Let’s Talk Breed Education!
BY DARYL MARTIN
O riginally, Maltese didn’t have topknots; they were actually just parted to each side of the head as seen in some of the pictures. As time went on, some people started using yarn to hold the hair in place. Eventually, the yarn became bows tying the hair. Then someone decided to start wrapping the hair in rub- ber bands, so it would be easier to hold the bows rather than tying a bow to the hair. From there someone (or fashion) decided it was easier to make a small square of netting to go over the hair to protect it from the rubber bands breaking the hair. Not long after, a little square of wax paper took over where the netting left off. So, the horn was developed with a bow attached! These were gently placed up the skull and to each side. They had such a beautiful expression with nothing overdone. The bows gently enhanced their face and adoring eyes. In those days, a lot of people used red, blue, pink or purple bows. My mother, Rena Martin, thought black would enhance the expres- sion of the coal nose and black eyes, and started using black ribbon for the bows. Many people followed suit as it looked wonderful for the pure white Maltese and the black contrast. However, as time went on (and Poodle people got involved) their creativity carried through. First, they started teasing the ear hair to frame the face; usually the faces of longer muzzles saw more teasing to balance the head. Th en to change the look of fl atter heads, or longer muzzles, the teasing of the actual topknot bubble started growing. At one point, some handlers added cotton balls or hair from the brush to create a bigger skull or shorter muzzle! Th at fad went out the door when the judges were made aware of what was happening. At one specialty, the judge started throwing dogs out of the ring for teasing, cotton balls, and hairspray! As the years went on, people started making the topknots like unicorns and they kept growing to meet the nose! Th e Maltese started looking like cartoon characters! When the Internet began to fl ourish, Maltese started to fl ourish in other countries where other standards are used—not our AKC standard. Like everything else, exaggeration became the fashion; the bigger the better. Th e topknots grew higher, the eyes got bigger and buggier, and the noses got shorter and shorter. Th e look became more and more like Shih Tzu or Pekingese, which is totally di ff erent than our standard states. So, for whatever reason, people copied and have made our topknots be entire heads that form globes. Th e heads with the topknots of today are totally round in front and in back, and the entire topknot is a single round adornment. Th e entire head is teased and extended over the muzzles! Th is is a far cry from what our standard calls for. Some of the dogs have a mean look to them. Hopefully, in time, we will go back to a very gentle, pleasing Maltese look. If the breeders breed to the standard and not to the fashion it will be easy! Look beyond the topknot for a proper head! I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU AN INTERESTING HISTORY LESSON ABOUT TOPKNOTS THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.
286 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020 | 287
Maltese A DISCUSSION ABOUT TYPE
R ecently I had a phone call from an established breeder with a question about type. With the conversation we had, I felt it would make an excellent topic for this month’s column. The discussion was on confirming what type is. Interestingly, in one of our dog magazines the same discussion was brought up at around the same time. Many people confuse type with fashion or their own preferences in what they want to see in a dog. Type in a breed is set and defined by the standard. The description of breed character and correct silhouette, head, movement, coat, and overall balance is told to the breeders by the AKC standard for our breed. The standard is what breeders should be trying to replicate to create our ideal Maltese. The standard is the keeper of our breed. It is written to set the bar and describe what makes our breed specific and different from other breeds! At one of our national specialties, the late Mr. Richard Beauchamp gave one of his famous and informative programs about the “five elements of type,” and a breeder stood up and said they liked the baby-doll heads and the big eyes. Mr. Beauchamp’s polite response was, “Then you need to breed another breed, as you are not breeding what your standard calls for in a Mal- tese.” That was so well said. The standard calls for type in its description of an ideal Maltese. When people say there are different types in various parts of the country, they are referring to styles. These terms should not be interchanged. Just because one part of the country may have dogs that are little and small boned, and in oth- er areas the dogs may be bigger, with different heads or coats, that is not refer- ring to type. Yes, there is a range within our standard; this does not make one style right or wrong, providing it is still within what the standard calls for. Proper balance is very important, as our standard states in many places that everything is medium, with nothing extreme. There are people who talk about “angles,” but our standard never men- tions angles—or planes, or other terms written in other standards. It is also interesting to note the styles of topknots used by those who are trying to create round heads and short noses. Again, this is not what our standard calls for. Unfortunately, many of the new beauty aids, like hair straighteners and other new products, have been used to change what our dogs look like, and many coats are not what they actually appear to be. Breed- ers who rely on such products are only fooling themselves to the detriment of their breeding programs by creating coat qualities that the dog does not have naturally. Even though different breeders like different styles of dogs, they all should be breeding sound dogs that are of the same type as described by our AKC Maltese standard. I hope everyone has great holidays and a great new year!
BY DARYL MARTIN
This article originally appeared in the Maltese column of the December 2017 AKC Gazette and is reprinted with the permission of the author.
288 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020
MALTESE BREED STANDARD
A TIMELESS PICTURE IN WORDS
BY PAT BULLARD
I t’s time to enter the show ring, but the judge is standing at the table intently reading the Maltese breed standard. To me, that’s as impressive as a Maltese breeder who keeps the breed standard with them all the time and breeds to it faithfully. Th e standard is not a recipe where substitutions can be added to get the same result. We’re not try- ing to create a new Maltese dog. We are trying to preserve an ancient breed that has been around for over 2,500 years. We expect show judges to know our breed standard and follow it to the letter and we, as breeders, should expect the same from ourselves. I take lots of trips down Memory Lane, watching vintage videos and searching through old magazines. Sometimes I fi nd myself so lost in what was, I can almost touch the Maltese from generations ago. I admire how closely the Maltese of decades ago fi t the breed standard so much more closely—and many of them could win today. Th e classic moderate head, the balance and soundness of structure and movement would all be as beautiful to see in the ring today as it was in the old days. Even coat texture and color were more honest before we started bleaching and fl at ironing for the show ring. I miss the Maltese I knew and admired from those days. You may think I’m speaking of the biggest winners (and I do remember many of those fondly), but it is the general population that has changed so much in the last few decades. Have we, as breeders, taken license to deviate from the standard to the point of ill health for our breed? Have we, as breeders, caved-in to the pet market and ignored the standard? Or have we decided the standard leaves enough room for interpreta- tion that we can take liberties? Th e answer I give is the best advice I’ve been given from a breeding mentor: “Breed to the standard. Don’t try to improve it. Respect it.” Like some other breeds, it is the head of the Maltese that has been most a ff ected by fad, fashion, pet owner pref- erences, and deviation from the breed standard. Th e consequences of changing skull shape are complicated and can be devastating. Th e Toy breeds were built using forms of dwar fi sm. Ateliotic pituitary dwar fi sm is a de fi ciency in somatropin, which results in stunted growth of all somatic cells in the body. Th is is the form of dwar fi sm that miniaturizes all parts. Th e two other types you will recognize are achondroplasia, which shortens the legs, lengthens body and gives a larger head, and brachycephalic achondroplasia, which shortens the head by shortening the mid-face and upper jaw. If either of the last two types of dwar fi sm are present in the Maltese, we have some major problems. All forms have side e ff ects and they are all serious ones. Th e answers for our biggest health problem, a neurological disease called MUE (by necropsy can be diagnosed as GME), have yet to be discovered; there is a research project being conducted by Dr. Renee Barber at the University of Georgia (contact: email@example.com ). It is impossible to contemplate neurological disorders without considering the e ff ects of skull shape. We’re all aware of the neurological disorders Maltese face today. Head shape has an enormous e ff ect on neurological disorders. Th e breed standard speci fi cally describes the skull as slightly rounded on top, the stop moderate, the eyes set not too far apart, the muzzle is of medium length, fi ne and tapered but not snipy. We cannot have healthy Maltese dogs without a healthy skull shape. As important as structure, the head is the neurological control center of healthy life. It is in our breed’s best interest for us all to understand that the head described in the breed standard is not to be reinvented or changed in any way. We can play around with our interpretations of silky pure white hair or how high the arch of the tail is with its tip lying to the side over the quarter. We can breed for ultra pigment with eye halos as our preference. We can prefer the smaller side of the standard or the larger end. None of these areas of interpretation a ff ect the health of our breed. Th ere is so much to consider when we take on the responsibility of being breeders, but our fi rst responsibility is to our breed standard. Always let the breed standard lead you forward. Th is is where we will fi nd health and type.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020 | 289
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. A Maltese floating around the ring is always a crowd pleaser. Is he as entertaining at home? 3. What’s your favorite characteristic in this charmer? 4. The Maltese is currently ranked by AKC as #37 out of 192. Has his popularity fluctuated during your involvement? Why do you think this is so? 5. We know image is important. What clothing color do you favor to complement his gorgeous white coat? 6. How do you place your pups? 7. At what age do you choose a show prospect? 8. What is your favorite dog show memory? 9. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DARYL MARTIN
always replace them with another one. If you are talking about at the shows. I just read a letter from Aennchen to Frank Oberstar that she was complaining in the 60s there were no majors. That hasn’t changed. The show game has gone up and down, but the want for pets has always been there. What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s white coat? I wear a lot of black, but I do anyway. I also recently have worn a very deep electric blue with many compliments. Truthfully it is the dog that should stand out, not the handler. Many rich colors are worn. At specialties since everyone likes to wear black, I like to wear a different color to stand out! How do I place my pups? I do not advertise. The few litters I have are for my own desire to make better dogs or consistent good dogs. Generally word of mouth is where my dogs go if I don’t keep them. Many of my dogs are replacing generations of dogs that peo- ple have bought in the past. As I said earlier once a Maltese owner, always a Maltese owner. My dogs generally are not sold as puppies either as I like to see how they turn out. You have no idea as young puppies unless they have a terrible fault to begin with. At what age do I choose a show prospect? As I just said young puppies change. Show prospect is a funny description as anything can be shown. I am very critical of my dogs, and most of my pets that I sell are others show prospects. I do not sell to show homes, I keep my best and sell the others to pet homes. I have a couple people that I share with, who are very special. One I just lost this year. Probably the most favorite memory was at the national in hous- ton. Dorothy Nickles was judging. I had the great #1 Toy BIS BISS CH. Joanne-Chen’s Mino Maya Dancer, “Mino” entered as a vet- eran. I had not shown him all year, and I also had not trimmed him all year. He won the veterans class, but could not walk due to his long coat. I quickly yelled give me a scissors and cut his coat. In those days the amount of specials was triple or more what we have today, so I had a few minutes while the best of breed competi- tion was organizing and veterans go to the end. I won the national! Nobody could believe how I did that so quickly, neither could I! I also was so proud because the bitch that I was specialing that year (we had a pitch hitter handler show BIS CH. Gemmery’s Citrine Bean , and she went BOS. She was out of my Bean Puff, and was and probably still is top producing BIS bitch in history of the breed. I just would like the people to realize what our standard states and what Maltese are. Since I have been part of this breed probably almost longer than anyone else in the breed today, I have seen how our Maltese were years ago and where they have changed. It is only in the last five years or so that our breed is changing drastically, and I hope we go back to the middle. Granted grooming changes,
I live in the Chi- cago area, a northern suburb. I often go into our broadway area to see the new- est musicals Chicago has to offer. Our theatre group always does a nice dinner beforehand, and then we see a play. It is important to be able to do fun things. Is the breed as
entertaining at home as they are in the ring? Of course they are entertaining at home. They love to please and are very smart and loving too. What’s my favorite characteristic? I love the personality of a Maltese; they think they are big dogs. Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Since I have been involved in the breed since the late 50s early 60s I have seen the popularity always go uphill. Since they have small litters they are not on top of the numbers game. Years ago there weren’t as many breeds to compare numbers with either. Many Mal- tese pet owners are Maltese owners for life . Once they own one they
“TRUTHFULLY IT IS THE DOG THAT SHOULD STAND OUT, NOT THE HANDLER. MANY RICH COLORS ARE WORN. At specialties since everyone likes to wear black, I like to wear a different color to stand out!”
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Maltese Q& A
“MALTESE ARE THE ULTIMATE COMPANION DOGS. They are game for whatever you want—they fetch, go on walks or watch TV. They are little clowns and always seeking attention.”
Daryl Martin continued
but we need to realize the Maltese that are from the other countries are not what our akc standard calls for. We also need to be aware of the change in our breed and also the change in the health of our dogs too. STACY NEWTON Stacy Newton and
Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Our registration numbers are declining. There are fewer show breeders and the breeders we have are breeding fewer litters. The breed requires a huge commitment insofar as grooming and has the usual issues involved in whelping toy dogs. Litters are gener- ally small. The breed is fortunate however in that there are some younger breeders who are very devoted to the breed and who do a terrific job with their dogs. Numbers are also down, in my opinion, because breeders who bred solely for the purpose of producing pets are now breeding small mixed breeds instead of purebreds. What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s white coat? Black of course! I wear a lot of navy blue, and also hot pink and royal blue. How do I place my pups? I’ve been extremely fortunate in that my “puppy people” have been referrals from friends in other breeds, and so there is a connection before I even speak with a potential new home. I don’t do applications—first contact is usually email, then phone calls and then if possible an in-person meeting. I am always excited about homes where the dogs will participate in some activity—therapy work, obedience, agility, rally. I previously par- ticipated in companion events with my Papillons and when raising my Maltese litters I do the same things I did with my Papillon litters to prepare them for those activities. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I start looking at my puppies right away, things like coat texture and pigment and head shape can be seen early on. Deciding who stays involves an analysis of the reasons why I bred that litter more so than who I think is the pick puppy overall. If I bred to a particular dog in order to improve coat texture and length of back for example (areas where the bitch may be lacking), I’m going to keep the puppy that best displays those characteristics to move forward from. These are things that we can see as the puppies develop and I usually have my mind made up between eight to ten weeks. My favorite dog show memory? Nothing can ever touch win- ning BISS at the AMA National Specialty in 2019 under respect- ed breeder-judge Sandy Bingham-Porter with our Joey (GCHB Divine’s Takes The Cake At Sarcenet). My husband showed him and I paced outside the ring the whole time. The year before our Jef- frey (CH Sarcenet I Call Shotgun) won Best Puppy in Sweepstakes at the National at six months and a week old with me handling him, which was also a wonderful experience. Each special win reminds me of the birth of that dog—all that hope and love in a four ounce puppy coming to fruition months or years later. I loved the beauty of Maltese for years before I got up the nerve to buy one to show—I was terrified of the grooming required. I’d like to tell people who are interested in a Maltese that yes, there is a steep learning curve grooming-wise, but it can be learned with practice. I’m so glad I got over my coat care fears because we would have been missing out on the best breed ever if I had not!
Ellen Kurland are the breeders behind Sarcenet Maltese. Stacy’s husband Zach is a professional handler who shows sev- eral breeds, including Maltese. Sarcenet Mal- tese is indebted to Angela and Larry Stanberry of Divine Maltese who pro- vided a strong foundation to Sarcenet through their decades of exceptional breeding decisions and devotion to the breed. Prior to showing and
breeding Maltese, Stacy showed and bred Papillons with her mentor Rita Koy and participated in obedience, agility and rally competi- tion. Stacy thanks her cousin Noel Ramsey (Samoyeds and Alaskan Malamutes) for bringing her into the wonderful world of dog shows! My husband (Handler Zach Newton) and I live just outside of Evansville, Indiana, in the southwest corner of the state. Outside of dogs I work a “3/4 time” flex time schedule writing legal briefs for a large employment law firm. My job is nearly 100% remote which allows me to travel to shows, although it also means that I sometimes have to pull “all-nighters” in the RV to get my work done! Prior to that I practiced in a traditional law firm as a litigation attorney for over 20 years. For fun outside of dogs I enjoy watch- ing horror movies, reading (especially Stephen King) and shopping for shoes! Is the breed as entertaining at home as they are in the ring? Abso- lutely. Maltese are the ultimate companion dogs. They are game for whatever you want—they fetch, go on walks or watch TV. They are little clowns and always seeking attention. My foundation bitch is particularly funny and has passed her silliness onto her puppies. What’s my favorite characteristic? They want nothing more than to be with their people, but they also love the company of other Maltese. There is an occasional scuffle, but for the most part they live in harmony. It is wonderful to be surrounded by dogs that get along well.
266 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019
On Judging the MALTESE
BY DARYL MARTIN
Reprinted From April 2011
In your mind what constitutes a Maltese and makes it unique from any other breed? Most importantly, it is a Toy breed with a white silky coat, with black eyes and nose that flows around the ring. With this in mind, our standard describes our dogs and basically, this will be the end result. M any times in our standard, the word medium is used, which in judging should be kept in mind. Nowhere does it say anything about exaggerated necks, legs or heads. Our standard calls for a dog ideal from four to six pounds, but overall quality is to be considered before size. Sometimes pounds do not properly describe a dog as you can have a large rangy dog that only weighs five pounds and you can just as easily have a very well bodied smaller dog that can also weigh five pounds. Our dog's coat texture is unique as it is silky but not at all the same as Yorkies or Silkies. You can have a Maltese that has silky hair and has 100 hairs per square inch, which will make it look fuller, but still silky, or you can have a dog that has silky hair and only has about 50 hairs per square inch as well. Beware as sometimes Maltese that have less hair may not necessarily have silky hair, but very fine hair that easily breaks and this does not mean it is silky. Those types of dogs can have a very fine undercoat that mats, therefore easily damaging the log hair the grows. Our dog's expression is unique to our breed as well. They are not rounded heads, often referred to as Chihuahua heads, and not totally flat terrier heads as well, as our standard states, moderate from the rounding of the skull to the moderate stop as well. Of course, we do not want an upturned Shih Tzu faces, or downnosed pencil faces either. The Maltese expression is enhanced by black rims around the eyes and a black nose. As fashion has set in other breeds, the word "Halo" or the skin around the eyes does make a more piercing expression, however, nowhere in our standard is that called for. Many dogs that are from local areas where the sun is out longer or stronger often have better halos. However, if a dog is a very good specimen of the breed, it should not be penalized for lack of halos providing the total eye pigment is around the eye. If the Maltese flows around the ring, generally the build of the dog is correct. Just think if you can put a plate on the back of the dog in your mind, and it doesn't go up and down, but stays level, all the legs are working correctly. Also, the tailset should be coming straight off the backline, up and over the back with the tip touching the hind quarters. If you see a twitch to the tail, it is working like a rudder, and there is something wrong with the rear assembly. Maltese are real clowns and love attention. If they are naughty in the ring, that is part of their personality. I have just touched on a few things for your education about the breed. Please contact our Co-Chairmans, Daryl Martin or Mary Day firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we would be happy to give you more information.
268 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019
BREED STANDARD: A TIMELESS PICTURE INWORDS
BY PAT BULLARD
I t’s time to enter the show ring but the judge is standing at the table intently reading the Maltese breed stan- dard. To me, that’s as impressive as a Maltese breeder who keeps the breed standard with them all the time and breeds to it faithfully. It is not a recipe where substitutions can be added and get the same result. We’re not trying to create a new Maltese dog. We are trying to preserve an ancient breed that has been around for over 2500 years. We expect show judges to know our breed standard and follow it to the letter and we, as breeders, should expect the same from ourselves. I take lots of trips down Memory Lane watching vintage videos and searching through old magazines. Some- times I find myself so lost in what was I can almost touch the Maltese from generations ago. I admire how closely the Maltese decades ago fit the breed standard so much more closely and many of them could win today. The classic moderate head, the balance and soundness of structure and movement would all be as beautiful to see in the ring today as it was in the old days. Even coat texture and color were more honest before we started bleaching and flat ironing for showing. I miss the Maltese I knew and admired from the those days. You may think I’m speaking of the biggest winners and I do remember many of those fondly but it is the general population that has changed so much in the last few decades. Have we, as breeders, taken license to deviate from the standard to the point of ill health for our breed? Have we, as breeders, caved in to the pet market and ignored the standard? Or have we decided the standard leaves enough room for interpretation that we can take liberties? The answer I give is the best advice I’ve been given from a breeding mentor. “Breed to the standard. Don’t try to improve it. Respect it.” Like some other breeds, it is the head of the Maltese that has been most affected by fad, fashion, pet owner prefer- ences, and deviation from the breed standard. The consequences of changing skull shape are complicated and can be devastating. The toy breeds were built using forms of dwarfism. Ateliotic pituitary dwarfism is a deficiency in somatropin which results in stunted growth of all somatic cells in the body. This is the form of dwarfism that miniaturizes all part. The two other types you will recognize are achondroplasia which shortens the legs, ltenthens body and gives a larger head and brachycephalic achondroplasia which shortens the head by shortening the mid face and upper jaw. If either of the last two types of dwarfism are present in the Maltese we have some major problems. All forms have side effects and they are all serious ones. The answers for our biggest health problem, a neurological disease called MUE (by necropsy can be diagnosed as GME), have yet to be discovered and there is a research project being conducted by Dr. Renee Barber at the University of Georgia (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ). It is impossible to contemplate neurologi- cal disorders without considering the effects of skull shape. We’re all aware of the neurological disorders Maltese face today. Head shape has an enormous effect on neuro- logical disorders. The breed standard specifically describes the skull as slightly rounded on top, the stop moderate, the eyes set not too far apart, the muzzle is of medium length, fine tapered but not snipy. We cannot have healthy Maltese dogs without a healthy skull shape. As important as structure, the head is the neurological control center of healthy life. It is in our breed’s best interest for us all to understand the head described in the breed standard is not to be reinvented or changed in any way. We can play around with our interpretations of silky pure white hair or how high the arch of the tail with its tip lying to the side over the quarter. We can breed for ultra pigment with eye halos as our preference. We can prefer the smaller side of the standard or the larger end. None of these areas of interpreta- tion affect the health of our breed. There is so much to consider when we take on the responsibility of being breeders but our first responsibility is to our breed standard. Always let the breed standard lead you forward. That is where we will find health and type.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019 • 269
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