Page 132 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 132

                 MICHAEL BRANTLEY
Where did you grow up? Do you come from a doggy family and, if not, how did the interest in breeding and showing purebred dog begin?
I was born and raised in the Lubbock, Texas area, and grew up in a dog show family. My parents bred and showed Pekingese in the 1950s, and then Chows from the 1960s on. My wife, Linda, was born and lived in the Portland, Oregon area, and got involved in breed- ing and showing Chows in the early 1980s. We met through a handling client of mine who had bought a Chow from Linda and hired me to show him. He became our first Best in Show-winning Chow, and brought us together as a family. We then went on to breed Chows together under the Dreamland prefix as well as professionally handle all breeds since. We have both always been animal lovers and Linda had bred and shown American Saddlebred horses as well. The love of competition and the challenge of creating a work of art in a dog that you bred is what drives us to continue to try and improve our dogs with each generation.
Who were your mentors in the sport? Please elaborate on their influence.
I was fortunate to have grown up with one of the top old-time Chow breeders, Hal Allen of Tsang-Po Kennels, and was able to learn a tremendous amount about the breed from him. I learned to watch and listen to the most successful breeders of the time, and incorporate their ideas and philosophies into my idea of what the breed should be. But the thing that helped give us a huge advantage was—and is—the experience of handling many other breeds which teaches us about the structure and purpose of each. Handlers such as Kenny Rensink, Roy Murray, C.L. Eudy and too many others to mention were not only good friends but great mentors in how to present that beautiful dog you were so proud to have bred.
The Dreamland Chows are widely known, highly successful, and well respected. What breed- ing philosophies do you adhere to?
We believe that structure is an integral part of type and cannot be separate from it. In other words, a dog that is not structurally sound does not have proper type. You can have soundness without type but you cannot have type without soundness. Only a small portion of the dogs a show breeder produces will become breeding/show stock, and the rest will be someone’s pets and companions. We owe it to the breed to produce the healthiest dogs physi- cally and mentally that we possibly can.

   130   131   132   133   134