Page 184 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 184

                Kathleen Kanzler when Innis- free Kennels was in Accokeek, Maryland. Since that time, I have completed championships on dozens of dogs.
I am a retired Library Administrator, but continue to photograph dog show wins and portraits for ads. I also take candid photographs at dog shows that appear in Show- Sight magazine. I’m sure that exhibitors enjoy seeing their photos in the magazine, but probably not as much as I enjoy taking them.
Gardening is another passion and I enjoy all the nature that sur- rounds me; bluebirds, hummingbirds, deer and all the other natural wonders in my yard and fields. Prior to showing dogs, I traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and Central America.
I have seen more changes in who shows the breed, and the num- ber of entries in the breed, than I’ve seen in the breed itself. When I was competing with my girl, Leah, BIS MBISS Coventry’s Lioness Pride (and in his early years with her son, Carter, BIS MBISS show Am and Can GCH Coventry’s Peace Negotiator), specialties were 100 or more dogs. It was very rewarding to win a specialty. At that time, Leah was tied with a few other bitches for the highest number of specialty wins. These days, specialties may be only 30 dogs. It is still a thrill to win a specialty, but not so much as when there were 120 entered. Getting a Group One was always fantastic. There is no thrill like a Best in Show. I have owned two dogs that were Best in Show winners, but they were not handled by me to the highest win. Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? Entries in Siberian Huskies at all-breed shows in recent years have plunged.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? The challenges that we face as Siberian Husky breeders and owners are the same as those of all breeds. We are threatened by anti-breeder, anti-animal owner legislation that is promoted by the animal rights extremists who want to regulate us out of existence.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? Judging a new breed is not an easy task even with a standard to read and fol- low. Siberians should be athletic, but also beautiful with a smooth side gait showing reach and drive. Even with all the experience Anne Rogers Clark had, I would see her talk to breeder-judges to learn why a particular dog won. Even though there is a standard to follow, a good dog should stand out.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as house- hold companions? Siberian Huskies are wonderful companions for show exhibitors and families. However, I have talked more people out of buying one than encouraging a purchase. When a person recently contacted me for a Siberian Husky puppy, I quizzed them on any previous ownership of the breed, fencing, research, visits to a breeder, etc. By the end of the conversation, they decided a Labrador Retriever was what they wanted. Siberians require a person with a sense of humor and not a great expectation of obedience. They are a loving, intelligent and comical breed that I wouldn’t trade for any other. They usually love to show, but they are just as happy on a sofa with a blanket and pillow, cuddled up with their owner.
Any health concerns in my breed? Testing for eye anomalies and hip dysplasia has contributed to low incidents in the breed. Cancer is a major concern as it is in all breeds.
To whom do I owe the most? Fortunately, my first Siberian Husky was purchased from Innisfree in the early ‘80s. I didn’t see Kathleen Kanzler frequently, but I read what she wrote and learned a lot about breeding dogs. At one of the shows, she had Trish give me a grooming lesson. Most of what I learned about handling a Siberian Husky was learned from Ann Sullivan.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? Watching Siberian Huskies perform in obedience is frequently amusing. Observing puppies or adults interacting with each other puts a smile on my face. In spite of or because of their escapades, they are the most fun.
I live in Toronto. I’ve been in dogs since 1992 when I acquired my first Portuguese Water Dog. She trialed in Water Work and then, in 1999, I acquired my first male who was shown extensively and became a stud dog. I’m a retired Graphic Designer, sold my firm in 2013. I’m active in my national breed club, served on the Board in various capacities, and I designed and produced the club newsletter, website and supporting docs and material.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? Rather mixed overall. Some superb specimens and some, well, you wonder why are they showing?
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? I can only speak to my breed. We’re suffering from swings on preferred coat, when really no preference should be given to either curly or wavy coat. With the current ascendence of the curly coat, and with such wide variation in both coats, dogs with very straight wavy coats can be penalized, when this coat—apart from being acceptable—is very easy to live with, no matting! Judges seem to be looking for that curly outline, but disregard soundness on the move.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? I think we’re all facing challenges now. Aside from purely economic issues, if you choose to breed, what support can you count on from your vet? Testing results are in limbo now, and puppy owners are facing the same uncer- tainty. So, commitments are not to be counted on and, sadly, this is understandable.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? Really understanding our dogs’ original function which determines spe- cific standard details. The generic show dog is becoming ubiquitous to the detriment of maintaining breed type. And, there’s the pres- sure to put up the big winner when you feel others are more worthy.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as household companions? Portuguese Water Dogs are very clever, totally devot- ed to their people and have a sense of mischief and humor. They are really not for everyone; a real challenge for a first time owner, but with training, direction and structure, PWDs thrive in a family.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? Fads, of course, and then people living with a breed only to realize that it’s not a good match. I can think of a breed, very popular in the ‘80s, they were everywhere, and then they disappeared? What happened? They were medium-sized, low shedding, very cute, and then gone?
Any health concerns in my breed? Yes, originating from a small rescued gene pool. Conditions started showing up once the breed arrived in North America, so the PWDCA and early breeders were proactive in funding research. Test litters were produced, and even- tually, DNA tests were developed for GM-1, JDCM, prcd-PRA, EOPRA, and Microphthalmia Syndrome. There are other issues, but breeders do their best to mitigate; Hermangiosarcoma, Addi- sons, allergies, IBS, are all in the breed.
To whom do I owe the most? Our foundation dam was from Elaine (Lyons) Suter, Hunter Kennel in Michigan. Elaine remains a dear friend and she’s been in the breed since 1986, so she’s seen it all.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? I was running a Regional Specialty, and very busy, but also show- ing some of my veteran girls. I grabbed my girl and ran to the ring where I started setting her up, and was pleasantly surprised that she was stacked so nicely, not the usual lack of interest in the show dog stuff from this girl. Then I noticed my husband gesticulating wildly ringside. I had grabbed the wrong girl! The veteran was still

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