Page 200 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 200

                back and did it again and we went BOB that day. Today it’s funny, not so much that day.
I live in Magnolia Texas, just north of Houston. In addi- tion to horses I enjoy gardening, horseback riding and fishing
The current overall qual- ity of the Working Group? The dogs I see at the Working Group competition level are of very good quality. For me the issue is what is being seen, or not seen, at the class level. Depth of qual- ity in many breeds just doesn’t seem to be there.
Any changes that I’ve wit- nessed during my tenure? As I mentioned above I have seen
more focus on winning at the Group and Best in Show level as opposed to breeders evaluating the merit of class dogs and selecting breeding stock to improve the population overall.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? Cost, if we are speaking in terms of continuing to compete in AKC conformation events. The ability of the aver- age exhibitor to continually compete with multiple dogs, even at the breed level, has gotten beyond what most can afford in today’s economy.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? Many of the Working breeds con- tinue to face challenges on the legislative front concerning discrimi- nation and stigma by the general public. Few in the public under- stand the proper temperament for many Working breeds and thus categorize them as “dangerous”.
Any specific challenges facing up-and-coming judges? I believe the biggest challenge is the ever-changing landscape of rules and regulations for becoming a judge initially and applying for addi- tional breeds. I believe the American Kennel Club needs to settle on a program and remain consistent in that program for several years without changes.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as house- hold companions? The Rottweiler is perfectly suitable as a house- hold companion because of one primary trait: intelligence. While many breeds possess working qualities that normally would make them difficult to maintain in a household setting, if a dog is “smart” enough to be trained for multiple situations they can certainly become great household companions and pets.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? For the gen- eral public, I believe increase or decrease in popularity is, sadly, related to the use of those breeds in advertising or entertainment. For most of the public there are not large shifts in popularity unless something grabs their attention and causes one to focus on a par- ticular breed, usually based upon looks or something “cute” that is portrayed in movies or other media outlets.
Any health concerns in my breed? The Rottweiler, like many breeds (and mixed breeds), comes with certain potential health con- ditions that can certainly be controlled and better maintained with proper screening of breeding stock. Structural issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia have always been part of the health issues con- fronting large breeds of dogs. Additionally there is some proportion of the population in our breed predisposed to genetic heart condi- tions that can also be lessened by continued echocardiograms and screening of breeding stock.
I owe the most to Lew Olson.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? I’m not sure it was that amusing, at least not at the time. Competing
with my second Rottweiler, Jack, in the 1980s in the Utility ring resulted in a dog that proved to be way smarter than his trainer (me). On more than one occasion he would run all the exercises on his own not waiting for me to cue him. This would often include leaping the ring barrier to visit with spectators then returning over the barrier to complete an exercise. He did obtain his UD title along with his AKC championship, but not before causing myself much angst. It proved to be quite a learning experience, for me anyway.
I live in Montrose, Colorado, and I have 40 years in dogs. My other hobbies are fishing, hunting, ATV’s and traveling.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? Overall quality of the Working Group is good.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure? More shows, but fewer participants. I like seeing more Akitas involved in some of the other available dog sports such as Obedience, Rally, Agility, Barn Hunt, CGC, etc.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s exhibitors of Working Dogs? The Working Group is now too large in number. With only four Group Winners at each show, we see a lot of the same dogs winning week after week and other good dogs overlooked. I think it would be a good idea to add two to three additional Groups to the current seven now in place. Dividing all the Groups up would also increase participation in my opinion.
Any particular challenges facing Working Dog breeders in our current economic/social climate? Reproductive and health research and technology has improved a great deal over the years which has benefitted the responsible/ethical breeder. The misinformation campaigns of the so-called Animal Rights groups has become a constant challenge.
What are the qualities that make my breed suitable as household companions? Akitas are a loving and loyal breed that responds to consistent positive reinforcement training. They do best in a home with a backyard and room to exercise. They are not well-suited for apartment/condo living.
What do I think causes shifts in breed popularity? Our National Club does a lot of good work to promote the Akita breed. Negative media coverage does not help. It is difficult at times for homeowners to get insurance when insurance companies are using 30-year-old, outdated information on Akita temperament. We also have run into this issue at some RV Campgrounds throughout the country.
What are the trends that I’d like to see continue or stopped? It has been good to see more participation in other dog sports besides Conformation. I would like to see the trend of adding more dog shows ended. There are too many shows now, in my opinion, which ends up causing less participation.
Any health concerns in my breed? Hips/elbows, CERF and thy- roid. I would like to see research into VKH/UVS. [Uveodermato- logic Syndrome -Ed.]
I owe the most to Joan Harper Young and B.J. Andrews.
The most amusing experience I’ve ever had at a dog show? Too many to count. There is always something fun about a dog show.
I live north of Seattle in Washington state and started show- ing dogs 31 years ago. I love sports and work in sports marketing. Soccer is my favorite sport. I also love riding my bike and doing adventure races with friends.
The current overall quality of the Working Group? The Work- ing Group on the West Coast always has quite a bit of depth in qual- ity. We have some of the best breeders in many of the breeds out this way and it is always fun to see the level of competition in the ring.
Any changes that I’ve witnessed during my tenure as guardians of these breeds? One notable change is the quality and showman- ship in the newer breeds in the Working Group as more breeders

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