Showsight Presents The Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Q& A

“ANYTIME YOUR DOG IS POPULAR, IN MY OPINION IT CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE AFFECT ON THE BREED. The popularity drives demand and demand can sometimes be at odds with important things like health testing and selective breeding.”

50 years. Our kennel name is Brickett’s Cockers. I am also a handler of 30 years and my daughter Rachael also has a hand in Cockers. She is 17. The secret to a successful breeding program? You should know the standard enough to understand what’s missing in the quality of each dog just by watching them move. Pedigree’s are important to understand but the overall look should be envisioned. If you know the faults on your bitch, then don’t breed to a dog who may have the same faults. Watch the classes at National and Mark your catalog on your picks and compare to see the parentage. Then strive for “the look” you are trying to achieve in your bitch. Do I have a favored color? I absolutely love buff, red and white, red roan and sable. Is the breed’s popularity good or bad for breeders, and for the breed? I think the popularity is a good thing. We love our breed and why shouldn’t everyone love our breed. My favorite dog show memory? When I was 13, I had my first show dog. His name was Macgyver. He was a little black and white male I got from a breeder in Maine named Judy Koch; Still-Pine Cockers. I showed him against all the top handlers at a specialty in Connecticut. I was very worried I would never be able to win those elusive majors. But that day, not only did I win a major; it was four points, But the specialty judge was the late great Mr. Teddy Young Jr. The place was roaring with excitement and cheers and I just cried. What a day for sure. Cockers are a loving dog. Sweet in nature. They are very loyal to whoever feeds them. But also to whoever cares and takes time out to love them. They need discipline for confidence believe it or not. But are soft and understand without harsh punishment. A simple hug will go a long way with a Cocker Spaniel. JUDIE POSNER I grew up on a peninsula in New York called Rockaway, which was technically part of Queens so I am a product of the NYC school system. I graduated Far Rockaway HS in 1972 and started studying with The North American School of Animal Sciences, so you could say dogs have always been my passion. In 1971 I received my first dog from my mother, she was a silver buff Cocker purchased at a pet store, and her undying loyalty and devotion won my heart for the breed and I haven’t been without a Cocker since. Shortly after High School I relocated to Long Island and raised my three children there while I perfected my grooming skills and learnt the true standard of my chosen bred. That’s when I decided to obtain a show puppy. After many months and a great deal of research “Encore” was born. I choose that name thinking about the theater, when your performance is finished and you are encouraged to return to the stage it is referred to as an “Encore” and here I am 46 years later. My current club affiliations include American Spaniel Club, being a board member of South Atlantic Cocker Spaniel Club, and a founding member as well as past president of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Northern Florida.

especially in conformation. I believe this trend has negatively affect- ed the overall quality of most breeds. We still see very high qual- ity animals at the top of our sport but the depth of quality overall has diminished. With respect to Cockers, my primary concern is the loss of breed type—plain heads, lack of balance poor toplines and tail sets. The loss of breed type is so lacking I’m afraid it is becoming mainstream and acceptable. The loss of type includes losing the fundamental traits of a breed which are essential to their purpose—a lack of bal- ance be it straight front compared to the rear or a straight rear com- pared to the front. Poor toplines, loss of rib spring... all traits that are essential to a breed intended to work efficiently in the field. For many years, I’ve been line breeding “at home” and now I find the need breed out. Identifying quality stud dogs is challeng- ing. I recently did a pedigree breeding, an outcross, and the jury is still out on the quality of the litter but my fingers are crossed! Do I have a favored color? I have always preferred and primar- ily bred buffs. I do occasionally breed to black. However, a good Cocker is a good Cocker, in any color. Anytime your dog is popular, in my opinion it can have a nega- tive affect on the breed. The popularity drives demand and demand can sometimes be at odds with important things like health test- ing and selective breeding. Most dangerous is that it can drive an increase in “backyard breeding”. Currently, the #30 ranking for Cockers is probably more of a negative in that it makes it sometimes a challenge to find good homes for companion puppies. Advice to a new breeder or a new judge to my breed? My advice: find a mentor—a long time breeder, and hang on! For new breed- ers: listen, go to specialties, nationals, and seminars. Buy or breed to the best out there and keep doing that. As for new judges, go over dogs—lots of Cockers! The good and the bad. Don’t disregard poor type in the breed just because it’s the norm. Find the ones with the best breed type and soundness and go from there. Study, study, study. The most common fault I see when traveling around the coun- try is generic dogs. JESSICA (BRICKETT) LEGATH I live in North Central

Florida. I have a husband, five kids and my parents. We live on five acres and my husband and I just recently bought a new home in eastern Pennsyl- vania. I am a breeder, I am a handler and soon to be a judge. I was born into Cock- er Spaniels. My parents are breeders and they gave been in the breed for over

286 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2019

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