BREEDER INTERVIEW: DR. ADAM KING, ASKIN HAVANESE
“ I THINK THAT WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE SOME TRULY BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLES OF THE BREED CURRENTLY WINNING AT THE TOP LEVEL, AND I AM HOPEFUL THAT BOTH JUDGES AND BREEDERS ALIKE ARE ABLE TO USE THEM TO SET HAVANESE BREED TYPE IN THEIR MIND.”
Multiple Group Winning GCH Askin Wait Until Dark (Susy), my first foray into cording a Havanese.
The next generation: Askin Stop Trying To Make Fetch Happen (Regina), snuggling in her mother Susy’s cords.
Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition and what trends might bear watching. I think that we are fortunate to have some truly beautiful exam- ples of the breed currently winning at the top level, and I am hope- ful that both judges and breeders alike are able to use them to set Havanese breed type in their mind. For the most part, coat texture, size, and temperaments are pretty good in the breed (though I have seen some shy Havanese in the ring, which is extremely contrary to breed type and should never be tolerated). The most concerning trend is exaggeration of breed char- acteristics; an upper arm that is so short that the front reach is restricted, a markedly rising topline (often accompanied by short and/or crooked front legs), a bouncy gait lacking any reach, and a dog that is significantly longer than it is tall. Moderation is key! Unfortunately, correct heads and expression are also becoming more difficult to find, with round eyes rather than the desired large, almond shape, and muzzles that are too short and lacking the desired breadth. This gives a more generic “toy” look rather than the desired charming and mischievous Havanese expression. The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport? Like many, I am concerned with the attrition rate in our sport and the lack of interest from people in becoming preservation breeders. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, likely because there are a multitude of reasons why people don’t stick with breeding and showing dogs. I think one of the major things we need to do is to be kinder and more welcoming to newcomers. These are the people who may become our future breeders, and if we drive them away with nasty behavior, soon we won’t have anyone else to carry on with our breeds. Being welcoming to newcomers extends to parent clubs and all-breed clubs as well. Clubs should be doing everything they possibly can to build membership and make people feel like they
belong. So many clubs complain about the lack of new members or willing workers, but then shoot down anything new or different in the next breath. Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two? I plan on continuing to breed, hopefully working toward breeding a better Havanese with each generation! Even though I’m greatly enjoying my foray into judging, I am a breeder at heart and plan to continue my program for many years to come. Finally, tell us a little about Adam outside of dogs... your profes- sion, your hobbies. The only thing I ever wanted to be growing up was a veterinar- ian. When I took my first two Havanese for their eye certification exams, I was instantly fascinated with the specialty of ophthal- mology. I was fortunate enough to get accepted into an ophthal- mology residency right after my rotating internship, and I am a practicing board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. I’ve served as the chair of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmolo- gists’ genetics committee, and frequently participate in OFA health clinics. I am a member of the Havanese Club of America’s Health Committee and Judges’ Education Committee, have worked on the new JE presentation, and I am currently working on our new illustrated standard. After many years of being a breeder/owner- handler, I applied to judge Havanese in 2017. Since then, I have been approved for the Toy Group (currently the youngest AKC Group judge, actually!) and a handful of Sporting, Terrier, and Non-Sporting breeds. I’ve greatly enjoyed my foray into judging, and am eager to continue learning about additional breeds. I was selected to judge the 2022 Havanese Club of America National Specialty, an assignment I am very much looking forward to! Outside of dogs, I enjoy traveling, great restaurants, and the- atre. My husband and I purchased 85 acres of wooded land last year, and have just hired an architectural firm. We will begin designing our new home during the second quarter of next year. It’s going to be a project that will take several years to complete, but I’m looking forward to building our “dream” home!
120 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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