Page 214 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 214

What’s the best way to attract newcomers to our breed and to the sport? By being good mentors, being available with any ques- tions about our breed.
Our ultimate goal for the breed? We have achieved our finest goal as we are the breeder, owner-handler of a multi Best in Show Löwchen, first in the AKC history of the breed. We would like to continue on this path, producing healthy, happy Löwchens.
Our favorite dog show memory? Mother’s Day 2005, we were awarded Best in Show, breeder-owner-handled, first AKC Löwchen. Jennifer once beat her husband Richard with one of our lovely bitches at a Regional Specialty. It was for her one moment of joy,
then that “oops” feeling came over her.
This breed wants to be with you, next to you no matter what you
are doing. If you are doing something, they will want to do it also. They have a touch of sarcasm in them, like when your grandmother looks over her glasses at some questionable thing you did. They do well in most all AKC events.
I have been in this particular breed for over 15 years, but in dogs my entire life. I have personally whelped close to 40 litters of Löwchen in my home. I have served as President of the Löwchen Club of America. I have been awarded “Breeder of Merit” and 2018 Löwchen breeder of the year. I live in Western New York. I am retired, so dogs fill my life right now.
I would not mind if Löwchen ranked higher than 168. The rarer the breed, the more likely they are to remain healthy. Statistics show that a rise in popularity corre- lates with a rise in health issues. There are plenty of Löwchen breed- ers now with plenty of ways to get the word out about the breed in
comparison to 15 or 20 years ago.
The average person on the street has no idea about this breed and
typically has never seen one. On the flip side, this gives Löwchen folks an opportunity to talk and educate people about the breed.
I don’t know of any real misconceptions about the breed as it is too rare for the average person to have any preconceived ideas. The one thing that comes to mind is that small dogs are often consid- ered “ankle biters”. This couldn’t be further from the truth with a Löwchen. They (if bred to fit the standard) love everyone they meet.
I would say one particular challenge that breeders face now is social media. Purebred dogs can be overshadowed by all the mixes that are cropping up these days on the Internet. Years ago people breeding inferior dogs did not have the ability to reach such a large “audience”.
Most breeders feel that you can tell show potential at eight weeks of age. However, until you actually get them in a ring or ring set- ting, one cannot know for sure. Just because a dog fits the standard at a young age doesn’t guarantee that they will have the personality for the ring. A Löwchen should have a lively outgoing personality. If they are shy and go around the ring with their tail down looking scared, this is not a show quality Löwchen.
A new judge not only needs to know the physical standard, but temperament as well for a well-rounded example of the breed. Löw- chen should never be over-groomed. They are a little rascal and thus look like one!
Clubs grapple with ways to bring folks into a breed. I think social media has done tons for attracting newcomers. Of course, attending dog shows is an excellent way to introduce folks to a breed.
My ultimate goal for the breed is to try to keep Löwchen a healthy breed with a long lifespan.
I think my favorite memory in this breed is when my Löwchen was the first Bred-By Löwchen to receive a Grand Championship. He has gone on to produce lovely champions and sweet pets.
I have been involved with pure- bred dogs since the late 90s and breed Löwchen and Bouviers under the Bon Idèe prefix. I live in South- ern California, and outside of dogs, I drive an 18 wheeler to support my dog habit! My dogs are a large part of my life by choice which doesn’t leave me much time for other “outside” activities.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with the placement? I would like to see the Löwchen breed move higher up on the AKC popularity list as I think it will help ensure the future of this fun loving little breed. These low numbers hurt the breed as there are fewer out and about for people to meet and learn about. The Löwchen Club of America does a wonderful job with Meet The Breed booths at a number of events to help get our Little Lion Dogs in front of
the public.
Does the average person on the street recognize the breed?
No, but most ask and I never miss a chance to tell them about our wonderful breed, and the dogs are always happy to interact with new people.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? The cost and the grooming! The Löwchen have made it onto the list of most expensive dogs! This simply is not true. They cost no more than most other well-bred companion breeds. The grooming of the Löwchen is relatively simple and no more time consuming than other coated breeds.
What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? We are constantly dealing with the “Adopt Don’t Shop” mentality. It is also getting harder to be a breeder with the many laws limiting the number of dogs one can own. The nega- tive publicity from the animal rights groups doesn’t help either.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Usually by six to seven weeks we start to see moments of greatness. By ten weeks, we are pretty sure who will be our next show pros- pects and who will be going to loving companion homes.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? For me, proper proportions and gait as well as proper head/expression as this is the hallmark of the breed. We are off square, 11 to 10 ratio. Not rectangular. The gait at a trot should be effortless with good reach in front and full extension in the rear; not mincing, short steps. The expression should be bright, alert and lively with large, round forward looking eyes that are well set in. Not bulging.
My ultimate goal for the breed? I would like to see the numbers increase as well as breeders doing more health testing to assist them in making better breeding choices. We need healthy dogs in our breeding programs if we want to see the numbers rise and the popu- lation increase in the future.
My favorite dog show memory? There are many, but one I will never forget is my first home-bred Special winning Best In Show.

   212   213   214   215   216