Page 114 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 114

  Mocha’s ribbons.
Tanner going BOB at Westminster under judge Sandra Goose Allen. GCh Tramac Absolutely Positively “Lilith”. Jim Smith at far left.
  Both those functions require a dog to have substance and agility. When I look back at old pedigree books, 50 years ago male Dals were 23 inches at the shoulder and weighed an average of 61 pounds; 30 years ago they averaged 56 pounds, and now a 23-inch Dal averages 50 to 55 pounds. A difference of almost 10 pounds in 50 years is a significant amount to me.
The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport?
Firstly, mentor, mentor, mentor. It’s easy to say “in the good old days...” and I do miss them. When I started showing, dog shows were a place to exhibit the best of your breeding program with others. You went to see what others had because we did not have instant, Photoshop photos to look at. We saw all of the dog. Breeding pro- grams were often local dogs to local dogs, which kept a more consistent type. Some- times that type was regional, but it was far
more consistent than it is today. Unless you have a comfortable amount of discretionary income, working within a group of people who share the same goals makes sense. It’s not hard to get new people, but keeping them is another story. Breeding is not for the faint of heart, and often, in this day of instant gratification, people are not willing to make the commitment of years to have a breeding program. We need to be welcom- ing to newcomers, even those with new breeds. Help them pick up their armbands, and give them a simple tip when they come out of the ring and can take in what you have to say. Some longtime breeders only help those who are in “their camp,” which only makes for division, which is clearly seen in some parts of the country. Conformation classes need to teach: not just gaiting down and back, but the basics of how to fill out an entry blank, how a dog show works, what each class is for. If newcomers understand how dog shows work, they are more likely to feel more comfortable when they do show. I repeat: mentor, mentor, mentor.
Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?
I really hope that the breeding program we have will continue on as I will be a bit long in the tooth in 20 years, but that is the nice thing about having people to work with who are younger than I! I really think we should be in about the same place we are now: breeding happy, healthy Dals with correct breed type, not show dog hype. I do hope in the near future we have DNA mark- ers for the health issues in our breed.
Finally, tell us a little about Meg outside of dogs... your profession, your hobbies.
Now that is a toughie... life outside of dogs. When your business is dog show pho- tography and your hobby is breeding and showing dogs, there is not much time for much else, at least in my case. I do love to travel and I went to England last year with four dear friends. I hope to go back in a few years and maybe fit in the south of France. I do love my live-in dogs and am so glad my mom and dad bought that little spotted puppy some 50 years ago!

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