed was not quite so popular so the puppy mills would quit pumping out low quality dogs. I would like to see us do more advertising in dog publications about the importance of buying from a responsible breeder who does health testing. Something exhibitors must take the time to do is talk to spectators who have questions and take the time to help them learn why we do what we do, as you never know when that person might be someone who would be a real asset to the dog world at a future point in time. I was not greeted with open arms, as I did not possess the wealth of many people in our breed. To me the snob element is never acceptable. The Texas and Oklahoma exhibitors have worked hard to welcome newcomers to our breed and take the time to mentor them so that showing is a good experience.

    When I first got involved in Yorkies, Lee Grunewald helped me understand the importance of structure and movement. She allowed me to breed to an outstanding stud for my first litter which also produced my first champion. Later I was fortunate to be able to purchase an outstanding young bitch when she had to replace her air conditioning and needed some cash (what great timing for me!). That bitch produced nine champions for me. Unfortunately, the Yorkie world is very cliquish and few people are willing to help someone who did not buy a dog from them.

    I want to see judges who are judging the dogs and not the handlers. Understanding the importance of correct structure and movement in every breed and reward it in the ring. Being confident enough to truly pick the best dog in the ring that day, not the one with the longest face furnishings, or the one that has been advertised the most. Keep in mind, sometimes the best dog is not the one that looks like the majority of the other dogs.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show? In New York a couple of years ago there was a spectator who had her Yorkie dressed in a turquoise and purple paisley dress which matched the tattoos on her owner’s arms and legs.

    I would love to see YTCA add more detail on structure and correct movement to our breed standard. Our exhibitors and breeders have little information available to them to help them understand how a dog should move and how the structure affects the movement. For example, an incorrect shoulder layback will produce poor front movement, or if a dog does not extend in the rear, it is a sign of a potential hip or patella problem.

    Dr. Judi Fleischaker

    I live in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor. I have been actively involved in purebred dogs since 1966 when I worked on my first obedience title on a Doberman. I was born into a dog sport family. I am 4th generation AKC dog sport enthusiast. My had rules on how I could become involved in dog sports that I have maintained with my own daughter. I had to put an obedience title on a dog, learn the basic anatomy of a dog, learn and memorize my breed standard, and know how to fill out my own entries before I was allowed to take a dog in the conformation ring. I am an Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian. I work full time in a Large Small Animal Specialty Hospital ( Oakland Veterinary Referral Services) I also teach emergency field medicine to police officers and other first responders. When not playing at dog shows, I love to travel, go hiking, and love all forms of music theatre and art.

    Relatively speaking I have bred very few litters. I have been breeding dogs since 1972 starting with Dobermans and Longhaired Dachshunds. I have been involved in Manchesters since 1979. I only breed when I am interested in adding to my own breeding program. I generally study pedigrees and plan breedings several years ahead of time. I have bred many highly successful performance and conformation dogs over the years under my Mother’s Kennel Name, Bobi. Most recently I have been breeding Toy Manchesters with My Husband Mark Alsager DVM, and my Daughter, Marit under the kennel name Manchesters of Merit. We have several dogs we have produced that have been very successful in the Agility and obedience rings as well as conformation. One of our puppies from a breeding this past year is ranked in the top 10 in conformation.

    The breed in three words: athletic, tenacious and elegant.

    Our breed is probably at the bottom of the toy breed rankings. We have become a very rare breed with less Toy Manchesters in the world than tigers.

    Toy Manchesters do not traditionally get a lot of attention in the toy group because they are a miniature version of a terrier and the majority of breeds in the this group are coated. In the past five years this has changed, much due to Marcello Chagas and GCHP Cottage Lakes Our Lady of Fatima. This showy bitch demanded the attention of Judges in the group ring and put Toy Manchesters on the map. In the past 5 years more judges are recognizing and rewarding quality Toy Manchesters in the Group ring with group placements and Best in Show wins.

    The greatest health concern in our breed is the narrow genetic pool. Our breeding poor gets smaller each year. Our breed overall is very healthy with an average life span of 12-17 years. We have several health problems with identified genetic markers thanks to aggressive and diligent research sponsored by our parent club and the Canadian Manchester Club. Included in these is Von Willebrandt disease, Juvenile Cardiomyopathy, Xanthouria.

    We are a breed heading for extinction. Eliminating a dog from the genetic pool because of 1 trait where the overall dog is sound is hurting our breed. We need to preserve variety in blood lines to maintain the longevity and health of our breed, while still keeping in mind our standard and breed type. One trend I love is the cooperation of parent clubs around the world to share information and become involved in open discussions about the health issues and preserving our lovely breed.

    Our parent club has done a great job of representing us at meet the breeds both at the AKC National Championship and Westminster. We need to encourage club members to participate in local meet the breed programs. We also need to have outreach programs to 4-H clubs and schools. Giving a 30 minute demonstration and lecture about the breed at a 4-H club or school helps to generate interest in our breed. Children generally drive a family’s choice to add a dog to the household. If our breed is in their vocabulary we will continue to increase their popularity. Children are the future of our breed and our sport.

    Definitely my Mother, Bobi Fleischaker was my most influential mentor. She taught me to study the breed standard, know basic genetics and study and plan your pedigrees, and above all don’t breed to make champions, breed to continuously improve your breed.

    Other mentors that have helped me in Manchesters, early on when I started with Standards Judy and Gary Anderson and CL Eudy. Jerri Hobbs has and still continues to be a great mentor and breeder in our breed. Jo Ann Emrick also continues to be a great mentor and wealth of knowledge in our breed.

    Examining our breed on the table. So many judges get hung up on full and proper dentition in our standard. Missing teeth is not a disqualifying fault in our breed, yet I see many judges immediately approach the mouth and start counting teeth. Manchesters have very tight, clean mouths and cranking on their lips and mouths like a Doberman does not make them happy and can cause a dog to shy away even though they have a great temperament. It is better to examine the whole dog and examine the mouth last in our breed. Also, do not judge a topline standing on the table. The topline described in our standard is best judged
    during movement.

    The most recent funny thing I have seen at a show with our breed is my six month old, six and a half pound Toy Manchester running up to an over 100 pound male Rottweiler and started pounce playing and body slamming him. This truly exemplifies the outgoing, fearless and tenacious personality of our breed.

    Alicia Guzman

    I live in Auburn Washington, which is located in the Pacific Northwest about 20 miles south of Seattle. I enjoy hiking and camping when I’m not doing dog shows. My husband and I decided we wanted to get a family dog mainly to help him overcome and cope with his injuries attained while serving in the army in Iraq. My husband prefers toy dogs, having owned a Maltese before. I love brachycephalic breeds, having owned Pekingese and Boston Terriers in the past. We came to an agreement that Shih Tzu have the temperament we like. In 2014 we found our first Shih Tzu- Bolt. He was so smart and trainable that we were hooked. I wanted to deeply become involved in pure-breed preservation. The doors began to open rapidly and soon we had a rescue and several purebred akc show prospects. We have recently finished our first champion and have been blessed with a brood bitch from long time breeders and exhibitors Kelly Norrish and Lorra Craig; although they live in the Southwest they are my mentors. I am expecting my first litter this spring and being new to the breed, I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by so much experience and talent here in the Pacific Northwest.

    I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and am married with three kids, two of which are still school aged living at home. I practiced Occupational Therapy for 15 years until moving to Washington with my husband, Paul, and two daughters, Annalia and Liliana. My son, Tyler, resides in Las Vegas. I now dedicates my days to my dogs and being
    a housewife.

    Describing Shih Tzu in three words would be: endearing, royal and beautiful. I feel that as far as breeding and showing Shih Tzu the breed is facing the challenge of losing the numbers of dedicated exhibitors due to the amount of work it takes to maintain the coat and prepare for them for the show ring. Although, as a pet, their popularity is growing immensely because of their amazing ability to captivate hearts and become a devoted best friend.

    I feel that the Shih Tzu has gained more attention in the group ring due to breeders working so hard to maintain the standard and improve the breed structure and type. A very proud moment for every Shih Tzu fancier was crufts this year. The winning of utility group and reserve best in show by the Shih Tzu. Social media was on fire and we were all so excited for our breed! Another memory that sticks in my mind was Panda and Kathy Bilicich-Garcia winning the toy group at Westminster in 2017. It was when I saw beautiful Panda on the screen during Best in show, strutting his stuff, that I said to myself, “I want to breed a dog like that and go to Westminster someday.”

    As a new breeder, I feel passionate about health testing. With technology being where it is, I feel it is so important to protect our Shih Tzu companion dogs from kidney disease, liver and eye disorders.

    A trend I see that I would like to end is seeing flashy dogs winning in the ring that are not always the most typey in the ring. I think a Shih Tzu is first and foremost a head and expression breed and I’d like it to stay that way.

    Things I think clubs can do is promote unity and involvement amongst exhibitors and pure bred dog breeders. As a new person I see how important mentorship is. I never could’ve succeeded at finishing my first dog if I didn’t have all the support and mentorship from all those around at the shows and in the club. It’s so important to join and support your breed club! Let’s not let this wonderful sport dwindle!

    I owe the most praise and loyalty to my mentor Kelly Norrish. She was so willing to open up to me and share her years of knowledge. She taught me coat care, breed handling, type, structure, movement, pedigree research, breeding, and whelping. Most importantly, she taught me to pull up my big girl panties and push past challenge and adversity! It would’ve taken me at least five years to accomplish all I have in one year if it weren’t for meeting her at a show and from there our relationship blossomed.

    As a new exhibitor, I have a lot of respect for the judge and their opinion. I understand the years of dedication and experience it took them to get there. I think a new judge should focus on judging the dog and not the handler. Otherwise, new people can become frustrated and turned off. Also make the sport fun and approachable. As a new person It can be so intimidating and defeating without the right amount of mentorship and encouragement from the judge.

    The funniest thing I ever saw at a dog show would have to be last summer in Portland a bunch of handlers and kids got together and made a flash mob video in the grooming set up. It really made me laugh and think how cool is this
    big family!?

    Kevin Holmes

    Kevin E. Holmes shows and breeds Affenpinschers, Black Standard Schnauzers and Pepper and Salt Giant Schnauzers under the kennel name “die Nassen Bärte.” He grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is a US Navy veteran. Kevin is a current candidate for a Masters of Public Health and holds a Masters in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech. After a long career with Customs and Border Protection in Washington, DC, he now resides in Arizona where he works as a Supervisory Program Manager for the US Forest Service. Kevin is a member of the Affenpinscher Club of America, the Standard Schnauzer Club of America, the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub of Germany, the Desert Southwest Standard Schnauzer Club, is President of the Arizona White Mountain Kennel Club and an active participant with the New Mexico Stewards Association.

    My “career” in conformation and obedience began in New Mexico 1978 with Basset Hounds and Labrador Retrievers. We produced our first litter a couple of years later. My mother began handling professionally in the 80s, and I competed in Juniors until joining the US Navy. Eventually I re-entered the conformation arena with Standard Schnauzers and got my first Affenpinscher when I moved to Arizona where I currently live. By the time this will be published, fingers crossed, my second breeding will be on the ground.

    I would describe the Affens as affable, intelligent, pocket Schnauzers; but I am biased in this regard. I am a member of the Affenpinscher Club of America, as well as the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub of Germany which sets the FCI breed standard for Affenpinschers. So, I do think of them as Pinscher/Schnauzers before I think of them as Toys. They certainly act like it too, and in many Schnauzer homes you will also find Affenpinschers. Among the Toy Group in the United States, and in FCI Group 2, Affens have had remarkable, positive representatives who left indelible marks. Without a doubt, those are the ones who have positively inspired me as an owner-handler to compete at a higher level and know that our Affens have what it takes to grab a judge’s attention and to win in the group.

    Breeders of Affenpinschers are consistently concerned with the general genetic and hereditary health concerns common to most breeds. I think what makes most of us nervous is neonatal health and well-being. So much energy is invested into the production of a litter and any loss is emotionally painful. One thing that I would like to see more of is greater genetic variability – something I have discussed with other breeders. On a global scale, parent clubs including the Affenpinscher Club of America are working hand-in-hand to increase this awareness. Discussions among breeders regularly take place surrounding topics of health, genetics, popularity with pet owners and rescue efforts. Popular sire effects and genetic bottlenecks can be particularly deleterious to the health and well-being of any breed. With Affenpinschers, however, it is of particular concern as there are so few unique individuals produced and breeding each year. We must also give consideration to the maintenance of breed type. It is a balancing act, and one of great importance if the breed is to survive through the coming decades. For each breeder in a rare breed like Affenpinschers, we must find two new mentees to replace us.

    To get to where I am today in this breed I owe so much to so many people. Probably the first person is Shawne Imler who told me many years ago to, “find a picture of a dog I liked and to try to make my dog look like it;” Kim Roman, a dog trainer and groomer who taught me grooming techniques early on; Pam Peat, Cameron Riegel, Kathie Timko, Linda Ferris, and Wendy Galbreath whose Affenpinscher-specific styles I have learned from and compiled into my own; Tommy Katzenstein who basically hit me over the head with a 2×4 and told me not to give up; Curtis Smith who has always been there; and most of all my mom, Janelle Holmes, who gave me a dog and a lead, and put me in Juniors at the age of 10.

    Owners of Affens definitely love to talk about our little “monkeys,” and we love to show them off, too. Most of all, they demand attention. When I got Esther, I was also interested in a younger female to be my foundation bitch; but Esther climbed up and sat on my head. I’m pretty sure she was thinking to herself, “This is my human. I claim him. Neener neener neener.” I’m told she also stuck her tongue out and gave the other girl a raspberry.

    Mary P. Ingersoll

    I grew up in Missouri in a household with all brothers. When most six year old girls were playing with Barbie Dolls, I was shooting bullfrogs on the Missouri River with my 16 year old brother and his friends.

    If we weren’t doing that, I was riding the meanest Shetland pony ever born with the “BIG KIDS.”

    Most of my life was spent in the food service industry, thus my passion for food, cooking and service. I love to create new recipes or for someone to challenge me to make something they think is complicated.

    After retirement in 2012, nearly all of my time has been focused on my Yorkies. I currently serve as the President of the Central Florida Yorkshire Terrier Club.

    I currently reside in Florida, north of Tampa. I whelped and raised my first litter of dogs at the tender age of eight. I wanted to breed GSD’S, so my mom bought a buff Cocker Spaniel girl and a solid black male which resulted in eight solid black male puppies. That was enough dog-breeding for my not-so-dog-crazy mother, so I didn’t resume until 20 years later with GSD’s. I have been breeding and showing Yorkshire Terriers since 2004. I love to cook and I also love to go deep sea fishing.

    My veterinarian, Dr. Valerie Fucci, now retired, was a former Yorkie breeder and a great friend. She kept me from making mistakes in my early Yorkie breeding years. Every dog I purchased was tested for everything she knew to test for before testing was recommended or popular.

    The breed in three words: beautiful, feisty and intelligent

    It is the most popular Toy breed according to AKC records but certainly not in the show ring.

    In the past several years, we have had some fantastic Specials in the ring who have received a lot of recognition. Our breed had two Toy Group Placements at Westminster in the last few years after a very long dry spell. Yorkies, because of the length of coat, can be at somewhat of a disadvantage in outdoor shows in tall or wet grass.

    There are several health issues of concern including but not limited to PLE, Liver Shunt and GME.

    Breeders are doing more DNA testing to ensure healthy dogs, and that is fantastic for our breed. Currently it is common to see larger dogs in the ring. The breed standard is four to seven pounds. Size is not a DQ in our breed but if the trend continues, Yorkies will be as large as Silkies.

    YTCA does an excellent job of supporting our breed encouraging clubs to participate in meet the breeds ETC. I think they could also develop some educational tools for Newbies to the show scene.

    Five people were fundamental to my early learning of the breed. As before mentioned my retired veterinarian, Dr. Valerie Fucci, was a life saver. John and Mary Mellinger of Chobie’s Yorkies were my first mentors taking me under their wing. They were always available to answer any stupid or silly questions I could come up while demonstrating patience and kindness.

    I also have to mention Marie Bradley of Gaelwyn’s Yorkies for entrusting me with Edan, Ch. Gaelwyn’s Edan Brook of Sassyville.

    I must give credit, where credit is due and that is to Barbara Beissel. She has tremendous knowledge and is a great resource to new exhibitors. Barb has always been willing to help and offer her expert advice to newbies willing to listen.

    The biggest pitfall for new judges, in my honest opinion, is to find the dog under all that coat. The coat is of prime importance and the breed’s crowning glory, but structure is also extremely important. As a younger person, I showed Quarter horses so movement and structure are extremely important to me. I love the cut down class at Specialties because you can really see the dog.

    There are two instances that come to mind that always cause me to laugh.

    As a very new exhibitor, I was showing an Open dog and a 6-9 Puppy Bitch. I took my open dog in for Winners with a friend patiently holding my puppy ringside. I exited the ring and passed off dogs holding what I thought was the puppy’s leash in my hand. I set her on the ground and she gaited right around the ring without me. Joe Gregory was the judge, so of course he was laughing hysterically. He just looked at me and giggled, and said, “See, She doesn’t even need you.”

    The other incident occurred at least ten years ago when I was stewarding for Carl Yochum at a Biewer Terrier Specialty in Orlando. I called in the Open dog Class and got them lined up when another exhibitor approached me and told me #11 is a bitch. I said calmly, “No sir, this is open dogs.” He laughed and said “I know it is a bitch because I am her Breeder.” The exhibitor of #11 had picked up the wrong dog.

    Long-time breeders and exhibitors need to take the time to talk to spectators and be a resource for them and BE KIND. We need new exhibitors in the ring. When you sell a show dog to a newbie, sell them the best you have and then mentor them to help them become successful. Share your knowledge and expertise. If they bring a poorly groomed specimen to the ring, offer to help them fix it. Re-Do that top not, use your products to get the frizz out of the coat and encourage them. We were all newbies once. The first few experiences at a dog show can make or break a new exhibitor’s career in the show ring.

    Becky Jackson

    My home is in Florence, Alabama which in the northwest corner of our state. I started in dogs later than most, just 17 years ago, falling in love with the dog show on my first outing. Outside of dogs my family owns a small business and we have been active in Special Olympics for many years, as our athlete daughter, Julie has participated since she was nine.

    Breeding Pomeranians is a challenge at best. I have been lucky enough to have finished 32 Poms 15 of which I bred and have several out showing this year. Pom puppies have a high mortality rate and without help when you are new, discouragement would eliminate and has eliminated many breeders. Tenacity and dedication makes a good
    Pomeranian breeder.

    The breed in three words: lively, happy and beautiful.

    Poms rank fourth in all toys according to the last AKC information. No wonder, they are so entertaining and lively.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: Oh yes. The quality of Poms is fantastic right now. Add to that, Poms are stylish, beautiful and lively making them an easy choice for a judge, especially when
    presented well.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today: we have several, but I would pick coat loss. This has improved over the last 10 years, with honesty between breeders being the most influential factor in overcoming this problem. Even though this is sometimes only a cosmetic problem, many Poms develop coat loss from underlying endocrine and other systemic illnesses. I don’t want to minimize other health concerns like luxating patellas, or heart issues.

    The soundness of our breed seems to be improving which needs to continue. Even toy dogs must run, play and live long lives without pain and dysfunction. Of course I would like to see over trimming stopped. This can only be stopped when judges refuse to award ribbons to Pomeranians that are obviously over trimmed. This over trimming can also lead to coat loss, my identified number one
    health problem.

    Our parent club is working hard on a new website and updating information regarding our health and genetics program. Our website is the window into the breed and when this gets a new fresh look, our popularity might even get higher.

    I can honestly say there are two breeders that helped me the most. Carlene and David Gilstrap and Pat Barnett. Both of these kennels, Mountain Crest and Bar-Net have had outstanding examples of what our breed should be. Carlene and David taught me the significance of structure and how to evaluate it. Without structure, the dog is only second best. Pat taught be to find the beauty in a puppy and she really knew how to find the nicest one at an early age. Pomeranians can change drastically during their first year and it is a true art to evaluate a puppy and find the one that will be an asset to a breeding program.

    Judges need to know the structure of a dog. They have to find the dog most valuable for BREEDING. Pomeranians must have good legs, beautiful coats, high tail sets and vivacious personalities. Judges must do their homework and not just pick by silhouette, even though this is important. What is under the coat is also very important to continue good health in our breed.

    The funniest thing I ever saw was an exhibitor showing an unusual colored Pom. In our breed this color is called Beaver and is a lavender or creamy weird color. I was standing ringside and this exhibitor wanted to make an impression on the judge. This exhibitor asked the judge clearly, “Have you seen any good Beavers lately?” And that my friends is the funniest thing I ever heard at a dog show.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience as a breeder of show Pomeranians. As a breeder of purebred dogs, I encourage all of us to unite in our effort to continue our sport and preserve the breeding of our dogs. Our enemies, PETA, HS, and other radical animal rights organizations are well funded and are on the same page. We as breeders can not continue to quarrel amongst ourselves. We must find common ground, be reasonable as you breed, be responsible to all of your puppies and by all means love your animals. Dog showing can be fun, we just have to make it so.

    Alice Lawrence

    My husband, Steve, and I live in North Central Connecticut near the Massachusetts border. We have been showing and breeding dogs since 1972. Our journey in the Toy Group began 20 years ago when we acquired our first Havanese. Now that I am retired, in the few remaining minutes when I am not doing dog chores, my days are filled working to assure that this country will survive the disaster of the current administration in Washington, DC. I also love volunteering at our local public library. I am also a dedicated “adventure shopper.”

    We have not made our mark in dogs by breeding hundreds of them. We have never had more than two litters a year in order to give puppies all the attention they need. We breed very selectively and strive to breed wonderful, healthy representatives of our breeds who excel in the show ring, as therapy dogs and as family companions. Our Kennel name is The Fuzzy Farm

    Havanese are intelligent and playful and I guarantee that they will make you smile every day.

    Havanese are in the top 10 of the most popular
    Toy Breeds.

    Over the years, since recognition, Havanese have had several noteworthy superstars who have received celebrity status. They are adorable and it is hard to overlook them in the Toy Group.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today like many breeds, I think that cardiac issues are a concern we all are facing.

    The charming personality of the breed continues to shine through and more and more representatives of the breed are starring as Therapy Dogs. They want to please. Their history of being “circus dogs” is still evident in their antics today. I want to see their continued enthusiasm for every challenge they face.

    I maintain a strong opposition to over-grooming, sculpting, flat ironing and parting the coat (on the topline). I find this presentation craze to be extremely objectionable. I want to encourage ALL exhibitors and judges of Havanese to pay particular attention to the Breed Standard’s description of correct presentation and coat and reward only what is correct, not what is in vogue.

    We started in Havanese right after they were first recognized by the AKC. We drew from our prior decades of experience in Komondors and Pulis to show and breed the best examples of the breed we could. We started with an outstanding representative of the breed, Ch. Smallhaven’s Perfect Impresion. He was the first Havanese to be shown with a corded coat at AKC Shows.

    New judges have the dreadful trait of looking to celebrate extremes in each breed. For example, in Havanese, they think the longer the coat, the better the dog. Young dogs are often penalized for having a shorter coat. It seems that sometimes judges get confused as to how much emphasis to put on the coat, to the detriment of judging other qualities of the dog, such as movement, soundness, and structure. It is truly maddening. This is a double coated breed and attempts to show it as a single coated breed should be discouraged. Correct topline, described as a SLIGHT rise from withers to rump, is often confused with an extremely steep topline. Too steep a topline distorts correct movement, but judges find it easier to see an extreme topline rather than a
    correct one.

    All judges, new and experienced, need to spend more time understanding the nuances of each breed.

    Without a doubt, FUN has gone out of dog shows. I feel sorry for young and new exhibitors who don’t know that we used to laugh a lot at dog shows. Now shows are consumed with ugly, mean spirited people looking for their next opportunity to “bench” someone. This used to be so much fun! I miss that aspect of showing dogs. Without question, one of the funniest things that ever happened to me in the TOY ring many years ago, was when I showed to a very dignified judge and when I completed the ‘down and back’ with my Havanese, the elastic waist on my half slip broke and the slip fell to the ground when I got back to the judge. Gentleman that he was, he looked away and without a moment’s hesitation, I picked up the slip from around my ankles and flung it out of the ring. I said to him, “at least it was clean.” I never showed to him again.

    Lois March

    I presently live in Vienna, Georgia. I have been in dogs since I was 12 years old, but a serious breeder of Italian Greyhounds since 1982.

    Outside of dogs I have a small farm, and I am still employed as an ear, nose and throat doctor at a local hospital. I have also dabbled in horses and have eight horses
    at present.

    I started with German Shepherds as a child and then tried a few other breeds until one day I discovered Italian Greyhounds and decided they were the perfect dog for this century. they are big enough to be athletic, small enough to pick up and carry, easy coat care, clean and odor free, non-shedding, and very clingy. prepare to be adored.

    In three words, Italian Greyhounds are fun, loving companions. To expound, they are everything you could ever desire in a child or a partner.

    Ranking I would say has come up in the world since they are getting more attention and being seen by the public. They still stop traffic however as they are obviously something unique.

    In the past five years, since a few of the breeders have been using top ranking handlers, we are getting more noticed in the group. Dogs like multi-best in show CH Marchwind Barbara Ann CH Bo-Bett Open Button and others and handlers like Justin Smithey make the judges pay more attention to the Italian Greyhound. It’s still hard to beat the fluffy ones, but I just see that as a challenge to produce better dogs.

    The breed club has done a good job getting early blindness like PRA under control with genetic testing. The biggest health concern we have not overcome yet is
    broken legs.

    Trends in my breed that I love are better temperaments. IGs used to be considered shy little things and now they are stepping out boldy and the friendly ones make much better pets; 80% of that is genetics.

    Trends that have crept into and then out of the breed are extreme topline and movement. I suppose that affects every breed. The more extreme is considered better breed type. Then we go overboard and head towards a sound, balanced dog again. That is where we are headed right now in fact and that is where I am headed as a breeder.

    I don’t think my parent club wants to increase the popularity and awareness of my breed. Most breeders discourage people from becoming breeders and try to limit the numbers to remain rare and exclusive. I think that this breed is so wonderful that I encourage new people in the breed and will help them get started. The more great IGs out there, the more popular the breed becomes. In the end that benefits all of us. In this day and age of therapy dogs, it’s hard to beat an IG.

    The biggest influences on me: there are almost too many to mention as I have lived in various places and been helped by many, but I have to mention Lillian Barber, Jaimie Daily, Charlie Kidd, Ron Bigford, Carol Harris, Diana Chapman, and many others. I’ve been in the breed a long time!

    The biggest pitfall for new judges is the total confusion and lack of consistency about the interpretation of the standard. Our standard is pretty loose for interpretation and many of us interpret it differently, so what is really right? I think if a judge looks for breed type, attitude and general soundness they won’t go wrong. Forget the crazy trends towards high steppers, extreme topline, etc. Also an IG that is beautiful and a winner should be eye catching. I always ask strangers to the breed which dog catches their eye in a group of puppies and they will pick the best one every time.

    The funniest thing, a big dog jumped off a grooming table and took off down the street with the table bouncing after it, still attached to its lead. An amateur handler whose skirt fell right off and she continued to show in just her slip! Two Saint Bernards shown in a brace class try to breed each other. I could go on.

    There is no question that there is a lot of politics that occurs in a dog show that is not only subjective but where the judge is not asked to justify his choices. It is hard for new people to break in and like most sports, it’s a lot harder than it looks. An amateur owner may have the best dog in the ring but he has to be able to perform with that dog.
    That takes work, training and the willingness to be criticized and learn. After all, a rank amateur has to compete with people who are so good, that they do it for a living.

    Daryl Martin

    I was the youngest handler to ever win the Quaker Oats Award; with Ch Joanne-chen’s Mino Maya Dancer. He was the number one Toy dog in 1980. I also showed the Shih Tzu Ch Cabrand’s Agent Orange v LouWan who was the number one Toy dog and Quaker Oats winner in 1986. My first best in show was won in 1976 with Ch San SuKee Star Edition, a Maltese. I have bred and owned many Best in show and group winning Maltese and many champions. I also have shown or bred best in show or group winning Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers, Silky Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frise, Cairn Terriers, Norfolk Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Poodles, Chinese Cresteds, and more that I can’t think of I have the distinction of few having the Lifetime Achievement Award for my services in the American Maltese Association. Wearing many hats in the club through the years, currently I am Chairman of the Education Committee. For many years my mom and I were the first mother daughter team, showing many breeds of dogs to top honors. I have the unique understanding of our breed the Maltese as I was involved with them my entire life and saw dogs from over 60 years ago. I have been involved with the club longer than anyone practically, I knew all the old breeders, saw the dogs, much less I showed for many different lines from coast to coast. So I have a different background than most the people involved with the breed today. Through the years I have consistently bred good dogs too

    Anyone interested in the breed I would be more than willing to help.

    I live in a northern Chicago suburb. I have been in dogs my entire life as I am second generation; my parents were Rena and Marty Martin. I also stayed in dogs my entire life too, showing since I was a very young child, even before junior handling. Outside of dogs, I go to dinner and the theatre with friends all the time in downtown Chicago.

    I have been breeding dogs my entire life as I stated as my mother was a breeder too I have bred many best in show dogs, group winning dogs, and great producing dogs. I probably have bred more generations of Maltese than anyone in the country. I just don’t mean by length of time, but well bred, line bred dogs. I have the vast experience in several breeds; Lhasa Apsos, Shih tzu, Tibetan Terriers, Silky Terriers, through the years too. I am not just talking about breeding and producing but producing Best in Show, group winning dogs. I have also helped many people get started and established in breeds, many who are very well known today as breeders or even judges. I have done all that and now I just am focusing on Maltese as a breeder. Actually for many years I slowed down as I always put my clients dogs first and didn’t have the opportunity to breed or show my own dogs.

    The breed in three words: beautiful, intelligent
    and loving.

    How the breed ranks among other toy breeds: it is a shame but at this time Maltese are a low entry breed, it is very hard to find competition.

    Years ago, Maltese were very popular in the Toy group and did a lot of winning and placing, as more breeds got recognized and popular, the results of Maltese in the groups are not as many. Also I think we do not have the amount of great dogs in the ring today as twenty years ago. We had classes full of quality, and now that is not true However that is the same in many other breeds too Todays Maltese are not as breathtaking as it has been a long time since a real true example of the correct Maltese according to the standard has been shown.

    Years ago, we had few health concerns. As time went on liver shunt was one of the biggest problem to plague our breed, however, in the past five years or so GME has overtaken many of our dogs. We are trying to get a marker for it, but not enough people are helping our breed, they are talking about it but few are really participating.

    There are trends in our breed as with other fancy toy breeds. The topknot situation trying to round the heads that are not supposed to be round, over doing them has gotten out of hand. Some of the topknots are trying to make shorter muzzles, again which is not in our standard. Another big problem is the flat tails or too tight of a tail. This problem makes the entire overall look wrong, often making the dogs look longer in back then they should be too. They should not have the outline of a Lhasa. Also with the overdone appearance of necks, the fronts that have straight shoulders and lift their feet up like a Minpin is a problem too. Maltese should float. They should have presence and cute personalities. Of course Coat is what makes a Maltese, but with the products today it is hard for judges to tell good quality coat Too often just because it is slicked down does not mean it
    is correct.

    The parent club can only do so much we try and support the Meet the Breeds. However, when you have few people that volunteer to engage in these public gatherings, what can I say? They don’t even volunteer to help in judges workshops, which in turn then they shouldn’t complain about bad judging. In this day and age people don’t have time to help they are all too busy.

    My best mentor was my mother Rena. Funny as people complain about not using Mentors today, my mother learned on her own as even back in the 50’s and 60’s in our breed people were jealous of her being successful in other breeds and refrained from helping her. My best story is at the International K.C. when she first got into Maltese, Ann Pendleton who was a big and successful breeder in those days had a little jar of something white she was applying to the eye hair. My mother asked her “what is that?” Her answer was “it is for me to know and you to try to figure out!”

    The biggest pitfall is not having the quality of many dogs in the ring and having to pick the best of the mediocre. Sometimes due to the fact in order to make points one person brings several dogs, and they may look somewhat the same. The other exhibitor that brings something else that may be superior loses as it doesn’t look the same as the others and the judges don’t know the standard to pick the right dog. Another example is the newer exhibitor that may have the better dog but can’t groom like the experience person with the lesser quality dogs and the judges can’t look past the grooming. Judges must remember the important things to the Maltese, proper head with good pigment, proper proportions, correct tail set, sound, and the beautiful white silky coat.

    The funniest thing I’ve experienced at a dog show was when I was about 10 or 11 years old, showing at the Wisconsin Kennel Club. I showed a Maltese brace, and one of the dogs in the brace had been on the Florida circuit with
    a handler. The other part of the brace was a bitch that had been in season, notice I said had been. Well at that show they had the groups at night and you went in with a spotlight in the auditorium. So the entire time going around the ring, I as a child had these Maltese and the male was humping the bitch the entire way around! Brought the
    house down!

    Breeding is an art, but it has a standard to build your picture. It is very important to study the past and pedigrees and breeders. You cannot create without quality. Grooming is important; however you have to have a good sound dog that represents the standard to work with too.

    Sharon Massad

    I live in the Dallas Texas area. I moved here to retire and show dogs. I moved here from the Corpus Christi area which is so far from any show. I bought my first Chihuahua in 1999. I must say they are like potato chips because you just can’t have only one. I am lucky that my family loves my dogs. Family is always first. My life right now is basically family, dogs and traveling to dog shows.

    Breeding Chihuahuas isn’t an easy job. The hard part of breeding is that you learn as you go. Sometimes it is hard keeping these Chihuahuas alive as they come into this world. Hopefully the little ones that you lose will have you save the next one. I am lucky that I have Kathy Smith to call for advice when having trouble with new puppies and mothers. Everyone needs someone to turn to when having puppies even if it is only for moral support. I finish the
    puppies that I breed in the bred by class because I like
    the medallions.

    Chihuahuas are comical, entertaining and loyal.

    Chihuahuas are ranked as #18 as most popular dogs.

    When I first started showing there was not a lot of group placements for Chihuahuas but not it happens all the time.

    I think everyone knows that Chihuahuas have teeth and patella problems. As a breeder of show Chihuahuas, I am concerned with temperament. It is very hard on dogs and their owner to show a dog with poor temperament. I suggest more breeders research temperament before
    breeding Chihuahuas.

    Our breed seems to be going in the right direction. The dogs are having better bone and are more balanced. I don’t see as many over done heads in the ring.

    Chihuahua Club of America is a great parent club. I would suggest everyone one interested in showing chihuahuas to at least come to our national. CCA has great seminars from whelping to knowing the standard. Research is important to CCA to promote better Chihuahuas.

    I owe the most to a few people. I have already mentioned Kathy Smith whom is my angel when I have new puppies. Willo Barfield has been very kind to me in sharing information about training, showing and grooming. Roxanne Aldridge spent years just teaching me about dogs. When I first started showing, Jane Klein and her mother took time to teach me how to show a Chihuahua which saved me years of learning it on my own. In general people have been very helpful in answering my questions. Dog show people are great.

    I would say my best advise to new judges is to judge the dog as a package. Look at the whole dog then you can’t go wrong. Remember when a Chihuahua is on the table they like their space. The best judges use a light touch and respect their space.

    One of the funniest memories happened in the ring when I went to Ditty’s first show. Usually when a dog gets away in the ring they head for the gate and everyone chases them. Well not Ditty. As I started to put him on the table, he got away from me. He started running around the table three times with me following him. You could hear the laughter from outside the ring. I finally stopped then he stopped. I called him and he came. So I think that I hold the record for three times around the table.

    Jeremy Mcclister

    We live in Taylor County Kentucky. Rachel and I have been in dogs together since 2003 and Rachel had dogs before we got married. She got me into the sport. She started showing in 1999. Rachel is a full time dog groomer and I work as the head of Asset Protection for a major retailer. We both enjoy sci-fi and fantasy movies and tv. I do like to fish and play billards from time to time but most of our free time is spent training and raising show dogs.

    My name is Jeremy Mcclister and my wife is Rachel Mcclister together we are Earendil Manchesters. We breed toy and standard Manchesters. We got married in 2003 and got our first Manchester right around then. Our second one came from Heaven Hi Manchesters. Rachel took WB and AOM at the National in 2006 from 9-12 puppy class. I guess we got hooked after that. Since then we have owned and or breed 25 AKC champions and our stud dogs have sired many more for other breeders. Not too bad considering we didn’t breed our first litter until 2007.

    The breed in three words: elegant, intelligent
    and athletic.

    Our breed is not as popular as most other toy breeds. It has very low numbers and I would consider them rare.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Over the years I would say no however as of late we are starting to see more Manchester’s receiving group placements throughout the country. I think this is helped by the NOHS as more owner handlers are staying for groups and judges are starting to take notice. Also I am seeing improvements in the breed and some very nice specimens being shown. As we are mainly an owner handled breed it can be tuff to compete in the group with the pros but I think since the NOHS is here more of the owner handlers are giving it a shot and competing in both groups since they are at the show late anyways.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today is Juvenile Cardiomyopathy. However thanks to efforts by the AMTC and CMTC health committees a genetic marker has been found and a DNA swab of your dog can see if it is a carrier of the gene. Now we can make educated breeding selections to avoid producing affected puppies.

    A trend that I like to see continue is more and more breeders are starting to work together to improve their lines. Trend I would like to see stop is there seems to me a misunderstanding of correct top lines. I would like to see more uniformity in the breed ring when it comes to top line. Right now I think the overall dogs are improving but we still have to wide a variety of top lines in the ring.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity is public education on social media, school events or community events, advertising the breeds webpage and info in magazines. Basically anything and
    everything to bring positive attention to the breed would be a good thing.

    We owe the most to Jeri Hobbs of Heaven Hi Manchester’s. Jerri worked with us on our second Manchester and foundation bitch “Jade” GCH Heaven Hi’s Spirit Dancer. Jerri helped guide us in what right looks like when it comes to understanding the breed standard and judging a good Manchester. She taught us anatomy and mentored us along the way. We probably would not be where we are with the breed had it not been for her.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is first finding entry’s. Second would be finding a really good Manchester that fits the breed standard to think back to when judging. Third like I was saying about top lines earlier they will see a variety of styles in the ring. Roach backs, high rears, and all in between so learning what a slight arch is can be tough.

    I have seen a lot of funny things over the years from my wife having our girl Shadow get loose in the ring and Shadow playing hard to get while she was trying to catch her to my wife’s aunt at an outside show lean on the show fence not realizing how unstable it was and doing a header in the Doberman ring. But one of my favorite would probably be a Great Dane puppy teaching his handler some humility as he decided to lay down on a down and back and not get it up. Even Judge Jon Cole who was judging the entry couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the lazy pup.

    Vikki Nicholson Kelly

    Vikki Nicholson Kelly has been a corporate VIP travel consultant for 30 years. She works from home which allows full time interaction with her Pomeranians. She has three adult sons, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, her first grandchild and two cherished adopted grandchildren.

    We live in Rockwall, Texas which is a community right outside of Dallas. I have always been an avid fan of dogs and dog shows from a child. I was able to begin enjoying this passion 12 years ago. I dabble in the kitchen creating dishes, I enjoy movies, cat shows and travel.

    I have had great mentorship from Gail Bertrand of ReigningPoms. With her help and access to her bloodlines I produced my first champion and grand champion, Benjamin Button. He has made this journey so exciting and fun. Looking forward to what comes next.

    Pomeranians are active, joyful and smart.

    Pomeranians are amongst the most popular toy breeds.

    Attention in the Group ring is fairly consistent. It is hard to ignore that unique outline and pervasive personality.

    There are several serious health issues in Pomeranians including Alopecia X, patellar luxation, trachea and heart concerns. Overall soundness and correct coat are what we should all be working to achieve.

    Recently the American Pomeranian Club issued guidelines to reduce over trimming for the show ring. This is a much needed change and I am hopeful that the judges will embrace these guidelines.

    Our breed club needs to respect enthusiasts as a whole and be more inclusive as opposed to exclusive. All that should be required to be a member of any breed club should be an interest in and a desire to learn more about a specific breed and payment of whatever the dues are. We are stewards of the breed and should be willing to embrace and educate the masses.

    Gail and Bill Bertrand of ReigningPoms have been my mentors for many years now and they have done more than I would have ever expected. They are the reason I am still in Poms, the foundation of the success that I have achieved and future success of Top Hat and Tails Kennels.

    The biggest pitfall for new judges is using the past presentations of over trimmed dogs as their ruler they use to judge in the ring moving forward.

    We, as a fancy, need to embrace our competitors and enjoy their success as much as they do. There is so much divisiveness at the shows which needs to stop. Without having others compete with you there would be nothing to win. We should be having fun, our dogs should be having fun and our juniors should be having fun. If you happen to win something then that is the cherry on top of the cake that you are already enjoying. Work to bring the joy back in to what you love.

    Raul J. Peralta

    I was born in Cuba, I (along with his parents and three siblings) immigrated to the US in 1964. My immediate family and I settled in North Carolina where I was educated and have lived the majority of my life.

    I serve as Sr. Vice President, ECS Southeast, LLP, a private engineering consulting firm. My responsibilities include managing the development of numerous offices, leveraging relationships, serving on impactful organizations and supporting economic development efforts across the Southeast.

    I obtained my BS in Environmental Engineering from North Carolina State University and currently serve on the following organizations in leadership roles:

    • Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC)— Chairman

    • North Carolina Community College System—
    Board Member

    • American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA)—

    I live in Trinity, North Carolina, just outside of High Point, North Carolina (the furniture capital of the world). I have been involved in the dog world for approximately 30 years. My first breed was Bouvier de Flanders which led me to Brussel Griffons.

    I have hobbies down to an art form. My hobbies
    include sailing, fly-fishing, and gardening (I am a Certified Master Gardener).

    My experience as a breeder takes me back 25 years. During that time, I have successfully bred numerous Brussels Griffon litters—some singletons and others that included multiple puppies. Most of my efforts have been spent researching potential breedings and planning litters. Having an education in a scientific arena, this part of breeding fascinates me.

    The breed in three words: velcro, confident
    and human-like.

    The Brussels Griffon is not anywhere close to being at the top of the popular Toy breeds. Breed registrations are on a downhill trend (as are many other breeds). It is a difficult breed to successfully breed and whelp.

    The Brussels Griffon is recognized in the Toy Group when the quality is present. The Toy group is typically very competitive, so one must be realistic in our expectations. My perspective is that when a Brussels Griffon to the best of its ability, good AKC Judges will recognize it. This is a direct result of many Judges who have put forth the effort to learn about our breed and our Standard.

    Overall, the Brussels, Griffon is a healthy, hardy breed. As the AKC Parent Club, the American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA) does promote and encourage health testing which allow us the scree breeding stock. There has been research in the potential of Syringomyelia (SM) being a health concern for the breed due to the shape of its head. Some of the other issues that owners and puppy buyers should be aware of include patellar luxation (loose knee joints), cataracts. Health testing and only purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder are necessary to minimize the risks.

    The overall quality and health of the breed are in great shape and getting better. Most any weekend, the chances of seeing a good representation of the Brussel Griffon in the Breed Ring and Toy Group are good. In the past several years, the presence of good Smooth Brussels Griffons has become apparent. We are also seeing them being very competitive in Performance Events.

    The American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA) serves as the AKC Licensed Parent Club in the USA. Our mission is to educate both Judges and the public. We strive to increase the awareness of our breed by conducting educational programs throughout the country whenever possible. These programs are focused on sharing the Breed Standard with Judges and perspective ne ABGA Members. We are currently working with the AKC and their Canine College. This effort (which includes filming of Brussels Griffons, hands-on examinations and interviews with AKC Licensed Breeder-Judges) will lead to a comprehensive documented training program for individuals who want to learn more about the breed or want to obtain their license to judge them.

    The ABGA’s mission is to be all that is Brussels Griffons in the US. We take great pride in education the public and holding events during which individuals can meet reputable breeders and learn more about the breed.

    Having said all of that, the single most significant activity we can undertake is to be inviting and inclusive to existing and (potential) new members. As an organization we have a membership mentality that calls for us to:

    (1) Be a place to belong (2) Be a diverse group, (3) Be a social bunch (4) Be an organization that evolves (5) Serve as undaunted advocates for our breed and (6) Be an organization where we learn from each other.

    I owe the most to those who originally gave me a chance to own a Brussels Griffon and to those who (to this day) take the time to educate me. The first person who saw the potential in me is Katherine (Kay) Braukman (K Dee B’s Brussels Griffons). Kay was kind enough to allow me to own one of her dogs and for that I will never forget her.

    As with any of life’s journeys, one never stops learning and evolving. There are numerous individuals who continue to help me along the way. I currently serve as the President of the ABGA and have a team of Officers and Directors who are involved in steering our Club and protecting our Breed.

    As our Breed has become more popular, more people chose to breed them. The challenges new and novice Judges will face is to ensure the quality of what is being exhibited remains at the highest level. My recommendation to all interested in judginbg our breed is to educate themselves every change they can.

    As we all know, dog shows are mostly serious events; filled with pressure to win and pressure to do our best. Anytime dogs in the ring chose to play with others (and disregard the handler) is not only a source of humor for me…but reason to celebrate our sport. It has happened to me more than once and every time it does it reminds me of the purpose of being there…to have fun and let dogs show their personalities whenever possible.

    The ABGA will be celebrating our 75th year anniversary in 2020. We plan to make it a year-long celebration of who has come before us and what awaits us. Our theme will be “The Good Old Days are Still to Come”. Our 2020 National Specialty will once again be held in March in Louisville, Kentucky and our Roving National Specialty will be held in conjunction with Morris and Essex in the fall.

    Mary Rasmussen

    I live on 10 acres in Belgrade Montana just outside of Bozeman. I just hit 30 years 10 years in English Toy Spaniels known as Charlies, 20 in Chihuahuas. Outside of dogs, I didn’t know there was life outside of dogs. Hobbies / Interests include cooking/catering. If I had a dime I would love to do a few small events each year.

    I have experienced a lot—happiness, sadness, life, death and much more a little bit of everything. In 30 years one night I think I had experienced it all but I haven’t as breeders we should embrace new experiences, be open minded and thrive on learning something new each day.

    The breed in three words: only three, I need four. Goofy, entertaining, cuddly and addicting like potato chips.

    How the breed ranks compared to other toy breeds: there isn’t a way to rank the English Toy popularity. It’s a very old unknown breed. I believe breeders of the past didn’t do this breed any favors by keeping them to themselves and a secret. Fifteen years ago, give or take, it was almost impossible to purchase a “Charlie”. As a breeder I want everyone to enjoy the goofy, loving, snuggly personality of a “Charlie”.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: no, again, being an unknown there are very few being shown Judges don’t see many of them in group. On the up side we (as a breed) have had several being specialed/campaigned over the last three years and the number of Group Placements even RBIS and BIS are increasing and continue to.

    Largest health concern of the breed: unfortunately the English Toy has a health history of cataracts and several heart issues. As breeders we hope everyone, breeders and pet owners are doing as much as possible to prevent and even someday eliminate these issues. Health testing is important but so is history. Having our pet owners health test eyes and heart at specific ages is great data for a breeding program. If breeders would follow “breed the best to the best to make better” motto together we can wipe out the issues of the “Charlie” in no time.

    I’m happy to see the interest in “Charles” increase. As they are seen more in the ring it seems more people are inquiring about them. Trends I’d like to see stopped: oh easy one —over grooming. I know its in all coated breeds, but when your dog is starting to look like another breed it becomes a bit much not to mention so much paste and chalk it can be seen in clumps and comes off in our hands. .

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed: oh the parent club, where to start. There are many things they could do most of them small and easy but honestly it seems to me they don’t want to increase awareness or popularity of the English Toy. It seems the club would be happy keeping this wonderful breed in the
    ownership of only its few club members and there doesn’t seem to be anything in place to increase
    membership either.

    I have been fortunate to surround myself, in my opinion, the best. Pat Cox has not only been a great mentor but has become a fantastic friend. I owe her a lot. The knowledge Karen Miller, one of the greats who I truly respect and appreciate, is something one couldn’t get from anyone else. Susan Carter and Margo Johnson have always been there for me. I love and appreciate all of them.

    The biggest pitfall for new judges is the lack of dogs to judge, not only in numbers but in quality. Its sad but as we all know dog shows are a dying sport.

    The funniest thing at a dog show: I was in Amana, Iowa when a lady was showing her Yorkie. After brushing the hair pretty she got off her hands and knees and stood up when her skirt stayed down. I must say she recovered from the moment quickly and with dignity.

    Mariko Saum

    We live in Port Ludlow Washington. I have had show dogs since 1974. We also enjoy horseback riding (we have  an eight year old Quarter Horse), gardening, and dog training. I also do art work, drawing and painting, and dog grooming.

    I have been breeding dogs since 1976. Bouvier des Flandres for 25 years, and Japanese Chins for 15.

    The breed in three words: square, balanced
    and animated.

    How the breed ranks in popularity among other Toy breeds: about the lower percentile of popularity, but I do believe they are gaining fans.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: no, but thanks to great movement and great handlers they are becoming a bit more common in Group placements.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today is, as with many breeds, breeding extremes. Eye problems, heart disease, and poor conformation. Breeding for extremes diminishes the dog and causes a life of diminished health.

    Fortunately, we are seeing more good moving dogs than cripples in the ring. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many breeding for extremes and fads. I do believe that this will go out of favor if judges reward breed type and standard
    over fads.

    I believe popularity is increasing as more older folks are looking for the perfect small companion. Having good information for those seeking it from parent clubs does make
    a difference.

    I have to thank first Breeder/Handler Rowan Baggenstos for all her guidance and knowledge. Second Chin Of Touche’, Dale and Jane Martenson. Mentors are worth their weight in Gold!

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is not putting breed type first and understanding the
    breed standard.

    While showing a competitor had her pantyhose drop to her ankles in the ring. She proceeded to remove them, twirl them over her head before proceeding to toss them out of the ring-all while still attempting to show her dog.

    I believe there is still room to let new folks get into the sport. It will take people willing to mentor and help them along the way. Far too often we see people more concerned with the win than their fellow competitors or the dogs. Ours is a small but caring community and we should all embrace those willing to try and show their own dogs.

    Peg Shaw

    I reside on a small farm in Nebraska. I am a proud breeder and exhibitor of Miniature Pinschers and Chinese Crested. One of my fondest childhood memories is pushing my family’s Doberman Pinscher puppies up and down the driveway in my baby doll buggy. Dogs have always been a part of my life, which is why entering into the dog show ring was such a natural stepping stone in my life.

    The animal health industry has been an influential part of my life since 1987. My passion for animals has led me on the journey of working at several veterinary practices cumulating with my employment with Pfizer/Zoetis, where I was the Small Animal Lead of Clinical Operations.

    I am currently serving my fourth term as Director on the Board for the Cornhusker Kennel Club. I also teach conformation classes for this club.

    I am the President and founding member of Heart of America Chinese Crested Club of St Louis.

    In May 2019 I will begin my first term as Director on the Board for the Chinese Crested Club of America.

    In 2012, I went to my first dog show dressed to kill in my $5.00 Goodwill pantsuit and I have been hooked on the sport ever since. Like many other dog show enthusiasts, I also come from the horse show world. I showed Miniature Horses in halter and driving. With having had driving horses, I was naturally drawn to the idea of a dog breed whose distinguishing trait was a hackney gait, which brought me to the Miniature Pinscher breed.

    My dog related activities are certainly a labor of love however, my greatest joy is being an involved grandmother to my four young grandchildren.

    My background is in the animal health field, so I take pride in being an ethical and responsible breeder. My role as a breeder is something I take very seriously. I have seen far too many heartaches when it came to ignoring the importance of health and temperament in a breeding program. In my own breeding program, health and temperament are and will always be my first priority. My passion for genetics, along with my equine experience, naturally lend themselves to the idea of form and function also playing an important role in the breeding equation—When they are built right, they will move right.

    Defining the Miniature Pinscher in only three words can easily be done by quoting the AKC standard, “King of Toys”.

    Even with their charismatic personalities, Miniature Pinschers are not the breed for everyone, but the people who do choose to own this breed love their antics. The Miniature Pinscher is currently ranked 71st among all AKC breeds
    in popularity.

    The Toy Group is a very tough group, and although I would be thrilled to see even more group placements, I feel the Miniature Pinscher holds its own in the group ring. While the beautiful coated breeds are very eye catching, nothing can compare to seeing a self-assured Min Pin strut their stuff around the ring. They scream, “Look at me, I AM a show dog!”

    In my opinion, the largest health concern facing Miniature Pinschers today is Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP). A genetic screening test is not yet available for this inherited condition. Integrity as breeders and full disclosure of affected dogs and their bloodlines are our only defense in preventing this crippling condition until genetic screening
    becomes available.

    A trend in the breed I would like to see continue is our lawful right to crop and dock. Many countries have lost this privilege and I feel it is a right breeders, need to fight for.

    As the King of Toys, Miniature Pinschers can be described as fun loving, spirited, full of themselves, possessing a big dog attitude, proud, and fearless among many other outgoing characteristics. A dog that is timid and fearful is not presenting desirable traits for this breed, so a trend I would like to see stopped in the show ring is judge’s recognizing Min Pins who show with their tails down.

    National Specialty Shows gather the best of the best of a breed all in one location. I would like to see my parent club establish an outreach program to invite the public to our National Specialty to increase the awareness and popularity of such a great breed. I witnessed tours given to groups of school age children by club members recently at a dog show and thought how awesome it was giving kids hands on experience with show dogs. I would venture to say a few of those children will make the choice to own a purebred
    dog one day.

    My mentors, Wendy Boyette and Carol Dry, are the two people who helped me get established in Min Pins. They provided me with my foundation breeding dogs and taught me the ropes in the show ring.

    Most clubs look to hire judges who can judge multiple breeds and groups in order to keep their costs down. The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is securing judging assignments when they are only licensed to judge a few breeds.

    The funniest thing I have seen at a dog show did not involve a Min Pin, rather a Pug. Recently I was standing ringside as I was the next breed to enter the ring. A young lady entered the ring with a 6-9 month Pug female. When the lady put the puppy on the table, the puppy was so excited to be meeting a new friend (the judge) she could not contain herself. She wiggled with excitement to the point it was impossible for Evelyn Gregory to examine her. The more judge Gregory tried to go over her, the crazier the puppy became. Yep, I have to admit it, I along with the several others openly laughed at another exhibitor (she was laughing too). It was heartwarming to see a puppy who was going to love being a show dog and to see a judge who had a sense of humor with an out of control exhibit.

    One item I was not asked to discuss but would like to mention is dogs shows do not exist without clubs, and clubs do not exist without members. Please do your part to keep this great sport alive. Join a kennel club and become an active member.

    Mark & Lori Stephen

    We have been married for 35 years this August and reside in Corona, California. We have four children, and seven grandchildren. We are very active in our church. Mark works full time as a Purchasing Manager for Royal Plywood Co. Lori works part time for LeBaron Financial Group. We got our first Pekingese in 2000 on a whim because Lori thought they were cute. She went shopping for a purse and came back with a Peke, so we named him “Coach”. Mark enjoys cycling and rides his bike either to or from work several times a week, about 35 miles each way. Lori enjoys baking decadent desserts and doing service with her church. Lori is the Corresponding Secretary for our National Club, The Pekingese Club of America, and serves as secretary for both her local Peke Club, Pacific Coast Pekingese Club, and the Toy Dog Breeders Association of Southern California.

    We had Pekingese for several years before we started breeding. Lori worked hard to study the breed and learn everything she could BEFORE she started breeding in 2011. Lori read everything she could get my hands on about the breed and just soaked in as much information as possible for a few years. We purchased our first “Show Bitch” in 2009 which turned out to be a very sweet pet. We then were fortunate to buy an already proven beautifully structured foundation bitch in 2011, and she was the foundation of our kennel. We have bred or co bred 12 litters, producing 17 champions with several more pointed. We have partnered with Nicole Cooper (Silvergate Pekingese) and together the three of us work as a smooth functioning team making our decisions together. We each bring something unique and different to the table. We do not finish everything. We have no problem petting out dogs with traits we do not want in our breeding program. That said we have never seen the “Perfect Pekingese” and the dogs we do keep for our breeding program have merits that we feel will benefit our future breeding. We have finished over 25 Pekingese including those shown for clients. We have bred a multiple specialty show winner and a Best in Show dog, and multiple group winners. If I’m being honest, our breeding program was started primarily on good luck. I knew and was told, I had a lovely bitch and I was lucky to find the perfect sire at a local dog show who was owned by Sheri Martinez who has been our mentor in the breed now for over seven years. The first planned breeding was mostly an out cross, with some commonality in the line, but it clicked beautifully. We strive for soundness, health, and temperament giving all three merits equal weight.

    The greatest benefit we have had are to have been blessed with EXCELLENT mentors. The late Jackie Ragland was very much of a help and guided us quite a bit in the beginning. Jackie took us and our co breeding partner Nicole Cooper (Silvergate Pekingese) under her wing and we were very fortunate to have her love and support before she passed away. She taught us many, many, valuable lessons and walked us through our first litter. We would talk for hours about pedigrees and some of the dogs that have been influential in the breed. The most influential mentor, however, whom we owe everything, has been Sheri Martinez (Amerglo Pekingese) Sheri was raised with dogs, and she is the daughter of Pauline Patterson who was known for her English Toy Spaniels and Toy Poodles. From the first day we met Sheri she has taught us everything she has known. This mentoring process lasted for years and still continues today. Sheri has been an excellent teacher and has a wealth of knowledge, literally giving us years of her time to teach us everything she can about the breed. She has taken the term mentor and given it an entire new meaning. The very first time I (Lori) met Sheri, she invited me to go over her dogs, and was instructing me with a very unbiased view, what was good about them and what she would improve. YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD MENTOR(S) if you want to be successful breeding. You will not be able to learn everything you need to know without someone who has been in your breed long enough to see the entire picture. There is so much you need to be taught with hands-on experience that you cannot learn from a book alone. The best gift Sheri has given us is to be sometimes painfully honest in the evaluation of our breeding stock. Sometimes we do not like what she has to say. Her honesty and integrity, however, is never wavering. She has drilled proper structure, movement, temperament, and so many other things too numerous to mention etc. into us from the beginning. We can honestly assess every single of one our dogs and we know the good and, most importantly, what we need to improve upon. I cannot tell you how many times we have heard Sheri say “Not every dog deserves or needs to be a champion” Sheri has also taught us stellar ethics, grooming, health, history and pedigrees, and sportsmanship. I am sure if all mentors took the job as serious as ours did, there would be better dogs across the board.

    Pekingese in three words: confident, aloof and regal (A Pekingese should be happy and confident in the ring never shy or dragging their tail).

    Pekingese I am told were once a very popular breed. Everyone says things like “My grandma or my neighbor had a Pekingese”. I am very sad to say that gone are the days when it took 15 plus Pekes to make a major win and you would see dogs in the hundreds at a National Specialty. Unfortunately, we will never be able to witness these kinds of entries at dog shows, and I envy those that came before me that were able to see it. Although I will never see it, I can respect that type and quality were apparent in previous years. Even being as green as we are, we can see that this breed will continue to decline unless we can attract new people and provide them with mentors and the encouragement needed to succeed. We need more people breeding quality dogs. AKC statistics as of 2017 rank Pekingese 88 of 190 breeds. Sigh.

    We feel Pekingese most definitely get their fair share of attention in the Toy Group. Currently there are some very nice top winning toys that are Pekingese. Historically Pekingese have done very well in the Toy Group, even more so in Canada which is probably due to the influence of some of the wonderful Canadian breeders that have produced such influential dogs. The St. Aubrey Elsdon kennel now permanently retired by AKC was one of many renowned kennels in Canada. Knollland Red Rover who was bred here in the US, but was shown and resided in Canada, was an iconic producer in our breed.

    Health concerns: overall Pekingese are a relatively healthy breed. That said some of the things all breeders need to be aware of and conscientious about are BAS. BAS is the upper airway obstruction present in brachycephalic dogs that results from the combination of narrowed nasal openings (also called stenotic nares), an elongated soft palate, and a small windpipe (also called the trachea). These dogs frequently develop secondary problems within their pharynx and larynx (voicebox). As a result of this upper airway narrowing, dogs with BAS suffer from noisy breathing, inability to exercise normally, and may even suffer collapse or death. BAS can plague all of our flat faced breeds at some point. People mistakenly think that breathing issues are only associated with narrow nostrils, when that may not be the case at all. Pekingese can have narrow or collapsing tracheas, back problems, eye problems, heart issues, seizures, to name a few health issues. Again however, overall, Pekingese compared to other breeds are still considered a relatively healthy breed. “If you don’t want it in your line, don’t breed to it.” (Another mentor quote).

    One of the positive trends we see in Pekingese today are larger heads with wide open faces. David Fitzpatrick (Pequest) has in our opinion developed some of the most correct beautiful heads with large dark luminous eyes we will see anywhere. Historically Pekingese can be rather grotesque looking which is very correct, but not as aesthetically pleasing to look at. We love to see Pekingese with a large gorgeous, correctly shaped head, because after all we are primarily a head breed. Unfortunately, as in many breeds there are trends that we see that are not as positive. One of the issues widely discussed is coat. A Pekingese should be evaluated we feel, primarily on what is under the coat. Judges are trained to feel the body and examine it for proper conformation. Coat is gorgeous, it is the frosting on the cake and there is nothing more beautiful than a Pekingese in full blooming coat. That said, I feel judges need to judge the overall dog based on balance, structure, movement and appearance before they make their decisions. A dog should not be penalized if they lack coat if they have an overall nice structure. This is especially relevant to bitches. I would choose a nice bitch shown in her bikini rather than a heavily coated female that lacks proper structure. Our breed standard says a dog should not be so heavily coated that you cannot see the natural shape or outline of the dog (paraphrased). Moderation is a key word. We personally feel breeding over-exaggerated traits of Pekingese in any area is not necessarily beneficial to the breed. There are those that would disagree. Aslan-Silvergate strives for a beautifully moderate type of Pekingese. Not too long, not too short either. Not so low on leg that they look “dwarfy” and look crippled, but not so tall that when you slide your fist underneath their chest you can’t feel the chest either. Ample coat, but not overly coated. An open face with a slight wrinkle rather than an abundance of heavy wrinkle. Large dark eyes, but not bulgy or buggy. We prefer a heavier boned dog on the larger end of our 14-pound weight limit. An 11 to 12-pound dog with adequate bone is our preference, however we love and appreciate the smaller correct typey dogs as well. Another trend we see is dogs seem to be getting smaller more “piggish’ eyes, Large luminous round dark eyes is what we should be breeding for. Another trend is heads that are more vertical “square” than are shallow and properly enveloped (not rectangle) shaped. Properly shaped heads are just as important as the size of the head. We feel a dog can be very correct and beautiful without being too over exaggerated. Many times, in the rings we see that the dog that a breeder judge would prefer, is not necessarily the one who end up winning in the group ring, this is a perplexing trend in all breeds. We are supposed to be evaluating breeding stock at dog shows, but we end up being rewarded for glamour sometimes over proper breed type. Why? Lastly Pekingese today tend to be losing the beautiful upturned wide underjaw, I know we as breeders have been working on trying to breed a nicer stronger wider underjaw.

    We feel that judges need to pay careful attention to our breeder’s education seminar put on regularly by our Parent club. Most Pekingese exhibitors that have been showing for a while can tell the second a judge puts their hands on a Peke if they know how to judge the breed or not. We are not easily fooled. Whenever a judge does a really nice job in the ring, we like to ask who mentored them in the breed. It is a high compliment to a judge when a breeder says you did a good job judging. The Pekingese Club of America no longer teaches that dogs should be lifted by exhibitors to compare heads. The reason for this is when you lift a Pekingese it can change the dog’s overall expression and can give a startled look rather than a natural correct expression. We prefer you place the dog’s side by side on a table for comparison. Sometimes you may have to compare several pairs on a table. It takes longer, but we prefer they be judged that way. We don’t mind waiting if it helps you find the best dog. Pekingese are a more complicated dog to judge, we as breeders always encourage questions. Take your time to really know this breed before you decide to judge it.

    The funniest thing that Mark has seen at a dog show was Lori the first time she was in a ring. Lori is a very literal person and she was incredibly nervous about going into the ring. She had not been paying attention or watching any of the other exhibitors. The judge Mr. Ronald Rella told Lori to do a small circle with her dog. Lori stood there and then proceeded to twirl her body in a small tight circle. The judge looked at Lori like she was crazy, and he couldn’t decide if she was being sarcastic and disrespectful or if she was that dumb. Needless to say, he did not think it was funny and even though everyone else was laughing hysterically, he said with a straight face “Mam let’s try that again” and made a big wide circle with his arms.” After that Mark showed the dog.

    In a positive light we feel just like us, most Pekingese breeders are doing their best and trying to breed good quality dogs. We are always striving to improve what we have. We are still and hope to always be in the listening and learning phase of our journey. We hope to strive to develop our own stamp in this breed, but we realize it takes time, patience, heartache, and just some good old-fashioned good luck. Check back with us in 10 years and we’ll talk again.

    Dianne Texter

    I have been in the sport of purebred dogs since the mid 80’s, beginning in the sport with Sharpei as my first breed and Judy Welch as my mentor in the Breed. I had Sharpei’s under my roof until my last girl passed away from cancer in 2014. I still co-own and show two with my daughter Michelle who lives in southern California.

    I obtained my first Manchester in 2005 through a rescue situation and when my daughter moved out taking him with her in 2008 I started my quest to find a quality one I could show and eventually breed.

    I have now bred/titled over 40 champions and have met a lot of wonderful people and lifelong friends in the process. I have been mentored in Manchester’s by many people but primarily by Betty Hodges who I loved like a mother until she passed last year.

    I absolutely love Manchester’s and am committed to helping the breed to survive. With our current declining numbers and population the club faces many challenges ahead of us. I am the treasurer of the national parent club and very active in donating both time and money to all of our club events and have really enjoyed all aspects of the purebred dog sport. There is a sense of purpose and camaraderie amongst most of the fanciers.

    I live in Benicia California (Bay Area- Northern Calif) and have been raising purebred animals my whole life, I’ve been in my Purebred dog since early 80’s. Hobbies and interests outside of Dogs: 1. My Job: Fleet Administrator for Paper Material Handling and I work a lot! I also am a Christian and support a couple different missionary groups with my time and finances!

    I am a silver breeder of merit—Meaning I have bred and titles over 30 champions—just a few short of Gold at this time. I absolutely love Manchesters and am very committed to helping the breed better itself and hopefully keep from being extinct. Our numbers have declined over the last 10 yrs very steadily with the age of our membership slowly edging up less people are able to do breeding. I have been mentoring many new fanciers and supporting the National club as its treasurer

    The breed in three words: best kept secret. (Manchester’s are awesome).

    How the breed ranks in popularity among other Toy breeds: not known nearly well enough- if more people had or tried a Manchester—they would never own anything else. I actually think its part of what contributes to our low numbers—most breeders have a waiting list to replace folks’ Manchesters’ who had passed and they don’t want
    anything else!

    I think a lot of judges gravitate towards the hairy foo foo dogs in the toy group. If you have a judge who will put up an uncoated breed—they will usually put up a Manchester- I think across the u.s. we have a good quality of dog being exhibited by all.

    I think overall Manchesters are very healthy with an average life span about 14-17 yrs. We have recently seen an upturn in intestinal issues for things like PLE (protein losing enteropathy) and lymphangiectasia. Trends to continue: Health testing. We have a group of very committed individuals reaching out to universities to help us develop testing so we can make better breeding decisions—JDCM and Xanthinuria use to be an issue in our breed. With partnering with Univ. Of Minnesota- thanks to a large donation from one of our Members—Janna Morgan- and the efforts of both The AMTC and The CMTC and The Kelly family—they developed a test to isolate those who were carriers so we don’t unknowingly breed carriers together anymore! Things to be stopped: Since we are a small group—I would like to see more put down their petty animosities carried through years and partner together to save the breed. Our gene pool is too small to exclude any healthy lines because of indifference.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed is more meet the breed booths at shows with foot traffic would be a good start!

    Hands down I owe the most to Betty Lee Hodges and Wendy Kelly—who unfortunately both passed last year.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is older judges tend to award things to handlers and people they have forged relationships with over time.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show: wow, where to start and how to communicate politely? People walking out of their clothes in the ring.

    The misconceptions about pure bred dog breeders being responsible for the amount of animals in rescue. If more attention was given to all the effort that goes into a real thought out, planned out breeding program. One that contains health testing and endless/countless hours of time into the dogs and their care and then whelping and socializing puppies to try to present to a new pet owner a well socialized dog. Sometimes it feels like we do all the work, get none of the glory and all of the blame.

    Being a breeder is not for the faint of heart. It means countless hours of poor sleep and many heartaches on the way. Yet when I think about me without my dogs- I think about how many older people I have provided companions for and I know it is worth it.

    Sharon & Jim Utych

    We live in Alpharetta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. We owned our first Cavaliers in 2008 and immediately became involved in the local specialty breed clubs for the AKC (CKCSC of Greater Atlanta) and the CKCSC, USA (Cavaliers of the South). Although we did not initially show our first boys, Finn and Skye, we participated in each club offering our talents and going to shows to learn everything we could about this wonderful little dog. We began to show Finn and Skye at age seven, when they were veterans. Finn, at age 11, is still showing in veteran classes and has be awarded to date 54 Best Veteran in Shows. Showing in veterans is when the show bug hit us and we decided we wanted one day to show and stud responsibly bred Cavaliers. Outside of “dogs”—really is there a life outside of dogs? Actually, my husband Jim works as a Regional Finance Director for a school bus transportation company and enjoys watching all the sports teams from Michigan. He is also the treasurer for the CKCSC USA regional club, the Cavaliers of the South. I help out at our church’s Food Bank pantry and also am the Secretary for the AKC breed club, CKCSC of Greater Atlanta. We both enjoy traveling and visiting historical sites. We hope to go back to Scotland and revisit the beautiful countryside and the Orkney Islands.

    We are novices in breeding as we not bred a litter under our Finnickyskye kennel name (we are hoping to in the near future), but we have had success in our stud. We look to our mentor to guide us and teach us what will be a wonderful breeding and what our boys can give to the bitch being bred. We have been very pleased with the pups produced that our boy has been involved in, in so much that we have a stud puppy who we are currently running on. We know that breeding and whelping Cavaliers is not for the faint of heart and we hope that in the very near future we will be privileged to have whelped a litter of puppies with the Finnickyskye kennel name.

    The breed in three words: Happy, loving comforter dog.

    I think the Cavalier in the past 10 years has become more and more popular with pet owners and breeders. Unfortunately, that means that non-reputable breeders, puppy millers and BYB’s have jumped in the ring to cash in this lovely little breed’s popularity. It is unfortunate as these breeders, especially the puppy millers, do not take into consideration health considerations, health testing, etc and are in it, of course, for the money. I know many pet people who own Cavaliers with significant health issues who have gotten their Cavalier through these means at a cheaper price and it is unfortunate for both them and the dog. People need to do their research and buy from reputable, responsible breeders who also health test.

    I don’t think the breed gets its fair share of attention in the Group. I think it’s because the Cavalier is the largest of the Toy Group and a lot of judges discount them. I will say I find that “Cavalier friendly” judges will never discount a quality Cavalier in the group ring!

    The biggest health concern of the breed today is Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). Research is being conducted to find the genetic marker for this disease. What we do as breeders is to ensure continual cardio testing, mapping out any progression of the disease and of course ensure proper
    breeding protocols.

    This is a toy breed and nothing is more beautiful than a smart, well put together Cavalier gaiting around the ring with wonderful reach and drive, a level topline, a straight happy waggy tail and a beautiful headpiece with cushioning and melting eyes. I have seen in the past 10 years Cavaliers in the US getting bigger in size and many with profuse coats. I think my biggest pet peeve in Cavaliers today is the tail. Breed standard states the tail is set as to be carried level off the back. So many in the ring have tails curling up and flying and are still being put up. Another trend that is being rewarded is the obvious trimming of the Cavaliers coat and furnishings. Cavaliers should not be trimmed and so many times I see trimming going on in the grooming areas.

    I don’t feel that we need to increase the popularity of the breed. It’s already there. To people interested in purchasing a Cavalier, the parent clubs as the guardians of the breed do need to provide pet people with information on the breed, what questions to ask the breeder, etc. Focus more on awareness of Cavalier health risks, the temperament of the Cavalier being a comforter, people dog and what to expect in owning a Cavalier.

    We owe almost everything we have learned in Cavaliers to Brookhaven Cavaliers—Paula Ayers and Brenda Martz. We have learned so much from them on breed type, breeding, what to look for in a Cavalier, how to show a Cavalier, you name it. The support and counsel has always been there and is so appreciated. I also owe a lot to Linda Whitmire of Almeara Cavaliers, who I co-own my one boy with (AKC CH Almeara Visionnaire). She is the one who approached me on showing “Stevie” and co-owning him. I was thrilled to take him to his AKC championship for Almeara. Additionally, Missy Crane of Signatures Cavaliers taught me so much about grooming and showing in the ring. Her wisdom was invaluable. You know, it takes a village and I so appreciate my village!

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is learning the breed standard and applying it to the dogs presented to them in the ring.

    I don’t know how funny it was, but at the Clemson KC shows a year ago it was so cold that everyone had heavy coats, gloves, mittens, hats, boots and heavy socks and were wearing them in ring as were the judges! It was actually warmer outside than inside. We were freezing!

    We are relatively new to the show and breeding world and we appreciate having our “newbie” thoughts expressed along with the great longtime and successful breeders. We love to attend the breeder forums offered by the CKCSC USA and AKC breed clubs at their specialty events and learn so much from breeders here in the US and especially from the foreign breeder/judges. Although we have had much success in the ring since we started and a few wonderful litters sired by our boy, we cannot wait to whelp our own litter in
    the future.

    Erica & Rachel Venier

    Orchard Hill is quite literally located on a southern facing hill outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. For the last 45 years we have been fortunate to be able to use our ten-acre property as a home base for all of our dog and horse activities.

    Although we no longer keep horses the lessons learned from them have been an invaluable help in the development of ourselves as breeders and, as importantly, as educated stock men.

    EV: I began breeding and showing Shelties on a limited basis in 1974. I was fortunate enough to have bought a very well-made Sheltie bitch who was perhaps not as gorgeous as some of her competitors; her blaze was distracting and her head of an older style. But her shape, balance and way of going were impressive; she won a major by winning the Working Group and taught me what floating movement looks and feels like. I brought that knowledge with me when buying our first Cavalier, an eventual Toy Group winner who became the basis of our breeding program and is behind every dog we own today.

    RV: I grew up in dogs with my mom showing and breeding Shelties. Mom taught me the fundamentals of type, structure and movement. Watching the Shelties play, Mom would candidly evaluate each dog for me. If two dogs were strong in a certain area, she showed me which was a bit better. She even evaluated our cats’ conformation. Even if I was too young to fully absorb the lessons when they began, they lasted through my lifetime. I focused on campaigning show hunters through my childhood, but came back to dogs in my last year of college with a Norfolk Terrier bitch. Cavaliers entered our lives in 1996.

    The breed in three words: EV: Innocent; joyful; loving. RV: Gay, moderate, natural

    EV: Unfortunately Cavaliers have become wildly popular in this country over the last 25 years. As we all know, with enormous popularity comes great responsibility for serious breeders. At Orchard Hill we attempt to protect our dogs as much as possible by placing the majority of them in pet homes to be neutered. We are careful to share our best dogs with trusted friends whom we feel will be as responsible to the breed as we have always been.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group: EV: This is a hot button question! I believe the enormous popularity of the breed has meant that many Cavaliers are shown which may not be up to the challenge of placing in the Group. This is not meant as a stinging criticism but rather as a pragmatic way of looking at our current situation. Cavaliers have improved enormously over the last 25 years; as more talented breeders try to compete in the Toy Group one hopes that they will continue to recognize the importance of breeding for the overall animal, one that both exhibits breed type and proper breed structure. With hard work and self-reflection the breed can continue to improve. And as that process unfolds more Cavaliers will be recognized in the Group.

    The largest health concern facing your breed today: RV: Mitral Valve Disease is always on the minds of responsible Cavalier breeders. To their great credit most serious breeders appear to be diligent about health testing and, when possible, eliminating effected dogs from the gene pool.

    Any trends we see in the breed that we believe need to continue or stopped: EV: This is an important question for Cavaliers currently. The joyful temperament of a Cavalier must remain a benchmark of the breed. No excuses. Any indication of timidity or aggression must not be overlooked. Judges, when you suspect a dog has a less than ideal temperament please do not ignore your suspicion. As judges we do the breed a great disservice when we reward
    poor temperament.

    RV: A positive trend: Cavalier enthusiasts are interested and informed about the breed the world over. We have strong international communication and collaboration among breeders. I think this has helped us improve breed type and should continue to serve us well. And a note of caution: The hallmark of a Cavalier is his joyful temperament. His ears are up, his tail is in motion when on the move, his body language “smiles.” He must never be sharp or shy. The responsibility to preserve temperament starts with the breeders. We have to be honest with ourselves and not breed from any dog exhibiting fearfulness or aggression. Temperament breeds on.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of the breed: I answered this for Cavalier breeders and enthusiasts, rather than for the parent club.

    RV: Our breed has grown in popularity over the years. Like most breeds, we need increased participation by responsible preservation breeders to protect and maintain the vitality of the Cavalier. We all need to help the breed by mentoring and supporting juniors and newcomers to the sport. My mom and I have tried to share competitive dogs judiciously and support talented young handlers. This game is not about any one day at a dog show. It is about the long-term vitality and preservation of a breed we love.

    We owe the most to: EV: My artist parents; Ernesto Lara, Peter Green and Beth Sweigart.

    RV: My mother has of course been and continues to be my primary mentor. She sees dogs with an artist’s eye while at the same time seeing every detail of structure, soundness, and type. She is a perfectionist. It keeps me sharp, and helps me stay brutally honest with myself when evaluating our own dogs.

    Katie Winters

    I live in California, Monterey- Salinas on the coast and my main interest has been dogs and horses all my life. I do have other lesser interests.

    I bred Whippets for 12 years—25 champions. I have owned/bred Min Pins 30 years with 75 champions. I judge both breeds.

    Min Pins are small, short haired active dogs (and possibly, have attention deficient disorder!)

    Min Pins have good popularity with Toy owners.

    The all time top winning Toy Dog nation wide is GCH. Marlex Classic Red Glare, so they do get recognition; but because Min Pins can be so active they are rather difficult and tricky to handle. Min Pins do not readily stand still when lined up and its hard for judges to see them.

    Min Pins are a fairly healthy breed without particular eye and heart problems. More frequent problems with them are legges perthes, and slipping stifles. Epilepsy and PRA has been reported in Min Pins. Min Pins are a long-lived breed, living 15 years or more.

    No trends I can think of disturb me. I personally do not like cropping ears and would welcome acceptance of symmetrical naturally folded ears, in addition to naturally
    erect ears.

    For the parent club to increase popularity and awareness of the breed I don’t have an answer. Min Pins are pretty popular as pets, most especially black and tan females (who qualify as small Dobermans).

    I didn’t really have a mentor per se.

    Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is that they don’t have an eye for this breed or its proper movement. It takes time to appreciate these active little dogs.

    Perhaps the funniest moment in a dog show happened in the Great Dane ring when a handler started to lose her skirt running around the ring.

    Min Pins are a “profile breed” meaning they should be judged foremost. In my opinion, this means they should be judged with the most emphasis put on the picture you see from the side when they are moving. How do they look going around the ring? How do they use themselves? From this view you can easily assess overall balance. Do they move with smoothness and effortless coordination? It’s a pretty picture when you see this combination – it really catches your eye.

    The Min Pin is called the King of Toys; he shows that he knows it by his active and spirited demeanor. Anything less than this attitude of dynamic self-possession should not be rewarded. The Min Pin must always stand (although standing still is not really in his vocabulary), move freely, and bait with head held high. He has the regal presence of a king.

    As a judge, you individually examine each dog on the table, most notably checking teeth, bite and testicles. It is inappropriate for the judge to run his hands all over this small, smooth coated breed; Min Pins do not like this treatment. You can see most everything and there is little need to touch the dog. The judge can see its expression, head, eye color, neck length, upper arm and lay back of shoulder with minimal touching of the dog.

    Particular attention needs to be given to the length of back and the length of loin— with having shortness in back and loin being preferred. When evaluating the rear, note the depth of thigh, stifle angulation, flat croup, and high tail set. Needed, also, is a “shelf behind the tail”. The shelf refers to the angle of the pelvis which optimally should be at 30 degrees. This gives the rear a butt-shelf appearance. If it has an open angle it will create a flat rear. This shelf shows that the Min Pin is able to display sufficient rear extension and propel its body forward while covering ground. A beautiful Min Pin has a well angulated stifle, together with an angulated rear end. This proper structure will be seen in the profile movement. Of course, soundness on the down and back must be considered; but remember, this is a profile breed! The top line should be level or slightly sloping while standing and moving.

    The Min Pin, according to the standard, does not have equal angles in the front and rear. The standard calls for a moderately angled shoulder and well angulated rear. It is my opinion that these differing front and rear angles create movement with a lot of lift, reach, bend of wrist in the front, and strong drive in the rear. So much of correct movement is determined by foot timing. By virtue of this high lift in the front, the strong driving rear has time to move forward without overtaking the front legs in a relatively short bodied square dog. The front has a lot of reach with no “up and down hackney” which goes nowhere; and the rear covers ground without “ piston like up and down movement”
    also going nowhere. For a balanced Min Pin, therefore, it would call for a relatively high reaching, wrist bending front movement, together with a strong driving rear to propel
    the body forward— the Min Pin is a beautiful image of “a profile breed”!

    Jacqueline S. Zwirn

    I am third generation exhibitor/breeder, and got my 1st Min Pin in October 1979, I have been hooked ever since. I am very active in public education on dog ownership, rescue and shows. I love helping and encouraging new exhibitors. I am a Board of Director for Del Valle Dog Club, Vice President of the Miniature Pinscher Club of Northern California, Breeder Referral and a Judges Education Mentor for the Miniature Pinscher Club of America, an active member of Nor Cal Toy Dog Fanciers, Pacific Northwest Miniature Pinscher Club, The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Club of America, Nor Cal Japanese Chin Fanciers. I also am working on becoming an AKC judge, all while currently breeding and showing my Miniature Pinschers.

    What do I do “outside” of dogs? Not much, ha, ha, ha…My husband collects Hot Wheels so we travel to the various Hot Wheels conventions a few times a year. I love sky diving, cooking and NFL Football.

    I have bred/shown Specialty, and group winning dogs as well as bred some top performance dogs. I just finished home bred Champion #19 in nine years after leaving the ring for over a decade due to medical issues.

    The breed in three words: enigmatic, intelligent
    and loving

    How does the breed rank in popularity among other Toy breeds? Actually I have found that many pet homes have a Min Pin, out here on the West Coast I would say they are in the Top 5 of Toys, as far as popularity.

    Does the breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? I believe it varies—we are getting more recognition in the Groups in recent years, I believe that is because some breeders are really striving to breed an overall balanced, fabulous specimen of our breed. It can be difficult to go up against a gorgeously groomed coated breed.

    The largest health concern facing the breed today? In my opinion and experience, Legg Calve Perths Disease. There are dogs affected and people just think its a weak rear, when in fact they x-ray the dog and find that its
    bilaterally affected.

    Trends I see in the breed that I believe need to continue? People are starting to get on board and health test also a few are starting to focus on a sound dogs and type again. Trends I’d like to see stopped: breeding STRICTLY for over the top, super high, true hackney profile, the breed is supposed to be moderate “hackney like” in side gait-not true hackney, you need a sound down and back that reaches and drives, as well as nice side gait.

    What the parent club can do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed? I feel our breed is popular enough. The Miniature Pinscher is not a breed for every home.

    I owe the most to my mother, who bred and showed Great Danes, she taught me ethics, the fundamentals and to never settle for mediocre or half best. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

    The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges is incorrect information being taught by JE mentors, which happens in EVERY breed.

    The funniest thing I’ve seen at a dog is a professional handler, Sylvia Rodwell walking a live Lobster on a rescoe lead in the ring during judges lunch break at a specialty.

    I really would like to see new exhibitors/breeders study the breed, the pedigrees and absorb what the successful lifetime breeders do, how they think as far as seeking out a match for a breeding, why they chose a specific pairing, and get on board with health testing. You need to crawl before you walk. If you don’t study/look at both geno/pheno type, and you are limiting yourself to whats easy, close and free then you are not doing a service to your breed. I see many new people-in ALL breeds, buy a dog and or a bitch and immediately breed because they want to show in BBE–not knowing whats in the pedigrees, how they will mesh etc–then they are heartbroken when the litter has issues or the offspring aren’t winning as much as they want, then get they discouraged and quit. The art of breeding is not easy, but it is rewarding to those who do their homework. Dog Shows as a sport is exciting and the dog show family is amazing, but it takes an open mind, patience and work.


    TNT Staff

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