Page 198 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                of Thrones impacted the popularity of the Cane Corso. Fads and trends are great in fashion, but not when it comes to choosing a dog. The results are often devastating, mostly for the dogs. I wish people would invest more time figuring out which breed is right for them (and even if owning a dog is right for them), for their lifestyle, living conditions, family members and other pets, and not just follow the latest hot thing.
What are the trends that I’d like to see continue or stopped? A trend that is breed-related that I would like to see become a stan- dard of breeding and not a trend is that more breeders today are health testing their dogs and breed accordingly. Also, more owners are inquiring about the health and temperament of the dogs they are interested in, which is great. On the other hand, I would like to see less breeding for size or other specific features and more in a way that reflects the true working nature of the Cane Corso, inside and outside the ring. Corsos need to be very confident and athletic, and with physical abilities. They cannot be overly big, overly heavy, or with conformation that does not support their original purpose as working dogs. They also need to have the stable temperament that is required of a Working Dog.
A sports-related trend that I like very much is the NOHS and the wide range of sports that owners can engage in with their dogs today. But, I would like the point system of the NOHS to be similar to the regular point system in a way that reflects the number of dogs defeated.
Any health concerns in my breed? Cane Corso does not have breed-specific health issues. However, like any large size breed, they are susceptible to joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Today, breeders can and should test for these conditions and screen dogs with joint issues out of their breeding programs. Another health issue that we’ve seen more and more cases of in the last few years is epilepsy. Despite ongoing research, we do not have a test that will enable us to detect affected or carrier dogs. While careful and ethical breeding should screen out this condition as well, in some cases dogs are used for breeding before they show any symp- toms. Another major health issue is cancer. But, once again, it is not breed specific and can affect any dog, regardless of breed.
To whom do I owe the most? As I noted, Lazar Gerassi was the one who introduced me to this wonderful breed. But since I moved to the US, I have been very fortunate to have Dianne Connors (Mar E Sol’s Cane Corso) as my close friend. I have learned a lot from her about the breed in general, its development in the US and about ethical breeding. Her professional and personal integrity is unparal- leled. She was one of the first breeders who health tested her dogs, and set the standards for others to follow.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? Years back, there was a Corso that constantly got loose in the ring. Every show. He was a sweet, beautiful dog that just wanted to have fun. And why not? Right? And every time, the show would stop until he got caught. It was quite amusing to see everyone trying to get a hold of him. The end of the story—this Corso became the #1 dog in our breed. His athletic ability, great looks and joyful sprit “wowed” the judges.
I was born and raised in Southern California, having lived in Yorba Linda the last 25 years. Just this month I had moved to near- by Orange. It was time for the move to a single story home. I have had dogs all my life, over 60 years now. My parents and family still have Boxers and hunting breeds. I showed Paint Horses for 25 years all over the country until I had a bad fall on someone else’s horse in Tennessee a few years back. Now I watch the grandkids ride and spend my spare time training and playing with dogs and grandkids.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? The Work- ing Group continues to be one of the best quality Groups in my opinion, as the dogs all have jobs to perform and are unique in size, shape and even temperament.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? We seem to be wanting these breeds to be bigger than ever and I think bigger is not always better.
The biggest challenge we face exhibiting today’s Working Dogs is that they still should be bred to be able to do the job they were intended, not just look like beautiful specimens.
Our current economic/social climate with COVID-19 is going to make it difficult for any breeder to not only prove their stock in exhibition, but even getting buyers to see and have access to pur- chase them while keeping everyone safe.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? Up-and- coming judges, which I aspire to be, are finding it challenging to be able to find good mentors in each breed you wish to judge that have been around long enough to know the standard and not just what they like or breed.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as household companions? Our German Pinscher’s size makes it one of the most suitable breeds in the Working Group as a household companion. Its original purpose was the farm dog that lived in the house to not only keep down the vermin on the farm, but also in the house, and to protect the family. They thrive as household family members and we have found them to be extremely good therapy and service dogs as well as search and rescue animals.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? I believe shifts in popularity in breeds has a lot to do with social media and lifestyle. Rin Tin Tin brought about popularity in the GSD, Lassie the Collie, as well as Dalmatians due to Disney. More recently, the Chihuahua is now carried in purses because of the movie Legally Blonde and famous folks like Paris Hilton. Movies and celebrities are great, but they won’t always portray our breeds as how they really are suitable for each household.
What are the trends that I’d like to see continue or stopped? The trend, at least in our breed, that I would like to see continued is breeding a little more for temperament as more of these dogs will live in homes in suburbs than on farms.
The trend I would like to see stopped is trying to make them more like little Dobermans by cropping the ears too long and breed- ing for elegance. What I fell in love with about the breed 15 years ago was the shorter cropped ears that fit the head, and are smaller, and the sturdier built body. I come from 30 years in Dobies and I love and appreciate them, but our German Pinscher is not a small Doberman—although at first glance it might appear to be.
Any health concerns in my breed? Our breed so far is very fortunate as to not really have many health concerns. We test for the usual, but are not really seeing any everyday issues, as far as hips, hearts, and eyes. The breeders, so far, for the most part, are being responsible and keeping them healthy with their testing and breeding choices.
I am very thankful to many breeders who have been very kind to give me their time and share their knowledge, but I have to say that Angie Montleon of Montwood Kennels was the first person who was always willing to tell me what she knew and always point out the good sides of a dog. The second was Robin Pierce of Spirits Ger- man Pinschers who will still to this day take my call anytime, day or night, and Jill Eastwood of Daveren German Pinschers. I have been fortunate to have many kind breeders and handlers like Valerie Nunez, Ron Matson and Adrian Ghione who are always willing to share what they know (if you’re willing to listen).
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? Prob- ably now, but not then, one of the most amazing experiences at a dog show was when I was on the down and back with a young dog named Chevelle at Eukanuba. This was when it was in Long Beach. I think the judge was Pat Hastings and the crowd was huge. Com- ing back, I actually tripped on the dog and went sprawling on the floor, face first. I got up and continued to the judge to present my dog and she said, “Can you do that again without the falling on the floor as it was a little distracting?” and smiled. I, of course, went

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