Page 208 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 208

                Firewater, won Best In Sweeps and on to win back-to-back Best In Specialty wins that weekend. That was amusing, to say the least!
I live in Clio, Michigan and have been involved with English Springer Spaniels since 1974 under Rendition ESS. I was in high school in 1972 when I watched Ch. Chi- noe’s Adamant James win BIS at Westminster for the second time on television. I said, “One day I would like to have or own a dog just like him”. Who knew that I would be a Co-breeder/owner of a dog that
would win BIS at Westminster, Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim, a descendant of Ch. Chinoes Adamant James. I have been a breeder and mentor of the breed for over 40 years. I’m currently Co-Chair of the ESSFTA Judges Education committee. I am actively show- ing, breeding and mentoring.
The current overall quality of the Group? I think the pendulum swings for all breeds, I see some breeds that are very strong and some that need much improvement. I think it has always been this way. We see some outstanding individuals being campaigned in the Groups, but watching the classes gives you a better understanding of the strength and weaknesses of each breed.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st- century times? The ability to do the job they were bred for and still make ideal companions and family dogs.
How do I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to living indoors? I think the dogs, as well as humans, are used to the modern comforts of today. Sporting Dogs have adapted to this change in lifestyle and are still capable of doing the job they were bred for.
Any particular Challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our current economic/social climate? All purebred dogs, not just Sporting Dogs face a very challenging existence today with the current movement toward restrictions and regulations toward responsible breeders.
The largest health concerns facing my breed today? The English Springer Spaniel today is generally a healthy breed because over the years we have worked hard to minimize epilepsy with careful breed- ing. PRA is still a concern and we are currently working on finding a genetic marker with conclusive results.
Any trend I see that I believe needs to continue or I’d like to see stopped? As far as our breed is concerned I would like to see a more moderate, less exaggerated dog in the ring today. One trend I would like to see stopped in our breed being picked up by the tail for repo- sitioning and stacking. I have concerns that this trend will weaken toplines and may cause other structural damage.
I had a great mentor Deloris Streng, of Telltale ESS, who was a strong influential part of my life and breeding program. She was a very talented breeder with a keen eye and understanding of the breed.
The biggest pitfalls facing new-novice judges today is that our most experienced, and talented, judges are either retiring or have passed away, which leaves us with a shortfall of judging mentors.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? As a breeder watching my puppy owners enter the ring for the first time. The joy and excitement on the owners and puppies showing make me smile and laugh. Some of the puppies are like kites on a string in a hurricane, but it is all part of the experience.
I live in Coalinga, California and am retired from Chevron, after 32 years, where I worked all over the world as a Control Sys- tems Advisor. I am married to my beautiful wife Christine and have a grown daughter, who is employed as a police officer. We have eight Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and one German Shorthaired Pointer (who also has her show CH). My current passion is training the dogs for their field work. We bred Labrador Retrievers off and on since the 80s, but since 2012, are now breeding Wirehaired Point- ing Griffons (no longer Labs). In addition to showing Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, we do a lot of upland bird hunting and dog training. Other than that, we travel, and spend time with friends and family.
The current overall quality of the Group? I think the quality is as good as I’ve seen it with most breeds.
How do I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to living indoors? In many breeds, it has been detrimental. They have become show and indoor dogs that can no longer perform their primary func- tion. That being said, all of my Wirehaired Pointing Griffons hunt and show, and compete at the highest levels, and they are all house dogs.
Any particular challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our current economic/social climate? Yes. There is a movement in some parts of the country to take away our ability to train dogs, and use them in the field for which they are bred for, just as there are groups that are fighting to prevent tail docking.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st- century times? I can only speak for our dogs. Compared to other breeds that I have had growing up, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is the best companion breed that I have ever had (and I have had many). Very smart, friendly and affectionate.
What advice would I give a newcomer to the sport? Socializa- tion is the most important part of owning a puppy. Many dogs end up in adoption shelters, or worse, because they were not socialized well, and a dog that is not socialized is at risk of being aggressive and not good in the show ring. When showing your dog, try owner- handling. It’s fun and will increase the bond that you have with your dog.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? As with many breeds, hip dysplasia is a concern. Of a lesser degree of criti- cality, ear problems seem to pop up frequently with Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.
Any trends I see that I believe need to continue or I’d like to see stopped? This is a personal perception, so it may be coincidental, but I have noticed a lot of foreign judges lately, and some of the judging has had unexpected results. Is it due to a difference in the breed standards from their home countries? I don’t know.
I purchased my first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon from Kris- ti Libertore, but there is a group of Wirehaired Pointing Griffon enthusiasts in our area that have helped me quite a bit. Prior to owning and breeding Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, I was never into the dog show scene.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? Not taking the time to understand the breed being judged.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? As a “newbie”, watching my first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the show ring as a puppy, a bird landing on a branch in front of my dog as they were lining up for the final look from the judge, and my dog became a statue (they are bird dogs), watching the bird while in a perfect stack position. This was her first win and the first points for our new show dog.
We started almost a decade ago, not knowing anything about show dogs, we have experienced the excitement at all levels.

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