Showsight Presents The Chihuahua

GettinG to know the CHIHUAHUA BREED

SALLIE BUCKMAN

all of a sudden out of nowhere. During those years I was exhibiting on a regular basis and saw hundreds of Chihuahuas at all-breed shows as well as specialties and never saw a merle. This pattern can cause deafness, blindness and reproductive problems. Unfortunately, the CCA added it and I have to judge according to the standard. No other country in the world accepts the merle pattern in Chihuahuas. 7. How does size affect your decisions, as long as the dog is under 6 pounds? Many decades ago the standard stated that if two Chi- huahuas were equal in quality, the more diminutive was to be desired. This was taken out of the standard so size can no longer be used as a criteria in judging. I prefer a smaller male Chihuahua that is ‘cobby’ (not short-legged) and balanced. Females can be slightly longer in body. The Chihuahua is supposed to be the smallest of the toy breeds, but as long as the dog is under 6 pounds and is a quality dog, I would put it up. 8. Do you see differences besides coat in Long Coats vs. Smooths? Long coats are much more sound, smooths need work on toplines and movement; both varieties need improve- ment on ear and eye size (too small). 9. Name a previously campaigned Chihuahua that illustrates your ideal type. Ch. Snow Bunny de Casa de Cris was the first long coat to win all-breed BIS, she was a fantastic mover with correct reach and drive, no hackneying in the front, nice neck and correct topline and proportions. Another favorite of mine was the smooth Ch. Fresa’s Willy Marry Me.

1. Please tell us about your back- ground in Chihuahuas, including kennel name, highlights, judg- ing experience! We’d also like to know where you live and what you do outside of dogs. I started in Chihuahuas in the 1960s and was an AKC-licensed handler for

11 toy breeds during the 1970s. My kennel name is Cedar Ridge, named after the cedar trees growing wild on my home site in Memphis, TN. I have been licensed to judge Chihuahuas since 2009; my first Sweeps assignment was in 1983 in Oklahoma. Outside of the dogs I enjoy plays, concerts, working in my yard and spending time with my Chihuahuas and Japanese Chin. 2. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Chihuahuas? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? Profile, reach, drive, level topline and neck. Their terrier- like attitude is one of the hallmarks of the breed. 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? I can forgive a plainer head if the dog’s profile and move- ment are correct. Poor movement and a topline that is not level are difficult for me to overlook; I also prefer large ears and eyes. 4. 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? Many Chihuahuas have become coarse since the time I started. The standard calls for a ‘dainty foot’ indicating a fine-boned dog. Heads today are better, but bites need improvement. Toplines and movement are a problem in the breed today. 5. Is there anything Chihuahua handlers do you wish they would not? Stringing up their dogs and over-grooming and sculptur- ing long coats. 6. What are your feelings about the merle pattern? The merle color pattern was not in Chihuahuas for decades from the 1960s on to the 1990s when it appeared

10. Anything else you’d like to add? The strength of the Chihuahua rests entirely in the hands of the DEDICATED breeders who strive with each breed- ing to produce Chihuahuas meeting the breed standard.

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