Page 134 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 134

How many dogs do you currently house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained?
We are fortunate to have a large boarding kennel which gives us the facilities to have more breeding stock. We usually have about ten dogs here, but co-own many more around the world with other breeders which gives us a much larger gene pool to work with.
Who were/are some of your most significant Chows, both in the whelping box and in the show ring?
We have had many through the years that have made a large contribution to our breeding program, among them Ch. Versaws Star of Justin (JR), Ch. Owlheads Jus- tin Your Dreams (Fred), Ch. Dreamlands Star of Winalot (Sunshine), Ch. Windsongs Tango in Dreamland (Tango), Ch. Dreamlands Wanna Be a Billionaire (Forbes), and Ch. Dreamlands American Revolution (Jefferson), to name a few.
Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition and what trends might bear watching.
I have watched the Chow breed go through many phases and fads in the more than 50 years I have been involved with it, and I think we are getting back to more of what the breed was meant to be: an upstanding dog that is square and athletic for its size and bulk. I am seeing more dogs with the proper balance of leg and body (50/50), and as a whole, the breed is structurally better than it has been in the past.
The sport has changed greatly since you first began partici- pating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcom- ers to join us and remain in the sport?
Society has changed quite a bit over the years and it is much more difficult for breeders to have a kennel of stud dogs and brood bitches, making it quite a challenge to create the consistency that was seen in the large breeding kennels of the past. On the positive side, through technol- ogy we all have more access to stud dogs and puppies from around the world, giving us more options in our breeding programs, if we as breeders know what we are looking for. As for the declining number of breeders, it is a labor of love to be one, and the commitment needed to succeed is tre- mendous! We need to actively encourage and mentor new people, and not let the competition come before the better- ment of the breed.
Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?
Linda and I have been doing this for a long time and as we get older, it becomes more and more of a challenge, but we both want to remain active in the breed for many years to come. We have never created the perfect dog and prob- ably never will, but the challenge of trying is always there.
Finally, tell us a little about Michael outside of dogs... your profession, your hobbies.
I trained as a diesel mechanic, was a service manager and owned my own farm equipment business for several years while showing and handling professionally part-time until the handling turned into a full-time job. I have handled all breeds professionally for more than 46 years now. We built and operate a dog and cat boarding kennel in Lubbock, Texas. I enjoy shooting sports and other outdoor activities when there is time between dog shows and taking care of the boarding business. You could truly say my life has gone to the dogs!

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