TOY GROUP Q&A
Learning breeds from the Toy Group has demonstrated how important balance of all parts is to exemplify each breed’s type.
lived close by, and I got to visit and love on [their dogs] often. They were loyal and spirited and loved to play. Have I bred or shown any Toys or other breeds? My main expe- rience with breeding and exhibiting came after our kids got to a certain age. I had a Dachshund, which I simply loved. However, he did not “fit” with other family members. We settled on the Chi- nese Shar-Pei, and have been breeding, showing, and judging them since 1978. I have been fortunate to exhibit all over the US, having a BOB Shar-Pei at the National Specialty as well as many other high placements at other Nationals, Regionals, and BIS at AKC All-Breed Shows. What are some breed-specific details that are a must in the Toy breeds? The dogs’ attitude when they first walk into the ring is very important. The Toy should show itself. They must walk with confi- dence and have a fun-loving attitude. Their silhouette is important, with head and tail up (if required), and with the proper gait for that breed. How important is the breed-specific presentation/handling of Toys? Breed-specific presentation is always important with any and all breeds in order to show the proper outline. At a glance, you must know which breed you are looking at and know, for example, the difference between a Yorkie and a Silky. As a judge, you must get your hands under the coat of the dog to make sure that they have the proper boning, topline, tail set, etc. Can I speak to “breed character” among the Toy breeds? All Toys must possess the proper temperament and expression. They must be alert, friendly, playful, spirited, affectionate, active, and intelligent; not shy or quarrelsome. It is also very important that every dog have sound conformation and proper movement—they must be able to walk to their food bowl. Even though they are a small dog, they do delight in chasing a ball, stuffed animal, catching that mouse or just hanging out with their person. The Miniature Pinscher must have the characteristic hackney gait. The Italian Greyhound has curves and a lift to its gait. The Papillon must have large ears, fine bone, and be dainty. The Pug is a combination of “rounds” for the head and eyes, with a square for the body, and so on. Why are Toys a pleasure to judge and how are they a challenge? I love judging all of the Toy breeds because of their happy, exuberant, and spirited attitude. If you are in a bad mood or having a bad day after judging Toys, it’s your own fault! The problem that I have with the breeds is with not wanting to take them all home with me! How- ever, seriously, finding the right amount of boning can be problemat- ic at times. Sometimes I find the dog with wonderful gait, silhouette, and structure, but the head doesn’t possess the proper expression, eye color or shape; pigment distorting the entire look for that breed. Which Toy dogs from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? Today, there are a number of breeders of a variety of Toy breeds whom I admire; Toy breeders of the Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Griffons, Affens, Pugs, Cavaliers, and Min Pins, to name a few. These breeders have maintained or improved on breed type, expression and attitude, movement, and proper size. How has my knowledge of Toys influenced my understanding of dogs in general? There is more emphasis on breed type and, in my opinion, structure. (These dogs must be able to walk to their food bowl.) However, they are not expected to have the stamina to work from sun up to sun down. Therefore, I have learned to better prioritize the different parts of a dog. What can non-Toy fanciers learn from exhibitors of the Toy breeds? The exhibitor can learn to relax, because Toy breeds can act
silly, be playful, and are full of themselves. Their spirited antics are all in good fun. Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experience judg- ing Toys? One of the funny things I remember is judging a class of about seven Pug puppies. Once they finally sorted themselves out (to find which one wanted to lead), they were off to the races. However, after going a few feet, it was like bumper cars, with one stopping short while the dog behind wanted to run. It was hysteri- cal. I was laughing—and so were the handlers. There’s nothing like the experience of showing puppies. They will always humble you. NENA DEE I live in Leesburg, Vir-
ginia. I have been in dogs for 40-plus years, starting with my breed, Irish Setter. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from pure- bred dogs? I like to read in my spare time, mostly mys- teries and articles about dif- ferent breeds—and Show- sight , of course! My introduction to Toys came about by just watching them from ringside at shows and by having friends in
Papillons and Havanese. Have I bred or shown any influential Toys or any other breeds? I have not shown, bred or handled any Toy breeds. I have bred and owner-handled Group-winning dogs and a BIS Irish Setter. What are some breed-specific details that are a “must” in the Toy breeds? Each breed’s specific “type” features are very impor- tant. For example, the characteristics of the head in the English Toy Spaniel and Japanese Chin, the animation and hackney-like gait of the Miniature Pinscher or the shape of the body under the hair of the Pekingese, to name a few. In Toy breeds as well as in Sporting breeds, the correct silhouette and correct movement are important. How important is the breed-specific presentation/handling of Toys? Specific breed presentation is very important. Some breeds should stand on their own and basically show themselves, and the handlers should not kneel and hard-stack the dog. Can I speak to “breed character” among the Toy breeds? Breed character, to me, is their specific temperament; like the vivacious spirit of a Pomeranian, the friendly, trusting expression of the Shih Tzu or the saucy expression of a Chihuahua. Why are Toys a pleasure to judge and how are they a challenge? Toys are a pleasure to judge. I find myself smiling just looking at their expressions. They are a challenge to judge as there is so much detail to consider. Expression is so important in a companion dog; various coat types and textures, and different styles of movement. It is a challenge to process it all in two minutes per dog! Which Toy dogs from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? Since Toys are relatively new to me, I am not familiar with the famous dogs of the past, which is why I enjoy reading Showsight ! I do like seeing pictures of influential dogs of the past to note how the breed has changed and, hopefully, improved through the years.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION | 175
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