Showsight Presents The Chihuahua

CHIHUAHUA THE

1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. Everyone recognizes the Chihuahua. What don’t most people know about the breed? 4. Can you talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression? His “apple dome” head? His “sickle” tail? 5. What about correct proportion for the breed? 6. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? 7. The Chihuahua is a colorful breed. Can you speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? 8. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog? An affec- tionate companion? 9. What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? The joys? 10. For a “ little” bit of fun: What’s the most comical thing you’ve ever witnessed (or experienced) at a dog show? 11. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. MELANIE BOWLING I live in Simpsonville, Ken-

that they are up to something, very clever. Not sweet, but also not mean or harsh. There’s nothing more Chihuahua, in my opinion, than a beautifully-shaped, apple-dome head with a saucy expression. Large, round eyes and large ears placed properly. It is the breed. The sickle tail is a critical piece of the outline. Too many Chihuahuas in the ring with pig tails or tails laying on their backs. It really ruins the outline which should be distinct from any other breed. I’m very big on a correct outline with a pretty, balanced side-gait. What about correct proportion for the breed? Slightly longer than tall. I feel like there are many differing interpretations of “slightly.” For me, it’s no more than 10%. I’d prefer shorter-backed to longer if given the choice. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? I am partial to long coats. For me personally, they are much easier to groom! They seem to shed less. Not always true, but I do find long coats to be on the sweeter side, less stubborn than smooth coats. I guess because it’s easier to see every flaw, I’m much, much pickier on smooths. However, this makes an exceptional moving smooth coat even more eye catching to me. Smooth coat is domi- nant and long coat is recessive. I only breed long coat to long coat or smooth coat to long coat. That way I have either all long coat litters or at least a shot at mixed litters of both varieties. Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? Any color is accepted in our breed. I prefer flashy, white markings on either a cream, fawn, or red coat with dark eyes and pigment. Expression is such a key component and from across a room, I feel like that’s what the eye is drawn to. I do have self- colored dogs in my breeding program; pigment isn’t everything, by any means, but it is a personal preference. Nothing is prettier than a very expressive black tri, but harder to see from a distance. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affection- ate companion? I would say a typical Chihuahua is probably not a dependable show dog, but a lot depends on knowing how to handle a Chihuahua. There’s a whole lot of “user error.” They are very full of themselves and self-confident, well they should be. They can eas- ily overrun a “soft” handler. What works with one Chihuahua may not necessarily work for another. I look for a very independent, curi- ous, self-confident puppy at a young age as my possible next show prospect. A well-bred, socialized, and properly raised Chihuahua is a wonderful companion. Those that are put in pet homes make great ambassadors for the breed, breaking the bad stereotypes. What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? The challenges are definitely in the whelp- ing box due to being the smallest purebred breed. Lots of sleepless nights, c-sections, hand raising of puppies, puppy losses. But that makes the successes and joys that much more rewarding! The most comical thing I’ve ever witnessed at a dog show? I am very often so focused on my own dog in the ring that I miss most of what else is going on around me, but I will say I’ve been marked by more than one male Chihuahua in the ring claiming me as their own. That’s always funny after the fact! Chihuahuas are the most incredible breed. Loyal, smart, sassy, opinionated, adorable, playful, animated, eternal puppies! They are very much a large, athletic dog in a tiny package and that’s a huge part of why I’ve fallen in love with them.

tucky. My husband, Scott, and I have been married nearly 24 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education, but quit teaching to raise my two kids: Hailee, now 24; and Taylor, now 22. We had horribly-bred pet Chihuahuas for about ten years; all the health, genetic research led me to showing and breeding, which I’ve been doing for 8-1/2

years. (I needed a hobby when my kids started driving.) I focus on health and soundness of mind and body in addition to correct con- formation. Our Chihuahuas are all house pets first, show dogs sec- ond. I’ve bred/co-bred over 20 AKC Champions, have bred several Top-20 Chihuahuas, multiple Group placers, a Best in Specialty Show winner, and a Group winner. I’m a breeder/owner-handler of my own dogs. All of my breeding dogs go through extensive health testing and have their CHIC number. Do I have hobbies outside of dogs? No, well, my family, but my husband races cars and so we get to travel together for each of our hobbies. What don’t most people know about the breed? They are so incredibly smart and trainable, too smart for their own good, real- ly; smarter than many owners and that’s when they can become “monsters.” And they’re compassionate; fiercely loyal, which can be misunderstood. They really have an unwarranted, bad reputation. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and “sickle” tail? The “saucy” expression should convey

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2020 | 179

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