Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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
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breeding the Chihuahua is the litter size, c-section or natural birth, and survival rate. For the joys, when all come out alive, suckle, and the dam loves all of them. The most comical thing I’ve ever witnessed at a dog show? I think the best response to this is I have fun when I judge and every show is different. There is always something that makes me laugh at every show. Exhibitors just need to loosen up a little and have fun with their dogs at the shows. LORI KRUGER I live in Thunder Bay,
I have been in dogs since 1978. Kennel name is HAY- BROOK. I started in Min- iature Schnauzers, and then picked up Chihuahuas and Japanese Chin as a second and third breed. I have bred, exhibited, and finished all three colors of Miniature Schnauzers, Smooth Coat Chihuahuas, and Japanese Chin in all colors. Our dogs have won many Regional and National Specialties over the years as well as being nationally-ranked. Since 1995, I have concentrated on judging. I am currently approved to judge the Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group, Ter- rier Group, Miscellaneous Group, Junior Showmanship, and Best in Show. Over the years, I have judged the National Specialties for all of the breeds in which I am considered a breeder judge. I greatly appre- ciate the honor my fellow breeders have bestowed on me. I have never been afraid to step up to the plate to work for canine organizations. Here is a list of just some of them: Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs, President; Illinois Capitol Kennel Club, Treasur- er–past President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Board Member; Land of Lincoln Chihuahua Club, President, past Vice-President and Board Member; Japanese Chin Club of America – past Presi- dent, Treasurer, Vice-President, Board Member, JEC Chairperson; American Miniature Schnauzer Club (AMSC) member since 1983; and Breed Mentor for Miniature Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, and Japanese Chin. I live in Springfield, Illinois. I’m now retired. I was a Real Estate Broker and Pre-License Instructor for 14 years after retiring from 29 years in State Government as the State of Illinois Data Provisioning Manager. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Food; I love to cook comfort food and bake bread. What don’t most people know about the breed? People think they are ankle biters—and they can be. They are extremely smart, and have their people favorites. They are sturdier than most give them credit and are good watchdogs. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and “sickle” tail? Well, let’s see. Saucy expression: There is a twinkle in the eye when they look at you with a hint of mischievousness. Apple dome: The best way to see this is in side profile. Picture a side profile of a red delicious apple; high forehead, definite stop. Sickle tail: The tail had a curve like a sickle and is usually carried up over the back or out to the rear as an extension of the level back. What about correct proportion for the breed? Slightly out of square. If you start thinking the height is too short for the length of body or the length is too long or short for the height, then the dog is not “slightly out of square.” Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? The only difference should be the length of coat. Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? All colors or patterns are equal when evaluating the Chihua- hua. No preference should be given or favored during evaluation. I like all. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affection- ate companion? Yes to both. What are the challenges and joys of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? Probably the most challenging of
Ontario, and have worked for the Ontario Government (Cor- rections) for 35 years. I am cur- rently a Program Analyst and develop rehabilitation programs for offenders. I began showing dogs
(Smooth Fox Terriers) in the late 80s and acquired my first Chi- huahua in 2011. Outside of dogs, I have owned and shown horses (Morgans, Half-Arabians and Arabians) for the past 45 years. What don’t most people know about the breed? Chihuahuas are very trainable for events like agility as they can be very brave, eager to please and just love the game. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and “sickle” tail? These are key elements to the “essence” of the breed. What about correct proportion for the breed? Chihuahuas are to be well-balanced, “slightly” longer than tall, with a somewhat shorter body preferred in males. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? Just the coat! Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? A Chihuahua is allowed to be any color and even though some people have color preferences, a beautiful Chi is a beautiful Chi—regardless of color. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affection- ate companion? It seems that many Chis are dependable show dogs while others need consistent training and safe exposure to be suc- cessful—just like many other breeds. Chihuahuas are absolutely wonderful, affectionate companions! What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? Breeding Chis can be very challenging and I admire all of those resilient breeders who continue to persevere in producing these wonderful little dogs. Small litters, small new- borns, sections, tube feeding, etc. etc. are all things to be prepared for. As a relative “newbie” Chi breeder, I’m happy to say that other Chi breeders are available, helpful and supportive whenever a ques- tion is asked. I’m also very lucky to have a wonderful mentor who has endlessly supported me (I acquired my first show Chi from her). My mentor and I co-bred the current Chihuahua Club of America BISS winner. The most comical thing I’ve ever witnessed at a dog show? Chis can be challenging to hand-off to someone whom they are not familiar with. Many prefer to have a “personal relationship” with their handler. Sometimes a “hand-off ” in the Chi ring results in a less than stellar performance. I’d also like to share this about the breed: Beware! You can’t have just one! They are like potato chips!
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STEPHANIE SCHULTES I have been showing and
ANNETTEWALDKOETTER I live in Seymour, Indiana, and I’m retired. I’ve been involved in dogs for 40 years. Outside of dogs, I enjoy quilting and general sewing projects. I’m active in church affairs and I paint. The Vanderpools helped me get my start, but being a stay-at- home mother, we did not have the financial ability to buy a show puppy. I bought their second pick puppy and worked my way up to a quality line. Two dogs from my line that I had sold won the Chi- huahua National Specialty, with one of them being shown by my daughter. Annalisa has totally taken over the showing of my dogs. This works very nicely for us as she does not like the breeding part– and I do. Our first trip to Westminster was a fabulous experience and one I think everyone should have at some time in their show career. I have met and have become friends with so many wonderful people during my 40 years. I hope my mentoring of them has made them as happy as it has our family. I am basically retired now with a geriatric home of spayed/neutered Chis and only a couple to show and breed. What don’t most people know about the breed? They do not have to be nasty, little dogs. Heredity is a very important part of their disposition as well as exposure to different environments. And like most large breeds, you must maintain a “leader of the pack” attitude. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and “sickle” tail? Bright-eyed, interested in everything around them and not shy and retiring. Picture an apple and this should be the approximate shape of the head—ears and eye placement are very important in the general expression of the Chi. Tails can be either up or out—a “pig” tail or too curley tail is not appropriate. The tail should [be carried] up or almost touch the top of their back; it can be down in a relaxed posture, but never tucked under them. The correct proportion for the breed? Never more than six pounds; and they should be just slightly longer than tall. This enables them to move correctly without sidewinding or single track- ing like some larger breeds do. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? I find the long coats more friendly and smooth coats more stubborn. But I have mostly bred long coats as that is where my heart lies in Chis, so definitely not an expert in smooth coats. Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? Probably every breeder has a color preference and sometimes will pet out a dog that is nice quality, but not their desired color. I prefer a dog with flashy white markings as I feel this draws the judg- es’ attention to the dog. A plainly marked dog could be over-looked. But markings could be detrimental to a dog, i.e. if a spot is in a place that might make the dog’s topline look off. And sometimes all black dogs are hard to see movement, etc., if the matt is also black. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affec- tionate companion? Not all Chis “choose” to be a show dog. Some would rather stay home and not participate in the show arena. How- ever, this does not mean they cannot be an integral part of your breeding program. Most Chis are very loyal to their owners and will defend them, which can seem like they are not good pets. Again, it is important to be the alpha and show them this is not acceptable behavior–in a kindly manner. What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? Maintaining a free-whelping line can be a challenge; with the cost of C-sections today and the small litters
breeding dogs since 1986. I acquired my first Chihuahua in 1992. Two months later, I had to have another. My first show Chi was a blue tri spotted girl bred by Barbara K. Smith (BK’s) and Brooke Kaye (Genbrook). That girl taught me to love Chihuahuas of every color. I have finished dogs in every color, even six merles. Wonderful people have helped me along the way. Because of them I have had top dogs in America, Mexico, Argentina, and Russia.
I live in Mesa, Arizona, and I’m a pet groomer. I’ve been involved in dogs for 40+ years. Any hobbies outside of dogs? Dogs are my life, but I love watching movies. What don’t most people know about the breed? I have had lots of different breeds, but never had a dog more devoted and loving than a Chihuahua. The breed is very intense with its people. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and “sickle” tail? Saucy expression: A little twinkle in their eye of naughtiness. Apple dome: Think Macintosh (big and round). Sickle tail: Perfect tail should go up and tip should sickle (point) towards their head. The correct proportion for the breed? Off-square and slightly longer than tall. Big coats on longs can be very deceiving. You need to get your hands on them before you decide if they are too long. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? Smooth coats are more Terrier-like in temperament. Long coats have a softer temperament. Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? When judging Chihuahuas you should never judge col- or. All colors are equal and allowed! Fawn and black tri are the most preferred. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affec- tionate companion? A dependable showdog–sometimes–and then, sometimes, it’s all fun and games. Chihuahuas are the ultimate companions. They love to go anywhere their people need to go. What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? I have been blessed with a very healthy line of dogs. However, the breed can have issues with hydrocephalus, hypoglycemia, slipping stifles, heart and eye issues. The breed is a joy, I love everything about them. Plus they live a long time. I know of quite a few 18+-year-old Chihuahuas. My favorite funny Chihuahua moment would be when Paula Murray and Miss Mary were in the BIS ring in Flagstaff. The Bull- dog did his down and back and Mary turned it on; she barked and was spinning around. Paula’s face told it all. She didn’t know what to do. Mary was always perfect and she had something to say to that Bulldog. Everyone’s eyes were on the Chihuahua because she was being a Chihuahua. Final thought: Chihuahuas are small, but should still be sound. They should be able to move. Standard calls for swift. Remember, they were street dogs and needed to be able to get away from preda- tors. They also need a good bite and strong teeth for the same rea- son. Just because it’s a Chihuahua doesn’t mean it should be less than other breeds.
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This breed is a heartbreak breed when it comes to whelping pup- pies, having necessary C-sections due to the size of the dome, and just tiny weights; very small, fragile sometimes at birth. Breeding Chihuahuas is tough on the emotions, but so worthwhile after the hard part is over.
What don’t most people know about the breed? Most people don’t realize how Terrier-like Chihuahuas are. They make wonder- ful watch dogs. Chihuahuas are also capable of rally, obedience, and many other performance events. Can I talk about the Chihuahua’s “saucy” expression, “apple dome” head and”sickle” tail? The alert expression of the Chihuahua has erect ears, erect posture, up on his toes. and the tail is held in a sickle or rounded sickle position. The sickle tail is the finishing touch to a beautiful, level topline. The head of a Chihuahua should be similar to an apple, with or without a molera, thus the reference to the apple-headed dome. The head should be rounded from ear to ear, dome-shaped and ears at 45 degrees. What about correct proportion for the breed? The breed should be slightly longer than tall. But overall, should be balanced, pleas- ing to the eye. Not too big-boned, not too elegant in bone, but moderate and balanced. Are there key differences between Smooth Coats and Long Coats? The Smooth coat dog and the Long coat dog are identical except for coat. Can I speak to any preferences for solid, marked or splashed coats? All colors are acceptable: solid, marked, or splashed. Mark- ings can be misleading, and can make the appearance of a dip in the level topline that is not really there. Judges must be careful of this. Color should not be a factor in determining which dog is best. Is the typical Chihuahua a dependable show dog and affection- ate companion? The Chihuahua is a loyal companion. They make a wonderful devoted pet. As a show dog, it is sometimes challeng- ing; they are confident, full of themselves. They can be sparred in the ring, go nose to nose with each other, and be big in their heads. They tend to keep you on your toes, and they can have feisty personalities! What are the challenges of breeding and keeping the world’s smallest purebred dog? This breed is a heartbreak breed when it comes to whelping puppies, having necessary C-sections due to the size of the dome, and just tiny weights; very small, fragile some- times at birth. Breeding Chihuahuas is tough on the emotions, but so worthwhile after the hard part is over. The first thing I explain to people about this breed is that you must keep them safe, that’s number one. They can’t jump off the sofa or out of your arms, fall down stairs, or rough house too much. They can be injured if not kept safe. They can escape through fences. Some can climb. They are athletic and fast runners, but they are the biggest joy. They love to be with you, and they love to get in the backpack and go. They carry well in a nice, comfy bag. What’s the most comical thing I’ve ever witnessed at a dog show? I guess my funniest story is just carrying my dog to and from the ring in my backpack. People see her pop her head out of the bag and they laugh.
they generally have, this raises the cost of the puppies. Sometimes free-whelping bitches need a section because a puppy has become stuck, and any time you put a dog this small under general anesthe- sia bad things can happen. Their joys are like those of most other dogs, i.e. their happiness when they see you return home. The most comical thing I’ve ever witnessed at a dog show? One thing that happened at a National Specialty was that my little girl got so excited playing with her toy that it got free from her grip and “flew” into the crowd of spectators, which they enjoyed also. And one time I was in the ring with a first timer and she started circling in one place so fast that I thought she was going to turn into but- ter like the tiger did in the old fairy tale we heard as children. The crowd thought this was funny, but me, not so much. I do believe that was her last time in the ring. I’d also like to share that Liz Bliss, a very wise lady who had been in the breed for many years, once said that breeding Chihuahuas was not for the faint of heart and this is very true. I was also privi- leged to visit Grace Shroyer’s home on several occasions and listen to her many stories of showing dogs and the many well-known and respected old time breeders she had known. Few of our newbies know that we all owe Grace a debt as she was the beginning breeder of long coats as we know them today. She had truly wonderful long coats and she had much wisdom to impart to this newbie. I cher- ished every single lesson. LOWOLFSON I’m currently living in
North Central Florida and have been for 19 years. I was born and raised in Balti- more, Maryland, and gradu- ated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a Bachelor’s degree and graduate credits in psychology and education. I am retired from a career in Police and Correctional Train- ing. I was the Chief of the Academy for correctional offi- cers for the state of Maryland.
I have shown and bred under the kennel name Mahogany since 1982. I showed and bred English Setters for 30 years and I have shown and bred Chihuahuas for the last 11 years. During this span of 38 years, I have shown in conformation, obedience, rally and bred many champions. Presently, my spouse, Roz, and I own Sew What Again! Canine Embroidery. We vend at dog shows and I compete with my dogs all over the country. I love showing my dogs. I love traveling, restaurants, and visiting with friends.
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the Chihuahua UNDERSTANDING THE BREED STANDARD
BY RICHARD MILLER photos provided by the author
T he author needs no introduction to the Chihuahua world. He has known the Chihuahua since July of 1957. He has bred, shown and now has judged the breed for 28 years. He also judges four of the AKC Groups (Hound, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting). He has judged exten- sively in the United States as well as many foreign assignments. Th e word “saucy” is used in the breed standard to describe expression. It is my opinion that saucy also describes tempera- ment and body language. Th e dictionary uses several words to describe saucy. I feel the word is best described when we think of an impudent child or a de fi ant child. I have used photos to show this quality to the best of my ability with photographs. Both of my examples are long-coated dogs, however, a smooth should have the same bold, inquisitive self-assured posture and expression. Th e correct attitude for an entry in the ring is, “Go ahead; make my day.” Th e Chihuahua breed standard does not discuss tail set, but it does mention tail carriage. Th ree carriages are correct (up, up and out or up and over with the tip just touching the back). A dog that carries its tail up and out tends to make itself look longer than it really is. A dog with this carriage is often harder to fi nish than his competition with either of the other tail car- riages. Th e tail carriages of the dogs used for my discussion of expression have what most breeders desire. Knowing where the bone of the tail ends is an important factor. A long coat with a huge plume may have so much coat that the tail “appears” to more than touch the back. Th ere should be no Pug/Basenji type tails nor should we see a tail dropping over the side of the dog like a Papillon. A tail held fl at in the back similar to a Pomera- nian is also faulty.
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JUDGING THE CHIHUAHUA
MOVEMENT IS DESCRIBED IN THE BREED STANDARD
SWIFT SHOULD MEAN GOING AROUND the ring swiftly.
IT DOES NOT MEAN A RAPID SEWING MACHINE UP AND DOWN kind of a movement.
A deserving Chihuahua should possess a head that is described in the breed standard, however, an entry should not win on its head type alone. I have selected two head studies as examples of a quality head. Notice the head in pro fi le. Th e muzzle does not appear too short or too long. Th e muzzle meets the skull in the desired perpendicular manner. Notice the underjaw of this example. Th e underjaw extends right out to the end of the muzzle. Th e eyes are nice and large and well set into the skull. Th e straight-on example shows the domed top skull. Th e correct Chihuahua head is both rounded at the stop around to the ears and between the ears on top of the skull. With regard to grooming, I prefer to see a dog presented as natural as possible. Th is is purely my preference. You will see long-coats heavily groomed with no ear fringe inside the ear. Neither of these dogs are at attention. Th e ears would be held much more closely to one another at attention. Th e wording “serious fault” is used in our standard to describe a dog with anything other than a scissors bite or a level bit. Undershot, over- shot and wry bites are serious faults too often seen in the show ring.
Th e Chihuahua is to be only slightly longer than tall. Shorter backs are preferred in males. Th e black and tan tri-colored male that appears in this article is to be faulted for possessing too long of a body. If the Chihuahua has a front well under itself as called for in our standard it should appear to be nearly square. Th e overhang of the front results in slightly longer than tall. Th is dog appears to have the desired level topline. Th is level top line should be present when standing or when moving. Movement is described in the breed standard as swift. Swift should mean going around the ring swiftly. It does not mean a rapid sewing machine up and down kind of a movement. A judge can make several evaluations of correct movement as a class is sent around the ring. Th e front should reach rather than lift. Th e rear should be a driving rear with pads of rear feet clearly vis- ible as the dog moves away. Th e standard calls for convergence as speed increases. A Chihuahua should not move with its front wide apart like a French Bulldog. Both front and rear should converge somewhat.
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JUDGING THE CHIHUAHUA
THE CHIHUAHUA IS OFTEN CONSIDERED TO BE
the sma ll est of a ll purebred dogs.
THIS IS IN SIZE ONLY.
Th ere are some generic kinds of evaluations that a judge should make just as he/she would judging any breed. Th ese include spring of ribs, pasterns, condition, elbows, etc. Th e Chihuahua is often considered to be the smallest of all purebred dogs. Th is is in size only. A typical Chihuahua is often guilty of forgetting his size and will challenge a dog much larger. Handlers have to be constantly aware of this problem, and not allow their Chihuahuas to go after larger dogs. Th e Chihuahua has personal space just like a Doberman or a Masti ff . Judges do not get into the face of a Dobe, but there are some judges that think they need to get into the space of the Chihuahua. Th is is a pet peeve of mine. Th ere is no need to get right in the face of a Chihuahua and talk baby talk to it. Even the most well-behaved Chihuahua will not tolerate such an invasion of personal space nor should it. Th is problem seems to happen less often of late. I don’t think a person has been born who can tell for sure if a dog is over the six pound limit. Th at is why we have scales available to the judging public. Don’t guess about size; call for the scale. A 5 lb. 15 oz. entry should be given the same consideration as a tiny competitor. As long as a dog does not exceed the six pound limit it should be given full consideration. Our standard no longer says the smaller entry should prevail. Th ere are only four disquali fi cations. Th ese should be consid- ered as the dogs are being examined. Broken down or cropped ears is a di ffi cult DQ to understand. (I have included a photo of a dog with broken down ears.) Handlers of a dog with questionable ears don’t usually allow their entry to look down. If you question an ear or ears, bait the dog so that the dog has to look downward. If the ear cannot be held erect while looking down, the ear(s) is/are a disquali fi cation. Th e example included in this discussion has a crease at the outer edge of the ear. Sometimes a dog will have ears that bounce as the dog moves around the ring. Th is is not neces- sarily a broken down ear. You will not see cropped ears in the show ring nor will you see docked tails or bobbed tails. Bareness in a long-coated entry is seldom if ever seen. My experience has taught me that bareness appears under the chin and down the throat of the dog. Here again, this is a DQ that you most probably will not see in the ring. Th e Chihuahua Club of America has spent many long hours working with an artist and club members to create an illustrated standard. Once completed this illustrated standard should prove to be an invaluable asset to all judges of the Chihuahua.
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CHIHUAHUA QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
RM: Must have proper Chihuahua type, which is much more for me than an apple-domed skull.
3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? SB: Heavy bone causing coarseness (the standard calls for a muscular dog, but also a small, dainty foot indicating fine bone). RM: The muzzle can get so short as to take on an Asian expression/look. This is very offensive and wrong! 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? SB: Yes, today’s dogs have better movement. Some of the dogs in the 1960s had obvious patella problems, toed in, had crooked front legs and toplines were often not level. BJ: Yes, the type is stronger than in the past. They are sounder, teeth problems are better and the size of the teeth have gotten bigger and stronger. We still have too many undershot and overshot mouths. RM: Overall dogs are better today than in the 1990s. Many breeders ignore the phase in our standard “front well under the dog.” Breeders need to concentrate on more than a typical head. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? SB: The Chihuahua is not a head breed. BJ: You want a good picture of the whole dog. Tempera- ment, head, body and soundness, not just the head. RM: New judges too often feel a need to get right in the face of a Chihuahua and talk simple baby talk to
I live in Memphis, Tennessee. Outside of dogs I enjoy going to plays, concerts and cooking out with friends. I also enjoy working in my yard and spending time with my Chihuahuas and Japanese Chin. I am a member of the Danny Thomas St.JudeSociety,asupportgroupforthe St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital here in Memphis. I started showing Chihuahuas during the
1960s and was an AKC-licensed handler for 11 Toy breeds during the 1970s. I have been licensed to judge Chihuahuas since 2007.
I live in northeast Arkansas. I am a retired nurse after almost 33 years. I have been in dogs for 41 years; showing for 40 years and judging for 18. RICHARD MILLER I live in La Harpe, Illinois, which is a very small town in west central Illinois. Outside of dogs I am a stained glass craftsman and a substitute teacher. I am also an avid garden- er and I spend many hours in my yard. I purchased my first AKC-Registered dog in July of 1957. This was a smooth- coated Chihuahua bitch puppy. I exhibited at my first show in 1968 showing a long-haired Dachshund. I judged my first assignment at the Michigan Chihuahua Club in 1992. 1. Describe the breed in three words. SB: Swift-moving, Terrier-like and graceful. BJ: Sweet, devoted and watch dogs! RM: Endearing, intelligent and badly misunderstood. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? SB: Correct movement, level topline, neck and a balanced dog. BJ: Long body with short legs.
TERRIER- LIKE AND GRACEFUL.”
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chihuahua Q&A WITH SALLIE BUCKMAN, BRADLEY JENKINS & RICHARD MILLER
(Illustration courtesy of Sandy Bergstrom Mesmer)
8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. SB: Sometimes we refuse to look at our dogs’ faults. To be conscious of a fault is a big step to overcoming it. Instead of hiding our dogs’ faults, we should share the knowledge of these faults with each other so we don’t double up on them when breeding. We should discuss them freely and work together to understand them. There is a lot of wisdom through common knowledge and common sense. The final outcome is better Chihuahuas and breeders. BJ: It is a wonderful breed. I am retired from breeding this breed. They are long lived, sweet and love their people. I love long-coats to live with. I have two longs and one smooth girl that are middle-aged so they should be around a while. They make wonderful pets, but can be a pain to show. They are not as easy to get them to show as it looks! RM: The Chihuahua is a big dog in a small package. A cor- rectly assembled Chihuahua is capable of leading the Toy group. Chihuahuas do not need to be at the end of the line if they are capable of reach and drive. There should be nothing flashy about a good Chihuahua as he/she moves around the ring. Our standard calls for swift movement. For me this means getting around the ring swiftly, not a front that is swift like a sewing machine. Fronts that are just up and down movements are disgusting. Reach for a Chihuahua should be much like a Working dog or a Sporting dog. This reach should be matched with a driving rear that propels the dog swiftly around the show ring. When I was actively showing dogs, I often got in line first. I have been asked by other exhibitor if I should consider a place further back in the lineup. I have had judges suggest that I move out of the front position. My reply was always, “I’ll move if my dog holds up the line.”
the dog. Chihuahuas have personal space and when a judge gets into this space, it is very offensive. Too many times the judge brings on a reaction that causes this breed to be considered a nasty little character. 6. Have you ever weighed a Chihuahua in the ring? Have you had a question about a Chihuahua’s size but decided not to weigh? SB: No, to both questions. BJ: Yes, I weighed a Chihuahua. No, I’ve never decided against weighing. RM: Yes, I have weighed a Chihuahua in the show ring. I never simply guess that an entry is too big. 7. Have you had the opportunity to attend a Parent Club sponsored Judge’s Ed Seminar? SB: Yes, several times. BJ: Yes, I have been to several seminars sponsored by the parent club. RM: For several years I was judges education chair. I have given the seminar for my breed multiple times.
“THE CHIHUAHUA IS A BIG DOG IN A SMALL PACKAGE.”
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GettinG to know the CHIHUAHUA BREED
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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movement should not be rewarded, neither should any serious deviation from good sound structure. 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? Chihuahuas have made great strides—much sounder dogs these days and more consistent—one seldom sees the kind of diversity often common in large classes 20 or 30 years ago. Chihuahuas are presented more effectively and can and actually do move around the ring well. Most have good temperaments and the wonderful terrier-like attitudes we want to see. Chihuahuas these days are also nicely groomed and generally presented in excellent condition. I think we need to make sure we don’t focus of choosing the more generic Chihuahua that might do well in the group ring but be a less worthy choice in the gene pool. Too often these days what can win is not the best option for the best results in the whelping box. 5. Is there anything Chihuahua handlers do you wish they would not? I am not a fan of too much hand stacking—I like to see the dog free stacked and while baiting is fine—staring at the bait to the exclusion of all else, is not a plus in my book. I like to see a Chihuahua who interacts with its environment and who is looking to see what they can get into next. 6. What are your feelings about the merle pattern? I breed and show merles and I am sad that there was so much misinformation spread about the pattern. 7. How does size affect your decisions, as long as the dog is under 6 pounds? We need to respect our 6 lb. limit. Weigh the dog if there is a question. Both judges and exhibitors need to take the responsibility for enforcing the standard. As long as a dog makes weight it deserves consideration, but often Chihuahuas right at the top can have issues with balance and coarseness. 8. Do you see differences besides coat in Long Coats vs. Smooths? Not nearly as much as in decades past. When I came along, the Smooth were generally better, but not so these days. We seem to have years when there are better examples of one coat in the ring—but overall the best Longs and the best Smooths are equal in merit. I think it’s important that we stay one breed with the freedom to use both varieties in our breeding programs. 9. Name a previously campaigned Chihuahua that illustrates your ideal type. I have two—my Smooth Coat would be the breath-taking Ch. Call’s Delightful Design. This beautifully headed fawn girl was a wonderful balance of superior breed type and soundness. She was a joy to watch with her lovely movement, great attitude and excellent showmanship. My Long Coat would be the great Ch. Bayard Wind beneath My Wings—a tri-spotted male, also a Chihuahua with that
MARGUERITE “MAGGIE” L. DANE-FISHER AthAme ChihuAhuAs 1. Please tell us about your background in Chihua- huas, including kennel name, highlights, judging experience. We’d also like to know where you live and what you do outside of dogs. In 1957 my family moved from downtown Niagara Falls, NY to the suburbs. It was my great good fortune that we landed in a neighborhood with several wonderful Chi- huahua breeders who soon became my mentors. In addi- tion, western NY state was rich in dedicated old-timers and I was lucky to have their guidance. Living right on the border I also got to show in Canada and meet some of the lovely old time Ontario breeders. There were no dog people in my family, so to support my dog activities I had my own grooming business and gave obedience classes. History and reading are my other passions as well as bargain hunting at flea markets and estate sales. My Athame Chihuahuas have been in the ring in both America and Canada for many decades and have earned BIS in both countries and are frequent group placers. I do not breed often, but each new generation gives winning show dogs and wonderfully consistent quality Chihua- huas that I enjoy sharing with my fellow breeders. Chihuahuas are the only breed I judge at present, but now that I have “new knees,” I plan on adding a few Toy breeds as I have bred Chinese Cresteds and Chins in addi- tion to Chihuahuas and over the years have shown most of the breeds in the Toy group. 2. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Chihuahuas? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? Sound temperament; Great head and expression; Good movement—sound and swift; Balance; Good strong rear angulation. Of course our distinctive head and expression and our wonderful terrier-like attitude are the hallmarks of the breed for me. 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? I am not a tooth fairy and I don’t get as bent out of shape about the amount of curl in tails or about less than per- fect feet. I can’t cope with a shy or aggressive Chihuahua. I am not tolerant of a common looking head or a dog lacking in expression. A Chihuahua lacking in balance or tending to coarseness is not something I like. Lack of proper rear angulation is a no-no. Poor or unsound
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magic balance of type and soundness. He had a beautiful head and expression and was lovely on the move. I loved how his coat was just right. He went on to produce some superior individuals. 10. Anything else you’d like to add? We seem to have lost that sense of collective responsibil- ity that many of the old timers had. It’s fine to like slightly different styles—but we all need to keep a high “bottom line” about what is acceptable in both the show ring and the whelping box. Too many new fanciers lack the kind of mentorship that equips them to understand that a show record is not the sole factor one needs to consider when choosing breeding stock. That skill is critical these days when presentation often makes an average animal into a world-beater. Helping breeders make good choices for their gene pools and for the long-term welfare of our breed needs to be the priority for all responsible Chihuahua breeders. GRAHAM B. FOOTE BAllyBroke ChihuAhuAs 1. Please tell us about your background in Chihua- huas, including kennel name, highlights, judging experience. We’d also like to know where you live and what you do outside of dogs. I cannot recall any time in my life when I have not been involved with dogs. I was given a West Highland White Terrier by an uncle when I was three years old and apart from three years in the Royal Air Force, where I had some involvement in Dog Handling, I have never been without an animal. When I was ten I started to handle my mother’s Yorkshire Terriers, then Pembroke Welsh Corgis, until I left home at 15 and went to work on a farm where I had a GSD. Following three years of National Service, I was still on demob leave when one day my mother asked if I would like to share in the cost of purchasing a Chihuahua as she had seen one advertised in a local paper. My first words to her were, “Why do you want to buy a rabbit?” At that point I had never even heard of a Chihuahua and thought that she wanted to buy a Chinchilla. She of course explained that it was the smallest breed of dog in the world that she wanted me to take her to see. So off we went to look at a litter of six smooth coats and as they say… the rest is history. We bought our first Chihuahua that day. Lola—she turned out to be rather special and in her lifetime she had five lit- ters and reared 26 puppies. She lived to just under twenty years and most of our original stock came from puppies produced by Lola. Our prefix Ballybroke came from the name of a street in Girvan, in Ayrshire, Scotland, where my parents had a holiday cottage. As I was broke (penni- less) after paying the equivalent of nine weeks wages to
purchase Lola, I said being “bally well broke” would make the prefix a good name for the position I was then in! Margaret and I became the joint owners of the prefix after my mother retired from showing. Our daughter Alison, who in 2016 will be judging Smooth Coat Chihua- huas at Crufts, has shared in the prefix for many years, but has never really used it. Other than the Smooth Coat Club, I have judged every breed club and most of the All Breed Clubs in the UK, including Crufts. I have judged many times in Europe, also in Australia (where I judged their first National Specialty), Japan, South Africa, the States, and next month will be judging at the first National Specialty in Japan. We have now made up 38 UK Champions, including the record holder in the breed Ballybroke’s Miles Better. We are very near to retiring from breeding, although for this year, from the one litter that we have bred, we have the top Long Coat puppy for the year. 2. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Chihuahuas? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? I like nothing better than to see a Chi going around the ring with its head held high on a nicely arched neck, a good level back and a nice high set tail just leaning slightly over the back. I am a stickler for correct move- ment. I generally get down to watch the dogs coming and going and like to see only one set of legs moving in each direction, but this is something that I do not see often enough. My main concern when judging is the expression and this is created by large well set ears, large eyes, deep stop and lean jaws. Dogs that I like have to be cheeky, bright and alert. Heavy jowls and broad, ultra short muzzles do not fit my picture of a Chihuahua. I like to see a correct bite, and in the UK have been complaining for many years about the high percentage of undershot, overshot and missing teeth. However, I can live with a bite that has only four instead of six incisors, particularly if the teeth are set evenly and filling the space provided. Exhibitors in the UK have often said I am a tooth fairy—I am not, but do think we need to work more at getting our mouths sorted out. 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? As mentioned earlier, I must see good positive movement as important and dogs that are in soft condition and lack- ing in muscle tone are to me a sure sign of dogs that are boxed far too much and get very little exercise. I have a major difficulty in placing dogs that are not at least shown in good, firm condition; there is no excuse for this. In the States, much shorter backs seem to me to be more common than in past years. I wonder what this has meant as far as caesareans are concerned—are many more are carried out than in the past? 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?
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