Page 305 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 305

                 “There is a different camaraderie of the competitors in the NOHS ring. Not always, but for the most part, the owner/handlers root for each other and tend to be very supportive.”
Mark Stempel continued
becomes a dilemma, as choosing the puppy to keep for show can be very stressful.
I think that owner/handlers have a special bond with their dogs especially if they also bred them. My time and work with my dogs seems to make them even better in the show ring.
What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a specialty win? To me an All-Breed win is the ultimate. Here in the Northeast, the competition tends to be especially tough. When my dog and I won an All-Breed Best In Show—I was hit with the realization of the quality of all the other dogs. Being awarded a BIS as an Owner/ Handler, was especially fulfilling with a ring full of outstanding professional handlers.
Being a Breeder/Owner/Handler means that I have had my hand in the total process with my dogs. The wins mean so much because of the time and effort that has gone into the dogs whole life and career.
Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I am lucky in that I am now retired and can spend as much time with my dogs as I choose to.
The NOHS has become one of my primary focus concerning dog shows. I love competing in the NOHS as much as in the regular group ring. There is a different camaraderie of the competitors in the NOHS ring. Not always, but for the most part, the owner/han- dlers root for each other and tend to be very supportive. The judges mostly have to concentrate on the dogs and not be affected by the other outside factors that unfortunately so often effect the outcomes in the regular ring. As much work as AKC has put into the NOHS, there are still some areas that hopefully will be looked at in the future—1. The asterisk (the judges book tells them nothing else about the dogs—why do they need this information?), 2. The same judge doing the breeds and group at the AKC NOHS champion- ships (if they judged all the breeds—haven’t they essentially already judged the group?).
I am extremely proud of my accomplishments in the NOHS. Since its inception—I have been lucky to have the #1 Shih Tzu for seven of the eight years. In 2016, GCHS Marja-Tu Chu Dream Catcher “Dreamer”, became the #2 All Breed NOHS dog in the country. I will continue putting as much effort into the NOHS as well as competing in the regular group ring.
Newcomers to breed need to learn as much about their breed and the standard as possible. Breed for Preservation of your breed. Also get connected to an established breeder (any breed) who can help you with the whole breeding process and assist you when prob- lems happen (and they will).
I’ve had one very funny experience in my career. Not that long ago I was in a Best In Show ring. It was a very large ring with the table way over to one side. I was the only table dog and was the last dog in the lineup. I placed my dog on the table when the judge was examining the last floor dog. The judge then started going over the six dogs before me for his choices. He forgot about me over to the side. Thankfully the Field Rep. got his attention and sent him over to me. The judge was mortified (unnecessary as it was at the end of a very long day). I told the judge when he came over that I was as tired as he was—and not to think anything of it. The spectators got a good chuckle, and my dog did get awarded the NOHS BIS!
My husband and I live in a small town in the quiet cor- ner of Connecticut. I trained as a Dance Teacher, although retired now I still enjoy the arts and spend my spare time painting my favorite subject, Cockers.
I started out with my first Cocker 15 years ago tak- ing part in agility. A couple of years later I found my first show potential Parti color Cocker and two years later
bred my first Parti litter.
The toughest part of being a breeder? For me there are a few
tough parts, the whelping process and the heartbreak that some- times comes with it, a breeding you are so invested in, studied the pedigrees, lined up the Stud then for some reason it does not take, this can also be so disappointing.
One of the best parts is seeing the litter you have planned, had so much hope for, turn into a beautiful litter and then produce that special dog. I also enjoy seeing and hearing from the families that have our puppies, the wonderful stories and photos always make it all worth while.
Do I feel that owner/handlers have an advantage because of their bond with their dogs? In part, yes, I think as an Owner/Handler we do have a special bond, but I also think the professional handlers have a very strong bonds with their clients’ dogs. We campaigned a dog, Jon, last year with a handler, Jessica Legath and seeing them together was always a thrill.
They made a wonderful team and their bond was undeniable. After coming home and not seeing each other for over six months, Jon met up with Jess at the summer National, he didn’t miss a beat as soon as he saw her he placed his front paws around her neck and gave her the biggest welcome lick.
What’s more important to me, an all-breed win or a spe- cialty win? A specialty win is most important to me, its recog- nition by my peers that I’m doing a good job, and to win is the highest compliment.
If you’re a breeder/owner/handler, are your wins that much more special? Most definitely, showing and winning with a dog you have bred is so exciting, it’s recognition of your breeding program.
Is fitting the show schedule into my “regular” life a constant balancing act? I’m lucky as I don’t have a full-time job, I can pick and choose my shows and travel, although I do prefer to stay close to home.
What advice would I give the newcomer to breeding? I would say make sure you have a mentor, and to invest in a good founda- tion dog. Spend time ringside at all-breed and specialties this way learning to recognize where you would like your breeding program to go. Study the dogs of the past, their pedigrees and their offspring. And don’t be scared to ask questions.
  ShowSight Magazine, noveMber 2019 • 303
Breeder Owner Handler Q & A

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