Page 337 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 337

  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
2. In popularity, Labrador Retrievers perennially rank at the very top of the list. Again this year you’re Number One! Do you feel this helps or hurts the breed in the long run?
3. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. How has he adapted to civilian life? What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house?
4. A big strong Sporting dog requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal compan- ion? Drawbacks?
5. What special challenges do Labrador breeders face in our cur- rent economic and social climate?
6. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)?
7. We’re told a Lab’s loyalty is unquestioned, but that his hard- headedness can make him difficult to train. Is this your experi- ence? Does that make it more interesting, or exasperating?
(Or both.)
8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging?
9. What is your ultimate goal for the breed?
10. What is your favorite dog show memory?
11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.
Firewater Lab- radors is located in the mountainous region of North- ern Arizona. Our small town is nes- tled in the beauty, serenity and pri- vacy of the Kaibab National Forest. I was born and raised in Broken Bow, Oklahoma to a working com-
mercial farming and ranching family. I’ve been involved in some form of animal husbandry my entire life. I started learning about the Conformation of animals and showing at six years old, when I showed my first of many Hampshire pigs at our local county fair. I made the sale with my pig that year. Awarded Best Junior Show- manship, I was hooked! I also have shown sheep and horses, and have appreciated a beautiful well-bred animal my entire life. Any animal doing its job is a beautiful thing to me.
My husband, Tom, and I have six children and three grand- children. I had a wonderful 20 year career working as a Registered Nurse, specializing in pediatric critical care for special-needs chil- dren, and retired in 2017. Tom is a Veteran and served 25 years in law enforcement before retiring. I am thankful that Tom also enjoys and supports our amazing dogs and the journey they continue to take us on.
We travel as much as possible- something Tom and I truly enjoy. We love the spending time in the mountains where we live. Enjoy
horseback riding and gathering cattle on our ranch. We also raise and breed Highland Cattle.
Do I feel the breed’s popularity helps or hurts the breed in the long run? I feel it definitely helps the breed. There has been a lot of money raised and donated to support research for our beloved breed. Through continued research, knowledge and genetic insights will be obtained, that will enable affected dogs to be recognized earlier and enable breeders to know if they are producing an affected puppy.
How has the breed adapted to civilian life? I feel they have adapted very well. The Labrador Retriever should have a very stable temperament, suitable for a variety of activities beyond working, hunting and outdoor activities. Training in the field, home or any- where always comes in handy. The Labrador is a very versatile breed!
What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Even temperament, trainability and desire to please make the Labrador the ideal companion. They are a breed that like to be inside with their family. Labradors thrive with their humans and should be an almost constant companions.
They require daily adequate exercise to remain in good physical and mental health. They shed a lot more than most people realize. Labradors like to chew. They should be provided the proper oral stimulation—safe and healthy chew toys/treats/bones, to ensure their chewing needs are met. Also great for healthy teeth.
What special challenges do Labrador breeders face in our cur- rent economic and social climate? Economic challenges are always something we must be conscientious of. To exhibit and breed prop- er health tested purebred dogs is not cheap. It requires extensive planning, budgeting and many other sacrifices.
I feel our social climate is great. With the introduction of social media. We are now capable of expanding our gene pool by being introduced to a much broader selection of dogs from all around the world. I feel we have also been given a wealth of information through mentor and educational forums on social media.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? At eight week evaluations, again at six months. At 18-24 months is when I make my final decisions. However, if at any point dur- ing this time frame, I just don’t like what I see at all—then it’s a pet. There must be something that I really like about the dog from the start and throughout the growing/maturing process. Or I don’t invest into the dogs show career.
Can the breed’s hard-headedness can make them difficult to train? No, they should be very easy to train, if you know what you are doing or seek the assistance a professional trainer to help you learn to train your dog.
It all goes back to correct temperaments when breeding. Tem- peraments are paramount to me! If you have even temperaments, trainability and desire to please (I also like a bit of confidence)— this Labrador is so eager to learn and please.
Look at the jobs many Labradors perform daily in therapy, ser- vice work, police work etc. Very smart and trainable breed. But they have to be bred correctly or it can be a totally different story!
What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? The written standard and breed type.
My ultimate goal for the breed? To keep it healthy, pure and loved by so many.
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