NON-SPORTING GROUP Q&A
If you want to win, presentation and showmanship are a plus. But once you examine the dog, what you feel under the coat may change your mind about your first impression.
How important is presentation and “showmanship” in the Non- Sporting Group? If you want to win, presentation and showman- ship are a plus. But once you examine the dog, what you feel under the coat may change your mind about your first impression. Form follows function. This is true in every breed. Are any breeds in better or worse shape than they were 25 years ago? My observation is that Chinese Shar-Pei have fewer coat prob- lems now. Breeders of Tibetan Spaniels have done a wonderful job; early on, the front legs were more than “slightly bowed” and I felt that some exhibits were short on leg or low to the ground. I no lon- ger see this. I’m sure that anyone who has had their breed in a movie or a national advertising campaign has horror stories to tell. It’s the same with Dalmatians. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians movies ruined our breed for many years. Even today, when out walking my dog, I’ll hear from the public that Dalmatians have bad temperaments and are not good with children. This is simply because those so-called backyard breeders were not doing health or hearing tests (BAER), cutting costs to maximize profits at the expense of the breed. Do I have any advice to share with new judges of the Non-Sport- ing Group? I will focus on my original breed, the Dalmatian. My advice is to remember that a Dalmatian is a coaching breed. The AKC standard for General Appearance says: “ The Dalmatian is a distinctively spotted dog; poised and alert; strong, muscular and active; free of shyness; intelligent in expression; symmetrical in outline; and without exaggeration or coarseness. The Dalmatian is capable of great endurance, combined with fair amount of speed. Deviations from the described ideal should be penalized in direct proportion to the degree of the deviation. ” It does not say that only males should be strong and muscular. It does not refer to males as the only sex that is capable of great endurance combined with a fair amount of speed. It says that the Dalmatian is distinctively spotted; not hand-painted with a brush. Yes, spotting is the hallmark of the breed and 25% of the breed standard points. But some judges seem to forget the other 75%. Dalmatians are a movement breed and, if the shoulder blade is straight, and the upper arm is short and straight you’re going to see the movement of a Smooth Fox Terrier instead of the fluid movement of a coach dog. A Dalmatian should be built with the correct reach and drive to follow a carriage or horse for hours on uneven road conditions without breaking down. So, may I suggest that judges read the General Appearance paragraph again before judging the Dalmatian breed. Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging the Non-Sporting breeds? In July 1998, I was invited to judge a Dalmatian regional, and the all-breed National Capitol K.C. invited me to judge Standard Poodles that same weekend. I had goose bumps when a white Special came into the ring. This Poodle just screamed the Poodle Standard, so I gave him Breed. (This is really not a funny story because there were others in the ring that I had previously seen win Groups and BIS.) I had han- dlers talk about me, saying that I was new and I didn’t have a clue. However, I was very comfortable with my decision. I watched this young boy, “Christopher,” win and produce exquisite get. His name was Unique Reach For The Rainbow, and I believe that his owners, Unique Poodles, won the 2020 Non-Sporting Breeders of the Year.
I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have been a judge since 2001, so that would be 20 years. I have been in the wonderful Sport of Dogs since 1966 when I got involved with Poodles. I had my first champion in 1969, a Miniature Poodle, sired by the top dog of the year, Champion Freder- ick of Rencroft, an English import handled by Mr. Frank Sabella. After Frank
retired, the wonderful Barbara Humphries started handling for me and my partner Jack Heidinger. Other handlers who showed for me and Jack were Madeline Patterson, Don Rogers and Jeff Nokes, and Art Montoya. I had Miniatures from Kathy Poe’s Bar King line, Wildways line of Dorothy Hageman, Roy Prado’s Praver’s line, and Tom & Ann Stevenson’s Challendon lines, and Toys from Charline Averill’s Bragabout lines, and Standards from the Peppertree lines of Dorothy and Rudy Huck. I continue to own Poodles and have had champions in all three varieties for many years. I now have rescue Poodles, which are the loves of my life. I worked for Jack Bradshaw Dog Shows for 25 years starting in 1976 until 2001. During those 25 years, I was able to see some great dogs in all breeds. I now judge the Sporting, Non-Sporting, and Toy Groups, and 24 Hound Breeds. I have judged in many coun- tries such as China, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Canada, and Mexico. I judged the Poodle Club of Canada and the Austra- lian National and, in 2013 and 2016, I judged Best of Breed at Poodle Club of America. I have had the honor of judging four times at the AKC National Show and at the National Dog Show. In 2019, I had the honor of judging the Miniature Poodle variety at Poodle Club of America. In addition to working with the Jack Bradshaw Dog Shows for 25 years, my professional life was spent in management positions at various financial firms since 1975. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from dogs? I love to col- lect movie memorabilia and I have spent a fortune on this endeavor. My house has a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans room with all things Roy and Dale and Trigger and Bullet and Gabby. I am not well! How was I first introduced to the Non-Sporting breeds? I was introduced to the Non-Sporting breeds in 1966 when I got into dogs. Jack Heidinger was my partner and he raised Poodles under the High Hopes prefix, and he was my mentor until he passed away in 1989. Poodles were my only breed—and still are. My second breed was Bulldogs. This was because of Florence Savage, a great breeder, judge, and exhibitor of Bulldogs. She lived with a Bulldog all of her life. I would go to her place in Brentwood, California, every week, and she would go over the breed standard. She’d have other Bulldoggers come over and she would then evaluate the Bull- dogs. I grew to love the breed—and still do.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION | 167
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