Page 188 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 188

                in his hands, I had her daughter, a show machine. A quick exchange was made and a few laughs heard at ringside, especially from our esteemed Portuguese judge.
My family had a working farm/ranch when I was growing up in Texas and Arkansas. We had Hereford cattle and Quarter Horses. We also participated in outdoor sports such as hunting, herding and water sports. Our dogs participated in working and sporting activities with us. I began participating in conformation six years ago with my Doberman stud dog in the Four- to-Six Month Puppy Beginner Competition. He is now almost to Platinum Level Grand Champion. I also have two Doberman bitches, who are his daugh- ter and his niece, who are also Grand Champions. I have been a Psy- chotherapist for more than 30 years. I am a member of two Office of Emergency Management/Homeland Security Search and Rescue Teams. Other hobbies are hiking, biking and water sports.
The quality of the Working Group is good in many ways; how- ever, many are too willowy and unable to move, work or do the job they were bred to do.
I believe the temperament has improved overall; however, many Dobermans are not being bred with solid substance, correct angles and therefore are unable to move correctly. Many are too small boned, have incorrect angles, incorrect bites and would not be able to perform what they were created to do, which is provide personal protection.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? Popular “looks” are recognized instead of adher- ence to the standard. Health is not given enough importance.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? There is a poor public perception of Working breeds in many areas of the country. Anti-cropping and docking laws are being enacted in some countries and states. Own- ers are discriminated against by homeowners’ insurance companies, apartments and other housing entities as well as some city govern- ments by calling them “vicious” breeds and outlawing them.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? Deal- ing with questionable and misleading unethical behaviors of par- ticipants. (I’m not sure I need to say this, although it’s the truth.) Becoming educated regarding the purpose for which the breed was bred, the standard and how that is the measuring stick.
The qualities that make them good household companions are intelligence, trainability, loyalty, cleanliness, and the ability to be well-behaved and non-destructive. They also have an interest in participating in all activities/sports, hiking, biking, walking, and whatever else you would like to do. They have a natural protective- ness that Louis Dobermann bred into them and for which they were bred. They enjoy the partnership of participating with their family and assisting in any and all activities, both work and leisure related.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? Some things that cause shifts in breed popularity are movies, health issues, changes in laws and popular hobbies.
Some trends that should continue and improve are the need to be more conscientious regarding breeding the total dog, substance, health, bone, movement, intelligence, temperament, and correct bite—instead of looking for a popular look or a popular line. We also need to be more conscientious in improving health testing and transparency.
Some of the main health concerns in Dobermans are cardio issues, liver issues, Von Wilderbrands disease, wobblers disease, and cancer.
A variety of persons assisted me in learning the ropes of confor- mation, but mostly my stud dog’s grand breeder, Joanne Davis. For work and performance training, I have attended many workshops and trainings, worked with official OEM teams as well as worked with individual trainers who have helped us learn Search and Res- cue and the many AKC and UKC performance activities.
An amusing experience was when my five-month-old puppy backed out of his collar when someone was holding him before a puppy match. He was already being trained for off-lead area search. I had gone across a huge disjointed agricultural show site to a vendor area. He put his air scent skills and hunt drive to work and found me very quickly with no problem. The person who had been hold- ing him was in a panic, but he was quite pleased with himself.
I live in the White Mountains of Arizona. I started showing Bas- set Hounds in 1979 in New Mexico and later went into Labrador Retrievers. I always wanted a Schnauzer, though. In 2008, I got my first Standard Schnauzer, followed by my first Giant Schnauzer in 2013. Outside of dogs, I am finishing my Masters degree in Public Health and I enjoy playing World of Warcraft.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? As an exhibi- tor, I feel that the Working Group is very competitive. I cannot speak to their quality per se, but there are a lot of well-handled and highly trained dogs. As a breeder/owner-handler, I am very proud of what I have contributed to my breeds, but I feel that the merits and qualities of individual dogs who have the most to contribute to their breeds’ population genetics are overlooked.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure as guardian of these breeds? As it pertains to my Working breeds, I worry most about the preservation of the Pepper and Salt Giant Schnauzer. Based on a recent study done in cooperation with the University of California-Davis, we know that the Pepper and Salt Giant is a different breed genetically from the Black Giant Schnauzer, which is much more popular and most often seen at AKC events. When I first encountered this breed I found soft coats and hips that could rarely pass OFA. My vision has been to improve the Pepper and Salt by outcrossing without color crossing. By collaborating with breed- ers in Europe, I have managed to realize that vision, but it is a slow process due to the lacking population.
On a separate issue, the breeder’s choice to leave dogs natural— whether born here in the United States or imported from abroad— continues to be a point of contention in traditionally docked and cropped breeds. Even my use of the word “natural” is contentious. I have taken a position to champion the choice of the breeder to leave their puppies natural and to show their dogs natural, or to make the choice to dock or to crop. I am surprised by the number of breeders and exhibitors who do not know that cropping has been optional in breed standards for at least 80 years (maybe longer), and yet in some breeds in North America it is still deemed unacceptable to exhibit a dog with natural ears, much less with an undocked tail. I hope soon that more people will accept that this is as much an ethical decision for the breeder as is health testing.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? I think space and size restrictions are the biggest obstacle. Or at least they were. Going to shows was a logistical nightmare. I seemed to never have enough room in the van and going to hotels was very stressful. If I could leave the dogs overnight at the show site (although it was a longer and more exhausting day for me), I didn’t have to worry about hotel restrictions on dog sizes or numbers of dogs. But for outdoor shows or shows where dogs could not be left in the building, all it took was being kicked out of a Motel 6 one time—even before I got the door open—to make me ever more vigilant about my hotel reservations. With Toy breeds it seems they go unnoticed, but with bigger dogs, it’s like you can’t even sneeze without scrutiny. I got tired of calling ahead and asking hotels about their pet policies. So last year, I finally traded up and bought my first RV. It definitely has its own set of challenges, but I do enjoy it a great deal more.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? One of the greatest assets any breeder has is the network of relationships across the country and around the world. In a rare breed, like the Pepper and Salt Giant

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