Page 240 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 240

                SPORTING GROUP Q&A
hunt (in other words whatever you enjoy) is so good for the dog. In my breed, what I would like to see stopped is the over-emphasis on length of coat and over-grooming in show dogs. Less coat would still be attractive and allow the dog to enjoy less time being bathed and groomed and more time doing active dog stuff.
I owe the most to Eileen Hackett, Chebaco English Setters. She helped me the most.
The biggest pitfall for new judges is putting up the generic show dog with good movement, lots of attitude and sculpted coat rather than being able to pick the specimens with true breed type.
The most amusing experience: Once I showed in an outfit that was bright yellow from head to toe. The judge said, “Take him down and back, Tweety Bird.”
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and worked as a research scientist in molecular biol- ogy at Texas A&M and Biogen. I’ve been married to my husband, John, for 30 years and we have two grown sons; Connor, about to graduate with a degree in Psychology from Texas A&M Commerce, and Jarret, a baseball pitcher and biology major at Louisiana Tech. With my sons I have co-bred five litters of English
Setters and have finished several homebred champions and grand champions. I am the South Central Regional VP for the English Setter Club of America, Secretary of the Bluebonnet English Setter Club, and a Board Member of the Caddo Kennel Club of Texas.
I live in East Texas and I’ve worked with animals all of my life, specifically with English Setters for over 20 years. I’m also an intense baseball fan!
The current overall quality of the Group? The Sporting Group is very deep, with many quality dogs in there right now.
How do I think Sporting Dogs have adapted to living indoors? Most of the breeders whom I know do a really good job providing lots of outdoor exercise for their dogs. Ours have unlimited access to chasing doves and squirrels for example! Also, there are so many activities to do with your dog aside from conformation-hunt tests, agility, obedience, Fast CAT, barn hunt etc. One of the best things about Sporting dogs is their adaptability.
Any particular challenges Sporting Dog breeders face in our cur- rent economic/social climate? Living in the “adopt don’t shop” age; I think that it’s more important than ever to take every opportunity to educate the public about preservation breeding and why pure- bred dogs offer distinct advantages as companion animals. When you choose a purebred animal, you know which characteristics and tendencies to expect. When you choose a puppy from a dedicated
breeder, you have the best chance for a healthy animal with a won- derful temperament. You also have the advice and support of that breeder for the life of the dog and beyond.
What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st- century times? Sporting dogs are ideal for the modern lifestyle because they are people pleasing and adaptable. Most Sporting dogs just want to be with their owners, doing whatever they are doing. My English Setters love to go hiking, but they are just as happy watching baseball on the couch!
What advice would I give a newcomer to the sport? First, choose a supportive breeder who is willing to advise and encourage you. It can be hard to get started and perseverance is a must. Also, find a great handling class where you can meet new friends that will encourage and help along the way. Support from other enthusiasts is the best way for you and your dog to learn.
The largest health concern facing my breed today? Main health issues in our breed are deafness, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and autoimmune thyroiditis. Breeders are encouraged to health test and breed away from these issues.
Any trends I see that I believe need to continue or I’d like to see stopped? Overall, I think that the English Setter breed is in pretty good shape. Lately we have had a number of very typey dogs doing well in show rings across the country. I think breeders are successfully breeding for more correct front assemblies and better type. Tail sets have been an issue in our breed, but they are getting better. There were a lot of high tails, but now we are seeing more correct, straight off the tail back carriage. The English Setter is a moderate Setter, the most moderate of all of the setters. I’d like to see them stay moderate. Also the English Setter should have an effi- cient, ground covering gait, not a flying trot or generic “show dog” gait. The coat too, should be moderate, the feathering shouldn’t be so profuse as to hinder the animal from doing his job in the field. In summary, I’d just like the breed to stay moderate, efficient, typey, and not overdone. I don’t want a flashy generic show dog.
Several folks have contributed to my success in showing and breeding English Setters. Sherri Doratti, Leslie Crawford, Eileen Hackett, M.A. Samuelson, to name a few. I also have learned a lot about confidently presenting my breed from Lee Whittier and her Dog Show Mentor Program. But, I still have so much to learn and I’m always open to new thoughts, methods and ideas! I am a con- tinual work in progress.
The biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? I am just beginning to explore those requirements—so I’ll have to keep you posted!
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? Just ask my friends. Every time I’m at a dog show it’s an amusing experi- ence! I just love to laugh and have fun. Having fun is the best way to keep the nerves away, and when you’re having fun—so is your dog. So surround yourself with fun, upbeat folks who love showing their dogs as much as you do! Take that journey together!

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