TOY GROUP Q&A
Judging the Toy breeds is like judging any other breed, except having a softer, gentler approach and examination technique.
opinion, the most important part of any breed, which includes Toys, is their ability to do the job for which they were created. So many exhibitors and breeders say that Toys don’t have a job, which is total nonsense. Their job is to be someone’s wonderful lap companion. If they have structural issues so that they break down as they age, don’t want to sit on your lap, or snap when someone reaches for them (because they hurt due to the way they are made), then they are dogs that are not capable of doing their job. So, being structur- ally sound enough to lead a good life is the number one priority to me—in all breeds. Heads are always important, even though I am not a head nut. If a dog is standing behind a solid wood fence with his head sticking over the top, can you identify the breed? If not, he is totally lacking in breed type. If the dog is standing at the crest of a hill with the bright sun behind him, and all you can see is a black cut-out silhouette, can you identify the breed? If not, he is totally lacking in breed type. Does he have the proper temperament and character for his breed? Are the coat and color correct for the breed, and is the grooming acceptable for the breed? In case you have not noticed, I want it all! How important is the breed-specific presentation/handling of Toys? It is very important, but that does not mean you need to do what everyone else is doing, as many of them are not doing what is correct. Even though they are Toys, they are dogs first. All dogs need to be able to stand on their own, so I really hate for everyone to walk in the ring and, instantly, get down on their knees to hold their dog together. Can I speak to “breed character” among the Toy breeds? Breed character is so important for Toys. They are all Toys, but they are also such unique, individual breeds: A Min Pin’s character is its fearless animation, self-possession, and spirit; the Chihuahua is a saucy, Terrier-like little character; the Havanese is a friendly, playful small dog; and the Pekingese has such an independent presence. So, yes, breed character is critical. Why are Toys a pleasure to judge and how are they a challenge? There are so many great Toys out there, so they are always a pleasure to judge. They can be quite a challenge too because so many people raise them as Toys, instead of dogs. Far too many of them have not been trained to walk on a lead, stand on a table, or have a stranger go over them—and most have never had their mouths looked at. Which Toy dogs from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? My first thought is Little Daddy, the Min Pin. He really set breed type. I think the ones that give you an instant tem- plate of what the breed should look like are the ones that end up having the greatest influence. How has my knowledge of Toys influenced my understanding of dogs in general? I actually started in the sport with Toy Poodles, so I began with a lot of study of all the Toys. But, I think you really need to learn as much as you can about dogs in general before you worry about specific breeds. What can non-Toy fanciers learn from exhibitors of the Toy breeds? This is very important for judges who come from other breeds, as many of them don’t remember that they are tiny, small, unique breeds, and it is critical that you approach and examine them as softly and confidently as possible; no heavy hands, no roughness of any type, and no baby talk. Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Toys? I have enjoyed every assignment. (No funny stories there… YET!)
How has my knowledge of Toys influenced my understanding of dogs in general? Learning breeds from the Toy Group has dem- onstrated how important balance of all parts is to exemplify each breed’s type. What can non-Toy fanciers learn from exhibitors of the Toy breeds? Same as the previous question, but I am still a work in progress! Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Toys? I don’t have a specific story, just that I have had a few Toys jump on my shoulders for a kiss! PAT HASTINGS Pat Hastings of Oregon
has been involved in the dog world since 1959 and, along with her late husband E.R. “Bob” Hastings, has always been immersed for the sole purpose of the betterment of the dogs. They were professional handlers for many years and Pat began her judging career in 1991, and is currently approved for five and a half
Groups. Pat has judged many National Specialties and has been honored to judge the Doberman National four times—for a club that awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award to Pat and Bob. Along the way, Pat has chaired local shows, National Specialties, and a major benefit for “Take The Lead.” As a highly respected educator in the dog world, Pat has always endeavored to teach by example, to approach all aspects of the Sport with respect, common sense, and personal integrity. She has pre- sented seminars around the world for over 30 years, has authored four best-selling books, and produced a popular DVD in addition to writing numerous articles for a variety of publications. She is a great believer in the value of mentoring and has worked with novices and new judges, providing information, moral sup- port, and encouragement. Her years of dedication to the sport of dogs led to her being awarded the 2014 AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in Conformation. I live outside of Portland, Oregon. I have been in dogs for 63 years and have been judging for 30 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I don’t have a lot of time outside of dogs as I judge, write, pres- ent seminars, and evaluate LOTS of puppies. When I do have any free time, I love spending it with my family and I love working in my yard. Can I talk about my introduction to the Toy breeds? That’s easy as I started in Toy Poodles. We have owned numerous Toy Breeds and handled many Toys. I evaluate many Toy litters and, of course, they are always part of my seminars. Have I bred or shown any influential Toys? Any other breeds? Nope. Nothing exciting in Toys. We have bred and shown many top-winning, top-producing dogs in numerous breeds, including Dobermans and Whippets. What are some breed-specific details that are a “must” in the Toy breeds? Anyone who knows me or my work knows that, in my
178 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
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