with NANCY GALLANT, JACK GOHDE, JOHN ROBERT “BOBBY” LEWIS, JR., CARL LIEPMANN, VIRGINIA “GINNY” LYNE, LINDA MORE, JEFFREY PEPPER, LINDA RIEDEL, BETTY-ANNE STENMARK & LISA WEISS THE SPORTING GROUP
1. What is the current qual- ity of the Sporting Group?? In my humble opinion, I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the overall quality of dogs being shown. There are, always have been and always will be fine examples of correct breed type in the ring. However, there
1. What is the current qual- ity of the Sporting Group? I feel we have improved since a few years ago. One problem is so many newer dog owners don’t take the time to really learn their breed. 2. Do you think Sporting breeds have adapted from traditional roles to modern living—full of indoor living and air conditioning? I think they need a big ring, in or out, to show their move-
are many Sporting breeds that seem to have lost sight as to correct front assemblies and what true balanced structure looks like, resulting in Sporting dogs with out of balance structure and lack of proper reach and drive. 2. Do you think Sporting breeds have adapted from traditional roles to modern living—full of indoor living and air conditioning? Generally, dogs seem to be a very adaptive species. My background has been in English and Irish Setters as well as English Cocker Spaniels, all three of which are extremely devoted to their owners. 3. In your opinion, what accounts for the change in a breed’s popularity? As owners moved into apartments, condos and town- houses, large, energetic breeds became less popular. Potential dog owners moved towards smaller or easier to maintain breeds. Irish Setters had health issues twenty years ago that also affected their popularity in a nega- tive manner. I walk several miles a day with my dogs. Almost daily someone stops me to tell me how they had, or knew someone who had, an Irish Setter when they were younger but have not seen one in ages. Big win- ning animals affect the popularity and the onslaught of “boutique” breeds with faulty sales pitches are affecting trends in ownership. 4. What are the challenges a Sporting breeder faces? Sporting dogs are generally very energetic requiring attention, care and exercise. If potential owners are not willing to commit to these things, I tell them not to buy a Sporting dog!
ment. But dogs are resilient and they will adapt. 3. Any shift in the balance of popularity among breeds? Why do you think this happened? Yes, I think the pet mills breed the popular breeds and the quality goes down fast, especially the temperament and that hurts the breed. It seems like overall the Sport- ing breeds’ numbers have gone down. 4. What makes a Sporting Dog the ideal companion in these 21st-century times? They were all bred to serve man, to hunt beside them and be their companion. These original breed purposes have not changed. 5. What advice would you give a newcomer to the sport? Find a good mentor, take it slow, learn the breed. Don’t get caught up with people who want to wheel and deal. 6. And for a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing expe- rience you’ve ever had at a dog show? I was holding a champagne bottle for a picture of a new silver Grand Champion and I pretended that I was taking it for payment of the win. When I turned around to give it back, it slipped out of my hands. The bottle did not break, but the cork shot out and champagne went all over the ring. My steward said with a straight face, “I’ve cleaned up a lot of things in a ring in my day, but this is a first.”
180 • S how S ight M agazine , M ay 2017
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