Showsight Presents the Schipperke

Schipperke Q& A

“Schips are not content to sit and ‘watch the world go by’ they are up in your business most of the time! THEY WILL CUDDLE, ARE LOYAL COMPANIONS AND PASSION- ATE PROTECTORS OF ANYTHING THEY PERCEIVE AS THEIRS.”

Virgina Larioza continued

award in 2015. Along with other ROM and ROMX producers she is the co breeder/co-owner of the stud dog tied for top all time pro- ducer BISS Ch Raffinee Spirit of Chatelet. ROMX Her bitch GrCh Raffinee Nikolena was the number one NOH Schipperke in 2015. Over 50 champions have finished under the Raffinee kennel name I am part owner of one of the largest dojos in the state of Michi- gan. I teach karate and self defense specializing in autism spectrum disorder. I am also the program coordinator and head coach for Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease. How is the breed around the house? Schips are not content to sit and “watch the world go by” they are up in your business most of the time! They will cuddle, are loyal companions and passionate protectors of anything they perceive as theirs. As a small but sturdy breed they do well in therapy work and we use them often in this capacity with both adults and children. Schips do best with a job. Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? They are not particularly “fancy” and are often overlooked in favor of other small breeds. Additionally I think the discovery of a fatal disease about 15 years ago (MPSIIIb—which can be tested for) gave a lot of active breeders pause and initially set back some programs. With fewer dogs bred and puppies available potential homes turned elsewhere. Our breeders/exhibitors are primarily composed of an aging demographic, as breeders retire they are not being replaced. Litters are typically small—there are simply not a lot of them available. We have a small gene pool as evidenced clearly by cur- rent genetic testing returning very high coefficients. The need to exchange breeding stock with the rest of the world is paramount. The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? That they are a diminutive Belgian Shepherd and they are born without a tail. What clothing color do I favor to complement the coat? Hon- estly I wear almost all colors to show. Black goes with everything! How do I place my pups? We have been breeding so long most of ours go to a waiting list of return families or referrals from others who have our dogs. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I’m pretty confident by the time they are three years old. But seriously I can usually narrow down to my top prospects by eight to ten weeks and prefer to grow them out until four to six months if possible. My favorite dog show memory? The National wins and Best in Shows and Best in Specialties are each treasured. However my favorite memory is watching my daughter, who was painfully shy, grow into a confident, young woman who would go on to compete at Westminster and become the Top Non-Sporting junior handler in 2002. I would add that I no longer dock my Schipperkes. It was a family decision. It has cost us some lifelong friendships. Desiring to continue exhibiting our dogs after having developed a line for over 30 years has lead us to expand in to UKC and Canada where we have been accepted with natural tails. We spend our time and money where we are welcomed. It has been a great experience and brought many new friendships. We have only recently returned to the AKC venue—so we shall see. We want to thank our friends who

have supported our decision and we are truly grateful for the many folks in other breeds who have been especially encouraging. CATHY THISTLE Cathy is a pet

groomer and lives with eight Schip- perkes in Sel- byville, Delaware. They are active in conformation, rally, obedience and FastCat. She is a third gen- eration show dog breeder/f anc ier. Her grand parents bred and showed

Ch. Jet-Star’s Bacchus CDX pictured here a t 9 months of age. I am 10 years old at this time. Judge Edd Bivin

Griffons and Papillons in Belgium in the 1920s. Her parents bred and showed Springers and Bouviers. Cathy has bred AKC champi- ons under the Foxnoir prefix in Dachshunds, Lowchen, Bassets and Schipperkes. She is an active in member of the Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club and the Colonial Schipperke Club. Most all of my activities are dog related in one way or another. I am fortunate enough to live close to a wonderful all-breed club in Salisbury, Maryland that is involved in many different doggy activi- ties. Occasionally I will teach a class for my club or assist another trainer. I have served my local schipperke club as president for the past three years. Most recently I do hope to be volunteering time with a small group that works with veterans and their dogs. How is the the breed around the house? Most Schipperkes are adaptable to apartment, country or even living on a boat. They are curious and active by nature. Like any other breed they do need proper exercise and tend to gain weight after spay and neutering. Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Yes, the popularity of the breed has come up quite a bit in the past few decades. I feel the popularity has jumped mainly because schip- perkes are so sellable in the pet stores. All schipperke puppies look like little miniature teddy bears until they go thought the puppy gang-lies at about four to six months of age. And this is also the rea- son we get so many dogs in our rescue groups. The increase in AKC registrations has certainly not come about from responsible show breeders. In most parts of the country we have problems getting enough dogs together to create points. This is not a new problem. The public’s biggest misconception about Schipperkes, as well as most judges misconception, is that they are born tailless. They are not. Most all Schipperkes are born with tails like most other breeds are born with tails. Docking a Schipperke is strictly a cos- metic surgical procedure to make the dog conform to the written AKC standard. What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s gor- geous black coat? I find that a red and white outfit sets a black dog

306 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019

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