Page 196 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 196

                Lately, some of the biggest challenges for today’s exhibitors are going to be financial, unfortunately, with the onset of Covid. The world has changed and finances will be very tight for most of us. This will definitely put a challenge on exhibitors to be able to continue to do what they love. I know it will become a challenge for myself.
I feel challenges for our up-and-coming judges are also going to be financial. Hopefully, this will not dilute the quality of the excep- tional judges at our shows. And with more breeds being accepted into all our Groups, there’s also great challenges in the judges being cognizant of the standards for these new breeds.
My breeds out of the Working Group are the Bullmastiff and the Boxer. They are wonderful household dogs because I find them both gentle yet noble, and wonderful protectors! They are the per- fect house dog whether there are infants or the elderly around. My home is a truly safe haven with these guardians.
Health concerns in my breeds—I am a very strong proponent for extensive health and heart testing in my breeds. My goal is to better my breeds and try to produce healthier, stronger dogs with more longevity. They are my heart and I want to not only educate others about health testing, but promote it myself!
There have been so many mentors to me as a child growing up, outside and inside the ring. The strongest memory I have was at the age of five when I was trying my hardest to stack an adult Boxer in the conformation ring. Jane Forsyth was in the ring with me at the time, handling her own dog. She came over and showed me how to tickle the dog’s tail and then come back up to the head and be able to hold his collar up high and still bait the dog. I was so short, my head and his head were of equal height. That day in the ring I won first place and I was so grateful for her teachings. I caught the fever from then on!
I am a marketing professor at the Broad College of Business, Michigan State Uni- versity. Go Green! My family and I are origi- nally from Israel and today we live in Wil- liamston, which is a beautiful, small town in Michigan. I have been a breeder for 15
years. I had my first Corsos, Puma and Zarina, in Israel before we moved to the US in 2008. We got them from Lazar Gerassi (Gerassi Corso) and brought them with us when we moved. Zarina was our foundation female, a true Corso and an amazing dog. She was my soul mate and I miss her every day.
With a full-time job, taking care of the six Corsos that we have, and of course, some family time, there is very little time for any- thing else. We do spend a lot of time training and showing our dogs, and actively participate in different dog-related sports such as lure coursing, obedience, and protection. Our dogs are also therapy dogs and we volunteer in different places such as schools, nursing homes and MSU.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? The Work- ing Group has always been very impressive with high quality dogs. I think that there are currently some notable dogs in the Working Group. It’s always a pleasure watching this Group in the ring.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? I would say that the greatest change, unfortunately, is that many breeds in the Working Group are losing their working ability and characteristics (i.e., conformation, correct coat, eye shape and color) for the sake of desirable showing features. This is true with the Cane Corso as
well. The Corso should be an athletic, agile and physically fit dog. Yet in the ring, we see Corsos that are too big, too heavy or unfit, and can barely complete the ring routine, not to mention being able to match up to their original working purpose.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? When the Cane Corsos joined AKC in 2010, there were many of them being shown. A wide range of breeders as well as owners showed their dogs regularly. However, in recent years, the number of people showing has decreased significantly. As a result, it has become very hard to get a major or even points at most shows. And I believe this is true in other breeds and with other Groups as well, especially more rare breeds. Rare breeds also have a harder time placing in the Group, in general, and I know that discourages both owners and breeders from showing. On the other hand, I do see more and more owners showing their own dogs, which is wonderful! My daughter, who is almost 15 years old, shows our boy Royal as a NOHS successfully. She shows alongside other fantastic owner-handlers and they are having a great time togeth- er! I truly hope that more owners take this road and get as fair a chance in the regular Group as the professional handlers. It’s a truly rewarding experience.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? I think that the biggest challenge any breeder is facing is doing the right thing—the right thing by the dogs and the right thing by the owners. Every breeder should strive to produce dogs that are true to their breed, with sound tempera- ment and health. Breeders also need to be diligent about placing the puppies in the right homes and be accountable for their well- being for the rest of their lives. But with Working breeds, doing the right thing might prove to be very challenging. Every aspect that is related to ethical breeding (e.g., high-quality food, medical care, health testing, training) is very costly due to the size of most Work- ing Dogs. Placing these dogs in the right homes is also challenging. Since the majority of Working breeds are big and powerful, have specific needs, and are costly to raise, it is not easy to find the right owners who will commit to the training, welfare and expenses that these breeds require. Finally, breeders should commit to their pup- pies for the duration of their lifespan and take back those who are no longer wanted by their owners, regardless of age. So, doing the right thing is the most challenging thing for breeders to do.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? Correct education and unbiased judging. These two points are somewhat related. Judges need to understand the standards of the breeds that they are judging as well as the rationale behind them. The standards were written to reflect the original working task of the breed. The dogs in the ring should be judged not just by the standard, but also by their original purpose. The second point is one that others have raised before. Judges should be focused on the dogs in the ring and their reflection of the standard, not on the people who show them, especially now that we have more owners who are showing their dogs. Though, in all fairness, it should be noted that top handlers normally do have very good dogs.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as house- hold companions? Cane Corsos make great family dogs when raised right and when socialized and trained properly. They are highly loyal, loving and smart. They are eager to please and love to do anything you ask them to do. But, they are not the right breed for everyone. And before you get a Cane Corso, you must be sure that this is the right breed for you and your family. Go visit the breeders you are interested in. Meet and interact with their dogs and get a first-hand feel if this is the right breed for you.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? It seems like these days people are constantly seeking the next best thing, and this is true with dogs as well. The media also plays a big role in shifting breed popularity. After the movie 101 Dalmatians there was an increased demand for Dalmatians. After the movie Max the popularity of Belgian Malinois skyrocketed. Unfortunately, Game

   194   195   196   197   198