Page 206 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 206

                breed crosses baffle us. Why would someone pay $3,000 for a mutt? Blows our minds!
At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? With our 20+ years in the breed, we have become more adept at identifying show-potential pups relatively quickly. Sometimes head shape is evident in the first week of life (too domed/rounded=pet). For us, lack of bone often equates to a pup that won’t fit into our interpretation of the breed standard. By the time they are up on their feet, you can really start to see personalities and tempera- ments. We look for outgoing, confident pups that accept challenges and new situations with interest. Those that are very quiet and pre- fer to just watch, do better in pet homes, where couch potato is their only job. I will say that while we tend to go with our guts and pick around age eight weeks, all animals grow and change. Some- times a pup surprises us. This may be a good surprise, may be a bad surprise. Four months is an awkward age in this breed and we try to close our eyes for at least two months! Sometimes they are fully mature early (age 13 months), other times not until two years. Every dog/line is different.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Outside of the coated/hairless thing men- tioned above—this breed should move with a jaunty air. They should not have a hackney gait. They should also be well-balanced with good shoulder layback and rear angulation. The breed’s origi- nal pattern was pied. The judges seem to think that this breed is only solid black. That we are another version of the Xolo. We are not. We come in all colors (only albino and merle are unacceptable) and can be solid or spotted. Both should be judged equally.
What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Getting the dogs out there, going to Meet the Breeds, participating in a wide variety of activities—they excel at all things (conformation, agility, obedience, barn hunt, lure coursing, scent work...etc.). Mentoring—experienced and knowledgeable breeders need to take the time to help new people. Teach them and help them understand.
Our ultimate goal for the breed is to preserve, promote and pro- tect the only breed that our family could have due to our daughter’s allergies. We want the AHT to continue its forward progress and would love to see increased consistency in overall structure.
Our favorite dog show memory begins at a United Kennel Club Invitational, Premier and moves to an AKC show in Lakeland, Florida many years later. Our son, Aaron Pingel, who was 13 years old at the time, won the Overall Best Junior Handler for the year. He was showing Rummy, a coated 14-month-old AHT, and they had already competed against the top 10 juniors in his age division, making it to the finals. Now, they had to do it again, but this time with three judges. So, the dog had to stand on the table for three times as long. The handler had to answer three sets of Qs (UKC asks breed, health, show, etc. related questions to the handler to test knowledge in addition to evaluating handling skills). Needless to say, Rummy grew quite bored with having to stand still for such a
long time. He was stretching, yawning and trying to jump around. Aaron maintained his cool throughout, carefully resetting Rummy again and again. The spectators laughed as Rummy’s antics contin- ued. When it came down to selecting the winner, Aaron was chosen as he continued to work with his dog and never gave up. Now, let’s fast forward 11 years, yes, 11 years. Aaron was 24 years old and still showing his boy, Rummy. We have just achieved full status in AKC and are working towards obtaining conformation titles on our dogs. Yes, Rummy was a senior. Yes, he showed his age. However, he was still beautifully put together and moved like a young dog. Aaron was diligently putting points on Rum, but he finished his Cham- pion conformation title one weekend in Lakeland, when a judge put Rummy up (our old coated boy) from the classes, over the Specials, for a five-point major. We were very proud, to say the least!
These are wonderful, smart, playful dogs that make terrific pets when provided with appropriate training and structure. We love ours dearly and can’t imagine life without them. In general, AHTs are strong, muscular dogs who love to play ball, do agility (jump over fences, run tunnels, etc.), play hide and seek (yes, they really play) and go on walks. AHTs are pretty typical of most Terrier breeds in that they are intelligent, curious and very active—and need consistent training (so willingness/ability to go to training classes is a must). They are also cuddlers and love to sit on laps or sleep with you. They also have an “off” switch, so unlike some Ter- riers that are always wound too tight, these guys will move at your pace. They are sincerely the most perfect breed out there!
I started in purebred dogs in the late ‘80s. I bred and showed Dobermans and Boxers and have had Top 20 contend- ers in both. I added Chinese Cresteds after that. My sister, Rachel Morris, and I show selectively and have many champions from the Bred-By class. We both discovered the American Hairless Terrier in 2005 and got our first one on 2006. We showed in UKC and the IAB-
CA shows. Since the breed was fully recognized by AKC we have had 14 champions to date in 3.5 years. Three of our dogs have been in the Top Ten. Currently our bred-by boy, GCHB Pentastar’s Mr. Playboy, “Heff”, is ranked #1. He was also in the Top 10 last year. We both are the only approved mentors on the West Coast.
I live in Centralia, Washington. I’m currently retired and loving it. My husband builds and restores Dodge Muscle Cars. We attend shows and Rod Runs.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I com- fortable with the placement? At this point I am happy with this ranking.
Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? I suppose they help. I don’t want the AHT to become a fad breed.

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