Showsight June 2021


A new breeder was shocked when I said that if Satan himself owned a dog that I wanted to breed to, I’d walk right up and ask.

standard today doesn’t specify exact measurements, our standards throughout history and the dogs produced bear out that this has always been a dog that is meant to be a rectangle, with our original AKC standard stating a height-to-body ratio of 10:12. The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport? There is no single reason for the decline. However, I believe a fairly large part of it is that it costs much more money to show a dog now. It has gone from a fun weekend hobby where you win some/lose some (but it didn’t really matter because you really came for the social aspect anyway) to a place where it costs too much to lose. Where we are now, with “Team this Handler” or “Team this Dog,” automatically pits people against each other in an aggres- sive manner. It means that too many people are in it with the wrong mindset. A new breeder was shocked when I said that if Satan himself owned a dog that I wanted to breed to, I’d walk right up and ask. She had this notion that you only breed to your clique’s dogs, and had never considered “an outsider’s stud.” Part of our downfall with this mindset is that the membership of local all-breed clubs has been greatly impacted. It is these clubs that have always done a tremendous amount of outreach in the community, showing purebred dogs in the positive light that they deserve. (Also, how else do you end up showing a Basset?) Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two? My own illness has greatly impacted my breeding program. A few years ago, I sent my breeding bitches out on co-ownerships. All I can say about that is, obviously, if you want a thing done right, you have to do it yourself. So, in the next couple of years, I’ll bring a couple of bitches over from Europe and Australia that go back to my line or the Colsidex line, and use some of the great frozen semen I have. I have a hard time placing puppies with “pet parents,” and because of this, I really only like to place Weimaraners with repeat homes at this point, excepting, of course, the occasional rare and amazing home that comes along. They truly are not dogs for every- one, and I can’t tell you the number of calls I’ve had from people who want them because of their blue eyes as puppies or because their color would look great with their home design. So, because of all of that, I breed fairly rarely, which is how I like it. Why produce 30 puppies to maybe, accidental- ly, breed something good, when you can produce 10 to breed something excellent?

Marge, upside down at Westminster.

Finally, tell us a little about Alessandra outside of dogs... your pro- fession, your hobbies. I joke that I was “medically retired” from being a professional handler—a job that I loved more than anything. So that I could still be involved with the sport I love, I started judging, which has been challenging and fantastic. I decided from day one that I want- ed to be the kind of judge that people brought their “breeder dogs” to—you know, the ones that you keep hidden until they finish at the National. I’m lucky enough to have shown to some of the great judges, and I use them for inspiration: Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Billings, Mr. and Mrs. Forsyth, Dr. Asa Mays, Mr. James Reynolds, Mr. Edd Bivin, Mr. Joe Gregory, Mr. Frank Sabella, Mr. Eugene Blake, Mr. Elliot Weiss, Mr. Dana Cline, and Mr. and Mrs. Treen—to name just a very few. I can only hope to come somewhere close to living up to their challenge. As for other things, I have always worked on issues of hunger and homelessness, and in my van there’s nearly always a bag of gra- nola bars and warm clothes to give to people. It’s easy to see people through our own lenses, and discount someone else’s experiences. We can all do better. It’s really not hard to be kind. For things at home, I can always be found with 20 sewing, embroidery or craft projects that are all halfway finished. I spend time walking either the dogs or the goats. I love baking and cook- ing, but my greatest hobby of all (and the thing that I am most talented at) is being an Auntie. Please be kind to each other and wear your masks (as needed). You are too important to this world to do otherwise.


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