Showsight Presents The Rhodesian Ridgeback


JOHN ARVIN RRCUS BReed AdviSoR My name is John Arvin, and I live in New Jersey. My “real” job is technical analyst (currently assigned to Cyber Security) at a nuclear power plant. I’ve been employed in nuclear power for 35 years, first serving my country aboard nuclear fast attack submarines USS Boston (SSN- 703) and USS Shark (SSN-591). I will be retiring from this career sometime in 2016. I joined the Ridgeback community in 1985, purchasing “Woody”, that eventu- ally became CH Ivy League’s Sgt. Pepper, CD, SC, CGC, TDI. My kennel name is Mystic Isle Ridgebacks. To be honest, as far as “kennel” goes, all my dogs sleep in bed. I’m always amazed that people know who I am. I pretty much keep to myself, don’t advertise much and never really hung around the group rings. I can only surmise that over the years my dogs (or perhaps my lack of han- dling skills) have caught their attention. Having obtained licenses in only RRs and Whippets, I rarely judge conformation shows, but in my last provisional Whippet assignment my Winners Bitch/Best of Winners selection won Best of Breed at the Whippet National Specialty two years later. I recently (as in September 2015) obtained my AKC lure coursing (and CAT) license and am currently Provisional status with ASFA. And yes, Borzoi and Saluki mentors I promise I will soon apply for my license! Highlights: The aforementioned Woody, at 11 years old, won the first Veteran’s Sweepstakes ever held at the Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty in 1996 under breeder Rosann Sexton. His love of lure coursing and won- derful attitude also helped Ridgebacks get accepted into ASFA. The ASFA folks learned that RRs would not eat their sighthounds and Woody was a great part of that learning in the Northeast. He earned his CD in (only?) six trials. Okay, he wasn’t great at obedience, but neither am I. In 2009 my bitch Goldi earned my first National Specialty regular class win under Judge Paula Hartinger in Bred By Exhibitor (she was 2nd in 2008 in BBE under Judge Jon Cole) and was awarded Reserve Winner. She later became my first Dual Champion—DC Mystic Isle’s North- ern Light MC, FCh, CGC. In 2012 her younger sister Molly won the Bred by Class, and Reserve Winner under RR Breeder Judge Diana Brennan (Australia) at the Canadian National Specialty held in conjunction with the Ridge- back World Congress. Molly became my 2nd Dual Cham- pion becoming BIF DC Mystic Isle’s Last of the Mohicans MC, LCM. At the 2015 RRCUS National Specialty held in September, Molly won the Field Champion Bitch class and an Award of Merit under Judge Patricia Trotter. Also at the 2015 Specialty my boy Reese (MBIF FC Mystic Isle’s Southern Cross, MC, LCX3*, CGC, LCM3, V-FCh)

(*pending AKC confirmation) won the 9-11 year Veteran Sweeps class under breeder Mike Patterson. This may not sound like much of a highlight to dog show folks but this RR has spent most of his career on the coursing field where he has amassed more awards than can be listed here. He is the #2 coursing male in RRCUS breed history. He’s averaged a three point major in dogs defeated every single time he competed on the coursing field, which currently is about 240 trials. His excellent conformation has much to do with his success in the field. (“Rusty”, MBIF FC Mystic Isle’s Red Cedar Rusty MC, LCX, LCM), #3 (“Molly”) and #8 (“Reese”) lure coursing dogs in RRCUS combined (AKC, plus ASFA). 1. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Ridgebacks? What do you consider the ulti- mate hallmark of the breed? (1.) Overall Balance: front and rear angulation match- ing but NOT over angulated as the dog is only slightly longer than tall. (2.) Effortless and balanced movement both from the side and on the down and back. No wasted motion. (3.) Correct height AND weight: the importance of these attributes in a dog of great endurance and ath- leticism is lost on far too many judges and breeders. (4.) A well-conditioned dog with correct, flat muscling over bladed bone both front and rear with good width, length and depth of muscle, especially in the rear. (5.) A decent head and a reasonably good ridge. The ultimate hallmark of this breed is a dog that could hunt lions and survive. I see far too many in today’s show ring that I personally do not believe would survive. Any discussion of “type” in this breed needs to start with functionality. 2. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? Shortcomings I’m most likely to forgive: head and ridge. They don’t run on either one, but the head does have to be good enough to grab smaller prey and kill it. Faults: Any that negatively impact functionality, espe- cially those that impact endurance, effortless movement and any I would judge as likely to contribute to the dog breaking down over time in the field (not the lure cours- ing field although I have seen RRs break down there—I mean hunting in Africa or anywhere else). 3. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? The breed standard has been changed twice since I purchased my first RR in 1985. I voted against both changes. The changes in the breed standard word- ing, particularly the changes made in 1992 are likely attributable to what is in today’s ring. The dogs are longer and larger (emphasis on reach and drive) with

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