Cocker Spaniel Breed Magazine - Showsight


1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. How many years in the Cocker Spaniel? Showing? Judging? Breeding? 3. What, in your opinion, is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. Do you have a favored color? 5. Cockers have been extremely popular for decades; they’re now ranked #30 out of 192 AKC breeds. Is its popularity good or bad for breeders, and for the breed? 6. What is your favorite dog show memory? 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. KATHLEEN BROCK Our home is in Gig Harbor, Washington about 55 miles south of Seattle. My husband Ron, Cocker Spaniel Brody and cat Tom enjoy walks on our seven and one-half acres. We live on Rocky Creek where salmon spawn every year. There’s bear, deer, coyotes, cougar, raccoon and many different birds here including eagles and herons. Gardening and crocheting are two of my favorite pass times. Do I have a favored color? Although I have bred group win- ners in all three varieties the Buff’s in the ASCOB variety are my favorites. When the Cocker Spaniel was at the Top of the popularity breeders didn’t like it because it encouraged backyard breeders to breed them. Now that we are number thirty we don’t like that either because there are less Cocker Spaniel entered at the shows. As a Sporting Dog Judge my biggest concerns are hocks and straight fronts. I see many sickle, cow and luxating hocks and straight fronts with short upper arms. As a Cocker Spaniel breeder today I find longer loins, short rib cages, backs too long overall, low tail sets, straight fronts with short upper arms. The dogs look like they have short necks but really it is the lack of the correct 90 degrees of shoulder and upper arm placement. The running gear on a Sporting dog must be sound not weak or fancy. My advice to new breeders is to find a qualified Mentor and listen to them and learn from their many years of knowledge in the breeds. Attend as many shows as possible and sit at ring side and just watch the dogs. Check for breed type and sound movement. Then attend a Field Trial or Hunt Test to see what the breed was bred to do. Ask yourself when judging can this Sporting Dog work in the field all day? For new Judges I would apply most of the last paragraph and talk to as many different breeders as possible for each breed. Always go back to the official AKC Standard and apply it to the dogs you are going over or watching when judging. Don’t be shy, ask ques- tions you want to do a good job for each breed you judge. JACKIE CAVALLIN For the last 20 years I’ve lived in Blythewood, South Carolina. In 2011, I purchased and remodeled a home on 30 acres. Five years ago I retired from my 15 year position with a Small Arms Manufac- turer and started “hobby” farming on my property. Here, I garden and raise heritage poultry—Bourbon Red turkeys for Thanksgiv- ings, Dominique chicken for boutique meat sales, Cochins and Dark Brahma’s for egg customers. I’m a self-proclaimed “foodie”, love spending time with family and dear friends. A day visiting

another farm, searching for antiques or attending a dog show always makes for a great time. My first Cocker was whelped in California in 1994 and came to me shortly thereafter. She was the first Cocker I showed but not my first show dog. Showing began for me in 1983 after I received a Golden Retriever puppy for my birthday. While showing my Gold- en, I received some wise words from Judge J. D. Jones. I soon after obtained a better quality dog to show which was an Akita and my first champion. That dog became the sire of my first litter which was whelped in 1987. In late January 1997, just days after surgery for breast cancer, I whelped my first Cocker Spaniel litter. Those two sweet babies were my inspiration to get over my diagnoses and get back into the show ring. The bitch from that litter became my first Cocker champion and her dam, the foundation for Javalin Cockers. My first Cocker Sweepstakes assignment was in 2007 and since then, I’ve been fortunate to be invited to judge many Sweepstakes including 75th and 100th Anniversary specialties. My most memo- rable assignment so far was being elected by my peers to judge Futu- rity at the American Spaniel Club National July 2018. The secret to a successful breeding program is getting multiple experienced mentors. Those mentors should have a proven track record of producing multiple top quality dogs. Spending as much time as you possibly can attending shows with them, evaluating dogs hands on and ringside. Understanding what a structural fault is and comprehending it’s almost impossible to breed it out of a line. Going to breed seminars, totally understanding the breed standard, being able to see both the faults and virtues of your own dogs and being able to rationally select a mate for each based on the merits and shortcomings of both and their ancestors. Selecting potential show prospects from those breedings with logic and reason instead of making “heart” choices. Never forgetting that having current clear health testing of all parents is critical for the longevity of your line. Being able to admit that a well-planned breeding didn’t go as planned, eliminating those offspring from your program, digging to discover why it didn’t and using that knowledge on future breedings. Do I have a favored color? For me the Cocker Spaniel is the loveliest of all the breeds. All of the varieties and colors are just gorgeous. Because we have three separate varieties that also means we have a lot of bloodlines that all hold their own stories. For me, trying to investigate and educate myself on all three was more than I felt I could do justice to so I picked one—parti colored. Is the breed’s popularity good or bad for breeders, and for the breed? Cockers were the most popular for many years. As a result, many uneducated breeders rushed to produce an over-abundance of poor quality dogs with a multitude of health issues and conforma- tional short comings to fill the demand. Some of those still haunt our breed today. Even though Cocker Spaniels are not as popular as they once were, we continue to have many of the same issues. With the costs of showing continuing to rise, the litters from experienced and well educated breeders are in decline but the gap is being filled. It’s being filled by newer breeders, some of which lack appropriate knowledge of our breed as well as, unscrupulous breeders. In my opinion, this is resulting in a lower overall quality of my breed. My MOST favorite show memory is a tough question! I’ve had so many fabulous experiences over the years. January 2005 at Amer- ican Spaniel Club Flushing Spaniel show stays close to my heart. In the 9-12 Futurity Puppy dog class, littermates placed first , second and third. One went on to go Futurity BV and their litter sister was awarded Best Of Winners. The judges, Patricia Darke, Futurity


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