Page 182 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                 order to compete successfully in the Group, breeds have become more generic in their presentation, which is not a good trend.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? The biggest challenges facing all exhibitors are still; having time to devote to the sport, needing money to finance our hobby (at whatever level we choose), having dedicated clubs and available show sites to keep the sport alive, and being able to breed or buy good dogs.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? I think that just owning Working Dogs (or any breed, specifically larger dogs) is difficult with today’s pet restriction ordinances. And, breeding dogs is even more dif- ficult, as most people cannot keep large kennels.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? I think the challenges to judges remain the same. We need to learn the Breed Standard and understand the purpose of each breed. We need to apply that knowledge and experience fairly to each exhibit. And, we need the belief and trust in our knowledge and evaluation to award or withhold awards.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as house- hold companions? Siberian Huskies make marvelous companions. They are very intelligent, medium-sized, and quite clean. Although they do need daily exercise, they also can be quite content to nap. However, they do shed a lot, can be naughty when bored, and have a prey drive. The best Siberian owner is one who is willing to put up with his mischief, who understands his character and is creative enough to use his natural tendencies to peacefully co-exist, and who admires his heritage and intelligence.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? There are so many factors that affect a breed’s popularity in our society. A book, a movie or TV show, a commercial, celebrities’ choice of pet, or even the winner of a televised dog show can all influence the public’s interest in a breed. These influences are usually impulsive in nature. Regardless of the reason for interest in a breed, education is needed to make sure that darling puppy is the perfect breed choice for the pet owner.
What are the trends that I’d like to see continue or stopped? The trend I would like to see continue with the Siberian Huskies is that breeders continue to produce healthy, happy dogs of good tempera- ment which meet the Standard and can perform their original job as long distance, endurance sled dogs. This means that we remain vigilant in our knowledge of the breed (as well as genetic research and testing), we provide the correct socialization, we find good homes for our puppies, and we provide help, advice, and mentoring for those who are new to our breed.
The trend I would like to see stopped is not unique to the Sibe- rian. As the popularity of showing purebred dogs has dropped, it has become easier for dogs to complete their championships. And, as a result, many believe that all champions should be bred. I would like to see breeders make their decisions on which dogs to breed based on their knowledge of each dog’s adherence to the Standard.
Any health concerns in my breed? Siberians are a relatively healthy breed. There are only two tests for hereditary problems that are required for a CHIC number: Hip dysplasia clearance (OFA), and annual eye clearances (specifically for cataracts, corneal opaci- ties, and PRA). We are very lucky that there is a very low incidence of hip dysplasia in the Siberian. Eye problems were common in the 1970s and ‘80s, but conscientious breeding lessened the incidence of genetic eye disorders. We must remain vigilant to keep these problems at bay. And, in Siberians, as in other breeds, we see some seizure disorder, thyroid problems, and cancer.
There are three women who helped me understand this breed and the world of the purebred dog, and they each shared their knowledge and their dogs with me. They are the late Phyllis Bray- ton of Dichoda Kennels, Reg., in California, the late Natalie Nor- ris of Alaskan Kennels, Reg., in Alaska, and Judith M. Russell of Karnovanda Kennels, Reg., in Michigan. Phyllis gave me the basics
of the Siberian, Natalie helped me understand how form follows function in the breed, and Judy taught me about breeding dogs.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? I was to judge an outdoor specialty after significant rain. While packing, at the last minute, I added my slip-on rubber shoes to the suitcase in case of more rain. The rain stopped for judging, but the ring was muddy, so I ended up wearing my rubber shoes. Through the course of judging, the ring became even muddier. While judging the specials, I took a step. The rubber shoe was cemented in the thick mud, but my foot came out of the shoe and landed in the deep mud—yuck! This was long before live streaming, and it was not caught on camera.
I live in New Mexico. I have been showing dogs 25 years. I have been showing and breeding German Pinschers for the past 15 years. Dogs are my main hobby, but I also enjoy photography.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? I feel the Working Group is of good quality overall.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? Unfortu- nately, I have seen a decrease in entries at dog shows over the years. Dog shows used to be much bigger and more popular.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? The Working Group has grown over the years. I find the size of the Group to be a challenge at dog shows. My breed is the German Pinscher, so we are the smallest dog in a Group of large and giant breeds which also presents a challenge.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? Laws restricting dog ownership and breeding are a big challenge to all fanciers. I also feel the cul- ture of the sport of conformation frowns upon breeders breeding, and oftentimes breeders and exhibitors do not support each other they way they should.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? New judges should be evaluated based on knowledge, experience and skill level and not so much going through the motions of approval. The process of approval can be expensive and does not always lead to good dog knowledge.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as house- hold companions? My breed is the German Pinscher. They are a medium-sized, short-coated breed that’s very well-suited for being a companion.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? The overall trend seems to be to downsize. Smaller dogs are easier to manage in a home environment and easier to travel with.
What are the trends that I’d like to see continue or stopped? In my breed, there is a trend of showing only your own dogs against each other to attain champion titles. Breeders and exhibitors of rare breeds should coordinate entries to create fair competition and honest champions.
Any health concerns in my breed? German Pinschers are a healthy, long-lived breed. We still health test our dogs for hips, eyes, hearts and DNA screening in hopes of keeping our breed healthy.
To whom do I owe the most? I have been lucky to have known a lot of great dog people that have helped me along the way over the years. I would not want to mention names here and leave anyone out.
My beloved Siberian Huskies and cats reside with me on a 40 acre farm in Upper Deerfield, New Jersey. I grew up on the farm where I loved all animals from a young age, including the wild barn cats that hissed at me. All of my childhood dogs were mixed breeds. My first purebred dog was a Rough Collie.
Since the early ‘80s, I have loved and owned Siberian Huskies. I purchased my first red and white male Siberian Husky from

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