Page 234 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 234

                ASHLEY MROZ
I currently breed Field Spaniels under the kennel name “Silver Lin- ing” as well as co-breed them under the name of “WyldKatz”. I have been showing dogs for the past 13 years. When I was in High School I took night classes to complete a couple of Grooming Certifications which really helped me transition from performance to conformation. I have also earned an Associate of
Science and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. That coupled with growing up on a farm has helped immensely with our breed- ing programs.
I live on a small farm in Lapeer, Michigan. One of my inter- ests is traveling and that allows me to dabble in nature photogra- phy (my true hobby alongside the dogs). I have done performance events with dogs for about 13 years and have done AKC, specifi- cally juniors (before I aged out) and conformation, for about ten years now.
The current overall quality of the Group? I have to be honest, I have seen some pretty mediocre dogs out there, but watching the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Sporting Group I was in awe of so many beautiful specimens. If this year continues to be on trend from that, I have high hopes of overall quality improving.
How do I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to living indoors? I think all the Sporting breeds need a hobby/job outside of the “pet” life, not necessarily anything too taxing even if it’s just getting out and playing fetch or working on tricks. A bored dog can get into a lot of trouble!
Any particular challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our current economic/social climate? I can’t say economically I have had a lot of challenges, but I think the purebred community has been coming under fire a lot lately.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st- century times? My guys (Field Spaniels) can be sweet little couch potatoes, but are game for going out and doing things. They love to travel with me.
What advice would I give a newcomer to the sport? Not every- one is crazy! On a more serious note, the best advice is to never stop learning, take the seminars, go to enrichment courses, and be diligent about learning the basics of genetics.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? I think people are forgetting the big picture. Not a lot of health tests are required for a CHIC in my breed, but that doesn’t mean they should be for- gotten and not done. I think eyes aren’t done every year or thyroid and so some things slip through the cracks as they get older and aren’t tested regularly.
Any trends I see that I believe need to continue or I’d like to see stopped? I see breeders picking and choosing certain parts of dogs they really want, like some really want that noble head and then the rest of the dog is mediocre, or they focus on front assembly and the rears are forgotten about. The dog is made up of more than one characteristic and some people seem to forget that.
Who do I owe the most to? Besides my amazing mother who has supported me through the years, I owe the most to Daphne Stover. She got me started all those years ago and when the time was right she helped me start my breeding program. Now we kind of swap mentoring back and forth with each other since we are always learn- ing new things.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? The hardest part about becoming a judge for our breed is that there
are very few large entries throughout the country, which limits hands-on learning.
I own RiversEdge Chesapeakes, RiversEdge Sporting Dogs, LLC and live in Gold Bar, Washington, a little town nestled at the foot of the beautiful Cascade mountains. My property is five acres on the edge of the Wallace River with expansive training grounds; an amazing place to raise and train Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
I have 40 years experience raising, training and breeding dogs for conformation and performance events, with 15 years in Chesa- peake Bay Retrievers exclusively.
RiversEdge Chesapeakes is an AKC registered kennel name and internationally known. We generally produce about two litters per year in collaboration with other breeders.
The current overall quality of the Group? The qual- ity of the Sporting Group is very good. Outstanding dogs are shown regularly.
How do I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to living indoors? Sporting dogs are adaptable breeds. That said, they prefer to be active and to be doing the work they were bred to do. For Chesa- peakes that means at least running, hunting and retrieving. They need daily exercise and will find their own entertainment with- out strenuous exercise; often pastimes you would not find accept- able such as destructive chewing and digging. They love the rainy weather in the PNW and delight in river and lake play and retrieving. Snow and ice pose no problems to the Chesapeake in hunt/retrieving work or play, as their undercoat keeps them warm and coarser outer coat and oils shed water away from the skin, enabling them to easily and comfortably hunt all day long in very cold temperatures.
Any particular challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our current economic/social climate? Reputable Chesapeake breeders are very keen on upholding the integrity of our breed in conforma- tion, temperament and working ability. Those who look to purchase a Chesapeake pup may not share the same intent for the integrity of the breed. Therefore it is vital that breeders sell all pups with a lim- ited registration even if the new owner signs a contract. A limited registration can be reversed, but a full registration cannot later be changed to limited if the new owner fails to honor a contract. Some buyers break contracts and breeders have little recourse in enforcing them. In our exploitive times, it is vital that breeders protect their kennel name with limited registrations. It is also a good idea to offer a money-back deal for a confirmed spay or neuter.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st- century times? People are becoming increasingly interested in main- taining their health, including living an active and outdoor lifestyle. The Sporting Dog is their ideal companion; always ready to take a walk, jog, hike or swim. The Chesapeake loves outdoor family activities and prefers to be close to their loved ones. Their spirits are broken when left in kennels and kept away from their people. In our stressful times, individuals are increasingly anxious and edgy. The Chesapeake is a sensitive and loving companion, eagerly willing to join you for a run to burn off excess energy, or simply lay by your side or on your feet, offering calm and loving support.
What advice would I give a newcomer to the sport? If you are new to the Chesapeake breed, do your research carefully. They are an intelligent, strong willed yet sensitive breed. They desire to be your companion, your partner, and will seek to please you if you earn their trust. Work for mutual respect with your Chesapeake. There is no need to rule with an iron fist. If you do so, you will shut them down and they will never respect you. When you have a rela- tionship of respect with your Chesapeake, he/she will do anything for you for the rest of your (or his/her) days.

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