Best in Show Magazine USA Feb / March 2022

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Best in Show

WE ARE

Here we are - first edition of the year is out with such a great content! In the seventh USA edition, Best in Show team has prepared some great articles and beautifully designed advertisements. We are starting with an interview with Professional Handler Erin Maureen Piercy, following with story about Beverly Hills shows that are traditionally held beginning of March. Lots of people are always excited about one of the first shows in a year Palm Springs, and we would like to thank to Rhonda Cassidy for lovely candids she took for our first 2022 edition! In February / March edition, Crowned 100 is about Peter the Standard Poodle, and we would like to thank to Poodle Variety team for letting us use his photos. We are very honored to have lots of Akita and Rottweiler breeder’s interviews! There are many more great articles we truly hope you will enjoy! We wish you best of luck in 2022! Stay safe.

JOVANA DANILOVIC Chief Editor

CHRISTIAN RANGEL Marketing Director

BISCREATIVE.COM Art Department

MARY MARSHALL, LEE GROGAN & ANN TUREEN Collaborator Writers

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CROWNED 100

PETER, THE POODLE

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TWO ICONS

BEVERLY HILLS

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ERIN MAUREEN PIERCy

INTERVIEW WITH JUDGE

CARL LIEPMAN

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INTERVIEW WITH HANDLER

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PALM SPRINGS

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CONTENT

OWNER-HANDLER LEASH

PATRICIA ANNE KEENAN


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AKITA

Beverly Vics TOBE Colleen Sullivan SONDAISA Richard Hellman & Fran Rupcic NO SHATSUKO

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MEET THE BREED

ROTTWEILER Daviann Braun NIGHTHAWK Sarah Janner ISENGARD

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CONTENT

WONDERFUL WORLD OF ALLISON

OWNER-HANDLER FINESSE


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ERINPiercy

Erin, thank you for taking your time to do interview for us. Please tell us something about your beginnings in this sport. My mother bought our first English Mastiff from Barbra House of Brite Star Mastiffs in 1990 when I was seven years old. Shortly thereafter, she bought the foundation bitch for our breeding program, Wannabe Run Mastiffs, in 1991. I finished her championship by the age of nine and so began my love of showing dogs. I showed many different breeds in

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H HANDLER · ERIN PIERCY

junior showmanship between the ages of ten and 18. I

Do you remember your first BIS win? Do you know how

started my own business showing dogs professionally

many you have won so far?

at the age of 18. I was introduced to Rottweilers in 2000 when Cheryl Cates had a conflict with Boxers and asked me to step in to help show two dogs, a male, and a female for Wendi Lewellen of Chancellor Rottweilers. I recall Wendi took one look at me and said to Cheryl, “She can’t handle these big Rotts!” Cheryl assured her that I could. I went on to win winner’s dog and winner’s bitch that day and I knew from that moment on, the Rottweiler would be my breed. Did you haves a mentor when you started or someone who was your role model? Yes! I owe a lot to Mr. Mike Stone. He taught me almost everything I know about showing and caring for dogs. He was the best mentor I could have asked for and working for him as a teenager was a pleasure. I now have grown up to handle dogs from his breeding program and I’m honored to do so.

I remember it like it was yesterday! My first Best in Show was in Canada on a German Shorthair Pointer bitch when I was 16. But my first BIS in the US was on an Afghan Hound named Merlin owned by Sandra Wornum. Mike Stone, whom I was working for, had won two groups and he let me show one of the winners… Merlin was a blast to show! In total I have a Best in Show on a GSP, Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, Vizsla, French Bulldog, and multiple on a Rottweiler What is you’re the most memorable win? I have so many but probably winning Best of Breed at the American Rottweiler Club National Specialty for the first time in 2021 with Frisco under judge Mrs. Patricia Sosa. Although I have several other breed wins at nationals, when it’s your own breed it’s just extra special. I will forever be grateful for that win.

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Name your favorite dogs that you have shown during your handling career so far? Rottweiler - Frisco. America’s #1 Rottweiler Breed and All Breed, #10 Working Dog, 2021 National Specialty winner, 2021 Westminster KC Select Dog, MBIS winner, MRBIS winner, MBISS. MBIS MRBIS MBISS ARC Select-1 GCHG Isengard Un Poco Loco V Medieval, CGC RN BN,. Owned By: Glen Ceresa, Lauren Greene, Erin Piercy & Sarah Janner, and bred by Lisa Couse & Mike Ryan Boston Terrier - Trinket. 2020 #5 Boston All Breed #6 Breed, 2019 # 6 Boston All Breed #9 Breed, 2020 National Specialty Winner, 2020 Westminster KC Best of Breed Winner, Multi group winner, MBISS. MBISS, GCHS, US CH, IntCH, IntJR Widget’s Heaven Sent At Tre Run FDC, BCAT, RATM, CZ8S, CGC, TKI. Owned by Laurie Cowhig, Jeanette Thomason, Kimberley Bass, and Erin Piercy, and bred by Kimberley Bass. Rottweiler - Rea. 2019 #2 Rottweiler Bitch ARC statistics MBOSS, Group winner and placed. INTLCH GCHS Avon Hawes Doin The Dance In Rio MV1 TT CHC TKN. Owned by Peter and Kathleen Hawes and Erin Piercy and bred by Peter and Kathleen Hawes.

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H HANDLER · ERIN PIERCY

I am thankful to have so many wonderful dogs and their

in the summer. We snowboard and wakeboard and

owners enter my life over the years.

enjoy time doing those things with our dog show family

You have two assistants working for you. How important

on my time off.

are they and what qualities do you appreciate in an

Is there something in your life that you would like to do

assistant?

or a place you would like to visit?

A setup cannot be run without adequate help! The girls

I’d love to attend a world dog show. I’ve been to several

who assist me weekend in and weekend out mean the

countries but never shown dogs outside of the US and

world to me, and I couldn’t do what I do without them.

Canada.

The dogs love them, the clients adore them, and I’m so blessed to have them by my side. Teamwork makes the dream work. Being a handler demands lots of traveling. What is your favorite state to travel to and what is your favorite show to attend?

Please name three people in the sport that you admire when it comes to breeding, showing, grooming, and judging? There are so many I can name so to limit it to three is hard. Elizabeth Jordan (my best friend) for many

Most definitely Florida and the Royal Canin Dog Show. If you’ve never been there, it is a must attend! The grooming area alone is impressive. What profession would you have chosen if you had not decided to be a handler? I’d be a lawyer. What do you respect the most when it comes to judging skills? The ability to see the good qualities above the faults which can be hard sometimes. The skill to be quick but also to make every exhibitor feel like they’ve been given their money’s worth. Managing time with your family while traveling every weekend must be very hard. What is your favorite thing to do with your family when home? My family lives for the snow in the winter and the lake

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H HANDLER · ERIN PIERCY

What would you say are the most important skills a professional handler has to have? Business ethics and morality. Honesty and the heart capacity to love the dogs. If your life was a book what would the title be? Pros and Cons - the Erin Piercy Memoir (only those that really know me will understand You are a breeder also. Where did you get your foundation dog and what breeders (if any) do you work with today? I do not claim to be a breeder but a co-breeder as I am busy showing and on the road 75%, if not more, of the year. I attribute my success as a breeder to those who allow me to co-own dogs with them and help them make the decisions to better their breeding program. My foundation Rottweiler came from Wendi Lewellen. She and I have co-owned many dogs over the years that has produced a BIS winner, an RBIS winner, and countless champions. I currently co-own Rottweilers, Boston Terriers, and a Siberian Husky. In your opinion how has the breed changed since you first started? This can be in quality and or presentation in your country and rest of the world. reasons, but for her skill to groom any dog. Bob Busby

Referring to just Rottweilers, the breed and

for his honesty in judging my breed and always telling

showmanship have changed a lot since I started in

me how to keep my dogs in tip too condition. Sarah

2001. The males were very high drive, and we were

Janner for being a young ethical breeder who is helping

never crowded into a ring together standing so close

produce some beautiful dogs. Last, my mother Lynda

they could touch. The dogs wouldn’t allow it. We also

Piercy who in my eyes is the best breeder in this sport.

had triple the entries. An open dog class at our national

She puts the dog’s health and temperament above all

would have 20+ dogs. Last year, our open dog class had

and has done so for more than 30 years. Without my

less than a handful. Temperaments have softened over

mom, I’d be nothing in the dog show world.

the years and there are pros and cons to that I suppose.

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H HANDLER · ERIN PIERCY

While I love showing a high drive Rottweiler, living with one isn’t for everyone. What is your highlight when it comes to breeding so far? Co-breeding an RBIS and a BIS winner, two different dogs. I’m beyond proud to be a part of breeding quality in my breed and having judges reward it. What do you think are the strong points and weak points in the breed today? Strong points are temperament and overall size. I have traveled and shown in rings from the east to the west coast and I’d say my breed is lacking in topline and front/rear angulation (being too much and sickle hocked or too little and being straight in stifle and upper arm). Which Rottweilers breeder do you respect the most, anywhere in the world? Each for different reasons: Lois Montgomery, Daviann Braun, Teresa Bradley and Tom Woodward, Wendi Lewellen, Suzan Guynn, Ann Callahan, Sarah, and Betsy Janner, and many more. Please name three Rottweilers that you wished you owned/bred. These can be any dogs in any point of history. Since I started in Rottweilers, here are three: 1. GCHP Chancellors Flirts Hi Flyin Gladiator aka Pilot, 2. CH Ravenscrest The Alchemist aka Burton, 3. CH Carter’s Noble Shaka Zulu aka Shaka Zulu. There are many I’ve seen photos of and watched their offspring succeed that I wish I had owned or bred as well. I truly love this breed.

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BEVERLY HILLS Two icons Beverly Hills & the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills Dog Show by Mary Marshall

Beverly Hills, California is well known as a sunny playground for the rich and famous, a high-end shopping paradise, opulent estates, the finest in hotels and dining, and of course, Rodeo Drive. The city has a reputation as an international symbol of the ultimate in luxury living since the 1950s. It is also home to the prestigious Kennel Club of Beverly Hills which hosts two annual dog shows each year. The KCBH will host the annual Kennel Club of Beverly Hills Dog show on March 5-6, with concurrent specialties on March 4-6. Beverly Hills, along with the Kennel Club has an intriguing history. Who would have thought that at one time Beverly Hills was famous for lima beans?

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T W O I C O NS · BEVERLY HILLS

Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish military officer leading the Portola Exploration, was one of the first intrepid travelers to navigate through the region in 1769, blazing a trail over the current Wilshire Boulevard. Rancher Maria Rita Quinteros de Valdez and her husband settled the area in 1828 and called their 4,500-acre paradise the Rancho Rodeo de la Aguas (Ranch of the Gathering Waters). In 1854 she sold the ranch to investors Benjamin Davis Wilson and Henry Hancock. By the 1880s the land had been subdivided into 75-acre parcels. In the late 1880s Henry Hammel and Andrew Denker acquired most of what would eventually become Beverly Hills and became well known for farming lima beans on their Hammel and Denker Ranch.

The lima bean boom was short lived when a group of investors purchased the Hammel and Denker Ranch and formed the Amalgamated Oil Company. Drilling was a little dismal for the group as they were never able to find enough oil to make a commercial profit. As a result, they reorganized the company in 1906 as the Rodeo Land and Water Company, renamed the property Beverly Hills and began selling lots. The investors coined the name Beverly Hills from Beverly Farms which was in Beverly, Massachusetts. The launch of the movie star migration to Beverly Hills started when actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks built the legendary home Pickfair in 1919. The growth of the city exploded in the 1920s as an epicenter of wealth and glamour.

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T W O I C O NS · BEVERLY HILLS

In addition to a global reputation for celebrity residents, the city boasts unique architecture, expansive parks, gardens, gourmet food shops and specialty bars. The Kennel Club of Beverly Hills has a rich and storied history as well. It is known as one of the world’s most recognizable and prestigious kennel clubs for over 50 years. The Kennel Club of Beverly Hills was formed when the Los Angeles, Harbor and Riviera Kennel Clubs joined together as one in 1965. The club has promoted dogs, responsible dog

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welfare and ownership since their incorporation by attorney John O’Melveny of the Los Angeles law firm of O’Melveny and Myers. Each year the KCBH hosts two annual dog shows that attract the best dogs, handlers, owners, judges, and international competitors from throughout the country and the world. A not-for-profit organization, KCBH touches on and influences many audiences through its community activities that promote interest in dogs, responsible dog ownership, and canine health and welfare. The


T W O I C O NS · BEVERLY HILLS

all-breed dog shows presented by KCBH function as a special opportunity to celebrate dogs and the roles of dogs in our lives, helping dog owners and potential owners learn more about finding the right dog for their families and lifestyles. The two annual shows have become a true community event that brings out residents and businesses who all have a common interest in dogs and dog shows. The Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona has been the show site since 2017. Previously the show had been held at the LA Sports Arena, the Los Angeles Convention Center, UCLA’s Intramural Field, George Allen Field at Cal State Long Beach, the Long Beach Convention Center, and Queen Mary Park. The unique Kennel Club of Beverly Hills logo and insignia comes from the statue titled Hunter and Hounds, which stands as a noble and touching monument in Beverly Hills Park located on Santa Monica Boulevard between Canon Drive and Crescent Drive. A survey conducted by the Save Outdoor Sculptures group which was conducted in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s reported that the statue had been purchased in France and brought to this country by a Beverly Hills family to memorialize their son who died in the battle of Chateau Thierry during World War I. Beverly Hills banker W.D. Longyear traveled to France to visit and pay tribute to the spot where his son was killed. While visiting the site he saw this statue, riddled with bullet holes from battle. The shell-torn statue stood guard above a subterranean chamber in which the Signal Corps

of the 3rd Division American Army maintained headquarters communications during the bombardment of Chateau Thierry, 1918, “Second Battle of the Marne” dedicated on Armistice Day 1925. Longyear received permission in 1925 from the French government to remove the statue to the United States. The sculpture was dedicated on the Longyear Beverly Hills estate on Beverly Drive in November of that year, and it stood there on the front lawn for many years with memorial ceremonies held at the statue each Armistice Day. When the Longyears moved from Beverly Hills, they donated the statue to the city of Beverly Hills, and it eventually found its resting place in Beverly Gardens Park. The text from the plaque reads “Hunter and Hounds, Le Chausseur et les chiens, A. Jacquermat, sculptor, 1895-1924”. There is an uncertainty about the identity of the sculptor given on the plaque, as there are some sources that identify Henri Alfred Jacquemart (1825-1896), a French sculptor famous for sculptures of animals, as the artist. And, Interestingly, the study also reports that the sculpture may exist in another edition in an Austrian hunting lodge but with no absolute verification. The KCBH is very active in philanthropic events, donations and volunteer work and supports the following charities: the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Reunite, Cavalier Health Fund, Collie Health Foundation, Canine Health Foundation, and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information on the KCBH visit their website at: https://kennelclubofbeverlyhills.org/

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RING SIDE CLICK

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RI NGS I D E C L I C K · PALM SPRING S

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Crowned 100

PETER W H I S P E RW I N D ON A C A ROU S E L

T H E

P O O D L E

by Mary Marshall

There is only one 16-minute decision, and only one

soundness, the proper attitude and presented itself well,”

dog who can be named Best in Show at Westminster.

Welsh told the newspaper. “I have never before had a

The spotlight was on a five-year-old sparkling white Standard Poodle, groomed to perfection and a

Poodle who exhibited all of these qualities. He is the most poodle-y Poodle I have ever seen.

physical specimen to be admired. Ch. Whisperwind on

“When you judge as much as I have, you want a dog who

a Carousel, nicknamed Peter, was named the Best in

exhibits all the attributes of its breed, but does it with a

Show winner on the final night of judging at the 115th

sense of style, of grace,” she said. “He showed with a real

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1991. Peter,

brightness: he was able to be a clown, but he was also able to

moving out with his magically cadenced gait, led the

collect himself, to move agilely, plus he was in magnificent

victory lap with his handler Dennis McCoy on the lead,

condition.”

as the crescendo of the crowds cheering escalated throughout Madison Square Garden.

Peter, who won BIS over an entry of 2,500 dogs that year, became the first of his breed to win the coveted

It was the celebration of a lifetime for one exquisite

Best in Show title since 1973. Prior to Peter’s win at

dog and dream come true for one breeder, owner,

Westminster, he had been named the top winning

and handler. Peter attained an exemplary feat that

male Standard Poodle in the breed’s history with 93

so many aspire to win and so very few attain—Best in

BIS wins. After he was named the winner of the non-

Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.

sporting group in 1991, he acquired the 229th group

Judge Dorothy Welsh told the New York Times that Peter was quite an extraordinary Standard Poodle. “My job was to find a dog that most exhibited breed type,

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victory of his show career. Following Westminster, Peter accumulated eight additional BIS wins for a total of 101 Best in Show titles.


C RO W NED 100 · PETER, THE POODLE

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Leading up to his BIS at Westminster in 1991, Peter

Int. Es. Pt. Ch. Primetime Kristofer and Ch. Pinafore

had defeated a total of 62,605 dogs to finish fourth

Whisperwind Brooke, both white Standard Poodles,”

in the Science Diet Winner’s Circle competition. In

Blackie told the newspaper. “I knew he was going to be

addition, he garnered 110 group awards which was

a star, but I also knew he was a dog I wanted to keep. From

more than any other nonsporting group dog that

the time he was just a puppy I knew he was outstanding

year.

physically and mentally. He had all the attributes to be a

Judge Alexander Schwartz, who awarded Peter the

great show dog and representative of the breed.”

nonsporting group win at Westminster, showered the

Blackie, who passed away in July 2021 at the age of

champion with much acclaimed accolades.

74, was passionate about Poodles and hairstyling—

“He is the epitome of the breed for a standard,” Schwartz replied in a newspaper interview. “He’s a graceful, beautiful mover from the side and is absolutely sound. He was a brilliant exhibit.” Peter’s breeder Linda Blackie of the legendary Whisperwind Kennels told the newspaper that she knew he was an exceptional example of the breed from early days in the whelping box. “He (Peter) was the result of a great cross between Am.

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which ultimately seems to go together. She was also a founding member of the Altoona (Pennsylvania) Kennel Club, a lifetime member of the Greater Pittsburgh Poodle Club, and an active member of the Poodle Club of America. First and foremost, her greatest love was her dogs. She loved her dogs so much, that she waited until Peter was three years old before she let him live and train full time with McCoy.


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C RO W NED 100 · PETER, THE POODLE “It was like pulling a full set of teeth with no anesthesia,”

require very high standards and a level of knowledge

McCoy said.

and skill to maintain. Randy Garren, Peter’s handler in

Blackie sold Peter to Dr. Frederick and Joan Hartsock of Potomac, Maryland with the understanding that Peter’s retirement years would be spent with Blackie. Peter was the first Standard Poodle that the couple

the early days of his career, also became his groomer and maintained his beautiful continental clip six hours in advance of the competition and traveled with him to shows.

had ever owned, and as it turned out, the best possible

“If he didn’t have such a wonderful temperament, he wouldn’t

choice they could make for a top winning show dog.

sit through all this (grooming) and then go out and show so

“He was an excellent choice,” Joan Hartsock told the New York Daily News in an interview in 1991. “I am a Toy Poodle breeder (Hartwyn Kennels) and have been for more than ten years, and Peter is our first Standard.” “This has been a once-in-a-lifetime week for us,” Dr. Hartsock told the newspaper following Peter’s group and BIS wins at Westminster. “We are humbled and thrilled that this beautiful dog could have achieved such honors.”

well, but he’s a people pleaser,” Garren told the newspaper. “I think this show has taken more of a toll on me than him: he sleeps through most of the grooming, but I am ready to drop.” Following his retirement Peter became a much sought after sire whose offspring became successful show dogs and family companions. Peter’s grandson, Ch. Lake Cove’s That’s My Boy became the top winning Poodle of all time with 169 all-breed Best in Show wins, 23 Specialty Best in Show titles, including Best of Breed

Historically, the Standard Poodle was bred to be a

at the Poodle Club of America in 1997, 345 nonsporting

hunting dog of the highest caliber in Europe, and many

group 1 victories, and three consecutive group 1 wins at

are still engaged as upland game hunters. The constantly

Westminster.

growing thick, curly coat of the Standard Poodle was trimmed to allow the dog to navigate dense brush, cold water, and deflect the briars and burrs away from the skin. An unshorn poodle’s thick coat could weigh down a dog in the water. With the bottom half of the body

Blackie, whose Whisperwind Kennel legacy is perpetuated through Standard Poodle bloodlines today, summarized her philosophy in a statement from her former kennel website.

shaved, the dog was more buoyant and could swim with

“I strive to consistently breed excellent quality, healthy,

ease. The long hair and mane around the chest was left

intelligent dogs for the show ring and loving homes. My

longer to keep the dog warm in cold water, and hair

dogs have provided me with a tremendous amount of joy

around the joints was left longer to protect them from

throughout my life. It brings me a great deal of happiness to

cold and injury. Shaving hair around the face left the

see how much pleasure the dogs I’ve bred bring to other people

mouth free and eyes open so they could retrieve.

as beloved pets and charismatic stars in the ring.”

The current show trim styles of the Standard Poodle reflect more fashion than necessity these days but



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C A R L Liepmann

I N T E RV I E W W I T H J U D GE

by Mary Marshall

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H JUDG E · CARL LIEPMANN

Tell our readers about your early beginnings and how your interest in pedigreed dogs developed. How did you get started? I exhibited for the first time in 1953 at the Genesee County Kennel Club benched show. I was 14 years old and my mother told me to look up some friends by the name of Putman. They explained things to me and I showed a Bloodhound and a Collie for them, won with both and was hooked! It was almost ten years later that I bought my first Golden Retriever and became interested in obedience and field work. That dog, Thor, ended up on a well known outdoor television show demonstrating hand signals and related field work. Due to the popularity of the show my phone began to ring off the hook with people requesting me to train their dogs. My wife Jan and I, and daughter Lora, purchased a home on five acres and opened a training facility known as Triple L Kennels named after the three Liepmann’s. It was decided that we would limit to five kennel runs and not take in boarders. When we sold the business, it contained 40 runs for dogs and a half-dozen cat kennels. Since obedience training is a necessary lead into field

How did you become interested in becoming an AKC judge, and what influenced your desire to do so?

work, I felt that the best way to prove my work was

The more I became involved in handling the more I

done properly was to enter the trainees at shows. My

began to look at the possibility of judging. At that time

goal was to put the first leg on the dog and then if the

my daughter was my assistant and she was a very good

client wished I would complete the CD title. About the

handler. In point of fact many of my clients wanted

same time, I leased a Labrador bitch and bred her to a

her on their dogs if I could not make it, as opposed

client’s stud. That breeding produced my first champion

to me asking someone else. I often thought that they

and my first experience in the conformation ring. After

may have preferred her instead of me anyway! In 1980

showing my own dogs and a few for friends I applied

she was off to college and I was left to decide whether

for a handler’s license and was approved for the five

I wanted to train someone new or consider changing

Retriever breeds. In those days one could only handle

professions and going into judging. Part of that decision

professionally breeds that you were approved to handle

was the fact that Jan and I both were growing tired of

by the AKC unlike today.

the kennel business, mainly because of the inability

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to get away. Also, at that time, one could not own or operate a boarding or training facility and be an AKC judge. I approached AKC with the possibility of closing the kennel business but retaining the pet cemetery and that offer was refused. I was never able to figure out how that could possibly be a conflict of interest. When you became a handler what breeds did you handle and to what championships? I started with the five Retriever breeds and was eventually approved for all Sporting, Hounds, Working, and Terriers. Keep in mind that Working and Herding were in one group at that time. Where have some of your judging assignments taken you around the country and the world? I have had the pleasure of judging in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, Scotland, Ireland, and Mexico. Tell me about one of your favorite judging assignments? What made it special? It would be impossible to select only one. How could I decide between the 25 nationals that I have been privileged to judge, or the Sporting Group at the AKC National, or the World Show in Mexico, or Westminster, or the many overseas assignments? They have all had their special moments and I treasure each experience. Each assignment is unique and brings with it a new adventure. What is your most memorable moment as a judge? I think that my most memorable moment is yet to come. I am judging Best of Breed at the Golden Retriever National next September.

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H JUDG E · CARL LIEPMANN

What is one of the funniest things that ever happened to

can’t get started without hearing the National Anthem.”

you at a dog show?

To which I replied, “Hum a few bars to him and take him

Several years ago, I was judging in Dayton Ohio at Echo

down and back.”

Hills Kennel Club. The night before the show there

When you decided to become breed specific with show

was a storm, and all the tenting came down as well as

dogs what breed did you continue with in the show ring

causing additional damage. The members rallied at the

and the field?

site at midnight and restored the area. Apparently the National Anthem tape was found in a puddle and it was dried with a hair dryer but not tested. The next morning, we heard the announcer say, “Ladies and Gentlemen the National Anthem” followed by a very garbled opening line. That was followed by an equally garbled rewind and another garbled try, followed by “I guess we will not have the Anthem, start the show.” The first dog in my ring was a six-month-old German Shepherd who bounded around the ring having a grand

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. When retrieving a Lab will go out full blast and come back to you full blast. A Golden Retriever will go out full blast but come back with a little prance in his step and obviously proud of what he has done. Both are uniformly happygo-lucky breeds that reflect that quality in the field, at the show, and at home. What are the most important details when preparing to judge a dog show?

old time. The young lady exhibitor gaited him up to me,

I prefer to review the standards the night before of each

placed her hand on my arm and said, “I’m sorry sir he

breed I am judging the next day. Keep in mind that I

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and owner closer together. In my field training classes I always stressed the alpha dog theory but approached with a gentle hand and fun times. In other words, a retriever will get the bird, or ball by instinct, bringing it back is by training and desire to please. The more you participate together the closer the bond. In judging do you think that there could be improvement on the interpretation of the breed standard? My biggest concern with many of the breed standards is the number of subjective DQ’s. A disqualification should be black and white not left to a judge’s interpretation. Many of the new breeds being approved have DQ’s such as “to light an eye” or “fearfulness”. Those types of DQ’s leave it up to the judge to decide what is to light or to fearful and it is too subjective. have been judging for many years, but I continue to highlight the important aspects of a standard. You are approved to judge all Sporting, Herding, and Working Groups—which is your favorite group to judge and why?

How have dog shows influenced your life? Were there a lot of sacrifices you had to make over the years? I judge, on the average, between 40 and 60 shows a year and I cannot begin to tell you how many fell on family weekends. My grandson was born while I was in a plane

Those are the three Groups that I planned on judging

headed to shows and my great grand daughter was born

when I started, and I enjoy them all but if pressed I

a month ago while I was in Conroe, Texas. Those are

would have to select the Sporting Group since that is

examples of the downside however the places that my

where you find my two breeds. Also, since I am a hunter

wife and I had the opportunity to visit and the friends

and I enjoy them in the field.

we made along the way are irreplaceable. Jan passed

Hunting with your champion Labradors and Golden Retrievers has been a lifelong interest for you; would you

away in 2004 but the memories of those times will always be with me.

encourage owner/breeders to participate in sporting/

Were there any special dogs for you along the way with

working events with their conformation dogs and why?

whom you had a special bond and connection and what

While I understand that everyone who owns a sporting

made them that way?

dog is not going to be a hunter, I certainly think that

All my dogs have a special place in my heart but if I must

participation in performance events helps to bring dog

choose one it would naturally be my first top winner.

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I NT ERVI EW W I T H JUDG E · CARL LIEPMANN

He was a yellow Labrador by the name of American,

For those who are interested in showing their dogs in

Canadian, South American, Puerto Rican, Champion

conformation and obedience what advice would you give?

of the Americas, Ch. Triple L’s Davey Crocket Am. Can. Puerto Rican CD WCX. Among his many wins I take great pride in his Best of Breed at the AKC Centennial show over 52 specials. In the field when I said “back” Davey went and measured up. He was the top stud for Leader Dogs for the Blind with over 50 of his puppies graduating from that school and more than a dozen from a New York school. Tell our readers about Birch and Chip and their fundraising adventures at Christmas time. Birch, one of my Golden Retrievers, is dressed up as Santa dog to help raise money for the local humane society at a booth in our local grocery store. Chip, one of my Labradors, goes along as his sidekick ambassador. I have served on the board of the humane society for 40 years and the dogs are a big draw. When I go shopping it never fails that someone says, “Hey, aren’t you the Santa dog guy?”

Practice, practice, practice! There is nothing more disappointing then to see a good dog poorly shown. You paid good money for your entry, travel, hotel, etc., so why waste it by not having your dog trained and properly presented. Arrive at your ring a bit early and observe the judges ring procedure so you are prepared. Above all present your dog not yourself, exhibitors who try to be flashy and overdo it, do their dog a disservice. What are your closing thoughts looking back on your life as a judge, breeder, and dog show competitor? Looking back over my more than 60 years in the sport with all its ups and downs I would find it hard to change anything. The sport has been good to me and with the loss of my wife my dogs are my company and I do not see myself ever being without them. I hope that, in some ways I have been able to give back at least as much as I took and that I have more to give.

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F ROM A N OW N E R - H A N D L E R L E A S H

PATRICIA ANNE KEENAN Please tell our readers how you got involved in the world of pedigreed dogs and dog showing. I was born into it as my parents Ed and Barbara Keenan as well as my Grandmother Florence Worcester had been very involved in the sport since the 1940’s. Wishing Well has been my families kennel name since they started in dogs. What breed of dogs have you owned and bred over the years? I have bred and owned Beagles, Smooth Fox Terriers, Welsh Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and currently Brussels Griffons. I have owned lots of other breeds in my lifetime including a Pointer, Whippet, English Cocker and Norwegian Elkhound Is there any breed you have not owned yet that you would like to own some day? Yes, a Bracco Italiano is at the top of that list. Who was your mentor when you started out and do you still have mentors today? My mother was obviously my first and greatest mentor. I am very fortunate to have been exposed to so many of dogdom’s greats and learn something from them every chance I get.

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What are some of your proudest achievements in the world of dogs? Judging the Bred By Group at Montgomery County, two Westminster assignments and the Beagle National top the list of judging achievements to date for sure. Showing my Bred By Griffon dog to a group win in Orlando this past December under Juan Miranda was a proud moment. Have you shown at any dog shows outside of North America? If so, how do they compare to showing at American shows? I have not had the opportunity to be an exhibitor outside of North America. Did you enjoy last year’s Westminster at Lyndhurst Mansion? Are you hoping the show will go back to NYC or do you prefer the setting and atmosphere at Lyndhurst? I loved everything about Westminster 2021 at Lyndhurst, it was pure magic. Westminster in NYC is a tradition that I for one hope can continue forever. What is your most favorite show to attend, anywhere in the world and what makes that show so special to you? I have been so fortunate to attend some great shows all over the world and love them all for one reason or another. Montgomery County and Westminster both bring an excitement and tradition that make my heart happy. Would you rather show at specialties or all breed shows? Please give reasons for your preference. A great win at a specialty show would always be my preference. Successfully competing in top notch

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F R OM A N O W NER HA ND LER · PATRICIAN ANNE K EENAN

competition under a breed expert is what makes being a breeder worth the blood, sweat and tears that we all encounter totally worth it. What are some key points you wished judges understood about your breeds before they stepped into the ring to judge them? Remember hair can hide a multitude of sins, don’t be fooled by masterful grooming. Judging on virtues should be your goal, no dog is perfect, and it is easy to find the flaws, challenge yourself to look for the good and reward it accordingly. Please share some of your most memorable judging assignments. I have been very fortunate to have judged at Westminster on two occasions, the Bred By Group at Montgomery County, several national specialties in the US. Budapest, Alicante, Mexico City, Boras and Melbourne top my foreign assignments. Are there any dogs from the past you wished you could have judged? There are so many that I would love to see again or for the first time. Ch. Cilleine Masquarade tops the list, he is the reason I now have Griffons. Do you feel there is a lack of breeder/owner/handler judges in the USA? I think we have an overall lack of breed or even group experts. Unfortunately, there has been an influx of judges that just want to judge all the groups instead of becoming an expert in one. Would you like to see the FCI grading system introduced

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at AKC dog shows, where only dogs graded excellent can compete for points and the breed? I would be fine with that as it might force people to improve the quality of dogs being exhibited.

me happy. Where do you see the sport of pedigreed dog showing ten years from now? I am a complete and total traditionalist and wish we

There is no denying that the standard of presentation of

could go back in time a little. Not just in dogs, but the

dogs across North America is very high, do you feel that

world in general seems much more interested in instant

sometimes the grooming is taken too far?

gratification than taking the time to learn and do things

I certainly appreciate a well-presented dog, but unfortunately, I feel many are fooled into thinking a dog may be better than it is, based on its presentation. The purpose of dog showing was (and should still be) to evaluate and “show off” breeding stock, do you think for some breeders/owners it is becoming more about ribbons and rankings? Without a doubt! While everyone likes to have the

the right way. I hope we can move forward in a positive light, encouraging young people to keep our sport alive and breeding purebred dogs for the betterment of the breed. Do you have time for any other hobbies outside of the dog world? Travel is probably my favorite other hobby. Dogs and dog shows allow me to indulge in that quite often.

winner at the end of the day, seeing the upcoming

Do you have any future goals or wishes in the world of

generations or finding a dog to breed to is my goal when

pedigreed dogs, or life in general?

attending shows.

Setting goals is what pushes me to be a better person,

You are a breeder/owner/handler and judge. Do you find

judge, breeder, owner, and handler. This past year I

it difficult to balance each title?

accomplished a lifetime goal by winning a Best in Show

I do not find it difficult at all, I quite enjoy both sides of it. Seeing great dogs while exhibiting or judging make

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as a breeder, owner, and handler. Going forward I hope to keep working towards the betterment of the sport that has given me so much my entire life.



Let's talk about

AKITAS 76 Beverly Vics TOBE

80 Colleen Sulivan SONDAISA 84 R. Hellman & F. Rupcic NO SHATSUKO 76

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photo by Anita Freiler Palmer BE S T I N SH OW MAGA Z I N E

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WITH

BEVERLY Vics Please tell our readers how you got involved with the world of pedigreed dogs, the Akitas and dog shows. I began showing and breeding Alaskan Malamutes in 1967. I purchased an Alaskan Malamute from Puppy Palace. I went to

TOBE

my first dog show in 1968, where I saw

AKITAS

Westminster. I thought my Puppy Palace

the Malamute that had just won breed at dog was just as beautiful as he was. I decided showing dogs would be fun. The kennel name Tobe originated from the “To” from Tom (my ex-husband) and “Be” from Beverly. Simple. At that dog show I saw Krug’s Soto, and thought he was magnificent.

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Where did you get your foundation dog and what breeders do you work with today? My foundation Alaskan Malamute bitch came from a local breeder who had advertised in the local newspaper with pups for sale. I met the owner of the sire of that bitch at the Bronx County Kennel Club dog show in early 70’s. He sold me a whole breeding program; three bitches and a stud dog. I had a lot to learn! When I saw my first Akita, Krug’s Soto, I knew I wanted this breed as soon as the Akita was AKC registerable. I got my first dog, Krug’s Friendly Bear of TOBE, CD, nicknamed Bear, and received a CD title with him. I went to an all Akita match and met some breeders. I saw my foundation Akita bitch, Ch. Lijo’s Spirit of Tobe, Panda, that day. She was one day old. Her pedigree was triple in-bred so I knew that whatever she grew up to be, she would be genetically very prepotent. Did you have a mentor in the breed when you started out and are you mentoring anyone nowadays? The mentor that influenced, and from whom I learned the most, was the breeder, John Mazzola. He was extremely knowledgeable about breeding dogs, structure, and pedigrees. It was because of what I learned about building a pedigree from John, that I was able to know the value of Panda’s pedigree. Ironically, it was my nemesis in Malamutes, Sheila Balch, who gave me the incentives to become a successful Akita breeder. When I was first showing Malamutes, Sheila was the big winner. I wanted to be Sheila. When I showed my first Akita special to Sheila, she had become a judge, she said to me, “Be careful, you will become the Sheila Balch of

can be in quality and or presentation in your country and rest of the world. The breed has changed because people breed to win in the ring, not to produce a correct Akita thereby giving the future of the breed to judges, not breeders. Akitas today have more angulation but lack breed type. Today many have too much body, not enough leg. Spain and Italy have the most consistent breed type in the world, from what I have seen. What is your highlight when it comes to breeding so far? Ch. Tobe’s Adam of Genesis was my best and most consistent producer.

Akitas” and she was right.

What is your highlight when it comes to showing so far?

How has the breed changed since you first started? This

My Ch. Tobe’s Return of the Jedai, Adam’s son, was

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MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

my top winner with 27 All Breed Best in Show wins, countless group wins, three national specialty BOBs, and a record of eight Best of Breed wins at Westminster KC. He retired with that coveted Working Group I win. How many litters do you have per year? Do you prefer linebreeding, inbreeding or outcrossing? I do not breed any longer. I started with an in-bred foundation bitch. I found the best result from tight linebreeding. Had I continued to breed I would have inbred. What do you think are the strong points and weak points in the breed today? Strengths are in soundness and the weak points are total lack of correct breed type. Can judges change the breed and the breed trends if they don’t understand the standard correctly? They are changing the breed and they do not understand the standard. What are points you wish all judges knew about the Akitas before judging the breed? The breed standard specifics of a triangular head with well filled skull and muzzle convergence, thick leathered ears, rounded tips, parallel to one another when viewed from the front and cupped, tilting forward as viewed from the side. While the planes of the skull and muzzle are level, they are not pulled down to make them appear tilting forward. The head and especially ears are the hallmark of our breed. Also, the stride of moderate length means a dog who does not fly around the ring with maximum ground coverage. The length of leg should be at least 50% of the height of the dog. The

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MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

dog should not be short legged. This is an agile hunting

correct clip, we are no longer judging breeding stock.

dog, not a racing nor freighting dog.

It’s all about rankings these days. Everybody wants to

What is your most favorite show to attend, anywhere in the world and why?

brag about their placement in the rankings. People don’t simply show because they believe in the quality of their dog. If he doesn’t win enough, and no matter

Any show where there are dogs anywhere in the world

how good the breeder or exhibitor thinks he is, he is put

is my favorite. Spain had the best dogs overall; Italy was

away in favor of a more winning prospect.

the most beautiful country.

Last but certainly not the least what advice would you

Which Akita breeder do you respect most, anywhere in

give to new generations, first time owners, and one day

the world?

possible Akita breeders?

B.J. Andrews (past), Colleen Sullivan in the US, and

Follow your heart, not the trends. Look at the winners

Richard Hellman in Italy.

and figure out why they win? Learn from the oldies

Please name three Akitas that you wished you had owned and bred during the history of the breed.

and find a mentor who has more than 25 years in the breed. Do the health testing, but don’t make it the main consideration in your breeding program. Have a

GCHG Sondaisa Fyre When Ready CD RN CGC, Ch.

breeding program and learn the importance of pedigree

Karma-Ki’s Ringside Rumor, Ch. Mt Joys Shades of

and how to build one for the future. Most of all, be a

Wynter Komaru.

quality seeker not a fault finder. Anyone can find faults

Would you rather show at specialties or all breed shows?

in a dog. Too many can’t see the qualities over the faults.

Please give reasons for your preference. No preference as both are fun. Specialties are fun because so many friends attend, and the competition is tougher, but that puts the stress on. All breed shows are fun because you have the groups and best in show. The breed competition is usually less but the groups are tough. The purpose of dog showing was and should still be to evaluate and show off breeding stock, do you think for some breeders and owners it is becoming more about ribbons and rankings? The judging of breeding stock has gone by the wayside. When a poodle can be disqualified because it is not in a

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WITH

COLLEEN Sullivan How did you become interested in breeding and owning Akitas? As a child I never owned a purebred dog, but had a love for them, especially the larger breeds. In my very early 20’s I attended a

SONDAISA AKITAS

training seminar in California. Several of us were on our way and in heavy traffic. At a stop light a Mercedes pulled up next to us with an impressively beautiful large dog in the backseat. I had to know the breed, so I rolled down the window and inquired. The woman in the car said, “It’s an Akita.” Right then and there began my passion for the breed and so began the infancy of Sondaisa Akitas.

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MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

Who are your foundation dogs and where did they

a couple steps back. I also see a lot of improvement

originate from? What kennels do you work with today?

in owner-handler presentation and success in all

I consider my foundation dogs to be Ch. Skylake’s Tokyo

countries.

Rose and Ch. Big-O’s Magnum Mac. Rose was an OBJ

What are the primary highlights of your breeding

WidowMaker granddaughter and Mac was purchased

program?

from Big-O kennels and came from Goshen and Koma Inu lines.

My highlights as a breeder include earning an AKC Breeder of Merit Platinum status by breeding more

I have worked in cooperation with several kennels

than 100 champions. The litter I am most proud of

both in the United States and Europe. Currently I am

was born in May of 2009. There were seven eventual

working with Nakodo, Redient, Shatsuko, and Stecal.

champions in that litter. I have bred three best in show

Who were your mentors in the breed?

national winners, won winners dog, winners bitch, best of winners, best bred by exhibitor, best opposite sex,

There are so many people who have shared their time

best puppy, select dog, select bitch, award of merit, and

and expertise with me. For that I am eternally grateful.

best stud dog with several dogs I have bred and handled

I am very pleased to see some young people entering our

at national and regional specialties. I have retired five

breed who want to preserve and protect the Akita. They

perpetual trophies from the national. I have dual titled

are eager to learn and spend a lot of time questioning,

at least ten Akitas in both conformation and obedience

listening, and studying.

and bred or co-bred around 120 champions give or take.

In your opinion how has the breed changed throughout

My highlights of showing was with one dog—Holster.

the years?

His record includes all owner-handled titles including

The breed has changed significantly for the better in so many ways. Temperament and trainability is at the forefront. There are so many conformation titled champion Akitas earning obedience, performance, and temperament titles. They compete with other intact dogs and may need to perform off leash. They enjoy having a job and even if they dislike other dogs, they pay them no mind while working with their handler. I also believe there has been a good amount of improvement in angulation, especially in the rear assembly. In other areas like ears, feet, toplines, and correct heads I see us taking steps forward but then

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I believe that a judge can influence what wins if they don’t understand the standard, however I believe there are too many that know what they are doing and many successful breeders that understand the standard that would never allow that to happen. What type of shows are your favorite to attend anywhere in the world and why? all breed best in show, best of breed at Westminster, best in show national winner, high in trial obedience, and the national Top 20 People’s Choice Award. Holster was and always will be my best dog; both in the ring and in my heart. How many litters do you breed per year? I breed approximately one or two litters per year and sometimes additional co-bred litters. What are the positive and negative points of the Akita? The strong point of the breed today is in temperament which is allowing so many to compete in other areas than just conformation. From a negative perspective, I am seeing a lot of bad

I really do not have a favorite show, but if I had to choose it would be nationals. I have attended several world shows and they were interesting and a lot of fun, however I think the best shows are always where you enjoy the people with whom you exhibit. What makes a good breeder in your opinion? I respect and admire any breeder who continually learns, keeps an open mind, and looks outside their own breeding program and their own dogs. Breeders that acknowledge the success of others and incorporate their stock to enhance an already established breeding program to help the betterment of their own. Please list three Akitas that you would have liked to have owned or bred from any time in history?

ears, long hocks, and bad feet. Breeders also need to

That is a difficult question, there are many. Some that

remember that the Akita should not look like a Mastiff.

I have not had my hands on or seen in person. I chose

They should have clean lines, free of wrinkle, beautiful,

three dogs that are no longer with us...Ch. Regalia’s

yet imposing.

FyreStone, Ch. Tuscandeel’s Texas Brew, and Ch. Crown

Do you think judges influence breed trends, and if so,

Royal’s Count Basie.

what should they consider first and foremost when

Do you have a preference regarding showing at specialties

judging the breed?

or all-breed shows?

Judges should choose breed type first and then see how

I enjoy showing at both specialties and all breed shows.

those with the most type can move and make their

It is always best when they are combined over a long

placements from there.

weekend. Specialty wins are always great accolades

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for what you have accomplished in your breed over the best of the best. All breed shows allow your breed to stand out against other breeds when being judged in the groups and best in show. Do you think it is more about ribbons and rankings versus showing off breeding stock in the conformation ring these days? I think a lot of breeders and owners, especially those who generally hire handlers can be more about the rankings rather than showing off breeding stock. What advice would you give to those who are interested in owning, showing, and possibly becoming a breeder? New people please ask questions and really listen. Spend the whole weekend at a show watching and learning without a dog. Spend time with successful breeders. Offer them help at their kennel or at a show in exchange for their time listening to your questions and doing their best to answer. Spend the day or days going through old Akita World magazines. Read the articles and study the pedigrees. Keep an open mind and always protect our breed.

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WITH

RICHARD Hellman & FRAN Rupcic Please tell our readers how you got involved with the world of pedigree dogs, the Akitas and dog shows. (please mention your kennel name, it’s meaning and any other breeds you are involved with.)

NO SHATSUKO

As a young child I would spend hours in the

AKITAS

everything I could about dogs and dog shows

public library in the animal section reading and dog training. They also had several dog publications available including Dog World Magazine which I would read from cover to cover. This was my only contact to the dog world seeing as my parents were against us owning a dog even though we had a private home with a large backyard.

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M EET T HE BREED · AK ITA

My aunt was an animal lover and in 1969, when I was 8-year-old she took me and my brother to a Shih Tzu specialty, way before the breed had been recognized by the AKC. This was my first dog show and I felt like I had found paradise! When I was 11, our house was robbed, so I was able to convince my parents that we needed a dog, a guard dog and what breed did I choose? A Siberian Husky, probably the best choice to greet potential intruders and show them where we kept all the valuables! I discovered early one morning in the Sunday Times that a dog show for Northern breeds was being held on Eastern Long Island and begged my parents to make the 90-minute drive. We arrived in the afternoon and most of judging had been completed, but

I thought my dog was ready for the Novice class but was

after asking around, we were introduced to Elsa and

quite embarrassed when it was time to remove his lead

Alfred Marchesano of Lamark Siberian Huskies. Elsa was

and all he wanted to do was play with the other dogs in

the President of the Siberian Husky Club of Greater New

the class. Needless to say, we were immediately demoted

York at the time, and I pleaded with her to let me have

to the sub-novice class. After a few weeks of training,

a puppy as soon as possible for fear that my parents

we heard that there was going to be a specialty match

might change their mind!

for Siberian Huskies and I arrived at the show full of

3 months later we got a phone call and she said that there was a black and white male with blue eyes just as I had requested, and that we could come see him after a few more weeks. From the moment “Ryder” arrived in our home, my life revolved completely around him, and I was the happiest 11-year- old boy in the world! Siberian puppies can be quite naughty and needful of obedience training, so we sought out an instructor in the yellow pages and tried to make him a well-educated member of the family. Our breeder told us of a dog training class not far from where we lived where the instructor was an owner of Siberians and there were some other Siberian owners who did obedience with their dogs as well.

excitement and great expectations which unfortunately were quite short-lived by the end of the day. We entered him in Obedience where he didn’t come even close to qualifying, Conformation where he got 4th place out of 5 in his class and then, something called Junior Showmanship. I had no idea whatsoever what I was supposed to do and can still remember the face of that perfect blonde girl with her Champion male who won first place. I walked out of that ring feeling humiliated; the only kid who didn’t receive a ribbon, having placed 5th out of 5. That was my first and last experience with Junior Handling and it would be another 4 years before I mustered up the courage to participate in the show ring. I then dedicated myself completely to obedience training and eventually did put a C.D. on Ryder.

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registered with ENCI, the Italian Kennel Club for over 30 years and originated in 1990 with my first litter of Japanese Akitas. Prior to that, I had always been involved with American Akitas and had had 3 litters in the 1980’s but that all came to a screeching halt in 1989 when JKC was admitted to the FCI and soon after changed the standard which excluded American Akitas from the show ring for the next decade until in the year 2000, after years of hard work and negotiations, the breed was separated into the Japanese Akita and the Great Japanese Dog. In the 90’s, No Shatsuko was a top winning kennel known throughout Europe and South America where At training classes I met my first Akita in 1973. Her

many of our dogs could be found. We owned and bred

name was Kira who later became CH Fio’s Princess Kira

winners of over 20 World and European titles with over

of Kirabran. She was such a dignified dog, so unlike my

100 championships around the world. The meaning

Husky and did her obedience training very seriously. I

behind the kennel name was a combination of names

was captivated by her, by her majestic appearance and

of our first 3 dogs of Japanese type: Shinzo, Hanako, and

her serious attitude, so different from my own clownish

Tatsuko with the preceding word No in Japanese, being

and unruly dog. I knew that one day I would have an

the English equivalent of the word “of”.

Akita and soon after, I had the great fortune to meet Beverly and Tom Bonadonna. They were breeding mostly Alaskan Malamutes at the time under the Tobe prefix but had recently started breeding and showing Akitas and it must have been around 1975 when I was visiting their home that I got to meet the famous future Champion Tobe’s Peking Jumbo and Champion Tobe’s Tuff Stuff in the whelping box, nearly 2 months of age. That started a lifetime addiction to Akitas with

I was also heavily involved for 2 decades in Australian Shepherds, and am forever grateful to another of my mentors, Leslie Frank of Propwash Farm. Through her generosity, I was able to win 5 nearly- consecutive Herding groups at the FCI European Championship shows with 5 different dogs as well as Best in Show at the World Show in Dortmund Germany in 2003 over an entry of 20,000 dogs.

Beverly (now Vics) taking me into her home and under

Where did you get your foundation dog and what breeders

her wing mentoring me and teaching me everything I

(if any) do you work with today?

could absorb. I am forever grateful to her and thankful for our ongoing friendship which has lasted nearly half a century! Our kennel name “No Shatsuko” has been

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Although I have been involved with American Akitas for nearly a half century, I would hardly identify myself as a breeder, and must admit that I feel quite out of place


MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

yet honored to be amongst the other famous iconic

ready and willing to help anyone who expresses interest

breeders who have been asked to do this interview.

to listen and to learn.

I had my original dogs from Tobe kennels and had 2 litters in the 80’s which resulted in 2 AKC Champions, and 2 Italian Champions, one of which a Best in Show winner. From 1990 forward, I imported several dogs

How have the breed changed since you first started? This can be in quality and or presentation in your country and rest of the world.

from Japan from Shirai Kensha with my friend Davide

Akitas in the 70’s were a lot less sound, especially in

Ceci and started once again with American Akitas nearly

their hindquarters than more recently. There was a lot

15 years ago, mostly showing for others and nearly 10 years ago collaborating with Estava Rain kennels in Norway where I purchased my foundation stock. Since then, together with Fran Rupcic we have started only recently to collaborate with Francee Hamblet and Hollie Walker of Minda kennels and Barbara Sikkink Quantum Kennels who gave us the great opportunity to campaign their Multi Ch, BIS Ch Minda’s Quantum the Ransom of Red Chief, better known as O’Henry who had an amazing career in Europe. Henry was bred to Ruthdale’s State of Play owned by Antonio De Angelis(Scuderia De Angelis Kennel) and we chose to keep a puppy bitch from that litter who grew up to be BIS/BISS Ch Let’s Rock della Scuderia De Angelis, better known as Roxie who was top Akita in Italy in 2020. We also purchased a beautiful adult bitch from Colleen Sullivan’s Sondaisa Kennel, a Holster daughter who was reserve WB at the National and won her Italian, Slovenian and Croatian Championships undefeated in record time. Did you have a mentor in the breed when you started out and are you mentoring anyone nowadays? As said before my principal mentor was Beverly Vics, in addition to those mentioned above. I have spent the better half of my life mentoring others both as a career but mostly as a passion holding seminars and handling classes and lessons. As a breeder of Akitas, I am always

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of variation in type especially from a geographical point

a large entry and finished his Champioship in just a few

of view. The influence of Sachmo was initially seen on

days with 4 majors. His first time as a move-up resulted

the east coast with some beautiful headpieces, bone and

in Best of Breed at The AKC National under Ed Biven and

substance. Temperaments were quite tough with very

just these 5 year-end shows in December have given

aggressive behavior mostly towards other dogs but

him enough breed points to be ranked the number 17

even towards humans. Through careful selection and

Akita in the USA.

education, some might argue that the Akita of today has lost some of its strength in character, developing into a more docile and manageable companion. I, personally am in favor of this evolution. What is your highlight when it comes to breeding so far? Fran and I are extremely proud of the result of our first litter which will soon be 2 years of age. It produced 5 puppies, all of excellent quality with the most amazing, sweet temperaments. Only 2 of these dogs have been shown thus far and are giving us so much pride and joy. Kenzo who is owned by Nancy Bowen King has had an incredible year winning OH Groups and placements as well as Working group placements making him Number 7 in the all-breed standings and number 2 Akita in the OH ratings. He had a great week at the ACA National Specialty winning WD at the Regional, BW at the PreNational and BOS in sweepstakes all under esteemed breeder judges. Most of all he is a loving member of their family which outweighs any show record.

He has since been specialed 7 times in 2022 and has won 4 times BOB and 3 times BOS which not only earned him 37 points towards his Bronze Grand CH, but has also put him as Number One Akita for breed points in the USA! It might be short-lived but definitely an accomplishment to be proud of considering these 2 boys are from our first litter. Kuma is also owned and loved by wonderful friends of ours who are looking forward to having him come home to Italy. What is your highlight when it comes to showing so far? I, myself have stepped down from professional handling and I am currently managing a kennel in Abu Dhabi. Fran has taken over and is taking care of all our dogs and having himself a wonderful career as a Professional Handler besides having great success handling our Akitas. When it comes to showing my Akitas, I can’t not mention one of the most incredible Akitas in history Seihoh of Juntai Doh who was the winner of 5 World Shows. He won the group twice at the world shows,

Kuma started his show career in Italy and won several

once going 3rd in the BIS final. He was 3 time European

Junior and Puppy Best in Shows in International all-

Champion where he also won Group and Reserve BIS. He

breed shows. He finished his Italian, Slovenian, Croatian

had a total of 56 Championship titles, was a Champion

and Montenegro titles undefeated in just a few weeks

in 22 countries around the globe and winner of 26 all-

last summer and Fran brought him to the USA in

breed Best in Shows in 10 different countries at some

December to Orlando on occasion of the AKC National

of the largest and most prestigious shows in the world.

show where he has had an incredible amount of success. His first show there he won the breed over specials with

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With American Akitas, both of my own as well as those owned by others I am proud to have won many Best in


MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

Shows, many World and European titles, BOB at Crufts and many class wins as well as Breed, AOM, BW, Best in Sweeps at our National Specialty week. How many litters do you have per year? Do you prefer linebreeding, inbreeding or outcrossing? I probably had 40 litters of Japanese Akitas in nearly 20 years of breeding. In 8 years that I have returned to the American Akita, we have only had 2 litters. I am a firm believer of tight line breeding which will bring out the best of things but can also run you into risks of producing some undesired traits as well. Inbreeding should be left to the expert breeders, those who know their lines for several generations, who are willing to risk producing undesirable traits and will hold themselves responsible

short on leg with an illusion of substance and heavy

if a close breeding comes up with eventual health issues.

bone. The rears are often much better than years ago.

I have successfully bred some quality dogs with out-

Tails have better set and carriage. Proportions are more

crossings, basing my decisions above all on phenotype,

correct regarding length of leg to height at the withers.

but when doing an out-cross, be sure that each parent is

We used to see a lot of short-legged, dumpy individuals.

carefully line-bred, to stand a good chance of producing

Fronts have never been perfect but have definitely

the desired traits you are seeking.

decreased in quality, with straight shoulders and upper

What do you think are the strong points and weak points in the breed today? I feel that the Akita is generally in a good state today. There are still different types, but the differences are not so extreme as they might have been in the past. There

arms, toeing in and loose elbows. Right now, size is a big (should I say small) issue. Difficult to find Akitas which are the ideal height. What are points you wish all judges knew about the Akitas before judging the breed?

are still some faults in type which go from underdone

The Akita is dignified and commands respect from

(snipey long muzzles, vertical thin long ears, rangy and

strangers. In Europe, many judges need to learn how to

lacking bone and

approach the dog without forcing themselves upon them

substance, short coats) to overdone(oversized heads with round skulls, abrupt stops, loose jowls and eye rims and overall loose skin, sloppy construction, and excessively long coats which make the dogs look heavy,

and uncurling their tails to show they read the standard. They need to understand the meaning of moderate when it comes to rear angulation and movement. They need to study type and learn to identify the lack of it when it is not present before their eyes.

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Can judges change the breed and the breed “trends” if

influenced by fads or by big winners. I feel that at the

they don’t understand the Standard correctly?

present time, at least in our breed, a judge can no longer

Heavily campaigned and advertised dogs will do a lot of

change the breed nor breed trends.

winning, often more than they should, but more often

What is your most favorite show to attend, anywhere in

than not because they have little competition at breed

the world and why?

level. Top winning dogs are often not used by other breeders, especially if they are not of the quality that should justify their winning and come and go and are soon forgotten. Many judges just join the bandwagon and follow suit, putting up dogs because their colleagues are all doing the same. I don’t feel that this really influences the choice of many breeders that know better as far as what is correct and what is not in recent times , because many of today’s breeders are no longer fly by night. They are the ones who have stuck with the breed for many years, many decades. It used to be

Definitely the National Specialty because it is so much more than a dog show. It is a week of seeing friends that have become more than friends but family over the years. It is an occasion to see Akitas, some never seen in the flesh but only admired on social media. Sometimes you get to see a new dog that has never been advertised which gets your adrenaline flowing. It is a week of educational and social events. It always ends too soon! Which Akita breeder do you respect most, anywhere in the world? (past or present)

that the Akita was once more of a commercial breed,

There are too many to mention! Nowadays, someone

more popular and more profitable. At that time the

comes around with some capital to invest and buys

inexperienced or improvised breeders who were only

some good quality to begin with. They become

interested in making a fast buck might have been

overnight sensations having incredible luck, breeding

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MEET T HE BREED · AK ITA

a few wonderful dogs in their first generation. I’ll even

to compete against a quality entry of Akitas than going

include myself and Fran in this case. It’s too easy to

to the group and winning a placement. The group ring

breed a good first-generation taking advantage of the

is more about politics and showmanship.

hard work of other breeders who have successfully dedicated their lives to a breed. A good breeder will last many generations and continue to produce quality consistently. I grew up with the Tobe look in my mind. Beverly produced so many typey dogs when she bred 2

The purpose of dog showing was (and should still be) to evaluate and “show off” breeding stock, do you think for some breeders/owners it is becoming more about ribbons and rankings?

litters sired by Sachmo. Of course, Sachmo contributed

We all love to win! And ribbons and rankings and titles

greatly to the success of her foundation, but that “type”

are a way to encapture those moments after the show

came from Panda,(Ch Lijo’s Spirit of Tobe ROM) her plain

is finished. The adrenaline persists even accompanying

colored, short coated foundation bitch. Sachmo made

us during a long drive home. The memories live on.

up for her shortcomings, but the Tobe type persisted for

Sometimes the great performance our dog delivers,

generations, thanks to Panda, who Bev carefully chose

even if we don’t win gives us more joy than winning

by studying her pedigree and cleverly breeding from

when we don’t think we deserved to win, so integrity

one generation to another. Am I biased? Yes!

keeps us down to earth. The best wins are those we least

I think BJ Andrews did a lot for the breed. I wish I would have had the chance to meet her. I did get to see her once or twice in the ring, and ringside as a young boy

expect. When campaigning a dog, sometimes you get so caught up in the end result that you fail to see the real purpose of the show itself.

but never had the courage to approach her. In the UK,

Dog shows has become a big business in the past half

Faye Bevis, Chris McLean, and Mathew Bostock. Many

century and, the true sense of evaluating breeding stock

recent breeders in Russia are also doing a great job.

has been long forgotten. Statistics and ratings, titles and

Please name three Akitas that you wished you owned/ bred. These can be any dogs in any point of history.

social media have kept the business running, offering more of a chance for people to remain stimulated into getting their piece of the action. But even if it offers

3 beautiful bitches: Ch Sondaisa Crossfyre “Bellamy”,

some new goals for a bigger slice of the market, it can

CH Mt Joy’s Shades of Wynter and CH Kuroi Kao Mariko

often make things get ugly.

from Blk Jak

Q: Last but certainly not the least what advice would

Would you rather show at specialties or all breed shows?

you give to new generations, first time owners, one day

Please give reasons for your preference.

possible Akita breeders?

It is so much more fun and worthwhile to show at

Love your dogs first and beyond. Take the best care of

specialties. Often you have a better chance at having a

them and include them in your life. Don’t treat them as

more qualified judge and it is so much more meaningful

a means to satisfy your vanity.

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If you want a successful show dog, buy a young adult who will give you some guarantees and live up to your expectations. In the end you will spend your money much more wisely. If you really decide that you would like to breed, ask breeders about the downfalls to breeding which are many. Study bloodlines and carefully choose a breeder or breeders that have consistently been producing the type of dog you would like to be producing. Approach a breeder by first writing to them, explaining your background and your desire to learn and what you are searching for. An ethical breeder will be more interested to know your household situation, family members, presence of someone at home during the day, where the dog will live and sleep, presence of other animals before knowing what kind of car you drive or how much money you earn. A breeder breeds firstly for themselves, so don’t expect them to promise you the pick of the litter. They need to get to know you and trust you before letting you have a creature that was born in their hands, that they brought into the world and nurtured and spent sleepless nights with. The result of a breeding that might have been planned for years. Go and visit them if this is physically possible. Let them see how you interact with their dogs and how their dogs react to you. It is more of a question of feeling and trust than a blank check with most caring breeders. Once you have gained their trust they will open their doors to you and share with you their experience, their knowledge with passion and pride. And if you get really lucky, they will share that special dog or puppy with you as well!

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Let's talk about

ROTTWEILERS 96 Daviann Braun NIGHTHAWK 104 Sarah Janner ISENGARD

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WITH

DABraun VIANN Please tell our readers how you got involved with the world of pedigreed dogs, the Rottweilers and dog shows. As a child, we always had dogs. My parents love dogs and have Rottweilers today. When

NIGHTHAWK ROTTWEILERS

I was 11 years old, I started bathing dogs at a grooming shop and was able to learn from a retired professional handler and a breederhandler about the world of show dogs. They taught me how to groom dogs and I continued to work there until I graduated high school. Finally, in 1982, I acquired my first Rottweiler, Michener’s Michael CD, Certified Police Service Dog (Mick) and established Nighthawk Rottweilers. While

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M EET T HE B REED · ROTTWEILER

Mick met all of my hopes and expectations, his hips unfortunately did not, and right then, I was introduced to the harsh realities of the breed. I neutered Mick and proceeded to purchase seven-week-old CH Einmin Lanneret v Rottdan CD, AD, TDI, Police Service Dog Mountain View PD, MRC Honor Roll (Hawk). This dog, Hawk, later became the basis for the kennel name Nighthawk Rottweilers. That is where it all began and to date, I have bred over 100 conformation champions and over 130 titled dogs. I have been recognized by AKC as a Platinum Rottweiler Breeder of Merit and Bronze Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breeder of Merit. In Rottweilers, I have bred, owned and owned the stud dog to several number one American Rottweiler Club breed dogs and bitches. I have also personally bred, trained, and handled several national, regional, and

wonderful breeders, but Carol and Sarah are the two with whom I work with the most.

local specialty winners, several top ten obedience and

Did you have a mentor in the breed when you started out

agility dogs as well as several Schutzhund dogs, up to

and are you mentoring anyone now?

Schutzhund 3. I am currently a member of several breed clubs for both breeds, held various board positions and have judged Rottweilers in conformation sweepstakes at the nationals, regional and local specialty levels.

My mentors when I started was Valerie Cade of Pandemonium Rottweilers and Clara Hurley of Powderhorn Rottweilers.

I have learned so much

from so many people and thankful for all of them, but

Where did you get your foundation dog and what breeders

unfortunately too many to list. As far as mentoring

do you work with today?

today, I mentor all of my puppy buyers on the

I acquired my first Rottweiler from Ron Michener, but I consider my foundation to be from Ann Earp of Einmin Rottweilers where I purchased my champion, working titled dog Hawk and Valerie Cade of Pandemonium Rottweilers where I purchased my two foundation bitches. I currently breed with my best friend and wonderful business partner Carol Beasley of Ikon Rottweilers as well as with my dear friend Sarah Janner of Isengard Rottweilers.

I work with many other

responsibility of owning such a wonderful breed and to appreciate our breeds strengths and weaknesses and how to be a responsible owner. As far as showing and performance, I mentor people who share my breeding and training philosophies, are willing to listen and learn and be honest with themselves about their dogs. I try and emphasize my philosophy on dog breeding which is embodied in integrity. I believe that while a dog may not have any disqualifying fault and has a CHIC number, this alone does not mean that it is breeding quality. We

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must breed the total dog, which is type, temperament, and structure. I feel that we should not only strive to be successful with our dogs in the conformation ring, but to be equally successful with our dogs in the working arena whether it be obedience, rally, herding, tracking, agility, dock diving or therapy - or any other working activity. How has the breed changed since you first started? This can be in quality and or presentation in your country and rest of the world. For me, I think type is critical. Because our breed is a working breed, function is equally important. Our breed is not a head only breed which many, in my opinion, seem to be overly focused on right now. I see too many dogs that have huge heads bordering on Mastiff type being sought out by many when our standard does not call for such extreme. Also, our standard is 9:10 and I also see many dogs that are described as “long and low” which also does not meet our standard. Extreme rear angulation out of balance with the front is also a problem. I have seen an abundance of sickled hocked dogs, that while moving, causes the back foot to overcome the front and not present a proper gate. Popular does not translate to correct or our standard. I would like to see the judges focus on balance, type, and the ability to move effortlessly with a strong back and moderate angulation, making the whole picture. The icing on the cake is the dog’s presence in the ring, which goes to temperament. Our breed is a strong confident breed that should show him or herself proudly in the ring. While there is no perfect dog, when you see this complete package walk in the ring, you know you have a winner that day.

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M EET T HE B REED · ROTTWEILER

What is your highlight when it comes to breeding so far? For me, I would say there are two. First, breeding and owning the 2017 #1 Rottweiler bitch all systems BIS/Multi V1/ 5x BISS/’17 ARC Nat’l Youth Sieger GCHG Nighthawk’s All I Ever Wanted AJ, DJX, BN, BH, RA, RAT-S, BCAT, CGC, TK-I , CRC Silver Achievement Award. This bitch and this team was every breeder’s dream – to have a bitch several generations of your

I would say handling a male out of my old stud dog, 7x BISS/Multi Group Winning CH Shel-Kon’s A Coll Java Blend CD, AD, CGC, HIT, TT, B, to Best of Breed at Westminster over an entry of 50 under the esteemed Mrs. Dorothy Collier and also winning Best of Breed at Eukanuba with the same dog. Entering in with Java on the green carpet of Westminster Kennel Club groups will be a night I will never forget.

breeding program out of your own personal top stud

How many litters do you have per year? Do you prefer

dog (who notably had been gone for many years and

linebreeding, inbreeding or outcrossing?

we did frozen semen breeding) win an All-Breed Best in Show, win five Best in Specialty Show wins and have multiple Group 1’s and be the #1 bitch all systems and receive an OFA rating of excellent and all clear health clearances. Since retiring from the show ring, she has made her mark in the whelping box producing a multi

Typically, I breed maybe one litter a year and might co breed one or two litters a year. I prefer linebreeding and every couple of generations do complete outcross. I try to keep my breeding co-efficient around 5% and not more than 10%. Most breedings are 5% or less.

BISS daughter who was also #3 in conformation and #1

What do you think are the strong points and weak points

in performance at her level. GG has since been ranked

in the breed today?

in the top ten for several performance levels as well. It doesn’t get better than that. Well maybe, to be blessed to have one of your best friends on the end of the lead-that is surely the icing on the cake!

I feel like our purebred fancy is on the upswing. I have been working in the breed for nearly 40 years and enjoyed the early years with our breed where people would ask you “What kind of dog is that?” We survived

Second, breeding, owning, training, and handling

the “baby boom” of the 90’s after the movie The Omen

’99 USRC Nat’l Sieger, Multi V-1, Am/Can/Mex Ch

and the influx of very extreme head types. I am now

Nighthawk’s Just in Time B, SchH 3, BST, CD, HIC, USRC

seeing a trend back to the traditional Rottweiler with

Gold Merit Award, CRC Gold Achievement, MRC Hall of

balanced conformation, temperament, and type.

Fame. Just was my own third generation Rottweiler and won the United States Rottweiler Club National Sieger Show to title of National Sieger. This dog was placed V-1 at the World Show in Mexico and was High Scoring Schutzhund 3 as well. All titles except the American championship were done exclusively by me. What is your highlight when it comes to showing so far?

Recently, it seems that our all-breed and breeder judges are getting back to basics and not awarding the biggest or most extreme head they see at the expense of the rest of the dog. Today there seems to be more consistent recognition of balance, type, and powerful movement. Our dogs are working dogs, who must be able to endure both physically and mentally. Some of

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Please study and understand the purpose of the standard and that our breed is a working breed. Please find a mentor with those who are well respected in our breed and remember with every person with whom you speak, you will learn something. Put in your mind what you believe to be the ideal Rottweiler and look for dogs in the ring that fit that overall picture. When you look at each animal, do you think to yourself, “Now that is a Rottweiler!” While there are big, small, more athletic, less athletic, tails, no tails, all in one ring, your winners should all exude overall Rottweiler type, be strong powerful movers with purpose, possess proper structure and have correct these extreme types cannot breathe properly, and their

Rottweiler temperament.

structure cannot be maintained with prolonged gaiting.

For me, since our breed is a working breed that

Their bodies break down at no fault of their own as

was originally bred to drive cattle, strong powerful

their desire overrides their physical capabilities, thus

purposeful movement is very important. This does not

limiting their ability to perform.

mean the flashy dog on the end of the lead showing like

The Rottweiler is a working breed. I am personally thankful that we are moving back to proper structure and type with appropriate temperaments. I believe our breed has improved over the past ten years thanks to our breed clubs educating our judges, most often

a sporting dog. It is a dog who has powerful drive with a converging gait where they do not overdrive in the rear because they over angulated in the rear with sickle hocks or hackney in the front because they lack upper arm or balanced angulation.

resulting in the judge’s awarding the dog with sound

Balance is critical. Showmanship is always desired

structure, balance, and type.

Equally important, I

and keep focused on proper head type. There are

believe our breed clubs’ public education and breeders’

many good educational videos done by some very

emphasis on breeding sound minds has greatly

excellent Europeans such as Anton Spindler and Gerard

improved temperaments. While our breed is a guarding

O’Shea where they talk about type and structure. Our

breed, they are first and foremost family pets and must

own American Rottweiler Club has some excellent

act appropriately under all situations.

presentations on the breed as well.

What are points you wish all judges knew about the

Don’t be moved by the fad unless that dog meets your

Rottweilers before judging the breed?

ideal of the Rottweiler standard.

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Lastly, always be patient and kind to the exhibitors and

What is your most favorite show to attend, anywhere in

most importantly, to the dogs themselves.

the world and why?

Can judges change the breed and the breed trends if they

On of my favorite shows to attend are our national

don’t understand the standard correctly?

specialties.

Absolutely. When the fad dog is rewarded in the show ring, that translates to the whelping box. Sadly, people breed to the big winner, which can result in a very small gene pool. This has happened on a few occasions where

We get to see dogs from all over the

country, rekindle old friendships and meet new people. I also enjoy participating and observing all aspects of our breed in performance as well as conformation and education.

stud dogs have been used excessively, and as a result,

Which Rottweilers breeder do you respect most, anywhere

we have seen our breed change quite a bit over the last

in the world?

20 plus years. It seems to be moving back now, but I would caution people to not breed to the fad dog unless that dog is the right dog phenotypically and genetically for your bitch. I have had breeders say that they breed to the top dog because they “need to sell puppies.” So, when this big winner floods the breed with his get and the correct dog enters the ring, it looks so different that it is often overlooked. We have seen this in all breeds, so it is important to judge consistently to the standard and not judge to the fad dog type.

I had tremendous respect for my mentors Valerie Cade and Clara Hurley. I respect breeders who adhere to at a minimum code of ethics which include only breeding dogs with passing hips, eyes, and echo heart exams by a cardiologist and at least grade 1 or clear elbows, only sell dogs on contracts and limit their breedings to improving the breed and finding proper homes for their puppies. I also respect breeders who require all their puppies to get their health clearances (by way

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Please give reasons for your preference. I personally prefer showing at specialties because more often than not we have breeder judges. If not breeder judges, we have those judges who are well respected in our breed because a committee or the membership typically vote on the judges. Also, an owner handler typically has an equally good chance of winning whereas at the all-breed shows, this can be much more difficult. The purpose of dog showing was to evaluate and show off breeding stock. Do you think for some breeders and owners it is becoming more about ribbons and rankings? For many, it is about ribbons and rankings. Regardless if the dog has failed many of its health requirements for of contract) and release all information as to the test consistent with CHIC requirements. Most importantly, I respect breeders who are honest not only with their successes, but with their failures. These people are few and far between.

breeding, as long as the breeder or owner can say “that winner is my dog or from my breeding,” that is all they care about. It is no wonder when those breeders breed these dogs with failing health clearances that they flood the breed with physically unsound animals. These same breeders use the expression, “Don’t throw the baby out

Please name three Rottweilers that you wished you owned

with the bathwater” which translates to breed to my #1

or bred. These can be any dogs in any point of history.

dog or bitch regardless of if it failed its eye exam, or does

I would have to say the three best Rottweilers I have ever seen and wished I had owned or bred are CH Pandemonium’s Ciastus CDX, TT, Mex. PC, Multi BIS / BISS CH Nelson v het Brabantpark and Multi V1 /

not have an echocardiogram with a cardiologist, or its no big deal that it has grade 2 or grade 3 elbows, there is so much more to like (its show record) and sadly, many people buy into this philosophy.

Multi BOSS/Select 1 CH Wyndhurst Que Osa Carries

Last but certainly not the least what advice would you

On CDX, CI, TT, CGC, RTD. Each one of these animals

give to new generations, first time owners, and future

possess outstanding breed type and bone without being

Rottweiler breeders?

overdone, each has magnificent presence in the ring, and all have outstanding temperament and produced themselves and better for generations to come. Would you rather show at specialties or all breed shows?

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Find a great mentor. Try and find a person in our breed who has proven themselves as a breeder over time, not a flash in the pan, and who has proven themselves to be a responsible breeder, all the while keeping in mind our


M EET T HE B REED · ROTTWEILER

breed standard, health, and temperament. Follow our breed clubs breeding practices and always place every dog on a contract where the terms protect you as a breeder and the public as the consumer. Outline all the terms of the agreement so there is no confusion later, even with your best friend. If you do not make

remember, a championship or working title and hip clearances do not make every dog a breeding dog. There are many champions that should not be bred and not every dog being shown as a “special” aka in Best of Breed competition, is truly special. Those dogs are few and far between.

the terms of the agreement clear, pet or show, spay or

In conclusion, be true to yourself. Always try to be kind.

breed, ownership or co-ownership, there will be hard

Always always be honest with yourself and with others.

feelings later.

Be ethical in all you do. Treasure and protect our breed.

Study our standard, be open to the opinions of others and always be a good sport and supportive of our breed. Understand your dog’s strengths and weaknesses and

Love our breed and recognize they are not for everyone. Be thankful for your blessings always and honor those who helped get you there. Don’t forget your beginning in the breed. Pay it forward.

always breed to improve. Focus on long term goals, health being a top priority. When looking at health clearances, don’t stop at the dog’s clearances, look at the vertical as well as horizontal health clearances. Ask yourself what are the parents and grandparents’ clearances? What health clearances have they produced?

What are the clearances of

siblings and half siblings of the dog and the same for two generations back? Note whether cardiology exams were done by cardiologists rather than practitioners. If results are not posted, why not and what were the real results? For me personally, I start with pedigree supporting complimentary genotype and health clearances, and then I look to see if they are phenotypically complimentary. I always keep my ideal Rottweiler in mind and continue to try and breed towards that standard. Be honest in your puppy evaluations, and always

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SARAH Janner

Please tell our readers how you got involved with the world of pedigreed dogs, the Rottweilers and dog shows. I happily place all blame for my involvement on my mother, Betsy, who kept a health supply of Rottweilers in our household while I was growing up. Our kennel name is Isengard. Many years ago, a dear friend and mentor in dogs told me to choose a kennel name that incorporated a favorite book.

ISENGARD ROTTWEILERS

Isengard was one of the fortresses in the Lord of the Rings, and roughly translates to iron fortress. Q: Where did you get your foundation dog and what breeders do you work with today? We purchased our foundation dogs from Daviann Braun of Nighthawk Rottweilers. Daviann remains a dear friend and mentor to this day.

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I currently own two males that were bred by Lisa Couse and Mike Ryan of Medieval Rottweilers. Both were sired by my own stud dogs. I have co-bred a few lovely litters with Lisa and Mike as well. Did you have a mentor in the breed when you started out and are you mentoring anyone nowadays? I am blessed to say that I have had many wonderful mentors over the years whom I have learned an immeasurable amount from. Like I mentioned before, my mother purchased her first show quality Rottweiler from Daviann Braun of Nighthawk Rottweilers. This purchase was the single most important event in my life as a Rottweiler enthusiast, and eventually led to my career as a handler. Daviann views conformation, temperament, and health of equal importance and makes no exceptions in her ethics. She’s answered all my ridiculous questions over the years (no matter how much she knew I wouldn’t like the answers) and never

and MRC, and therefore finishing the championship and

once judged me for asking them. Every Rottweiler I have

grand championship on our bitch Clare (GCH Isengard

ever owned proudly goes back to Daviann’s breeding.

an Affair to Remember) strictly from the bred-by class.

Doreen Luhrs (Robban Rottweilers) and Laura Wells

I’m so proud of them both and hope they continue with

(Wellslands Rottweilers) have been strong influences in

their interest in Rottweilers.

my tastes and ethics as well. I’m lucky to have them all.

How has the breed changed since you first started? This

I have had the pleasure of working with the Meyers

can be in quality and or presentation in your country and

family for the past eight years. Four of their daughters

rest of the world.

(Danielle, Rachel, Lindsay, and Katelyn) have all shown my dogs in junior showmanship. Danielle and Katelyn, more specifically, co-own most of our dogs and have had many years of #1 Rottweiler junior between them and have been top working group juniors as well. Katelyn is still showing in juniors and Danielle has since

The biggest change is the overall quantity of entries. When I finished my first bitch, it took 21 bitches for a major. Currently, in my area, it takes 5 bitches for a major. With the lack of entries, it has become easier to finish a champion.

aged out. Danielle has gone on to exhibit our dogs to

Styles have changed some too. I see less of an abundance

many memorable wins including winners bitch at CRC

of leggier specimens, and now more of the long and low

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variety. We’ve gone from one extreme to another, it seems. Q: What is your highlight when it comes to breeding so far? The highlights in breeding for me are the phone calls, texts, and emails from happy owners, telling me how thankful they are for their puppy, how proud they are of his or her accomplishments, no matter how big or small. The joy they all bring to their families, in and out of the show ring. Those are the important things. What is your highlight when it comes to showing so far? I have three most memorable moments. First was winning my first breeder/owner/handled best in show under the discerning eye of Mr. Terry Stacy with my Rolando (BIS/RBIS/MBISS ’17 National Youth Seiger, Multi V-1, Seiger, GCHS Isengard El Diablo RN CGC). He went on to be the #3 Rottweiler all systems that year, with no advertising and a limited show schedule. He is owned and bred by me, Ryan Dillman, Holley Eldred, Danielle Meyers, Keith Venezia, and Heidi Vondermock. It takes a village. Second was winning an all-breed best in show with a Rottweiler bitch (under Mr. James Noe), a feat that only a handful of bitches in history have accomplished. She is GG, (BIS/MBISS GCH Nighthawk’s All I Ever Wanted RA BN BH NAP RATS RATI DJX AJ BCAT CGC TKA). She went on to win seven specialties that year and was the #1 bitch all systems. She is owned by Daviann Braun and Carol Beasley and bred by Daviann. It was a full circle moment I won’t forget Third is winning the 2019 Greater Swiss Mountain Dog National Specialty under the late and most wonderful

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Mr. Alberto Berrios with one of my favorite dogs of all

is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-

time (I know, he’s not a Rottweiler!) Conan (MBISS GCH

and-see attitude to influences in his environment.” The

Sennenhund Estate Conan).

standard also mentions, “A judge shall excuse from the

How many litters do you have per year? Do you prefer linebreeding, inbreeding or outcrossing? We only breed when a pairing comes along that we would like to keep something from, so less than one litter a year. I am not a believer inbreeding. Unfortunately, our breed comes with some serious health issues that

ring any shy Rottweiler.” I see a lot of frenetic, nervy, and shy temperaments in the ring today. None of these are desirable traits in a Rottweiler. Strong temperaments, with the ability to make reasonable and non-reactive decisions are of utmost importance to me as an owner and breeder.

make me uncomfortable in doing any inbreeding. With

What are points you wish all judges knew about the

that said, line breeding on healthy, proven and sound

Rottweilers before judging the breed.

dogs have made for some very successful pairings in our breed. I’ve found that taking those carefully linebred puppies to an exceptional outcross have resulted in even better examples of the breed.

Judges need to keep in mind the original purpose of the breed. This ancient breed was originally used as a drover and were often used to pull carts full of butchered meat to the market, there gaining their title

What do you think are the strong points and weak points

as ‘the butcher’s dog’. By remembering the Rottweilers

in the breed today?

original purposes, we can recognize the importance of

I think our strong point right now is type. To plainly put it, most Rottweilers that you see in the ring look like Rottweilers. My best way to describe type is this: paint it one solid color, give it a natural tail. Can you still tell what breed it is? General proportions are often overlooked, and in my opinion the most important part of breed type.

the strong, efficient movement that is unique to the breed. The standard clearly states, “The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong foreach and powerful rear drive.” My message to anyone who judges this breed, or anyone interested in judging this breed is this- if you’re only moving your exhibits once or twice around the ring, you’re not

Unfortunately, I can recognize a few weak points in

moving them enough to make a good decision between

the breed today. However, the single most important

exhibits. The breed should be able to get around the

of those to address is temperament. A Rottweiler

ring far more than once or twice, and when doing so,

should never be shy. The first sentence in the standard

their gait and outline should remain the same, from

pertaining to temperament states, “The Rottweiler is

start to finish. Each step is a strong, even movement,

basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with

with no wasted energy. Can’t decide between two

a self- assured aloofness that does not lend itself to

exhibits? Move them and keep moving them until the

immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler

winner is obvious.

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the world and why? The American Rottweiler Club National Specialty. The biggest gathering of enthusiasts showing off their best breeding stock and enjoying and appreciating our breed, together. Please name three Rottweilers that you wished you owned/bred. These can be any dogs in any point of history Multi V-1, Siegerin, 2X ARC Select 1, MBIS/MBISS GCHP Gamegards Rhythm of the Rain CGC, Cadey. Cadey exuded breed type in every aspect. Her make and shape were impeccable. She was moderate and clean, without lacking substance, and her temperament was second to none. All those pieces put together made her a showstopper, a top winning bitch in our breed, and the only bitch in breed history to win the National Specialty twice. Multi V-1, Sieger, MBISS Am/Can Ch. Yngo Van Het Dornedal CDX, TDX, SchHIII, FH, BST, BH, TT, CGC Yngo. I only had the chance to see Yngo as a veteran, but even then, he was exceptional. I’ve yet to see a stronger topline. Yngo was compact, smooth, and naturally hard bodied. His extensive working titles are a testament Can judges change the breed and the breed trends if they don’t understand the standard correctly? By awarding dogs that possess flashy but structurally undesirable attributes, those specimens go on to be used in breeding programs. This perpetuates the problem by producing more of the dogs that have these faults. For instance, sickle hocks, straight fronts, overdone head pieces, etc. What is your most favorite show to attend, anywhere in

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to his correct working temperament. One of the most impressive males I’ve ever seen. BISS/BOSS Ch. Cammcastle’s London Calling, nicknamed London. I only watched this bitch once, at our national specialty the year she won the ARC top 20. Her image has stuck in my mind ever since. Compact and feminine, sound as they come, with an outline that screamed Rottweiler. Would you rather show at specialties or all breed shows? Please give reasons for your preference.


M EET T HE B REED · ROTTWEILER

Specialties. Most of the time, the judges selected for our specialties seem to have more of an invested interest in the breed, therefore choosing their winners more consciously. I love showing to breeder judges, and we more often have them at specialties rather than allbreed shows. The purpose of dog showing was to evaluate and show off breeding stock, do you think for some breeders and owners it is becoming more about ribbons and rankings? Yes. While we all love competition and recognition, we must remember that a dog shows only purpose is the evaluation of potential breeding stock. It’s not just a beauty pageant. Last but certainly not the least what advice would you give to new generations, first time owners, and aspiring Rottweiler breeders? If you don’t have a show quality dog yet, go to a dog show. Go to a few dog shows. Watch your breed and listen. Read the catalogues, look for common denominators in the pedigrees of the dogs that please your eye. Research, and choose a breeder that you can picture yourself having a friendly relationship within the future, with or without dogs involved. If you already have a dog, train, and condition. We can’t control the structure or type that our dog possesses. But we can exhibit our dog to the best of our ability. You may not have the best dog, but you can have the best conditioned and trained one. And for that, you will be ten steps ahead of everyone else. Ask questions to the people you admire. Everyone has advice to give and much of it can be very useful.

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The wonderful world of

Allison

Believing that you should always do what you love, Allison Foley became a professional handler in 1987. She has been presenting Canada’s (and the world’s) top dogs ever since. With more than 550 All-Breed Best in Shows, she was proud to have been highly awarded at such prestigious shows as Crufts, the World Dog Show, Westminster Kennel Club, and the AKC Invitational. She has also had top dog all breeds in Canada on three separate occasions. All three dogs are still record holders. In addition to her wins as an all-breed handler, Allison has spent more than thirty years perfecting the art of presenting one of the dog world’s most difficult breeds to master--the Poodle. Today, she is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most talented and experienced Poodle handlers. Allison has presented seminars on grooming Poodles all over the world. She is also the creative educational advisor and specialist for Chris Christensen Systems. Allison has proven that hard work, dedication, and passion can take you everywhere in this wonderful sport. In 2017, she launched Leading Edge Dog Show Academy, the world’s first online dog show training school. Her mission is to help mentor a new generation of dog show enthusiasts through innovative video-based grooming and handling lessons. LEDSA has won the award for best online education each year since it’s inception. Allison looks forward to working with enthusiastic students as they perfect their skills on the way to the winner’s circle.


OWNER-HANDLER FINESSE by Allison Alexander Let’s talk about showing your dog in a breed specific manner. What exactly does that mean? Why should you do it and when should you not show them like this? The golden rule is to show your dog to its advantage. This is always more important than anything else. What you may see other handlers in the ring doing may not work for your dog. Always make sure that your dog looks its best. Typically, your dog is going to look the best if it is shown in the proper manner for its breed. Often, we are showing to a judge who may not be a breeder-judge. Best case scenario you will be more of a breed expert then the judge. There have been times when I have shown my dog in a breed specific manner to a judge and they have corrected me for showing it that way. After such an occurrence I must decide if I’m going to show that breed to that judge again because I feel that maybe they don’t understand the essence of my breed. This is a decision you may be forced to make. When you, the owner-handler, shows their dog in a breed specific manner it takes a certain kind of finesse. This elevates your game, and it allows the judge to see, examine, and make a decision based on you the handler deciding what the judge sees. This can also help the judge “feel” your dog during the exam in its best form. It also gives other exhibitors and fanciers the chance to see your dog presented in the best possible way. How do you turn determine what breed specific handling looks like? Of course, first you must know the basics of handling. Only then can you move onto the finesse portion of handling. Look at your breed. Study other dogs who are winning. How do they move? Look at all the things that make up movement. Including the speed, head carriage, and tail

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carriage. Are the handlers encouraging the tails to be

their dog and step back. This can look impressive.

up, down, or straight off the body? If you watch the

The advantage is that it shows off the dog’s outline

national specialty, Westminster, Crufts, and World

uncluttered by a handler behind it. The Poodle who

Dog Show videos pay attention to what the winners

does this well will look down their nose. The line of the

are most often doing.

Ask your breeder what is

standard that reads, “The Poodle has about them an air

important to them in the breed. Read the standard

of distinction” can be seen in real time. Such a winning

and interpret it for yourself. How do you think your

look that we love to see. However all too often you see

breed should be shown? Remember that many dogs in

a handler step back away from the dog and they have

each group are shown in a similar way, and many dogs

not perfected this look. At this point the Poodle and

in each sub group within that group are also shown

handler both can look awkward and far worse. The

in a similar manner. A good example of this is that

moral here is that before you try something you have

setters are shown differently than spaniels but similar

seen make sure it works for you and your dog. Smart

to each other. Another example is dachshunds vs.

phone videos can really help you here!

sight hounds in the hound group.

Your arm placement while gaiting can also help your

Part of handling finesse and showing your dog in a

dog look more breed specific on the move. Be aware

breed specific manner is having the proper equipment.

of how your arm should be placed for your dog’s

Make sure that you’re using leads and collars that are

breed. For example, your arm acts like a lever. For

not distracting and do not get in your way. Consider

dogs who should have a lot of reach and side gait your

some of the following; can a lead go up and around

arm would be in a different position than if you were

your neck to get it out-of-the-way and not to interfere

showing a breed that should have a hackney gait or a

with your dog’s outline? Is the lead easy to gather up

high stepping gait.

in your hand? In this day of fancy bejeweled leads does yours have too many beads and jewels making it awkward? Is the collar properly placed? This is very important when it comes to dogs that have roughs or profuse coats. You do not want the collar sitting on top of the coat. Even smooth coated dogs can have their outlines spoiled by a heavy, awkward collar that is too contrasting or distracting in color.

I judged a sweepstakes recently. What I noticed is that there were many people who could stack their dog, gait their dog but most were not “helping” their dog in any way. What I mean by this is most people had no idea what their dog looked like and basically, I had to see the dog and its virtues despite the handling. While some of these people were new to showing their dog the majority were people I know have handled

Assuming that you know the basics of breed specific

for years. This prompted me to want to help. I held

handling, that your equipment and clothing are all

several webinars on this topic. Most aimed at trying

on point, let’s now take a look at a few of the fancier

to empower the owner-handler. This is where I began

things that people do in the ring. For example, think

calling this handling finesse, which is different than

about Poodles.

simply putting all four feet in the right place and

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having your dog move at a trot. Another analogy is to

try to get a video of you and your dog doing “a trip

handle a dog like making brownies. Maybe you crack

around the ring”. Videos are great because you can

an egg, shell gets into the batter, the egg will still

see your method and the finished product.

perform but the result is crunchy and less than ideal.

your video and critique yourself. Are you standing too

Handling finesse is cracking the egg with one hand,

close or too far underneath your dog? Are you making

getting no shells in the batter, and having a delicious

a frame around your dog? Your dog is the centerpiece,

crunch free brownie.

the art, you are simply the frame and should be in the

Learning to finesse your handling skills includes not taking up the judge’s time or that of your fellow exhibitors by attempting fancy handling techniques when you or your dog have not mastered the basics. Handling finesse is not grandstanding your fellow exhibitors.

Watch

background. Is your posture correct? Are your legs and feet together? Check to make sure you are not slouching. Is your lead collected neatly in your hand? Are you and your dog collected before gaiting? Do you enter the ring with purpose? Like a winner? Are you confident that you are showing the best virtues of your dog to the judge? Is your dog moving at a pace

In conclusion if you are a new exhibitor, or someone

that is specific to the breed and flattering to your dog?

who feels they need a little more finesse here are some

Look at the video, ask yourself these questions and

action items that might help you up your game. At

good luck the next time you go in the ring! Have fun

your next dog show or when you’re training at home

handling with finesse!

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