12/13/2007: Dealing with Breed Standards, Part 1Not much more than 100 years ago, what had begun as trials to compare dogs' working ability developed into competitions which also awarded structural excellence.
09/19/2007: Your Attention, Please!There is no doubt that I can speak for many judges when it comes to wondering what exhibitors are watching while they stand outside the ring waiting for their breed to be judged. I do know that they are looking at what goes on in the ring, but I wonder what it is they are actually seeing?
08/17/2007: “Breeding the Great One”When does the novice really become a player in the dog game? In all the interviews I have conducted through the years, even the most directed and successful invariably spoke about that “first puppy.” They found one, bought one, got adopted by one or even, in some cases, reluctantly had one foisted upon them. Even those whose first dog was purebred almost inevitably made the decision to have a dog hastily and the pup was of less than winning quality.
06/21/2007: Bitches - Show Career or Whelping Box?“A woman’s place is in the home!” If I heard that once growing up, I heard it a thousand times. It wasn’t that my father was alone in his chauvinism; it was typical of the day. Actually it was typical well on through a good part of the twentieth century!
04/23/2007: Never Underestimate the Power of the ToysI’ve always been able to appreciate a well made Toy. In my mind, the Toy breeds really represent the epitome of type. After all, for what reason, other than beauty, were most of them created? Their beauty is to them what hunting ability is to the gun dogs, and what protective instincts are to the guard dog breeds. None of the Toys were bred to hunt, or to retrieve, or to serve as attack dogs. No, in this case, “just another pretty face” is very much what a Toy breed need be. Admittedly, their beauty may be entirely in the mind of the beholder, but nevertheless, beautiful they are.
03/27/2007: I Can Believe “It’s Not Butter!”Seems we have substitutes for just about everything now. And, according to what manufacturers pay Madison Avenue millions to inform us, we will be just as satisfied with the thing that really isn’t as we would be with the thing that really is.
02/27/2007: Invest in Gold!If the sincere breeder-to-be has been studying and observing his chosen breed, he will have undoubtedly have begun to draw some conclusions. Hopefully one observation he has made is that there are some breeders who seem to have the knack of breeding fine dogs.
01/16/2007: How Important Is Showmanship?There are some dogs who live for the weekend, when they join their owners to become the center of attention at the local dog show. Others, it appears, love the time with their owners but find something severely intimidating about walking through those ring ropes. The at-home-extrovert suddenly becomes a shrinking violet.
12/12/2006: Movement – How it Helps Define Breed Type“Did you see that Bulldog move? He flew around the ring like a German Shepherd! Wow, why don’t we get a Bulldog to show!”
11/14/2006: Ah, for the “Glamorous” Life!Lord knows I make no attempt to speak for other judges (and I feel quite certain they wouldn’t want me to), but when I’m dealing with friends out there in the real world I’m inclined to gloss over all the obstacles we as judges must hurdle in order to “do our thing” week in and week out. My non-doggie friends have an overblown picture of the grand lifestyle I enjoy as a judge.