Page 219 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 219

                In 2010, my partner’s life took a different direction and I went back to my original kennel name of Madrigal. I have worked with my original line that I purchased in 1996 and added dogs from Sweden, Australia and most recently, England. I tend to look at the Löwchen with the eye of a sighthound person and work for true type, but also good sound movement.
I have been blessed with a number of quality dogs who have made me proud in the show ring. However, I remain certain that the mark of a truly great dog is what they do in the whelping box.
I live in southwest Washington outside the tiny town of Win- lock. I work full time for Northwest Multiple Listing Service, am very active in my church, and live on the property of my elderly parents to help them remain in their home.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? As much as I would like to keep the breed a guarded secret, it needs to grow.
Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? The numbers defi- nitely hinder the breed. They can be hard to find and harder to sell or place. Unless you have insider information.
Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most people have no clue what the breed is, especially when they see them in show trim. I have heard everything from: “Did your dog have surgery?” to “What kind of mix is it?” When I tell someone I raise and show Löwchen more often than not I get a blank look and then an “Oh yeah...” Once in a while someone will recognize the breed.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? I think the biggest misconception is that Löwchen are a little fluffy, clingy lap dog. Nothing could be further from the truth. Convinc- ing the public that Löwchen are tough, hardy, incredibly smart, thinking and independent would help the breed tremendously.
What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? With the Löwchen still being a relatively rare breed it’s difficult to convince people to wait for what they want. Our litters are small and female pets are hard to come by. Our soci- ety tends to be into instant gratification and with the Löwchen that often isn’t possible.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I am lucky that within my own bloodline I can usually pick my best right away and have yet to change my mind. However, eight weeks is for me the best age to grade a litter for the first time. At that point
everything is there. After that the puppies begin to change rapidly. By six months you know what you have for sure. One thing I have found is that Löwchen tend to mature slowly. My very best have not reached their best for show until around four years, and have shown well into their golden years.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? I think the most important aspect of the Löwchen for me is that they should be moderate in every way. There should be no extremes. Also judges need to go deeper. Lots of coat and perfect condition should not be a substitute for an unsound dog. Find out what’s under the coat. The rear can be easily seen. but the front is covered. Look further than just beauty.
What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Meet the Breeds has been a great attraction for our ground here in the Pacific Northwest. We have been able to introduce the public to the breed in greater numbers. Also, being willing to talk to people and answer questions. Yes we are busy at shows, but if people show an interest ask them to stay and watch the judging and then allow them to ask questions and actually get their hands on the dogs.
My ultimate goal for the breed? At this point in the Löwchen, getting people from other breeds interested in our Lions will expand the reach of the breed. Currently, there is an effort being made with- in the Löwchen Club of America to increase our numbers and bring in new people in an effort to preserve the breed. As a result, our numbers have increased dramatically over the last couple of years.
My favorite dog show memory? I think that my best memory was taking my Foundation Dog to the first ever World Löwchen Congress in 1999 in Germany. I had only been in the breed for about three years and was still learning (I still am). There were Löw- chen and their people from something like ten different countries. My dog was Best in Show at the World Congress Cup show. After all these years I still have the ribbons and the critique from that day. What an honor that was.
This is a fabulous breed. They can do anything. They are so versatile and personable. They can be soft, sweet, tough, protec- tive, silly, cuddly and smart—and that’s just in the first 20 minutes. I came to Löwchen from Sighthounds and as much as I miss my Whippets, I don’t regret the last 20+ years one bit.

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