Page 234 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 234

                Miscellanous Q & A
was sitting ringside with two Barbets who proceeded to jump over the ring barrier right in front of us. I still do not know how we avoided falling over them! I said a quick oops! and side stepped to miss them. My wonderful boy Ryder looked at them-looked back at me and kept going without missing a beat. What could have been a disaster turned into a blooper on the video. Ryder barely missed placing in the group, but received some very nice comments from the judge as he left the ring. He said he really liked him, but felt he was a little immature and that it was between him and the dog he picked for fourth place-out of a big line-up of dogs. In April of this year I had the privilege to show again under this same judge (Mr. Jamie Hubbard). My Ryder has now filled out and matured at over two years old and Mr Hubbard gave him Best in Misc. After wards I asked him if he remembered Ryder and he said he certainly did!
I live in Petersburg, Illinois. I work for the State of Illinois as an Accountant Supervisor. And I actually have one hobby outside of dogs, I like to paint in my spare time (and I don’t have much of that!) I also compete with my dogs in conformation, Scentwork, Herding and FastCAT.
How is my breed faring in the quest for full recognition? Slow but steady. Globally there are roughly only 5,000 purebred Dutch Shepherds of all three coat types. So meeting the required number of registered dogs is probably the biggest obstacle to full recognition.
Do I expect a surge in popularity once we’re in the regular show ring? I do think it will attract more people to the breed and I think the demand will increase. But I don’t foresee a huge surge, at least I hope not.
Will this help or hurt our cause? That is the double-edged sword. Again, the numbers in the breed globally are very small, and for the sake of genetic diversity and the breed itself, it would be nice to see an uptick in the number of dogs.
But with the small numbers comes a small number of breed- ers. And these breeders are working together, desperately trying to preserve the historical value of this breed, both physically and men- tally. Our greatest fear is the breed falling victim to the latest trends and fashions in the show ring.
(A top winning Dutch Shepherd today should look like a top winning Dutch Shepherd of the late 1800s and early 1900s.)
In addition, this breed is relatively healthy, despite the small gene pool. As breeders we are also trying to do everything in our power to maintain the health of the Dutch Shepherd.
All of this is much easier to control with the smaller numbers. A huge surge in popularity could be extremely detrimental to the breed, as it could draw people who simply want to “cash in” on this rare breed by breeding just about anything simply because it’s a Dutch Shepherd.
Do I believe there are enough workers to go around to get my breed recognized? No! There are never enough workers to go around. However, we do have a very dedicated group of people will- ing to do the work as well as some very knowledgeable people both in the US and overseas to draw from.
Would I breed more litters if we were fully recognized by AKC? No, not necessarily. I breed based on how I can improve the breed’s genetic diversity and how I can improve on my dog’s weaknesses based on the breed standard.
Full recognition could lead to increased demand, which could lead to a bit more genetic diversity in the US. This diversity would make it easier to breed without having to turn to a dog overseas. For that reason, I might be inclined to breed one or two more litters than I would otherwise.
The funniest thing that I’ve experienced at a dog show? Well, I have two stories, actually.
The first happened early in my dog showing days, before I learned the art of proper dog show apparel. I was wearing a flowing skirt with an elastic waistband, and showing a young, fractious dog. During the down and back, my dog decided to have a game of tug- of-war with my skirt, pulling it down to my ankles. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was, but I did make the judge laugh out loud! I never wore anything with an elastic waistband again.
The other story occurred during a huge Coonhound show. The show started like any other, with the playing of the National Anthem over the PA. One Coonhound started howling, then another, and soon about 300 coonhounds were all howling (singing along) to the National Anthem. They were so loud it drowned out the PA and no one knew when the song was over. So we just stood around for about five minutes, until we were sure the song had finished.
I live in Knoxville in Eastern Tennessee. I am retired from my family’s real estate investment company, and am an Irish Wolf- hound owner/breeder (currently inactive) since 1971 and judge since 1983.
How is my breed faring in its quest for full recognition? The American Belgian Laekenois Association board of directors and several of the club members have been working extremely hard to comply with the AKC’s requirements for regular acceptance into the herding group. It’s been a long process and difficult undertak- ing. We are, however, nearing the finish line to recognition. I’m chairman for the ABLA’s committee working in concert with the AKC to develop the Belgian Laekenois course for the judges’ edu- cation online Canine College. It’s an important component for judge’s education as well as a requirement towards the breed’s regu- lar recognition into the herding group. Thanks to generous Laeken owners at Orlando last December, we were able to organize dogs for photographs and video taping to be included in the Canine College course.
What activities I do with my dogs? Herding is my central inter- est at this point. I have a small farm and use my Laekens to man- age the livestock. I have handled my Laekens in AKC, ASCA, and AHBA herding trials for about 8 years. My male is the first Belgian Laekenois AHBA Herding trial champion. He also is the first of the breed to earn the requirements for the AKC herding trial champi- onship, but because the Laeken is a miscellaneous breed he is not entitled to bear the HC prefix title. I’ve also done rally, and trained in tracking and scent work. There is nothing a Laekenois can not do. The breed is an incredible partner in any activity that requires
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