Page 217 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 217

                LÖWCHEN Q&A
breed because of the due diligence the early breeders took when placing their breeding stock. I feel our breed’s three biggest issues are: 1. Lack of breeders. 2. Small litter size. (Our average is two to three puppies.) 3. Lack of diversity in the gene pool in the US.
Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? Low numbers defi- nitely hurt the breed.
Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? The average person has no idea what breed of dog the Löwchen is if they see them on the street. Most folks ask if they are some sort of “xxx- Poo” mix or just a cool dog with a weird haircut.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Many people think that the hair doesn’t grow on the bum! It grows—we just shave the Löwchen into a lion clip!
What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? I’d say the biggest economic challenge, is small litter size. Couple a small litter size with lack of diversity in possible breeding pairings and we are having a tough time. While there’s no easy fix to increasing litter size, one thing we can strive to do is to import more breeding stock to the US from other coun- tries in order to diversify what we have in the States. However, pur- chasing dogs and international shipping isn’t cheap. We all know responsibly bred dogs cost money to produce and when you only have one puppy from a given litter to sell, it’s very difficult to save enough money to purchase and ship a prospect from overseas. I have been fortunate enough to have shared these purchasing and shipping expenses with my fellow breeders in order to get more dogs over here.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? In show prospects, I look for temperament, head-piece and struc- ture. I’d say around eight to nine months of age is when you really start to see what a puppy will become.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? A Löwchen worthy of a ribbon has to have all three paramounts of the breed. It must have that undeniably, happy, outgoing Löwchen temperament. It must have a pleasing expression with correct muzzle-to-skull ratios. It must be a sound mover and lively when moving. This breed should make you smile when you meet them.
What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? As a fancy, we have to be inclusive! We have to be welcom- ing to people from all walks of life, no matter if they ask us what we’d consider “silly” questions. When we are at a dog show, take a moment and talk to a stranger next to you. Ask them what breed they’re interested in. Ask them if they have any questions about the dog show. I feel that as exhibitors, we lose opportunities to educate the public when they are right there in front of us at the dog show. While hanging out with our friends at the show is important, it’s also important that we make time to introduce ourselves to some- one new. Maybe next time you see someone you’ve not met before, take a moment and introduce yourself. If you see spectators watch- ing the dogs, maybe ask them if they’d like to say hi to your dog. Be welcoming—I think making those small gestures will help change one person’s view of dog shows in general.
My ultimate goal for the Löwchen is for them to be a thriving breed. I would love for them to not be in danger of going extinct. My favorite dog show memory? Too many to count, honestly.
Kat and Rhonda are lifelong best friends who met at the age of 10-11 when Kat moved in with her grandmother, who lived across the street from Rhonda in Tampa, Florida. They found a kinship in their love of animals: cats, dogs, horses, snakes, lizards, you name it. Both are “only children” who found sisterhood in each other and have stayed close through all life’s twists and turns. Kat Roll and Rhonda Croxton are co-breeders for Sylvan Myst Löwchen.
We are located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, about one hour west of Philadelphia. Löwchen are my passion and my number one hobby; I work as an executive in a small healthcare communications company—we work with pharmaceutical industry clients to help clinical trial scientists/clinicians publish their clinical trial data in various venues, including congresses and journals (e.g. New Eng- land Journal of Medicine).
Do we hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? We would very much like for the Löwchen to be more popular than this current ranking, but we wouldn’t want them to be in the top-ten. This is an ideal companion breed that would be the perfect dog breed for people across a variety of life- styles, so it’s a shame that they aren’t more popular.
Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? These numbers hurt the breed. Being rare is okay, but our numbers are too low—we have to travel far and wide to build points to achieve majors as we strive to show our dogs to their AKC Championship. We spend time and money to do as many Meet The Breeds events as we can find, and people love our dogs when they meet them, but then they find out that it isn’t always easy to find a puppy because breeders are few and far between, and most of us have long waiting lists. We need more dedicated breeders and more pups available.
Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? No, it is extremely rare that anyone outside of a dog show recognizes them. Most think that they are designer dogs/Poodle-crosses.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Yes, some people think that the Löwchen is related to the Chinese Crested and that the shaved areas on the show cut Löwchen are hairless like the Crested. Löwchen grow hair all over—the lion cut of the Löwchen is required in the show ring, but they grow hair evenly all over (like a Havanese or Coton de Tulear) if not shaved and prepared for the show ring. We do get the impression that the breed standard hair cut (lion trim) is a deterrent for many people and, without having an awareness that Löwchen can be maintained

   215   216   217   218   219