Let’s Talk Breed Education!
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, the Pekingese is currently ranked #92 out of 195 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? 3. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? 4. Can you characterize the distinctive rolling gait of the Pekingese? 5. This is a colorful breed. Which are the most challenging colors to breed? To show? 6. What is the biggest misconception about the Pekingese? 7. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 8. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 9. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 10. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 11. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 12. What is the biggest misconception about the Pekingese? 13. What is your favorite dog show memory? 14. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.
Which are the most challenging colors to breed and show? The most challenging color coats to show are white and black because the judge can’t see the distinct features. Probably one of the hardest colors to breed is what I would call a pure red fawn. The biggest misconception about the Pekingese? That they’re not as sturdy dog, that they’re just a lap dog. This is a very sturdy, happy, active little dog that loves to walk, loves to play. In other words, people think it’s an elitist lap type dog. No, no, no, no. They love to run and play. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? No, because they’re not well known. Their personality is not well known. It’s looked at or viewed as a dog for older people that have a few pennies. In other words, a wealthy person’s lap dog. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Pekinese are not self whelping, okay? Ninety percent of the dogs have to be C-section. Depending on what region of the country you live in, a C-section can run $500 to several thou- sand dollars. They’re expensive dogs to breed. Also, their monthly maintenance is difficult, such as grooming to keep up with. Because if you go to a groomer nowadays, at least in the Northeast, it’s $65-75 a groom and the average person cannot afford that. I can’t afford it. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Two and a half to three years. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Their structure is a pear-shaped body with the major- ity of weight going to the front. A lot of judges don’t realize that. When you’re judging a Pekingese you should lift them up so you can feel that weight in the front pear shape of the body. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? By being inclusive. My ultimate goal for the breed? That people realize what a charming, lovely, delightful breed this is, and that more people desire to become owners of the Pekingese. It’s a lovely breed. My favorite dog show memory? I have had several winners in Pekingese at Westminster. My first winner was Grand Champion Pequest One Moment in Time. When he won Award of Merit at Westminster I was thrilled. Having been brought up near New York, to me the epitome of shows is still Westminster. I have had now under Celebrations Pekingese at least five Westminster win- ners, and that’s a fantastic memory. My last one was in 2016. My one little female, Peppermint Patty, took Best of Opposite Sex. I also remember laying on my bathroom floor. I bought my first foundation bitch from Bert Easton over in Scotland. I free whelped my foundation bitch and I can’t tell you the thrill it was to see those three little puppies be born that night, and luckily she was able to deliver. I’d also like to share that David Fitzpatrick, Pequest Pekingese, has been my mentor through all of this. I’ve been so lucky to have had such an icon of the breed by my side. Malachy, his dog that won Westminster , is the stud or the father of all my dogs except for my foundation bitch. I have in my home Malachy’s very last lit- ter before he died. They turn two in August. I have decided, by the way, not to show them for the simple reason I wanted to experience puppies growing up.
DOROTHY COOPER Celebrations Pekingese
I live in Northern New Jersey near the New York state border. I’m a retired educator and I’ve actually published three educational books. I’m also active in local politics. As a child, and as a young adult, my family and I were active in horse showing, animal sports. And then, I relocated to Ten- nessee, then I came back after about 12 years to New Jersey. And then, my little chocolate Poodle died, so I went to the local shelter and there was the most beautiful little four-year-old brindle fawn Pekingese. My daughter, who was seven at the time, and I adopt- ed the dog. That was the beginning of the end. That was back in 1987, when I became involved with the Pekingese. So I came into it through rescue. I volunteer at different organizations like the Children’s Dia- betic Association in the county I also support. My family has pick- your-own farms, one in New York state and one in New Jersey. So I support the family businesses. My true passion is the rescue of the Pekingese breed and Peke mixes. This takes the majority of my time. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I com- fortable with the placement? I’m not comfortable with it at all in the sense that 360 approximate AKC registrations took place in 2019 and if this continues, this would indicate that the breed is dwindling. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? It hurts the breed. Can I characterize the distinctive rolling gait of the Pekingese? It’s like watching the ocean. If you’re behind a Peke, it’s like watch- ing the waves come in and out because it goes to a left-to-right roll and it’s very distinct. It’s the ocean wave.
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quality white Pekingese. That is not an easy feat, and I admire her dedication and product every time I “talk Pekes” with anyone. As far as showing, I find the self-masked solid colors to be the most difficult. Blacks seem to be a challenge to judges that are not breeder-judges. Whites, creams, reds—anything with a self- mask (the face is fully the same color as the body while the pig- ment remains inky black)—tend to stymie many judges because the “expression” is not as easily discernible. The traditional black- masked dogs are what most judges are expecting to see in a ring, and those beautiful rich, black masks enhance the expressions of these regal dogs. They also help to frame and differentiate the face in a way that can enhance the perception of the desired envelope shape of the head. On a black Peke, the judge can struggle to find defini- tion and appreciate expression. On a white Peke, you get the pop of a black nose, lips, and eyes, and that can be equally distracting to some judges. Parties also prove to be a challenge whether they have masks or not. In my opinion, that is, again, because they fall out of the normal expectations that most judges have. The biggest misconception about the Pekingese? Pekingese are very sturdy, loyal, gregarious, loving companions. They are not the “old lady curmudgeon of a dog” that many people expect. They are playful, mischievous, silly, intelligent, and spritely. Today’s Peking- ese are also generally quite healthy. The dedicated breeders in the US over the last 40 years have worked very hard to eliminate genet- ic predispositions so that we now have Pekes living very long and healthy lives. There are peculiarities particular to the breed—that have historically always been there—that require conscientious- ness on the part of the owner: I’m very alert to anything at “Peke level” that could impact their eyes (including the whereabouts of my cats!); I’m very aware of ambient temperature at all times; I don’t let them walk down staircases on their own (but I supervise them going up very short flights of stairs); and I mitigate their ability to jump onto and off of anything higher than themselves. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most common for me is that people recognize them, but haven’t seen them since their aunt had one when they were a child. Occasion- ally, I get stopped by very interested people who are not aware of them and want photos. I keep some Pekes shaved down, some in lion clips, and one in full show coat—so people in my neighbor- hood are exposed to them in many ways. Most people today don’t seem to know what a Peke looks like out of a show coat because that’s what they see on televised shows. Most people love the lion clip. Several years back, a member of my local Pekingese Club was staying at a hotel up on Sunset Boulevard (a block from my house). After dinner in the hotel, I accompanied her when she took her two show Pekes out for a walk. From the time the elevator doors opened at the lobby level, she was inundated with people who wanted to ask questions and take photos! Our brief walk down the world-famous Sunset Strip was, for me, one of the most memorable experiences with Pekingese. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? I think the greatest threat to breeders right now is the current economic climate. That’s not just Peking- ese breeders—that’s all breeders. We learned from the recession of 2009 that the sheer costs of breeding healthy dogs can be prohibi- tive if there are no homes to put them in. And when people are out of work, or working for less pay, they simply struggle to jus- tify spending the money on adding a dog to their home. I hope that our economy finds its footing sooner than later for everyone’s sake, but certainly for the future of our dogs and our sports. We’re seeing a spike in homes seeking dogs—to foster, adopt, or buy— because they’re all sheltering at home, and seek the companionship. I hope that when they go back to work, those dogs won’t be forgot- ten or discarded. Beyond the immediate economic fears, we have to be very cautious and strategic (as Pekingese breeders) about our
Steven Hamblin is a Peking- ese breeder and exhibitor based in southern California. Mr. Ham- blin breeds and shows under the kennel prefix, Dancing Lion. He is the AKC Delegate for the Pekingese Club of America, where he also serves on the board. He serves on the American Ken- nel Club Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors of the AKC Canine Health Founda- tion. Mr. Hamblin is also actively involved in the Pacific Coast
Pekingese Club, Los Encinos Kennel Club, Santa Barbara Kennel Club, and Morris & Essex Kennel Club. In addition to Peking- ese, Mr. Hamblin’s family shares their West Hollywood home with Bengal and Devon Rex cats. I live in West Hollywood, California. I’m a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realty in Beverly Hills, specializing in luxury residential properties. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? As of the most recently released rankings from AKC for the year ending 2019, Pekingese have moved up to #83, so we’ve already found some positive movement! I would love to see Pekes continue to rise in popularity because they are such wonderful companions. The upside to being in the midrange of breed rankings is that consumer demand is not pushing the breed to the extent that unscrupulous breeders are incentivized to capitalize on the finan- cial gain that we see in very popular breeds. The committed, dedi- cated breeders in the US are working very hard to maintain healthy, sound Pekingese for both the pet home and the show ring. The downside is that we’re not attracting younger enthusiasts and breed- ers faster than we’re losing the wisdom and insights of our aging pool of long-term breeders. Can I characterize the distinctive rolling gait of the Pekingese? To understand “the roll” you have to understand Pekingese structure. Specifically, you have to understand how that massive chest is slung between the bowed front legs. Once the correct struc- ture is clear, then the movement is the mechanical function of drive and reach. While the dog is propelled forward by those rear legs, the weight of that chest shifts from side to side with the reach of the short, bowed front legs. Sound movement in a Pekingese should not be abrupt or bouncy. If the front legs are weak or out at the elbows, you may see what appears to be a catch or a limp where one side drops slightly lower than the other with each step. And when seen from the front, those front feet—which are always slightly turned out—should remain turned out or potentially come almost parallel, but they should never pigeon-toe in. When you see a Peke’s front feet turn in when coming at you, you have to inspect the hind legs for a deficiency. Basically, the drive is lacking so the dog is pulling himself forward. When a sound Pekingese moves, you get the joy of seeing a smooth and gentle roll. The most challenging colors to breed and show? We don’t “color breed” in Pekingese the same way that breeders can in other breeds. We can’t mate a black and tan and know that we will get only a litter of black and tan puppies. We all know our lines, and we all know what we’re inclined to get, but I could never guarantee some- one that a specific color will pop up in a litter. The one breeder in the country that really has mastered consistency in color breeding Pekingese is Joy Thoms in Oregon. For decades, she has produced
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a sweet spot there that secures the future of the breed in a way that honors its history. My favorite memory was the day I earned a Championship title on my first Pekingese. Friends that had been following my quest for those final points erupted in applause when the judge made the placement, and I was beaming from ear to ear! MELANIEMARSHALL I live in Canton,
vulnerability to activists that don’t understand our breed. I cannot emphasize enough that Pekingese in the US, from reputable breed- ers, are generally quite healthy. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I take note of what I see on the first day of a pup’s life. Any sig- nificant features get noted so that I can see how they develop out. Then I wait and watch. Pekingese change so much that it can be a challenge to truly know what you’ve got. A very promising puppy can fully fall apart by adulthood, and an ugly puppy can turn into an elegant adult. While making note of significant developments, I really do a full analysis around four months to see what has trans- pired. The qualities that weren’t looking so promising may not have had positive development, and the qualities that were intriguing may have found some prominence. And I always seek the opinions of breeders that I trust to keep me focused on what’s developing well—that second set of eyes has not been tainted by seeing the puppies day in and day out. I think it’s easier to see when a puppy is not going to be show-worthy than when it is. High legs, long necks, long bodies, small heads—the odds of these getting better with age are minimal, whereas the promising ones could have a growth spurt and go from compact wonders to tubular shaped pets. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? They are dogs, and should have the soundness of all dogs to live the healthy, happy lives that all dogs deserve the right to live. Correct structure, correct movement, and everything in moderation are really key. There are characteristics to this breed that make it special and unique, but not one of those characteristics should override the others in a way that impacts the dog’s sound- ness. Understand and honor the standard for the way it addresses history, form, and health. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Newcomers to the breed can be intimidated by the grooming needs of the full show coat. Someone who wants a great companion that doesn’t need extensive exercise could well benefit from a loving Peke. Those people would benefit from understanding that Pekes can have a great time fully shaved down, or be Instagram adorable in a lion clip. A Peke can fit into someone’s life without needing to be coiffed in full show coat. But for those that want to show, the maintenance of the show coat is not daunting. It requires con- sistency and persistence, but so would the appropriate condition- ing of any other dog. Grooming time with a Pekingese can be an extraordinary bonding experience for human and dog. Embrace the bonding time and don’t see it as a chore. Once people move beyond the intimidation of grooming, then the fancy has an obligation to be open, receptive, and welcoming to those who really want to learn about our Lion Dogs. The peculiarities of the breed require strong mentorship to fully appreciate and understand. Showing a Peking- ese to its full potential is an art form in presenting the nuances in the best way possible. In my experience, Pekingese exhibitors/ breeders have been very welcoming to newcomers. We love our breed, and would relish the opportunity to share beloved Pekes with anyone who wants to learn more. My ultimate goal for the breed? I would love to see our breed gain ground in its position and prominence in pop culture. I’m not certain that the health of the breed would be serviced by the prominence that we once had—Pekingese used to be so popular that they were frequently front-page news! But an increase in popu- larity would secure the future for this ancient breed. There could be some remarkable opportunities for the breed to be in the top 10, but there would also be some dangerous drawbacks in unethical breeders asserting themselves into the void between demand and supply. Focusing on the baby steps: I would love to see the breed back in the top 50, and then for quality and consistency of breeders to sustain the ability for the breed to move into the top 30. There’s
Michigan. I am a busi- ness owner of Preferred Paralegal Services Inc. and I handle estates and trusts for local attorneys. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with the placement? This little dog attracts a
special kind of people who love the little lion dogs, are willing to cater to the grooming, have a cooler house, and have a quieter envi- ronment. They won’t fit in with everyone’s lifestyle. For me it was love at first sight. I rescued a Pekingese puppy back in 1987 that, unfortunately, came from a puppy mill and died at the age of nine months. Since then, I have always had Pekingese in my life. My lifestyle, and the lifestyle needs of my Pekingese, sort of merged at some point along the way. I think that’s how it happens for a new owner. Does the breed’s current ranking help or hurt the breed? I believe the breed has a loyal following. We have just enough breed- ers to keep it going strong, and just enough Pekingese owners out there who will always come back for another puppy when the time is right for them. I enjoy taking our dogs out in public and introduce them to families and children. You never know where that brief interaction with my dogs may lead them down the road. I think it’s important to show people the breed; most people won’t see a Pekingese very often. If they have a good experience meeting my dogs, they may remember it when it’s time to pick a puppy for their family. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? The pandemic may have made it more difficult to place puppies with travel restrictions and social distanc- ing. It’s also difficult to socialize upcoming show prospects. We can practice at home with the sounds of a dog show from YouTube, but the experience isn’t the same. We’ve been taking the four-month- old puppies to the park for some show practice, I think that will help the most. Puppies with highly outgoing personalities will most likely still shine in the show ring. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Twelve to 16 weeks, if not sooner. This is my first litter, and I have made a future note to myself that I should not promise or part with any puppy much sooner than 16 weeks to evaluate their show quali- ties. I believe by then, I have made my choices. I’m pretty confident in my ability to choose my next show puppy. In this process, I also evaluate their personalities, because I will be able to show an out- going, confident puppy with a natural show ability much longer than a puppy with a reserved and stubborn personality that will be unhappy in the ring or refuses to walk. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? I like to go over the table exam with a new judge. It’s easier for me to show someone what to look for than explain it. I have helped a few new judges in training with the table exam. Here’s my best description of table examination: Go to the head; envelope-shaped face, correct jaw, round dark eyes, good
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ear fringes, flat head on top. All the features should look right as a whole. Go down and check elbows in, springy ribs to smaller waste (pear-shaped), down the hocks, and up to the high tail set. Check the topline. Lift, heavier in front than back (large chest, wide in front). Back to the head for a better look since it’s a head breed. Check the finer details. Check the coat quality. Heavy bone set. Overall presentation should be compact, and well put together, with a beautiful coat to complement the whole dog. The dog should be able to move smoothly, like a Rolls Royce, not choppy like a tugboat, with little to no bounce. (I forgive a little bounce in puppies.) The rolling movement will look like a goldfish in water from behind in a mature dog. The overall presentation should look great, rather than focusing on any one feature of the dog. The dog/bitch should hold himself with pride and confidence, and have a good expression. The coat is a beautiful trait, but isn’t everything. Ear fringes should be beautifully shaped around the face, almost heart-shaped from the flat top of head to the framing. Coat should flow over the body, and I prefer to see some of the shape of the dog under the coat rather than it being so profuse that the coat is the only feature that stands out. The skirt behind should be flowing, and touch the ground, and is preferred for the sides as well. Typically you will not see much of the feet, maybe a little. It’s the icing on the cake. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? When someone new shows up ringside, I tell them to go out there and have some fun, don’t worry about winning yet. My first couple of years had nothing to do with winning. I watched, learned, and gathered as much information on the breed, grooming, handling, the show world, settling into my comfort zone in the ring, and ditching the nerves. After the second year, I got more serious and purchased a very good show dog that has kept me busy for many years now. It’s easy to get hooked into the show world, start a breeding pro- gram, and start selling and showing puppies all in the first year. That’s probably not the best approach because a new person is likely to get it all wrong from the start. I knew that. Taking the time to learn exactly what you want to accomplish in your breed, and in the show ring takes time and patience. Finding a good mentor or two is the key to it all. My best advice to a newcomer is to slow it all down, take it all in. The rest will follow. Encouragement and information is what is needed to keep a newcomer coming back. I believe it’s important to share informa- tion, become a mentor, and be available to answer their questions. My ultimate goal for the breed? I have only recently bred my first litter. I want to focus on healthy, loving, outgoing, well-mannered, high quality dogs that will enjoy happy lives. They should be smart and beautiful. We are on the lookout for that next great show spe- cial, or that next rally obedience king, or both. These little dogs are meant to be part of the family. We want them to feel loved, enjoy individual attention, and they should enjoy plenty of activity in their lives as it suits them. I’ve had great success so far. The biggest misconception about the Pekingese? I come across a lot of lay people who have claimed to have known a Pekingese or two in their day, and they believe the breed to be a yippy and snappy dog. This description really doesn’t fit the nature of the Pekingese. I’ve owned Pekingese for 27 years, and my dogs have always been well mannered and dignified. They are good watch dogs and sentries, and will alert you to something that is amiss in their environment. My Darwin will even let me know when a spider is crossing the rug or in the bathroom, quick to point out that I should remove the little eight-legged friend. I remember the first time he did this and at first I didn’t notice his eight-legged friend, and I went back to what I was doing. He insisted there was something amiss, so I went back
to look. Then it occurred to me what he was looking at, this tiny spider in the corner. I kindly removed his eight-legged friend from his space and all was well again. My Pekingese are sentries in my yard. They station themselves at various spots in the yard on the lookout for newcomers. They will let me know when a neighbor friend walks by, but let others walk past without much notice. Maybe the misconception was misinterpreted. Pekingese do not like to be annoyed or fussed with unnecessarily, and especially by children. Maybe the misinterpretation was that they were fussed with by children to the point of annoyance. Or perhaps they were cranky because they didn’t have air conditioning “back in the day.” The second misconception is that a Pekingese cannot move. Maybe it’s true for some, but even my most dignified can fly across the yard to chase away a squirrel. They can move pretty fast when they want to, although they are sometimes stubborn about it. I also believe exercise plays a great role in whether a Pekingese can move or not. I make a point of exercising all my dogs, they go for walks around our park in mild weather. They do slow down a lot in the heat, and we make a point of walking them later in the evening on hot summer days. Anything over 70 degrees is a little warm for a fully-coated Pekingese to take anything, but a very short walk, and we always have a nice ice pack waiting at the door for his or her return. I always smile when the judge tells us to make a small circle around the breed ring. I picture this same dog flying across my yard at full speed. Small circles in the breed ring are for stubborn Pekes. That’s the real reason they won’t walk, isn’t it? My favorite dog show memory? There are so many. I would say showing my special, Darwin, has been a blast over the last five plus years. He is just such fun to show, and wins just enough to make it a fun time every weekend out. He’s almost six now, I just can’t believe it, all this time has gone by. My favorite moments in dog showing can be summed up this way. All those owner-handled Group One’s and Two’s are pretty special to us. We had a special top 20 Bow Tie Affair that we attend- ed in Reno that was a blast, and what a trip that was. Traveling with friends to various dog shows has been so much fun and carries many happy memories; attending the Owner-Handled Championship in Orlando, and winning Select dog at the actual Orlando champion- ship the very next day; the moment I realized we won BISS at the Canfield Pekingese Specialty; the moment I realized we went Top 10; the moment we earned Darwin’s Silver Grand. Then there is the moment I held our first litter of puppies after persevering though some wicked hardships; the moment I received the AKC DNA Test Results back on our first litter of puppies that was multiple-sired only to find out that every last puppy in the lit- ter belonged to Darwin, against the odds—all because of a long shot moment tried by two willful ladies late one night who believed in a dream that couldn’t be let go. (Nothing to lose, try for those Darwin puppies anyway. Picture perfect.) And of course sharing all these experiences with my friends who also share their own wonderful experiences. I want to thank so many people who have supported us; my many friends who reached out to us during our first litter, you know who you are. Thank you, Debbie Zink, for sharing all your show world experiences in class, training me to show my dogs, and help- ing me believe in the dream. Thank you, David Fitzpatrick, for matching me up with two beautiful dogs, Darwin and Adelaide, and for all your support through thick and thin. Thank you, Kathy Torchia, for being a great friend, believing in the dream, and for helping me in every possible way with conceiving and birthing our first litter of puppies. A special thank you to my husband, Mike, for all his support in his wife’s dream, staying up late nights to help
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At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I think I can see signs of a puppy being possible show quality before puppies are weaned, but I prefer to wait until permanent teeth are in place to make a final determination. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Please judge based upon which dog comes closest to meeting the breed standard, rather than what we call “fault judg- ing.” Every dog has at least one “hole,” and it’s been my experience that the better the dog, the bigger that one hole. Please don’t dismiss the dog who makes your heart beat faster, but has a fault, or you may very well ultimately end up rewarding the “mediocre” (noth- ing terribly wrong, but nothing superlatively right either) dogs in your ring. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Hopefully by showing how versatile Pekingese are. You name it, they’re willing to try it and enjoy the challenge. My ultimate goal for the breed? I hope our current trend toward larger Peke entries at shows continues and that the number of peo- ple falling under its spell in general also continues to grow! My favorite dog show memory? Judging the conformation class- es at our National in 2018. Such an honor to be elected to judge and a lovely entry with many really excellent Pekes throughout as well. At times, “goosebump city” for me! I’d also like to share: I think in the 50+ years since I began breeding and exhibiting Pekes, breeders have successfully removed, for all intents and purposes, some of the things that had detracted from the ideal. For example, our breed standard used to have a penalization for a “badly blemished eye,” and a disqualification for a “Dudley (or (flesh-colored) nose.” You just don’t see either problem these days and haven’t for quite a while now. As a breed, they are remarkably free of so many of the problems, conditions and diseases that plague so many breeds. They need dentals on a regular basis and you have to avoid jumping off furniture and running down a flight of stairs. Easy, peasy in the grand scheme of things! SUSAN SHEPHARD I have been a preservation
feed and wipe puppy butts when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and going through every last hour of it with me. PATTYMETZGER I have been breeding and
exhibiting Pekingese (under the kennel name “Muhlin”) for 50 years and bred and/or owned 119 champions, 92 that are homebred. Included in that number are sev- eral multi-specialty and multi-all- breed Best in Show winners. I have also been a member of the Pekingese Club of America for over 40 years and am currently serving as President, having served earlier as both Secretary and more recently as Corresponding Secre-
tary. I have judged Pekingese sweepstakes classes at a number of Pekingese specialties, including three PCA assignments. I have also judged conformation classes at the 2018 Pekingese Club of America National Specialty. I live in the west suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. I am retired now, but used to work in the Chicago suburbs at Lucent Technolo- gies in software development. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I’d like to see it ranked as more popular than it is now, but I don’t want it to be in the top 5-10. That encour- ages the puppy mill people to get busy cranking out puppies, in terrible conditions, that don’t even resemble Pekingese. Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? I don’t think the num- bers do much at all to help or hurt the breed. Can I characterize the distinctive rolling gait of the Pekingese? The Peke should move at a trot in a confident, unhurried manner. Because of his shoulder layback, short bowed front legs and big rib- cage at the “front end” and his narrower and lighter hindquarters, he gently rolls toward the unsupported side with each step he takes with his front legs. His waist basically serves to neutralize the dis- tinctive roll and he does not roll from the waist back. The most challenging colors to breed and show? I’ve finished champions in just about every color except blue and liver. Most challenging to show were the black and tans. Judges weren’t sure what to do with them and a lot of time the dog would get a reserve when he or she should have had the points. As far as breeding vari- ous colors, if you’re breeding for a color that is genetically recessive (i.e., parti-color, black and tan, white etc.), you have to either breed two of that color together or two who each carry at least one copy of the gene for the desired color together in order to hopefully get the desired color. I never noticed one color being more difficult to raise than another color. The biggest misconception about the Pekingese? The notion that they are little fragile “foo foo” dogs is quite a joke. They are actually tough as nails and love to run headlong into a mud puddle if at all possible. They’re supremely brave in the face of pain and you really have to pay attention to them in order to notice any subtle signs of discomfort, etc. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Many times, no. The luxurious coat that Pekes that are shown need to have throws a lot of people for a loop, and mouths drop open when you answer their “what kind of dog is that?” question. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Other than perhaps needing to get to the vet for a c-section while under “stay at home” orders, I can’t think of any special challenges.
breeder/exhibitor for about 25 years. Currently, I am a Silver Register of Merit breeder with the Pekingese Club of America. I am the Vice President, Publi- cations Chair and Judges Edu- cation Chair for the Pekingese Club of America, plus the Show Chair for my all-breed club, West Volusia Kennel Club in DeLand, Florida. Addition- ally, I bred the first American- bred Pekingese dog to become an English (U.K.) champion;
UK and AM GCH Deja vu Stand By Me. I live in Central Florida. Outside of dogs I putter with my flowers, travel and enjoy my retire- ment. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Personally I would like to see the number higher. Like much of the sport, we are a graying breed. If we ranked higher in popularity we would probably see more younger people coming into the breed. I think low numbers hurt the breed. Lower overall inter- est means there are fewer and fewer dogs which means we have a diminishing gene pool. Can I characterize the distinctive rolling gait of the Peking- ese? The correct action of a Pekingese will never be seen if they
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were several very striking bitches in the ring. After what seemed like hours, Breeder Judge Mr. Hiram Stewart walked over and asked me to go to the front of the line. I was thrilled to be awarded Best of Breed with MBISS GCHB Deja vu Kiss Me Like You Mean It. A very good day. I’d also like to share that if you don’t know anything about the breed and want to, go get a mentor. Explore this breed, you will fall in love just like all of us did. HIRAM STEWART I live in Kenner, Louisi-
are racing around the ring, so do allow enough time for the dog to gait correctly in your ring, especially the Group ring. The cor- rect rolling action is created by combining the correct pear-shaped body with heavy, slightly bowed front legs and straighter, lighter hindquarters. The bow of the foreleg results in a subtle side-to-side movement that is the roll. This should not be confused with the incorrect, disjointed, over-exaggerated movement that results from a dog being loose in shoulder and elbow. Please do not mistake the bounce (think north-south) movement for our beautiful roll (think east-west movement). What are the most challenging colors to breed and show? The standard says all colors are equal. However, all colors must have black pigment. That said the blacks, whites and partis seem to have a harder time finishing. The biggest misconception about the Pekingese? Everyone I know had an Aunt or a Grandmother with a Pekingese of the biting variety. My Grandmother did and I adored him. Pekingese temperament has come a long way in the past 50 years. The funny thing is that most people, after having a Peke, won’t have any other breed of dog. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Not really. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? The Animal Rights (AR) movement has put all purebred dog fanciers at risk, but especially the brachycephalic breeds. The best thing breeders can do for our breed is to be honest. Be honest about your breeding programs and your dogs and then breed the healthiest dogs you can. Currently, there is no genetic marker for BAS or IVDD and the only way we have to eliminate it is to cull those dogs from your breeding program. I see significantly fewer dogs that have breathing difficulties than I did 15 years ago, so breeders are working on it. If we don’t give the AR people ammu- nition, at some point they will have to fold their tent and move on to bigger and better things. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Personally, I take a hard look at eight weeks old. Then I don’t look hard again until four to five months. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Breathe. Don’t be in a hurry to judge the breed until you feel you understand it. If you have taken the Pekingese Club of America Judges seminar and are still a bit befuddled, reach out for help. We have mentors all over the country who will be more than happy to help you. Once you are in the ring, just remember your training and do the right thing. Remember, it’s your choices that will guide many breeders, so you now have a responsibility to the breed. Put the best dogs up regardless. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Be welcoming, show people through actions that this is a fabulous community to belong to. Be kind to newcomers, help them with honesty and integrity. Be a mentor. Be the person you wish you’d met when you first started. My ultimate goal for the breed? Personally, I want to leave it in a better place than I found it. I want to contribute healthy, sound, typey dogs to the gene pool. I’d like people to know that a Peking- ese is a first-rate family companion. My favorite dog show memory? I went to the Pekingese Club of America’s National Specialty last year, after weeks of trying to decide which dog to take; a Champion bitch or this super cute pup- py. I finally decided to take the bitch as she was always reliable in the ring and, I felt, a good example of the breed and my breeding program. So, the day of the show I am there early, grooming away and in the ring working hard and getting my girl to show every minute, hoping and praying I can pull off Best of Opposite as there
ana, which is about 12 miles outside of New Orleans, Lou- isiana. Showing dogs is my main profession, but on occa- sion I have done some person- al training with beginners at a local health club. I’m personally fine with
the ranking of Pekingese. It is a breed that chooses you, not you choosing them, so I don’t think these numbers affect the popularity of the breed. Pekes are not the first breed that pops into someone’s head when you start considering getting a dog. The rolling gait of Pekingese is like watching fancy tail goldfish swimming, it’s the motion they make moving through the water. When you see a Peke with the correct gait, you will instantly under- stand the concept of the roll. The most challenging colors to show are probably whites, parti- color and blacks. These are usually not the most popular or com- mon colors you would see at show, so judges tend to take a step back when they have one of these colors in the ring amongst the more popular colors: fawn, red sable, blonde and cream. I think one of the biggest misconception about Pekes with the general public is that they usually associate a Peke as being a biter. I think on a whole, most people tend to recognize Pekingese when they see one. Peke puppies will go through considerable changes as they devel- op because of their flat faces and distorted bodies. It usually takes them from around eight months and up for you to start thinking that they have a definite show potential possibility. Some breeders may have the good fortune of evaluating this potential at an earlier age because some puppies on occasion will have “it” from the start. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? I would hope that new judges would strong- ly keep in mind that Pekingese have the appearance of being a small dog, but can be surprisingly heavy, and also finding correct type with true Pekingese gait. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I believe newcomers would have an attraction to the breed if they have some exposure to Pekes as a kid; or maybe there was a family member who had one, or possibly they are just naturally interested in the breed. My goal is to keep true to myself and see my dogs for what they are to me as a breeder. I had wonderful mentors when I started in this breed and I want keep the knowledge they gave me and use it with thoughtful, planned matings. I truly have many favorite memories from dog shows, but pos- sibly the one that really was tearful was winning BIS under my
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“One of my favorite things about the Pekingese breed is their personalities. The stubbornness, in my opinion, is of- ten the Peke’s way of telling us they are too smart to do things that simply don’t matter to them.”
mentor with a dog I bred. That truly made everything come full circle for me. I’d also like to share that living with Pekes is truly an experience; everything revolves around their little world. They are in no hurry to move out of your way and usually their day starts when they feel up to it. I have continuously been involved with breeding, showing and handing Pekingese for 50 years and I’m still very excited with raising puppies and watching for future stars to develop. PAMELAWINTERS My husband and I retired after
have made a strong commitment to a color such as white, parti- color or black, have learned how to hold the physical attributes while breeding for a specific color. Most breeders want a white or a black in the pedigree somewhere because it seems to clarify colors of future puppies. The fact that the standard states that black eye rims, lips and nose are absolutely important, and that colors such as liver or blue cause the pigment to be liver or blue, also causes the liver and blue coloration to become a color not wanted. Showing a black, white, cream or parti is challenging. Judges don’t alway see through the coloring and realize there can be an absolutely amazing body in the dog. I think this is the reason so many breeder/exhibi- tors don’t often breed for those colors. A Peke with a faded muzzle color is still correct as long as the rest of the standard’s qualities are met. Because we want a strong, correct body, we breeders shy away from the term “a head breed,” but the fact is a Pekingese without the correct head and face features is disappointing. That beautiful flat face and large luminous eyes melts one’s heart. Nigel Aubrey-Jones once told me, when I visited his kennel to purchase a Peke, that anyone selling or buying a dog before it is six months old was taking a huge chance on saying the dog is “show quality.” As a long-time breeder, I have been fooled even recently in thinking a three or four month old puppy was going to be wonder- ful, and it ended up severely disappointing me. I have also been able to see potential greatness in some very young ones that actually were great Pekes when they matured. One of my favorite things about the Pekingese breed is their per- sonalities. The stubbornness, in my opinion, is often the Peke’s way of telling us they are too smart to do things that simply don’t matter to them. They are generally a more quiet breed than many, barking only to warn or in excitement over a visitor. They are a very adapt- able breed, doing well in a condo in a city or being able to run on large acreage. They keep to themselves rather than being constantly needy. They can be a sweet little baby-doll to love at times, and other times a bold, strong-willed dog. I have had a Peke stand-off my horse when it came too close to an item the Peke thought it was guarding. I often say a Peke is a large dog (mentally) in a small body. My dogs get to go for a ride every time I run an errand, and peo- ple see them and nearly always ask, “Which breed are they?” Those who do recognize that they are Pekes say they don’t look like the Pekes they or their grandma had, referring to much less coat, longer legs and less flatness to the faces. And in my experience, the “old style pet Pekes” also had some bad attitudes. The Pekes of today have been carefully selected for good temperaments and to keep wide open nostrils, so the fact that we have a flat-faced breed doesn’t seem like a problem. A pet Pekingese coat can easily be trimmed down into a cute lion trim or even shaved down if the owner desires; such as are many Shih Tzus, Lhasas and Poodles when they are liv- ing the happy life of a pet. After owning a Pekingese, many people say they must have another when their old one leaves them. They are a unique, interesting, charming breed.
nearly 30 years of being in the pet grooming and boarding indus- try. We moved from Reno with our aging and also retired show Pekingese to Southern California near San Diego. Even though I have had a Pekingese in my home most all of my life, I considered my dog-days over and even gave up my judging license, but found myself unable to stay out of the dog world. I have been on the Peking- ese Club of America’s board, and
am currently the President of the Pacific Coast Pekingese Club and a PCA mentor for Pekes. I began concentrating on helping new persons interested in the breed obtain a good Pekingese, and taught them what I could about showing, while occasionally breeding a litter and showing a little again. Although I wish that the Pekingese enjoyed a little more popu- larity, I never like seeing any breed reach such a popular status that the quality falls and nearly everyone thinks they should own and breed such a breed. The hardest thing to teach a breeder or a judge is exactly what the “rolling gait” of a Peke is. I have known a reasonably successful breeder happily exclaim how wonderful their Peke rolls as it labori- ously lumbered from side to side due to faulty elbows and shoul- ders. A good gait allows the topline to remain pretty much level and smooth as the Peke gaits. There is a gentle “rolling-like motion” over the shoulders, contained by elbows close to the barrel chest, and without bounce or the head swinging side to side as it walks. The front is driven by hind legs that are placed not too far apart, and not too close; very much like most other breeds. Since the front part of a Peke is much heavier than the rear, it is my belief that sound fronts are very important. Another hard thing for people trying to learn the breed is understanding how so many different individual looks—face and head—a Pekingese can have and yet be correct to the Standard. The flat topskull and “envelope-shaped” (meaning the face appears wider than it is tall) appearance of the head is one of the first things my eye looks for. Most breeders concentrate on the physical qualities rather than worry about what color the puppies will be. But some breeders who
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BECOMING A BREEDER
1. How did you come to choose the Pekingese? Or did the Peking- ese choose you? 2. Was the Pekingese your first choice of breed? 3. What was the best source of information during your search for a Peke? 4. Had you previously seen the breed in person? Visited with a breeder? Been to a dog show? 5. Did you always want to become a breeder of Pekingese? 6. From whom did you get your foundation bitch? 7. How did you select the sire of your first litter? 8. What was it like to whelp your first litter? What was your big- gest challenge? Biggest surprise? 9. As a novice Pekingese breeder, what are the greatest challenges that you face? 10. How can today’s breeders better assist the breeders of tomorrow? HEATHER GINOCHIO I reside in Northern Califor-
beautiful dogs and just having a great time. They turned into my mentors and I owe them everything. On top of this great experience, I also had the unique opportu- nity to visit the kennels from which my foundation bitches came and that was absolutely invaluable. I was able to go over several dogs at each kennel and discuss the dogs with their respective breeder. The information I learned will serve me forever and I am so thank- ful for such great opportunities. Did I always want to become a breeder of Pekingese? Consider- ing that I didn’t even know Pekes existed until I saw Malachy with David at the Garden, the answer is no, but I am so glad that I have connected with this breed so deeply and I can’t imagine breeding or showing anything else. At least not yet! I started with two foundation bitches. Both from the two lines I appreciated at our National Specialty. I first approached Lori and Mark to see if they had anything available. They did not as they had just had a litter of six and all were placed. However, I knew that the grandfather of the boy they sold me had been exported by Clara Escobar Jurado of Lion Dance Pekingese in Spain. I con- tacted her and first purchased a show male who went on to be #1 OH Pekingese in 2018. When she finally had a bitch ready from the same line I was interested in, I was able to purchase a gorgeous silver fawn bitch. She has gone on to produce (in her first litter) a Group- placing bitch and a bitch that won sweepstakes and went RWB at our National Specialty in 2019. Her second and most recent litter is looking very promising, so I am excited. My other foundation bitch was acquired from the renowned Dr. Ray Lo of Dreamville Pekingese in the Philippines. I admired the type he has consistently produced which was very apparent at the National I attended. He trusted me with a lovely fawn bitch. Her most recent litter is very consistent, typey and promising. The male is major pointed at the only show we attended this year, so I am anxious to get them both back in the ring! How did I select the sire of my first litter? I fell absolutely head over heels in love with a gorgeous, typey, correct red Pekingese owned by Mark and Lori Stephen. From the second I laid eyes on him I knew he had to be the sire of my first litter. It’s funny to say that the bitch I bred him to was not even born when I had made that decision. This is where the note-taking at the National and pedigree studying came in. My foundation bitch from Spain had a similar pedigree and complemented him very well. With just a little bit of luck, they produced a fabulous litter. What was it like to whelp my first litter? I choose to electively c-section my bitches to avoid mortality. Pekingese are brachyce- phalic with large heads. A lot of the time, the heads are too large to pass through the pelvis. My biggest challenge was getting back into the groove of newborn puppies. (It had been almost 15 years since I had whelped a litter of Jack Russels.) I am always surprised with how nervous I am with fresh out of the womb puppies, but on that same note it’s surprising how quickly instincts come in for me and the bitch! One of the biggest challenges I face as a new breeder is that a lot of our older breeders have passed on, taking their knowledge with them. I am fortunate enough to have mentors who have learned from these great breeders and have been able to pass down this information that I have applied to my breeding program. How can today’s breeders better assist the breeders of tomorrow? Mentorship! More specifically, mentorship with an open mind. I believe that we need to pass down our knowledge to future genera- tions so that we can continue bettering our breed and moving it for- ward. However, everyone will have their own way of doing things and one is not more right than the other as long as the common goal is to preserve and better the breed. That is the kind of mentorship I have received and I could not be more thankful.
nia and recently started showing Pekingese in 2016. I breed under the affix “MonTai.” I am the club Presi- dent of the Pekingese Club of Cen- tral California and am on the Board for the Pekingese Club of America. I hope to continue my journey in dogs, particularly Pekingese, for many, many years to come.
How did I come to choose the Pekingese? It’s funny, I recall the exact moment I decided that I needed to have a Pekingese in my life and that this was the breed I wanted to show. I was watching the Westminster Kennel Club show on television while doing some household chores. I happened to look up to take a glance right as Malachy was doing his down and back in the group ring with David Fitzpatrick. I remember feeling that time and everything around me had completely stopped. I was totally focused and mesmerized on the gorgeous creature on the screen and that was it! I knew in my heart that Pekingese was the breed for me. Was the Pekingese my first choice of breed? In my adult life, yes. Growing up, my father and I bred and raised Jack Russels. I enjoyed the breeding and the whelping, but most of all the studying of pedi- grees. However, the breed was just not for me. I didn’t want to start on this journey without a breed that I absolutely loved. I waited years and years for something to just click with the right breed and it finally did in 2012 with Pekingese. I haven’t looked back since. The best source of information during my search for a Peke? I think that going to Nationals and Specialty shows where I was able to see several different Pekingese at a time really helped shape my search for my foundation Pekingese. What I did, specifically, was purchase a catalog and make notes at our National Specialty next to those dogs I preferred and stood out to me. I was actually really consistent. Most of the dogs I had appreciated came from two different lines. Before wanting to be involved with Pekingese, I had never seen the breed in person. After realizing that this is the breed I wanted to continue on with, I adopted a couple companion Pekingese from a local rescue. Once I was ready to take my first leap into the show world, I contacted Lori and Mark Stephen of Aslan Pekingese to see if they had anything available. I was still only ready for a com- panion, but they sold me a beautiful retired GCH and gave me the option to special him. I wasn’t ready to start in the Group ring, as I had never even been to a dog show before, so he remained a com- panion and became my heart. When I was really ready to look for my foundation dogs, I spent a weekend at Lori and Mark’s going over pedigrees, going over the breed standard, going over their
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